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June 6th, 2019

Flashback: Disney Summer Vacation 2015 – Wanderwonder

Something I posted to Facebook some years ago, that I should have posted here instead because this is what a life blog is for


Walt Disney World, June 6, 2015, 2:07 AM

I’m up on the 12th floor of the Dolphin. I have a great view of the surrounding terrain from my hotel window. First thing you notice is how flat this part of central Florida is.

My room is situated such I can leave the windows wide open and still have privacy. It’s night, I have insomnia, and from my bed I can see lights from various objects near and far. In the middle distance to the north I can make out the Contemporary hotel, and to the left of it Space Mountain and to the left of that Cinderella’s Castle. Closer in there is a line of very bright amber-ish lights I’m guessing is the parking lots around the Transportation Center. Headlights from cars driving down the highway from there towards I-4 blink through the trees.

If I get up and go to the window and look to my west, I can make out the Expedition Everest ride at Animal Kingdom. Beyond that,intriguingly on the far horizon, twinkle lights from some distant city or town I can’t place without looking at a map. Which for the moment I don’t want to do. They can remain a beckoning mystery for now. Time was, before in car navigation systems, I’d have grabbed a compass, taken my bearings, and when morning came hopped in the car and tried to find some roads to take me to where the lights were without even consulting a map. Sometimes even the compass was not needed. As a young boy I was fascinated by a particular string of lights I could see at night, twinkling down the coast from Ocean City New Jersey. They were so regularly spaced and uniformly bright they stood out from the rest and I figured it had to be the boardwalk at Avalon, which was the next big beach resort town down the coast. Visiting again later as an adult with a car of my own, I traveled down coastal roads and over bridges, stopping here and there to evaluate the streetlights at each little barrier island along the way until I finally found the string of them I was looking for. It wasn’t Avalon, but another barrier island, and they weren’t boardwalk lights, but street lights. That one little narrow barrier island didn’t have a boardwalk at all, but the road came close to the shore and its streetlights stood out because there were so few other lights on it.

So I’m looking out my 12th floor window at Dolphin and wondering what that town I’m seeing in the distance is. I suppose Tampa is too far away for it to be them. Kissimmee would be more to my east which I can’t see from my room. I’m wondering what’s there. I know what’s coming next. They say the journey is the destination, but for me the journey is also in the wondering and imagining. Lights twinkling like stars on distant horizons have called to me since long before I got my first driver’s license. They’re as mysterious and fascinating as the stars in the sky above, but unlike the stars those lights are reachable. I can go see what’s there at some point, and savor the mystery in the meantime.

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