Who’s in a Resort Hotel during Hurricane Ian?

Stuck in a hotel during Hurricane Ian

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As most trips to Florida are, mine was planned a year in advance. Hurricane Ian only came into existence a couple weeks ago. I grew up in Florida and so I have a, “I know better than the news” attitude, I do not doubt that CBS is rabid over the chance to call Ian a “hurricane”, however I also don’t want to be flying to Florida while the Hurricane is around.

At the airport I talked with a lady in the security line who was going to Los Angeles to see her mom. I told her I was going to Florida and she jokingly said I should hop on the plane with her and go to SoCal where it’s sunny and there’s no storm.

5 mins before my flight to Orlando boarded I almost didn’t get on. I almost actually bought tickets to California because in a last minute anxiety I realized it was a much better idea. But, my money was already paid to Florida, and so I boarded the plane willingly and knowingly flying into an oncoming hurricane, knowing I was going to be stuck in a hotel for days. Make no mistake, I was angry. 

On the plane I got a memo from Universal (Where I was staying) stating that all of their hotels were full.

A lot of Floridians do this thing when there’s a big storm. They check into a big resort hotel and kick back while hurricane whatever upturns the everglades onto the suburbs. 

I knew the hotel was gonna be filled with people taking shelter, people having fun and people stuck, people like me. 

I decided I should talk to them. The people around me in this hotel could tell the story of Ian better than I.

                                                            Day 1: 

Woman sitting alone in lobby- 

“It’s a surprise honeymoon from my now husband. I had no idea I was coming here till this morning. And then I was surprised there’s also a hurricane.”

Couple sitting on the fountain- (W for the woman, M for the man.) 

W- “ I live in England”

 

M-“It’s the anticipation of it, I like a good storm. But I’ve never been in a hurricane.”

W-  “I think because we’re British it rains all of the time. So like for the last few days, it’s been, “oh it’s just gonna be raining” 

M-”being British, we’re very black and white and we’re like, it’s not that bad.“

W-” And now I just don’t know what’s going on. I think I’m really panicking because I see people with loads of things.”

M– “They said the same thing in England when the COVID hit. Everyone like panicked. Everyone was buying toilet rolls. We had a shortage of rolls, you couldn’t get toilet rolls, stupid things.”

W-” People initially went crazy like “oh, there’ll be nothing so we’re just gonna go and buy everything from the shops.” 

M– “So everything is empty. So now their panic volume is really quite high. Get a little drink, See what happens.”

3 girls holding bags of food and water bottles- 

“We can’t get home. I’m not scared,  I’m just annoyed and I think we’re going to be bored.”

                                                           Day 2: 

Man sitting alone at Breakfast- 

“I live in Virginia. I was supposed to stay here until tomorrow,  but I extended it a day because I have nowhere to go.”

“I mean it keeps seeming like the forecast is getting better and better. So I don’t know if that means anything but it seems not as bad as I was thinking. But who knows if by tonight it’s gonna be a nightmare. I brought books, I brought a bunch of books. I’m gonna maybe go bowling later, probably drink. That’s all I have to do.”

Couple eating breakfast- 

“We’re from Northern jersey. 

 “We were supposed to fly out Friday morning. And they canceled our flight last night while we were at the park, it didn’t bum us out.”

 “But you know, we grew up in that era where everything is done in an abundance of caution. It’s all based on insurance premiums. It’s a little extreme sometimes, but you’ve seen other mayors and governors who get it wrong. And immediately people are like ‘my grandmother passed away because ambulances weren’t able to get through. Nobody salted the roads’ So they avoid all that and they just treat everything like it’s level 5. It is a bit much, it scares some people.”

“I don’t know, you get to a certain age and you’re like ‘Alright, it’s a hurricane, we’re in the middle of Central Florida, by the time it hits us it’ll be a bad storm.’ So we’re not too worried about our own safety.”

“I have seen a few people freaking out on phones. So here’s the thing, you know, we don’t have kids. So, we’re not going to do the bowling thing. I think we’re just stuck in our room.”

 “I feel bad for the parents. There’s a lot of special needs families here. It’s not always easy to explain to the kids why parks are closed.”

“You know when the train shuts down in New York City everybody just looks like dead nasty. Here people are just dealing with it. I guess everybody’s in the same boat that we’re on vacation. It’s always good to have a rain day when you’re on vacation. But instead of a rainy day, we got a hurricane.”

“Anything to add?”

The other half of the couple- 

“We just had a wedding to go to on Friday. That’s the only bummer.”

Family outside of the gift shop-

Mom: “ We evacuated here.”

Kid: “It sounded like a fun idea to have a little fun during the hurricane and not be in our house where all we can do is watch TV.”

Dad: “We’ve been to the arcade a little bit and we watch a little more TV than we usually do.”

Mom: “We watch Dennis Phillips. We don’t watch anyone else because he doesn’t overhype it.”

Dad: “We try to block out everything else.”

Mom: “Yeah, everything else is just ridiculous.”

     By the end of dinner on the 2nd night the hotel increasingly felt like the cruise ship from WALL-E.

                            Day 3:

Woman with her dog at the fireplace-

“I did come down a couple of times just to like, socialize. But it’s different when you’re at home , in a hotel alone it’s just sad. Reminded me that I’m single, just like I’m a third wheel.”

Arcade employee-

“To be honest, it’s been kind of normal. I would say It’s been really normal, because I’m from Florida and really nobody cares. Everybody’s been making memes and stuff about the hurricane. So it really hasn’t affected me that much. My house, I still have electricity. I guess I just stayed here just to get money. I know it has impacted a lot of people, but me personally, hasn’t impacted me.”

Little boy sitting on the carpet-

“It’s not bad, but people are like, Ahhhhhhhh! (rolls on the ground) Ah we’re gonna die! We’re gonna get- (pretends to be dead.)

  “What the crap is this? They said it’s a big disaster. It’s only a temporary one level. So what the crap is everyone worried about?!”

 As you can see the overwhelming consensus from the people was that the ‘hurricane’ was nothing more than a bad storm and a few semi boring days inside. That is, the consensus from the people who saw the storm from inside a resort hotel. Take it as you will.