Travel Journal: Entry #7

Present Day
 It has been a long while since my last post and Disney world has now been over a month a go. Or exactly a month ago actually. This is partly due to Blogger’s new fangled way of uploading photos which took me a few days to do, and partly due to the fact that we we’ve had visitors for the last few weeks and I have been at work.

But, enough of the excuses. Here is the long awaited Disneyworld segment of our trip (awaited by who, you might ask? Well, my grandmother is keen to hear my thoughts on Disneyworld compared to Disneyland, so this one’s for you Grandma!) We were at Disneyworld from July 15 to the 18th, and then we had another day at Universal on the 19th. This post covers that period.

First day-Getting there and Epcot center
We decided to let the girls sleep in after our grueling first day at Universal, and didn’t actually leave the hotel for Disney world until 11am. We wanted to have one day where we were not too much in a rush and where we could just get settled in our new lodgings at Disney world. If we were feeling up to it, we would visit one of the parks in the afternoon.

Entering Disney World

We had reserved a hotel room in one of the cheapest hotels on the Disney resort, the All-Star Movies hotel. It was at the far end of Disney World, the farthest away from any of the theme parks. Still, we didn’t care. They offered a shuttle service to and from everywhere in Disneyworld, so what did it matter?

All Star Movies resort

So we parked the car and headed to the reception desk where a woman typed in our name in the computer and motioned for the manager to come over. He glanced at our reservation for a few seconds and I was getting nervous that something had gone wrong, when he looked at us and asked if we would like a free upgrade. Sensing that they were trying to sell us something, we were at first suspicious.

But no. Apparently there was some sort of maintenance problem in the hotel and we were being relocated to The Wilderness Lodge, a hotel much closer to the theme parks and also about 300$ more expensive than ours. So we hightailed it to the Wilderness Lodge, and checked in at around noon. And to compound the nice surprises, we were able to get into our room right away – a lovely little space with a double bed and two bunk beds for the kids located on the ground floor right across from the swimming pool. We even had a little veranda!

The Lobby of the Wilderness Lodge

Okay. Here is our confession: Disneyworld totally surprised the hell out of us, in a pleasant sort of way. Well, in the way that it made spending money so extremely easy. The hotel room card key also served as our ticket into the parks as well as our credit card. I didn’t need to bring a wallet or anything- I just needed to bring the card. For someone who is used to toting around a luggage-size purse with everything in it from a wallet, to books to wipes to everything sort of hygiene product you might need in a pinch (actually, my purse would make a good subject for later post…) this was extremely liberating.

And the attention to detail was astounding. The wilderness Lodge obviously had an old west theme – all the furniture looked like it had been carved out of logs in our rooms. The elevator was wood panelled and inlaid with little animal designs in it. This was to be our first glimpse into that famous magic of Disney, the ode to the craft of scenic painting and props.

Once we were settles in, we decided to go visit Epcot center. It was the night where guests of Disney resorts could get “extra magic hours” which means that even if the park closed at ten, we could stay until something ridiculous like 2 am. As Epcot center seemed to be the least amusing of the amusement parks, we decided to go there as a bonus (we had a 4 day pass, but had only planned to use 3 days of it, so Epcot center felt like a bonus).

Once again, it was so easy. We hopped on a shuttle bus that took us to Epcot. We showed our cards to the turnstiles and voilà! We were in!

S & C at in front of the famous Geodesic Dome

We hadn’t eaten lunch yet, and the first thing we did was… well, went on a ride. First thing was Spaceship Earth, a slow moving journey from the dawn of time to what could be the future (or at least visions of the future from a couple of decades ago), with animatronic displays and I am pretty sure narrated by Dame Judi Dench.

Then we went to lunch. It was sweltering, about 3 pm, and although we meant to make it to the German pavilion, where the book told us was some very good wiener schnitzel, we were stalled at the Chinese pavilion where these very small chinese boy acrobats were contorting their bodies in impossible ways. Chinese food it was then! Was it good? Well, no. Was it expensive? Well, yes. Did we care? Not really. Such is the miracle of Disney.

