Friday, March 11, 2016

Outside the Disney Bubble: The Wahlburgers Incident

By Nick

I'll set the scene.

I was at The Health and Fitness Expo at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, having arrived several hours earlier to pick up my Princess Half Marathon Weekend Enchanted 10K race packet and to meet with my Disney Exchange Podcast co-hosts Lisa and Dave along with their spouses.

After they departed, I met up with my wife's cousin Jill, her husband Zach, and friends Amber and Ryan. Amber was running the Half, and Jill, Zach, and Ryan were there to cheer her on.

After walking through the expo, Zach asked me what I was doing for dinner.

This was at about 5:10pm.

I explained I was just going to get something to eat at the Animal Kingdom Lodge where I was staying and planned on trying to get to sleep around 7pm or 8, as I was getting up at 3am to get ready and out for the 10K.

Zach said they were getting an Uber car and heading into Orlando to check out the recently opened Wahlburgers, as Ryan is a big fan of the show. How big a fan? Ryan and Amber are Pescetarians, but Ryan was breaking his diet to eat at this establishment.

Coincidentally, I had seen a local news report just the night before announcing the opening of said Wahlburgers, and the excitement around the event as Mark Wahlberg was there. For those unfamiliar, Mark is a musician and actor, having starred in a multitude of films. 

Now, burgers are my favorite food. And I love spending time with my family and friends, and I was assured we would get back very likely no later than 8pm, and I would be dropped right at my resort.

What could go wrong?

The Uber arrived at about 5:25pm. I was in the back seat, and fell asleep rather quickly, as I had not slept very well the evening before. When I woke up, we were in downtown Orlando, and because of traffic, it was already close to 6:30. That's when a voice in my head said "Hey, wait a minute, it's 6:30 on a FRIDAY night. People like to go out on a Friday night after a long week of work. People who like going to restaurants!" Really, this was just finally going through my head. I've never claimed to be smart.

And, oh yea, did I mention that this particular restaurant had just opened the day before, and had been on the news?

When we walked up, the place was clearly packed. Then we were told it was a 2 hour wait for a table, but the take out line was only an hour.

I had 2 choices. Get an Uber back to the resort, spend I don't know how much ( I really don't, since Zach paid, thank you again buddy) where I would still need to eat as I hadn't eaten since about 11:30am, or I could suck it up.

We waited in a line that moved at a pace that can only be described as glacial, but finally we arrived at the front after what felt like 3 days but was actually only about 50 minutes. As this went on I kept recalculating what time I would be able to get back and into bed.

So, it's about 7:20. We were at the front, about to walk up to the register!

That's when management decided to hold the line as the kitchen wass so backed up! Yep.

Zach, me, a friend we made in line, Jill (blurryface), Ryan and Amber

Time seemed to stand still. I felt like a prisoner. To be fair, the staff was extremely nice and even sympathetic. We were offered free beverages. I chose water as I didn't want caffeine interfering with what I started to believe would maybe be my 3 - 4 hours sleep. I started to make wagers as a way to help pass the time, betting beers as to what time we would actually receive food and when I would actually get back to the resort. We made friends with an extremely sweet woman in line with us.

Finally, at about 8:10 we ordered! Ryan paid for our dinner (thank you again Ryan).

We sat and waited with our pager, staring at it like it we were a lost tribe of starving nomads praying to an idol.

As we waited, my podcast co-host Lisa texted and asked if I was in bed yet. I explained the situation. She was concerned, and even reprimanded Jill for "kidnapping" me the evening before such an important event, my very first 10K!

Meanwhile we were given a free tater tots which we wolfed down like a pack of wild dogs.

After what felt like another hour, but was actually only about 15 minutes, the food finally arrived! and it was, why it was, well ... it was okay.

Look, I'm sure the whole Wahlberg family is a fan of this blog as well as The Disney Exchange Podcast, but, I can't lie. I've had better. It's not bad, just, I have 3 burger chains in the immediate area around me that are on par or better.

I'm not saying don't go to Wahlburgers, just maybe go on a weekday.

At about 8:45, we got another Uber back to the Disney Bubble, in bed by 10, and somehow I managed to get right to sleep, got up at 2:30, and was just fine for the 10K, so all is well that ends well.

And I have really fun story to tell.

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