Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Disney adventures

We made it back from a week-long trip to Disney World on Saturday, a day later than we expected. Our flight had been scheduled to leave at 9 p.m. but was delayed more than two hours due to bad weather. So I was more than happy to volunteer to be bumped from the flight when they announced that they were overbooked. We got a free night at an AmeriSuites, some food vouchers for breakfast and lunch, a 10:30 a.m. flight the next morning and travel vouchers for another flight we can use anytime during the next year.
When we flew into Orlando on Aug. 1 we were immediately met by a thunderstorm that had blown in off of the coast. We asked our shuttle driver if it was supposed to rain a lot and he said it rains everyday there around 4 p.m. Sure enough, almost like clockwork, we got rain storms every afternoon. Fortunately, they would not last too long and did not spoil our vacation.

There is far more to do in Orlando than can be covered in a week. We spent a day and a half at Magic Kingdom, a day and a half at Epcot and one day at Animal Kingdom. We will have to visit Disney’s fourth theme park - MGM-Disney - on our next trip.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was to do even when you are avoiding all of the bumpy, roller-coaster rides. With my son not yet 2 and my wife 5-months pregnant, we were limited on what rides we could go on. No Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rides for us. Instead, we did the traditional rides like Flying Dumbo, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup ride and a lot of the laid back, slow-moving coaster or boat rides that take you on a tour of Winnie the Pooh’s 100 Acre Woods or Peter Pan’s NeverLand.

Disney World is enormous. They say there are enough Disney employees to populate a moderate-sized city and surely enough animatronic characters to populate a small town. I’ve always loved history so I made a special point of going to see the American Presidents show at Magic Kingdom where they have animatronic characters on stage representing every president from George W. to George W. While I enjoyed the performance, it managed to put my son to sleep which was actually a good thing. It was the only time we managed to get him down for an afternoon nap during the entire vacation.
Even better was a history show at Epcot featuring an animatronic Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. They did a big overview of American history that managed to showcase or mention every historical figure with the odd exception of Abe Lincoln. (Abe was featured prominently in the President’s show at Magic Kingdom.)
Even more impressive to me than the animatronics, however, were the 3-D movies. The Mickey’s Philharmagic show (featuring Donald Duck) was terrific with the best 3-D effects I have ever seen (supplemented with spritzing water and smellovision built into the stadium seating). However, it was a little too intense for my son who quickly shed his 3-D glasses and buried his head in mommy’s shoulder the first time a character popped out of the screen. We realized only later that it was the first time he had ever been in a movie theater and seen anything bigger than a widescreen TV.

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