Archive for June 4, 2010

Day 5

June 4, 2010 8 comments

Location: Orlando,FL 

Miles Driven: 127.8 

Cumulative Miles Driven: 1405.3 

Although Maria had to leave for work around 7AM, she generously offered me her apartment as long as I wanted it – be it to sleep, do work on the website, workout, etc.  So after we said our goodbyes, I laid down on her comfortable couch with the intent to nap for a little bit.  I set the alarm for 8:30 with the goal of hitting the road by 9 or so.  I must’ve been more tired than I thought, because at some point I shut off the alarm and did not end up waking until 9:30.  Oh well, I figured, not like I’m late for my job or something. 

So I was able to get driving shortly after 10:30AM and set a path for DisneyWorld.  It was not a bad drive at all, maybe an hour and 20 minutes passed before I saw signs directing me to the Magic Kingdom. 

The Entrance

At the Magic Kingdom, I met my brother’s (and our family’s) friend Andrew, and he provided me with a guest pass for all of the DisneyWorld parks.  Pretty amazing thing, especially considering I had never been to any of them. 

So I began to explore the Magic Kingdom area and definitely noticed it was a pretty intense atmosphere.  Within 10 minutes of being there, a parade was kicking off with dancers, men on stilts, and people dressed as famous Disney characters.  Loud music, lots of smiling, waving, and jumping up and down by the performers.  I found it to be pretty overwhelming, but the kids in the park were digging it. 

Parade on Main Street

Eventually the parade reached a mini traffic circle in front of the Disney castle and the performers set up shop in the street.  More Disney characters were appearing out of nowhere, and they would play the characters’ voices over the loudspeaker – Sebastian the Crab, that candle guy from Beauty and the Beast, and the Genie from Aladdin.  Soon park guests were in the street dancing along with the characters. 

Disney castle

Woody from Toy Story

And as soon as it started, the parade had gone back in the direction it started and the streets were clear once again.  Everything seemed just to be run so efficiently – park staff clears the streets, ropes are set up, the parade comes along, and then it everything happens in reverse and the performers are gone.  What a well-oiled machine. 

Checked out the different stores and shops along Main Street, and found a store that specialized in Disney art.  I’m not a big art person, but there were some very cool paintings: 

Winnie the Pooh

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland

The Little Mermaid

Caught a show along Main Street – the “Dapper Dans”, a barbershop quartet.  They performed a quick 20 minute performance with a number of songs.  Definitely a lot of fun. 

After the performance, I walked around the different areas of Magic Kingdom – one was Fantasyland, another was Adventureland.  In Fantasyland I was happy to find one of my favorite Disney characters, Buzz Lightyear. 

To infinity....and beyond!

And do you remember these little guys from Toy Story?  “Farewell my friends, I go on to a better place.” (as he gets picked up by the toy claw grabber) 

Toys at Pizza Planet

A lot of the rides that seemed interesting had long wait times, unfortunately, but that’s ok – I’m not a big rides/amusement park guy.  I did hop on a “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride that takes you in these dark caverns in a little boat and you see animatronic pirates talking.  There were a couple animatronic Captain Jack Sparrows, and the resemblance to Johnny Depp was uncanny. 

The Epcot area of DisneyWorld was recommended to me by a couple people so I left Magic Kingdom and made my way over on the monorail.  As I arrived at the big golf-ball looking thing, it started to rain.  At first, it wasn’t anything bad, then soon it turned into quite the thunderstorm – driving rains, strong winds, and lightning.  I hunkered down in a souveneir store. It took probably a good 50 minutes or so for the storm to dissapate. 

After the rain let up a bit, I took a stroll around Epcot where there were little areas dedicated to different countries.  Each area had buildings, shops and restaurants that (supposedly) resemeble their respective cultures: Beijing’s Forbidden City, a German beerhouse, Aztec pyramids (small scale) in the Mexico section, etc.  It was pretty cool, though I was concerned if some Americans at DisneyWorld took these representations of cultures as 100% factual.  

The German section (Frank - is this accurate?)

View from Japan section of Epcot

I had plans to meet friends at 6pm, so around 5 I was fixin to go (I love that southern saying), and I also had enough of the steady rain.  Hopefully if I return to DisneyWorld it can be on a dry day.  Not that I should complain, but Sunshine State my ass.  Everywhere I’ve gone to in Florida the rain has followed me.  Maybe I’m just bad luck.  Then again, I heard June rain here is quite common.  No worries. 

So met my friends Tim, Susan, and Tony at a restaurant called “Gators.”  I know Tim and Susan from my time working in Rockville, MD, and I know Tony through our job program when I met him at a conference last August.  All great folks.  I actually went to school at Binghamton University the same time as Tim, but we didn’t know each other then.  

Me, Tim, Susan, Tony

Tony and Susan both work in Orlando, and Tim works out on Cape Canaveral.  So the plan for Friday will be to join Tim out on the Cape, as there is a rocket launch planned (what lucky timing for me, eh?).  The weather forecast doesn’t look too optimistic, however, but it’ll be cool to be out there all the same.

After dinner, headed over to Susan’s, watched some of the Lakers/Celtics game (what a disappointing outcome), and eventually crashed.  Another great day in the books – new experience (Disney), and met up with some great friends once again.


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