While true, there’s one place that draws millions of visitors each year that you’d never expect to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word free— Disney World. Especially in the Adults-only activities available (which I’ve been called the “guru” of by friends and clients).
If you’re at the “Land” or “World” (as it’s called by us), you’ll sometimes hear the words “pixie dust” used by guests and cast members alike. It’s those little extra touches or surprises that each cast member — no matter if a custodian or general manager — has been given the authority to provide to remedy a situation and make it magical. And you might now be asking, “Okay, I get that, but how does beer come into the picture?”
I’m glad you asked. Archie and I were staying at our home away from home, Disney’s BoardWalk Villas, one year during get post-season of baseball. We had watched most of the games that week from the comfort of our one-bedroom villa’s living room, as we had gathered all the necessities (beer, peanuts, cracker jacks, and beer) at the grocery store on our way from the airport. But it was Saturday night, I guess that makes it all right (RIP Prince), and we needed a change of scenery and beer choices. We walked down to the ESPN Club to catch the game from the bar area.
During large crowd events like this ESPN Club used to have the bar area as first come, first served, which meant if you arrived early enough you had a great shot of getting a high-top table with seats facing the multitude of screens all showing the same game.
Fast forward to the 5th inning, and I’m told the game was tied. I wasn’t paying attention to the screens since I had a game play happening right in front of me. There was this family at the high-top next to us that was preparing to leave, another family that was stalking the area for seating, and about the same time friends of our server came over to her to ask if she could get them in. As she walked away with her friends in tow I heard her say, “Give me a minute to clear that table and I’ll get you in there.” From the other direction a manager had come by, saw the one group leave the Stalker family, and cleared the table with a “I’ll send your server right over” across her departing shoulder.
The server arrived back, friends in tow, to be surprised and angered that the Stalkers were at “their” table. Having witnessed the entire saga over my last glass of beer, and trying to keep the Cage Match of the Century from happening, I caught the eye of the manager who was on her way back to check on why there were raised voices during a commercial break. I quickly explained the situation, timeline of events, and a possible resolution— Archie and I would leave before the blood shed. We just needed our tabs for our wings, fries, and maybe a couple of pitchers of beer.
As we waited by the bar for the manager to return, the ruckus over tables was now a peaceful cohabitation again. All way right in the World.
When the manager returned to us it was to say “Thank you for helping out with that issue. I’ve taken care of your tab.”
There is was. The pixie dust of our trip. And that, my friends, is how beer, free and the World came together. All it takes is paying attention to your surroundings and helping out when you can.