17 March 2008

Planning an alternate route

While away at my wife’s conference this weekend, I found myself wandering around the hotel grounds. When it came time to return to the room I always took the same route, due exclusively to the fact that there was only one way to get to and from our room. This got me to thinking about the various ways I have always found to return to a room or campsite at Walt Disney World. No matter how many times I can walk the same route through the Magic Kingdom, when I step off of the bus in the late afternoon there are always a variety of paths back to my room, and shortcuts to be found.

Unless you stay in the same room, at the same resort, for every trip you take to Walt Disney World, you know this feeling too, even if you haven’t explored it. You can cut between the center of buildings to catch an adjoining walkway, or through entire resorts at the All-Stars rather than wait for the bus to stop at your resort. When returning to Port Orleans you can again wander from one resort back to your resort, taking the long way home as it were. On the other hand, you could cut around one of the squares and find that it is faster than walking the straight and narrow roads to the Floatworks. Even when it comes to reaching your floor, chances are there is a choice of direction involved. Do you climb the stairs on the ends of the building, or wait until you get towards the middle? The point is, every trip offers a new trail or shortcut to discover, a new ‘choose your own adventure’ for each trip.

This concept is never more present than in the campgrounds of Fort Wilderness. As children, one of the first things my sister and I did, once we had helped set-up the campsite, was to find the trail behind our site that created the most direct route to the Comfort Station on our loop. Not only was this essential to good camping, at ten o’clock at night you don’t really want to wonder what the best way is to wander to the bathroom, but it also gave the trip a subtle, but defining, characteristic, and it created a landscape for us to craft our own stories in.

It is on these quiet walks of discovering, or raucous runs of adventure, when you aren’t rushing to a bus or bed, that some of the most magical things can happen. Besides finding a shortcut, you may stumble onto a rabbit or family of ducks making their own way home, you may discover that, while out of the way, this path leads to a quiet bench where you can take in the joy of others who are also experiencing the magic, but then again, you may find nothing more than a sidewalk with some fabulous details. I hope that when you take these walks, and explore the paths you will tread every day of your trip, you do so with all of your senses and make a lasting memory.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Reading this brought back memories of my stays at Fort Wilderness. I also enjoyed wandering around the Port Orleans last April.