By Jill E. Cooper
Ah, fall! To many the season brings thoughts of new school supplies, jack-o-lanterns, apple-picking and piles of leaves. Where I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, autumn also meant hunting season. Men throughout the region gleefully planned their annual retreats to their hunting cabins to spend a few days in the company of friends. There’s something to be said for the restorative value of restful, uninterrupted time in the wild, but who says this kind of therapeutic male-bonding must take place at a hunting camp? To this, I suggest an unlikely place: Walt Disney World.
If the idea of a good time for the men in your family involves bait and a tackle box, introduce them to the wonders of fishing at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, which can arrange a two-hour catch-and-release fishing expedition by calling (407) 939-BASS. Expert guides will pick them up at their resort marina and transport them by pontoon boat across Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon to the best fishing spots in the area.
Perhaps you have a budding Robin Hood in your clan. Walt Disney World has an activity to suit this guy as well. Reserve him and his buddies a rustic cabin at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Nearby they’ll find the resort’s Bike Barn, where they sign-in for the resort’s new and extremely popular two-hour archery experience. During the demo, guides show how to handle a compound bow for less than $30. If they’d like to continue their adventure in the wilderness, they can follow up archery with horseback riding, biking, or an off-road Segway experience.
If the guys in your life have a need for speed, well then gentlemen, start your engines. Less than five minutes from Disney’s Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian Resorts you will find the Walt Disney World Speedway, where adrenaline junkies can ride shotgun or drive NASCAR racecars up to 120 miles per hour during the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Looking for yet another adrenaline-soaked experience? I recommend the parasailing, wakeboarding, or waterskiing adventures on nearby Bay Lake.
Of course, male bonding wouldn’t be complete without a golf outing. Guests at any of Disney’s more than 20 resorts can take advantage of deeply discounted golf packages that include greens fees, balls for the driving range, a cart, club rental, and complimentary taxi rides between your Disney resort and the course of your choice. If they’d rather be a spectator than a player, they can catch live sporting events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility on Walt Disney World property or simply belly-up to the bar at the ESPN Zone along Disney’s Boardwalk.
After their Disney vacation, one thing is for sure: The men folk will return refreshed and rejuvenated, and I can almost guarantee there’ll be a for sale sign on that hunting cabin before long.
Jill E. Cooper has been an aficionado of the Disney theme parks since age seven. She is a happy addition to the 2011 Disney World Moms Panel. She and her small family have recently added Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney vacations to their portfolio of magical Disney travel experiences.