Sunday 21 July 2013

I Survived Lucky's Lake Swim (during a welcome diversion from Walt Disney World)

Sunrise at Lake Cane
I've just discovered the most absolutely fabulous way to start your day! Sadly I would need to commute approximately 4,500 miles each way to enjoy it, which makes incorporating this into my daily routine rather impractical.

In the madness and mayhem that is an Orlando Theme Parks Holiday, Bob managed to locate a small oasis of glorious calm and tranquility which provided one of those swimming Zen experiences. I'm talking here about Lucky's Lake Swim

The Lucky in the title is Doc. "Lucky" Meisenheimer a fantastically generous-hearted eccentric whose passions include amongst other things Swimming, Yoyo's and Zombie movies.

Check out his websites for a full flavour of this man's appetites and abilities which are truly remarkable, not to mention a series of FAQ's which indicate a keen sense of humour and brought a smile to my face.

Of note Lucky's wikipedia entry lists (amongst other achievements) a mention in Ripley's believe it or not for swimming half a mile with his foot in his mouth. All I can say to that, as someone who spends significant periods of the week opening her mouth and putting her foot in it; is simply respect!

Now: Chez Lucky is a colonial pile opposite Universal Studios. (you get a pretty good although rather surreal view of Hogwarts as you drive out)  Lucky's property fronts Lake Cane and since 1989 he has invited the world to join him for his early morning lap (or 2).

The weekday swims start at 6:30 am which was day break during our stay. You park on Lucky's front lawn (honest!) and just make your way to the dock. This is America of course so there's a liability waiver to sign and then you're off.

We entered the water in the breaking dawn as the first warm orange fingers of light crept across the lake towards us. It was great watching the sun rise above the trees as I swam towards the light on the far side of the lake, which marked the turn around point. A series of red buoys make the course very easy to navigate

The starting signal is the dogs barking you off from the dock, I'm not sure if the dogs can tell it's 6:30am or they just take one look at the bods in
Proud member of
the100K club
Digger the Dog
the water and say "come on guys just get on with it!" Bob (who did a number of these swims) was accompanied on one occasion by Digger the dog! Bob is keen to point out that the dog trailed behind him.

The crossing is 500m so it's a round kilometre there and back. Once you finish your first swim you have to sign the "wall of fame" or in my case the ceiling of fame as there's no room left on the wall!

Binge and Lucky (not sure what the gator's called)
Your induction is not complete until you have your photo taken with Lucky himself and his prize trophy Gator (no relation to Slimebo the Lake Cane Monster)

You are also provided with a free bumper sticker and patch to mark your acceptance into the Aquatica 1k club.

Lucky feeding the regulars.
If you are a regular survivor there is a series of rewards for completing various landmark numbers of crossings starting at 25, then 100, 150, 200 and 500. Having notched up 7 crossings whilst we were there Bob reckons on our next visit he'll hit the 25 club!

The morning of my swim, there were about a dozen or so of us, the regulars were really welcoming and friendly and went out of their way to make us feel part of their group, their swimming skills covered a wide range of ability (and no I wasn't last). 

The chat afterwards was great and the whole experience was simply life-affirming, it left me firstly wishing I'd made the effort to visit earlier in the holiday; secondly wondering what is it about swimmers that makes them such fantastic company? and thirdly marvelling at the generosity of the Meisenheimer household and their neighbours who endure this constant early intrusion 6 days a week (there's no swimming on Sunday). A big thank you from a grateful Brit.

On reflection the swim might just have been the highlight of my holiday, at the very least it runs riding a broomstick, playing a Quidditch match, fighting a dragon or meeting Stitch a very close second.

So the next time you find yourself in the area, check out Lucky's Lake Swim you won't regret it, Lucky and his crew will make you feel like you're long lost friends and the line to enter the lake is refreshingly short.


  1. Lucky's is really one of our hidden gems here in Central Florida. As a resident I can boast that I have never set foot in Universal, but I've been a "free swimmer" several times at Lucky's. The lake does make me a bit nervous, but, it's only because of the midnight swim movies shown on the 4th of July! Very happy Swimming to you!

  2. Thanks Mizuno girl and you, although we were there over your 4th July holiday (we didn't want you anyway!) I was way too chicken to try out the midnight swim movies!