VIAGGI – FAMILY TRAVEL
There’s something supremely American – not to mention innocent – about spending the day bowling. But the game, once among American’s favorite pastimes, has lost some of its shine. Certainly, it’s not as popular as it once was. I remember attending bowling birthday parties on a regular basis, grown-ups being in leagues, and even watching bowling on TV. Now, there are few alleys around. In my neck of the woods, there is only one still standing. My son’s first school field trip was to that bowling alley. So, when we were staying at Universal Studios’ Cabana Bay, we just had to play at the resort’s Galaxy Bowl.
This is no old-school joint. It is made to look like something out of the 1950s, but it’s fresh and functioning. Despite it’s retro appeal, it has a modern feel. I really liked the colorful lights that lit up the lanes and the black and white photos of bowling alleys of yesteryear on the walls. The mid-century modern tables and chairs were kitschy and played well into the theme.
Since this was all about my 4-year-old son having fun, we immediately asked for bumpers for the gutters and a ball ramp, so he could more easily handle the ball. Like other players in the alley, we were able to order drinks and food and have it delivered to our lane. My son really enjoyed the chicken fingers, of which he is a true connoisseur, so his endorsement really means something. My husband sampled them, too, and said they were among the best he ever had. They weren’t at all greasy and they had a subtle seasoning that popped with flavor.
Because my son was having such a good time, we both kept giving up our turn for him. Regardless, we had the time of our lives. My son laughed. High fives were given all around. And we enjoyed the snack. For a moment, I felt like we were that perfect, wholesome American family. I was tempted to don pearls, June Cleaver style. Then, my husband got a gutter ball (despite the bumpers) and I heard, “Vafa…” and remembered we’re not even completely American, never mind one of those Golden Age TV families.
But I digress. The point is Galaxy Bowl is a cool place to spend an afternoon. Whether it’s worth it is debatable. As much as I enjoyed it, the diversion is on the expensive side. With the food and the game and renting shoes, we ended up spending at least $60. It’s not terrible, but the Orlando theme parks are already costly. We were in the area a weekend before our Disney trip was set to begin, so we had nothing else to do and it was within our budget. Still, I can’t deny that I felt a little taken advantage of. But on every vacation, don’t you find yourself dipping deeper into your wallet for stuff that you’d never invest in back home? After hemming and hawing in my head, I just tell myself to shut up and enjoy. It works. Frankly, if it doesn’t wipe out the bank account and helps my son create memories and bond with us, his parents, then it’s priceless anyway. Right?