September 18, 2015

Orlando Airport Outing

That Disney Magic
Today I had some business at the Orlando International Airport.  It being a one hour drive from my home in Melbourne Beach, and a destination I'd never driven to alone, I asked my parents if they wanted to ride along with me.  Mom declined but Dad said, "Sure!"

My son James travels constantly so he knows that airport and its parking options very well.  He texted me brief instructions for how to get to a specific parking garage with a specific elevator that would take me directly down to the Global Entry office where my interview at 11:30 was to take place.

Dad and I finally, after spiraling upwards, and circling around and around, and crossing a bridge, and spiraling upwards again, finally found our stealth entrance to the Orlando airport terminals and the Global Entry office. We had about 45 minutes to kill (what?  I like to be early!) so we had fun walking around the mall-like building, popping into stores like Ron Jon's, Disney, and Hudson's Books.

The Orlando airport is like any other big, busy airport in many ways.  Lots of people, lots of hustle, lots of bustle. Orlando airport people are well and happy travelers, and I notice that because I spend most of my airport time in Atlanta.  The Atlanta airport is where the entire east coast of the United States of America goes to change planes. Travelers there are always running, grim faced, toward another hellish gate in another terminal in another county, riding the subway silently, ferociously checking cell phones, changing plans, fist punching the ATMs, tapping feet while drinking Starbucks, busy gotta go see ya.

The travelers passing through the Orlando airport are smiling!  They're sunburned! They're wearing Mickey Mouse ears and sporting Disney backpacks; or they're rocking Frozen earrings while dashing about in Harry Potter scarves and Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirts! These people are carrying baby whale stuffed toys and Ron Jon's key-chains.

Or they're on their way to being those blissed out tourists. They know it's coming and they're just so grateful to explode out of their plane from London, or Albuquerque, or Toronto, and be in the sub-tropical city of Orlando, home to Disney World, Universal Studios, Seaworld, International Drive, and lo! so many wonders!

My dad and I, once I completed my interview, decided to eat at McCoy's restaurant in the Hyatt hotel, located around, above and maybe below, Terminal B.  Riding the glass elevator up one floor to the Hyatt's lobby, bar and restaurant level was as dizzying to me as a theme park ride.  I do not like going up or down.

McCoy's is so named because of this story about a man. Colonel Michael McCoy was the commander of the 321st Bombardment Wing at Pinecastle Air Force Base in Orlando, and he was killed in 1957 when he crashed his B-47 due to wing failure. In 1958 Pinecastle AFB was renamed McCoy Air Force Base in his memory.

In 1962 an agreement was worked out between the Air Force and the City of Orlando for the joint-use of one of the runways at Pinecastle for airline operations, and the purchase of two missile storage barns by the City for conversion into a passenger air terminal for use by Delta, Eastern, and National Airlines. The Orlando-McCoy Jetport opened in 1964, with Delta Air Lines being the first airline to offer jet passenger service to the new Orlando-McCoy Jetport. With the opening of Walt Disney World in 1972, the amount of air traffic increased substantially, and the agreement with the Air Force was amended to allow for an expansion of the civil airport facilities. Additional acreage was provided to Orlando east of the airfield and two modern airport terminals were constructed along with improved parking and other infrastructure.*

Orlando International Airport continues to carry the base's original airport code of MCO (i.e., McCoy) and ICAO airport code of KMCO. For some reason I like knowing why Orlando is MCO.

Dad and I had a tapas feast for lunch at McCoy's.  He had a dry, triple olive Beefeater's martini while we reminisced about our many father-daughter adventures in New York City, back when he was working for Celanese Chemical Corporation in Manhattan. Not much has changed since then.  Dad still admires a pretty girl, and he found one, unattended and apparently delighted to see him, at MCO.

Snow white and The Man.

*from online sources

1 comment:

  1. I received this from my father: "Orlando airport today is a gigantic complex of mall, airport and hotel surrounded by multistory parking garages. There are no marked borders. If you are in the Food Court, you know that’s the mall. Long lines of people with luggage mark the airport gates. If you pass a desk marked “Concierge,” you are crossing into Hyatt land. The Departures boards have 20 screens, with a dozen flights on each, reporting flights to places all over the world, among them multiple flights to New York, Dallas and Los Angeles.

    It’s all about money. Disney needs to start a finance company so people can take out loans to finance their trips.

    As you can imagine, this airport is a topnotch place for people watching. As I waited for Bonnie to have her interview, I watched a middle-aged man sitting across the low table from me, oblivious to anyone or anything except his smart phone. In a few minutes, here came a woman bearing two Starbucks containers, which she set down on the table. She sat down in the chair next to the man, nodded to him, opened her purse and took out her smart phone. I could have used a cup of coffee at the moment, so I envied them, being able to have a nice sip of fresh Starbucks. They both ignored the coffee, though. Suddenly the man stood up, put his phone in his pocket, and charged away. The woman remained intent on her phone, oblivious to anyone or anything else. I was about to interrupt her and ask if I could buy one of the untouched containers of Starbucks from her when (fortunately!) Bonnie appeared."