Friday, March 11, 2011

Epcot Explorations

Morning comes early for me, no matter where i am or what i am doing, and Sunday morning was no exception. After all, laundry doesn't take vacations.

All Disney resorts have a guest coin laundry, so i bring my detergent and stain treat liquid, mesh bags for unmentionables, and a few rolls of quarters. Then i establish a dirty laundry corner, and each morning, after i'm presentable, i start a load, go get coffee, relax while the washer does it's job, reboot, more coffee, fold and back to the room. Usually everyone else is still asleep when i'm done, so it's like magic to them.

Really, just as it takes a lot of work to make a household hold together, and much of it is behind the scenes, Disney magic is the same way. It takes a great deal of work to make this place feel special and stay beautiful, and much of it is done through the night. My very early morning laundry forays have given me an appreciation by showing me things like the pool cleanings, the raking the sand at the beaches, people wiping down the washers and dryers and everything else that stands still. From what i've been told, the flowers are always blooming because every bed is replanted every 6 weeks to make sure they are. This place is expensive, but they pay the crew to make it worth it.

Our reservation on Sunday morning was at the Polynesian Village resort for the O'Hana breakfast. O'Hana means family, and everything is served family style, from large platters in the middle of the table. Because this is a tropical paradise, fruit bowls are lavish, so even i got enough, clearing off two of them, along with a big glass of orange/passion fruit/guava juice, and more decaf than you can shake a stick at.

The feature at this breakfast is to have Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto come to the table for a picture with the kids. The people in those costumes are fabulous. They hug, they pull back if a child is shy or scared, they pose endlessly, and jubilantly lead the way during the "parade" when all the small children are given maracas and march around the whole restaurant to the Hawaiian music. We also posed for a group photo beforehand, which is priceless. Seldom do we get the whole crew together and get a shot like that.

Now on to Epcot. This required a monorail ride, which was relaxing and scenic. Walt's dream, Spaceship Earth, which Sweetie calls the Golf Ball, is framed in a very lush setting. There is a flower and garden festival going on at Epcot, so the gardens are planted even more elaborately than usual, with lovely designs, including Mickey's three circles everywhere. The blooms and plants are marked when once you get off the rail and down among the gardens, which is great for someone as ignorant about plants as i am. Beyond begonias and pansies, i'm mostly lost.

Again we traveled to the park together, then went our separate ways. The adventurous youth went to ride the Test Track and seek other thrills, Sweetie went back to the World Showcase, my parents stopped at guest services to make some inquiries, and i got to wander the aquariums to my heart's content.

Disney's aquariums are actual working research and rehab places. They have a manatee area, where these large, handsome creatures, who have been wounded by boats, are brought for care and eventual release back into their habitat. The dolphins are also being taught wild ways, as many of them were born in captivity and it is hoped they can be released someday. They are only allowed in the largest aquarium area, where the coral reefs are, a couple of times a day. They used to have free range of the whole place, but these intelligent and playful creatures were too much into turtle tag and tossing the mantas like Frisbees, and the poor endangered sea turtles were having nervous breakdowns. Everyone seems much happier now with them separated and trained elsewhere.

Education is a big deal at Epcot, and if you don't learn something while you are there, it is your own fault. The aquarium area has a ride that teaches about the oceans, and Turtle Talk with Crush, as well as a shark cove, where you can learn such interesting things as that you are more likely to win a lottery than to be killed by a shark.

Bambi's Butterfly Garden was another attraction that i found fascinating. One butterfly alighted on a little girl's hand, and she carefully held still, showing everyone as it just rested. Then i wandered over to the World Showcase, meandering in and out of exhibits until everyone met up for lunch at the Nine Dragons Chinese restaurant.

Bigger Girl and i spent the rest of the afternoon at the World Showcase together, while some went back to nap and others went to seek further adventure. The great part of the national exhibits is that the people working in each area must be from that country, and they strive to present as much of their actual culture as they can in an engaging and entertaining way. We caught part of the traditional candy making demonstration at the Japan exhibit, and the mimes/acrobat at France. With no particular dinner reservation, when we got hungry we each picked up a vegetable plate at the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco, enjoying hummus, lentil salad, tabbouleh, falafel, and olives.

