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Epcot May 12, 2008

Posted by gregquill in Uncategorized.

After four months in Florida, I took the time last Saturday to visit Walt Disney World!

I prefer going with the family; but since my sons and daughter are all grown up, I hadn’t made this trip a priority. That changed last week, when I did some on-line research and decided my plan. Then, I got enthused.

I first visited WDW (the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT) in 1983. EPCOT’s grand opening was October 1, 1982, so it was really new – and, by today’s standards, incomplete – when we visited it.

When I came to WDW in 2003 to buy my vacation share at Marriott Horizons in Orlando, I spent a day in the MGM Studios (now called Disney’s Hollywood Studios). This time, I decided to focus on Epcot.

I checked the ticket prices and options on-line, and had decided to get four to six tickets, each good for a day, with two additional options: Park Hopper, which lets one visit more than one park per day on one ticket; and the Non-Expiration option. Normally, the tickets expire 14 days after the first use. The ones I bought are now “perpetual”. (I asked if the Non-Expiration option also applies to me – you know, Disney Magic and all – and the first person said “No”, but the second said “Why, sure! (He’ll never know the difference…)”.) So, I got six.

I couldn’t take Lacy the doggie, so I left her with extra Milkbones and the air conditioning running (it is HOT down here now!) in the trailer. She had a long day: I left around 11:00 am and didn’t get back until 11:00 pm. Did you ever see a doggie cross her rear legs, waiting to go to the bathroom?!

I walked, and walked. It was great! There are great indoor boat rides where one can cool down in the World Showcase (where pavilions are set up for different countries in the world) at Mexico and Norway, as well as in the Future World section (science and modern rides). The Land is one of the Future World sections, and it has perhaps the greatest attraction I have seen: Soarin’, which was created for Disneyland’s California Adventure and brought here. Here’s the Disney blurb about it:

“Take a free-flying adventure across the natural wonders of the Golden State aboard this thrilling Disney’s California Adventure™ park attraction. With the wind in your hair, glide 40 feet in the air as you look down upon the breathtaking vistas of Yosemite and redwood forests. Soar as high as your imagination over a world of wonders.”

They fly you so close to Monterey Bay that we all lifted our feet! And when you’re soarin’, and your senses of sight, hearing, and touch are all at their peaks (the seat moves as it would if you were actually suspended from a parasail, swinging left, right, forward and back, and banking left and right), don’t forget to use your nose as you pass over pine forests, orange groves, and breakers at the beach.

Mission Space is another great ride. One is strapped into a tight space-ship seat, for astronaut training. The sensations are more intense and more local than in Soarin’, and somewhat disorienting but a lot of fun.


Test Track is also one of the Must Ride events at Epcot. Here, you are in a six person car going through a pretty tortuous (and FAST) auto test track. They have accurately recreated braking with and without antilock brakes, acceleration to 65 mph and sudden stopping. There are no simulations here; you’re in a car, and it’s on a track. If the tries are squealing, they’re YOUR tires! This one is an adrenalin pump.


I rode on Spaceship: Earth, the tour inside the big geodesic dome. Throughout Epcot, one must be careful, or you can learn a lot by accident! The Imagination area, with Figment as your guide, is much improved as they took Figment from the cartoon screen and made him into an audio animatronics character.

As I stopped off for a lemonade, I saw a Japanese man selling bonsai plants. I am a sucker for these, so I bought one. He told me to take the paperwork to the adjacent kiosk, and pay them there, and then to come back. So I did, filling out the forms for him to send the package to the park entrance where I could pick it up as I left some six hours later. After I paid, I went back to him and finished the transaction. Then, walking away, I passed the kiosk where I had paid again. Three Disney folks were smiling at me (they always smile), so I said to them, “I got it all taken care of with the nice Japanese man. I bought a bonsai plant. So, when it was finished, I gave him the famous cheer – you know, from Tora, Tora, Tora: “Bonsai! Bonsai! Bonsai!” (raising my arms over my head with each cheer). [I got serious and deadpanned:] But then, he asked me to leave.”

It cracked them up; and me, too.

There was much more, but I’ll save it for later. My legs were very sore yesterday from all of the walking, and from skipping my Saturday nap. They are even more painful today, so that just shows that the trip was GOOD for me! Feeling guilty about leaving Lacy alone on Saturday, I went to Costco today and bought her a couple of months worth of fresh chicken breasts which I will freeze and then cook for her dinners! (More walking, of course… ouch!)


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