Jim’s WebLetter for 4/7/18


Just got back from a few days down in The Villages and at Disney World and boy, I’m tired. It’s true that being in a busy environment filled with lots of people can wear you out, even if you don’t do a lot. But we did a lot. Here’s why …

We’ve been exploring places to live in retirement … not to say where we live is somehow less than adequate or even undesirable. It’s not. But lots of money is being spent to develop a place for folks over 55 known as The Villages and we wanted to go check it out and see what all the noise is about. In short, this area located just about an hour north of Orlando is booming.

The latest count, more than 125,000 people reside there in several villages complete with golf courses, a polo field and stadium, swimming pools, stores and restaurants, hospital, a radio station playing “memories” broadcast on speakers all over Town Square as well as on the air, newspaper and magazine publisher, and several community centers featuring everything you could possibly want to do. Housing price ranges from the mid-$100s to near a million. If you want to live in an area you never have to leave, this is worthwhile checking out. Most people own a car and a golf cart and just leave the car parked at home. The website to explore more is https://thevillages.com.

From there we traveled to the land of Mickey Mouse after we had purchased the Florida residents deal of three days, three theme parks for $159. We pre-booked lunches at all three parks and had options to book Fast-Pass for three things in each of the parks … Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. I used my Google Calendar to enter in everything we were booked for and where they were located in the parks, so we wouldn’t miss out what we wanted to see, eat and do. As a result, the weather was great, the food good and the whole Disney experience was fun.

This was the first time just the two of us had gone to all three parks in one week. We have been to the theme parks more than 10 times since 1975 when I returned from Southeast Asia and left the Army. (It reminds me of the Disney commercials that feature the winning quarterback in the Super Bowl … “Hey Jim, you just returned from the Vietnam War, what are you going to do?” “I’m going to Disney World!”)

We were happy to take advantage of the special pricing when you take into consideration that typical three day passes run $325 per person, plus the $22 a day parking fee for standard parking, $48 for premium parking, and the food prices that include $19 burgers and fries and $5 for an ice cream. Here’s a tip: look for the most expensive thing on the menu and consider splitting it between you two. In the Animal Kingdom, we had steak, ribs and roast with fries and Cole slaw and two teas for just $37 plus tip. It was good and we didn’t walk out feeling stuffed.

For me, I really enjoyed Hollywood Studios as we booked lunch at the Sci-Fi Drive Inn with movie trailers and cartoons on the big screen. We also saw Muppets 3-D, got to experience light speed in a space craft, and later that evening, Fantasmic … a brilliant display of lasers and lights and all the Disney Characters live in a 3,000 seat amphitheater.

Here’s something special to see at Hollywood Studios … there’s a Walt Disney display over near Pixar Studios you should take featuring the life of Walt along with the innovations that made Disney Land and later Disney World so special.

The Hollywood street actors who appeared at designated times were a delight and very personable with everyone, meanwhile the Star Wars Imperial Army paraded through the streets throughout the day.

The whole Disney Experience was fun for everyone. Learn more about the Discover Disney passes at … https:///disneyworld.disney.go.com/.

So now we’re back and are planning our next trip. This retirement thing is pretty great!