Sweetie felt better after his nap and showed up right after we had eaten. He had seen the Mariachi band and a few other things on his way, and was now also hungry. So Bigger Girl went to explore a bit more and i sat with him as he enjoyed Italian cuisine, then he held a spot for the fireworks show for us as we rode the Norwegian Maelstrom and sailed through the Maya lands of Ancient Mexico. While in the Mexico area i also bought a woven blanket, as i had forgotten to get my heavy coat that morning and it was getting very cold. The blanket was the least expensive thing i could find, at only $20 with tax. Every sweatshirt, jacket, and sweater i looked at in that area was $75 or more. The blanket worked just fine, and it also added another warm layer at night against the cold as a meat locker hotel room, so a good purchase.

The Illuminations fireworks show capped off a beautiful day, then a bus ride back to our resort, to Old Port Royale for one last cup of decaf, and it was bedtime.

Today is:

Birthday of Wen Chang, the God of Literature -- China

Debunking Day

Feast Day of Hercules/Herakles -- Ancient Roman and Greek Calendars

Frankenstein's Birthday

Human Services Day

Johnny Appleseed Day

National Oatmeal-Nut Waffles Day

Moshoeshoe Day -- Lesotho

Reestablishment of Independence -- Lithuania (independence from the USSR)

Rockhound Round Up -- Deming, NM

St. Constantine's Day

St. Eulogius of Cordova's Day (patron of carpenters, coppersmiths)

Worship of Tools Day - guys, you can relate

Youth Day -- Zambia

Anniversaries Today:

Romeo & Juliet's wedding day, according to Shakespeare, 1302
Emperor Napoleon married by proxy to Archduchess Marie Louise, 1810

Birthdays Today:

Douglas Adams, 1952
Bobby McFerrin, 1950
Charles W. Swan, 1942
Sam Donaldson, 1934
Rupert Murdoch, 1931
Ralph Abernathy, 1926
Mercer Ellington, 1919
Ezra Jack Keats, 1916
Lawrence Welk, 1903

Today in History:

Thutmose III, Pharaoh of Egypt, dies (according to the Low Chronology of the 18th Dynasty),BC1425
Volcano Etna in Italy erupts killing 15,000, 1669
The first English daily newspaper "Daily Courant," begins publishing, 1702
Queen Anne withholds Royal Assent from the Scottish Militia Bill, the last time a British monarch vetoes legislation, 1708
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is published, 1818
Unhappy with translational differences regarding the Treaty of Waitangi, chiefs Hone Heke, Kawiti and Maori tribe members chop down the British flagpole for a fourth time and drive settlers out of Kororareka, New Zealand, 1845
Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin become the first Prime Ministers of the Province of Canada to be democratically elected under a system of responsible government, 1848
The Great Sheffield Flood: The largest man-made disaster ever to befall England kills over 250 people in Sheffield, 1864
The Meiji Japanese government officially annexes the Ryukyu Kingdom into what would become the Okinawa prefecture,1872
The Great Blizzard of 1888 begins, lasting 4 days, 1888
The first confirmed cases of the Spanish Flu are observed at Fort Riley, Kansas, 1918
The Bank of Canada opens, 1935
Reginald Weit became the first African American to play in the US Tennis Open, 1948
Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun," the first Broadway play by a black woman, opens, 1959
Mt. Etna in Sicily erupts, 1974
Pakistan successfully conducts a cold test of a nuclear weapon, 1983
Mikhail S Gorbachev replaces Konstantin Chernenko as Soviet leader, 1985
Infosys becomes the first Indian company listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, 1999
Michelle Bachelet is inaugurated as first female president of Chile, 2006


  1. "...laundry doesn't take vacations."
    Although, by your description this is a quiet time for you.

  2. I almost feel as if I'm there...thank you.