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The Daily Tar Heel

ACCs at Disney World Makes for `Surreal' Experience

Exhausted from the nine-hour drive, we pushed the door open to room 227 and unwittingly startled the man lying in the near bed out of his peaceful slumber.

I quickly pulled the door shut, and we scampered back down to our car.

When I sauntered to the main desk and explained to the man working there that someone was already in the room he gave us, he gave me an incredulous look, called the room, told someone on the other line that security was on its way and gave me a new key to a new room two doors down from the other room. He never apologized.

Walking back to the car, I glanced up at room 227 and saw someone peeking out of the curtain down below into the parking lot.

We waited until the man at the front desk confronted the occupants in our previous room and closed the door before we went to our new room.

That was only the beginning.

Slowly, I began to realize that there was a whole other dimension and underbelly to Disney World of which I was completely unaware.

I had expected it to be weird. After all, Disney is one of the largest corporations in America, and Disney World is its epicenter, virtually an entire city of make-believe, where separating what's real from what's not can be difficult.

But this was surreal.

That same day we traveled to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex to begin covering of the Tar Heels.

The woman who gave us our credentials at the ticket office misread the name on the envelope and mistakenly called us The Daily Jackal.

After her mistake was pointed out, she laughed like the very animal and we continued, a little disturbed.

I left one of our bags with a laptop in it in the makeshift press box overlooking the lacrosse field to check out the media room in the building across the field.

When I returned, someone had moved the bag and replaced it with a bunch of equipment.

I muttered to myself as I knelt down to open my bag to figure out where, if anywhere, I could plug in the computer.

But there was no computer in there.

Where the computer should have been was a bottle of Jim Bean.

I couldn't believe it. Some enterprising reporter from the DTH must have forgotten to close the bar and replace the computer before leaving it in the office.

Then I looked at the bag. It said Dell on the side. Our computers are Macintosh.

Our bag was still on the table.

The strangeness continued.

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Another reporter from the DTH got up to do interviews after a lacrosse game and returned to the press box only to discover that her notes had blown away in the wind.

By the time Friday had ended, both of North Carolina's lacrosse and tennis teams had been eliminated from play and we drove to a Denny's where we had a milkshake that tasted like seafood.

The next night, our waiter at the Rainforest Cafe asked us when he picked up our check if we were Disney property.

We said we weren't.

But when I sat and thought about it, I realized that I kind of felt like I was.

James Giza can be reached at

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