After the meal, we left the pavilion just as a huge thunder storm got under way. We took refuge in the Norwegian pavilion where we took a very lame ride into the land of Norway that culminated in a huge replica of an offshore oil drilling platform and a bad 80s commercial movie about Norway.

Still raining, but we didn’t care. We headed out of the world pavillion area into the future.

Mission Space

Here, we pretended to be astronauts on a ride called Mission Space, that simulates flight in a rocket. It was a little dizzying and a lof of fun.

Then we went on Test Track where we got to pretend to be crash test dummies. Not really. But it was fun.

S as crash test dummy

Our favourite thing though was the Seas pavilion and the Land pavilion. In the Seas pavilion, they had aquariums with all sorts of tropical marine life, including manatees, sharks, sea turtles and rays and dolphins. Why is it that watching fish swim around is so relaxing, even when the fish is about the ugliest thing you have ever seen?

Also at the Seas pavilion, was Turtle Talk with Crush, the surfin’ dude sea turtle from finding Nemo. I think this is one of the things we enjoyed the most. We all filter in to the auditorium where there is a big screen.The show starts and there appears an animated seascape. A microphone pops down in the right upperhand corner of the screen and Crush himself appears. Then the audience passes 15 minutes talking to a cartoon. The kids ask questions and Crush answers them. Did I mention Crush is a cartoon? It was funny and amazing. About 3 little kids asked him why he could talk. In complete surfer dude zen, he answered, “because I can, little dude. Why can you?” By the third time, he was wondering if all the kids were relatives of Dorie, the fish with the short-term memory problem. It was beautiful.

It was getting pretty late by this time, but not late enough to head over to the fireworks, so we thought we would try to go on one last ride and then head back to the hotel after the fireworks. Alas, the ride we wanted, Soarin’,  had a 45 minute wait, so we decided to skip it until after. Instead we hopped on a humble looking ride called Livin’ with the land. I think this was my favourite thing of all Disney, just because it was so damn hopeful. This is how they describe it:

Living with the Land is a 14-minute boat ride in Future World at Epcot theme park that explores agricultural advances in the rain forest, Africa and beyond.[from website]

It was a boat ride through the Disney green houses, where they were trying out a whole bunch of growing techniques from hyrdoponics to aquaculture, all without using pesticides. And bonus: we got some ideas for our own garden, like getting the zucchinis to grow up instead of spreading out (apparently they don’t need much soil). You know. Fun stuff like that.

It was almost 9 pm by the time we got out of the land pavilion so we made our way back to the world pavilions to find a spot to watch IllumiNations, the fireworks show they put on everynight at Epcot.

IllumiNations

Consisting of shapes like a huge globe that had a slideshow of different scenes from around the world on it floating around lit up on the lake and the traditional, blast-them-into-the-sky variety of fireworks, it was a pretty impressive display of pyrotechnics. The girls liked it, but thought that it was too loud, which I thought was a criticism so obvious it wasn’t worthy paying attention to.

As soon as the fireworks were over, we rushed through the crowd back to the Land pavilion where we waited 45 minutes for a ride called “Soarin‘”, which made you feel like you were hang gliding over America. It wasn’t scary at all, just awesome.

Goodbye Epcot Center!

Okay. Nevermind about having all of Disney world in one post. It is taking me too long to get this sucker out, so here is our first day at Epcot center, with the rest to follow in better time hopefully.

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2 Responses to Travel Journal: Entry #7

  1. carrie says:

    You got to talk to CRUSH???? I, like any other intelligent woman in her 30s, have had a crush on Crush for years.

  2. Tom Weston says:

    Crush and Dorie are two of my favourites.

    In fact, these days, C and I often find ourselves repeating “keep on swimming, keep on swimming…”

    It's actually helpful.

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