My mate John was right - early January was the perfect time to visit Disney World! The lines were minimal, I go to ride some of the more exciting rides multiple times with virtually no wait! Of course, the weather was overcast with lows in the upper 30s and some rain... but this was a Disney Vacation, not beach. As you can see in the video above, I went to Mission: Space at EPCOT.
After two days at Disney I checked out of the Disney resort and into Parliament House. I found the most honest and accurate review of Parliament House at TripAdvisor Traveler Reviews, where it read:
Accommodations are very basic: Bed, bathroom and cable tv, and that's it. But for the low price, it's a real bargain. It can be a really fun place, especially on weekends when the entertainment center is kicking full-speed ahead: disco, drag shows, piano bar all going strong. The biggest drawback is its location: There's a leather/levi/bear bar next door* but absolutely nothing else within walking distance of the hotel, no stores, no restaurants nothing within more than a quarter mile of the place. The restaurant at the hotel serves cheap, decent breakfast options and really good coffee, but sandwiches and dinner entrees are adequate at best. I had a cheeseburger that had obviously been taken from a pile of burgers fried up hours before and stored on the side of the grill. It was dry and tasteless and it wasn't hot enough to melt the cheese. I was there during a cold snap and my room was freezing! The guests have no control over the temperature. I called the front desk and they were friendly enough but totally helpless about shutting off my air conditioning and turning on the heat. The place was full, so I had to shiver through it the first night before they could move me to another room the next day. The second room had heat, but not much! I never did feel warm the four nights I was there.* Please note, the "leather/levi/bear bar next door" was Full Moon Saloon, and closed July 2007. The on-site bars are full of hustlers, trolls and drag queens. - Chaz
I met up with John and his partner for dinner at their home on Monday night, and my online buddy Charlie (the poster-boy for the Low & Tight Yahoo Group) for dinner on Tuesday night. I was getting cabin fever on Wednesday and went out and about in Orlando on Wednesday. Since the Full Moon Saloon closed last summer, the only two masculine bars that I could find were "Hank's" and "The Bear Bar", both on Edgewater street. Of the two, Hank's was busier by far -- but also had 'very uninhibited' fun (if you catch my drift!)
Parliament House: 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida
Hank's Bar: 5026 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, Florida (no webpage)
The Bear Bar: 4453 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, Florida
I met "Jeff K." at Hank's, and we became good mates in a matter of hours. He joined me on Saturday to return for my last day at Disney World! (It was a lot busier with lines and such than the prior weekend, but we had fun!) Jeff is a real Disney fan!
Well, enough about Disney World/Orlando... On to upcoming travels!
As many of you already know, I travel like crazy -- and I post messages in various places promoting leather/bear/biker events, sometimes looking to share the expense of a hotel room... I guess my messages are beginning to look somewhat "more professional", as I got this really cute e-mail yesterday:
This seems like there is a system / or this is like you are a travel agent... can you explain the bigger picture here? I just thought you were a regular guy... I'm just looking to share a room, but this is a whole travel itinerary!
I replied to the worried guy with:
I am a "regular guy" that travels a heck of a lot and goes to lots of events. Since I'm not made of money, I try to reduce my travel costs several ways -- a) buying cheap airfare on kayak.com (and other sites), b) mileage running (which allows me to earn tons of frequent flyer points for the trips that are always super-costly, such as Manchester/London), and c) room sharing. I find that the cost of accommodations is so damn high, sharing a room for my travels is the #1 cost-saver for everyone.
I might as well be a travel agent -- all my friends come to me for the best airfares (because I know how the system works); however, this is a hobby of mine, not a career. I already have a full-time job (believe it or not!) ;-)
Currently, NO ONE is sharing my reserved two queen bed motel room with me at the host hotel, Howard Johnson's Hotel and Conference Center, Albuquerque. The price is right for this hotel, only $50/night + tax. That would be $25/pp (+tax) for two people per night! (I always have problems trying to find people to share rooms at events not on the east coast of America...)
If you're interested in splitting a room at American Bear Awakening, that's great! Be sure to book your run/event fee at http://americanbearawakening.com/ and let me know you are interested. This isn't some sort of scam or "system", it's simply just me travelling with friends and new friends (no sex or anything is expected, except to equally share the cost of a room and to have mutual respect for everyone involved.) I do think I have it worked out to a science -- but it's not the sort of thing I could turn a profit on, really.
Read my blog for more information about me, or simply pick up the phone and call me sometime.
I was amused at this worried guy's message -- and started wondering to myself, could I make a career out of gay travel? Hummmmm... Naw. I think not.
Click here for a current list of my weekends and major travel events. Please contact me with any enquiries you might have directly via e-mail or by telephone. You can always know my exact and up-to-the-minute plans at the official "Where's Chaz" calendar is online at http://where.chazhome.com/ for your viewing pleasure (you must have a free Google account to view it!)
I'm currently looking for a place to crash in New York City March 20th thru March 28th, preferably in Manhattan. I need a place to hook up my laptop (WiFi or broadband internet access) to work during the days and a place to sleep at night.
If you can offer a place for me, or have any suggestions, that would be great!
I have for the following upcoming leather/bear events:
02/22-02/25 - Philadelphia, PA - Pocono Warriors 30th Anniversary (2 ppl currently)
03/28-03/30 - Ronkonkoma, NY - Long Island Raven's 16th Anniversary Run (3 ppl currently)
04/03-04/07 - Albuquerque, NM - The Sandia Bears - American Bear Awakening (room for 3 more!)
Do you know the song of the day, Sparks - Cool Places?
Note: I've recently made some severe changes to Chazhome (my HTTP/FTP server) that have fixed timeout problems on FTP transfers!