A friend of mine asked me if I saw any gators while I was in Orlando. Well, at the hotel where I stayed in Orlando, there are no gators (that I know of), but they have ducks. Every morning, the hoteliers roll out a miniature red carpet from the elevator to the lobby, which has a complex maze of overly fancy fountains. A man in a heavy red brocade jacket with gold epaulets emerges from the elevator with a line of mallards and what has been described to me as a "duck encouragement stick". (It looks more like a cane to me.)
And yes, they do play "Be Kind to Your Webfooted Friends."
The ducks splash around in the fountain while the Duck Encourager has a drink. He marches the ducks back up to the elevator (and to their penthouse suite, which I'm told costs more than I will earn in three years) around 5:00 and the red carpet is rolled up. Apparently this tradition dates back to the 1930s when some hunters had a little too much to drink and put their decoys in the fountain, thus beginning possibly the frattiest hotel tradition in existence.
All things considered, it's pretty cute and the ducks are pretty heartwarming. That is, until someone asks you to go to dinner in the hotel's signature restaurant.
Where their speciality is roast duck.
The only thing that makes me feel better after I think about that is looking at another picture of Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Ducky and his description: