Welcome back to Not Club 33, your new home for the Disney Cynic!
This week, my wife and I will be heading to Orlando to for the second time in as many months. This trip in particular is one I’ve been looking forward to since December. As someone born in SEC country, College Football is a staple of my weekend in the fall. Not surprisingly, my loyalties are contrarian to my environment. Being from Atlanta, I should be either a UGA or Auburn fan – yet I’m a Gators fan. Believe it or not, my loyalties to the University of Florida were cemented significantly as a result of repeated trips to Disney World.
The Cynic family always used to drive from Atlanta to Orlando when I was a kid. Our various vehicles had the same range of roughly 350 miles. That meant we always stopped in Gainesville, FL for gas and often Cracker Barrel. Seeing the Orange and Blue was always a harbinger of joy for me. It might not have hurt that when I started to pay attention to football, the Gators were king of the conference. Of course, the native Georgians woofing and constantly mocking me as an 11 year old and my natural stubbornness might have helped just as much.
Now that I’m an adult making a decent living, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see my Gators play Miami this year in Orlando. Given the news that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set to open the following weekend, and overall down crowds, led to reservation openings at The Beach Club the weekend of the game. It’s my favorite of all the resorts on property, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to relax by Stormalong Bay with a couple of vodka tonics.
With no Food & Wine Festival, no annual pass and limited time over that weekend, I didn’t see any reason to go to a park. That is until ESPN’s College GameDay announced that they are going to be broadcasting live from the Magic Kingdom. The college football masses knew they’d be at the game, but broadcasting from Magic Kingdom is a major surprise. The wife and I couldn’t help ourselves; we got a one day ticket so we could be a part of all the festivities. Make sure you watch between 9:00-12:00 on August 24th. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of a giant man decked out in blue in the background. Or at the very least, check out our Facebook page, as I plan to broadcast on Facebook Live a couple of times throughout the weekend.
Though I am super excited to be part of a unique experience, the Disney component I’m looking forward to most is The Beach Club. I have been looking forward to hopping into Stormalong Bay for years. I can’t wait to step into a hot tub with a view obstructed by boulders to hide my shameful size and give me the chance to relax. There’s also a couple of bars available to whet my whistle. Hurricane Hanna’s allows me to stay at the pool, while The Yacht Club offers two bars indoors in the Crew’s Cup or Ale & Compass Lounge.
I’ve expressed before that the one knock I have about The Beach Club is a lack of superb dining options. But instead of being tempted by Epcot’s plethora of food (and therefore buying a 2-Day ticket when the original plan was not to buy any) I’ll remind myself we’re within walking distance of The Boardwalk. There I can indulge at a brewery or immerse myself in ESPN at the restaurant which bears its name. That wing of the Disney company, after all, is the reason why I’m not going down for Labor Day weekend.
We still don’t have any dining reservations as of yet, but we’re trying to play that by ear. We can always head to Disney Springs to find a decent meal, knowing full well that it might be tough to get Homecomin’. There’s still Raglan Road, STK, or even Chicken Guy. At least I know I won’t have to settle for that shitty T-Rex restaurant or Rainforest Cafe.
Disney Springs also promises to be a gathering for all sorts of fans the night before the game. With as many bars as there are, I expect a pretty decent and diverse crowd of locals and out of towners. With all the alcohol flowing, maybe a dude named Laz from Hialeah will see me rocking a giant shirt with an “F” and try to fight me. Then I can be a viral sensation, right?
While I’m not necessarily looking forward to fisticuffs with Laz, I am looking forward to this getaway. It’s been years since I actually stayed at The Beach Club, so in my head it’s become an aspirational resort. Throw in how unique of a Gameday that I’ll get to be a part of, and an intense football game that I’ve been looking forward to for months, this is one of the few trips that the parks and the rides are not a priority.
-The Disney Cynic
“I’m all beers!”