Walt Disney World
Thursday 04 November 2004
Ditch The Fambly Day
And then one day you wake up to discover that elves came in the night to decorate the resort for Christmas – and we’ve only just gotten over Halloween! What happened to Thanksgiving? There was a guy on a cherry picker in the lobby when I went through on my way to the bus stop, decorating away. Now we know why there were moving vans in front of the resort last night – they were delivering all the Christmas decorations.
This was a planned “Ditch The Fambly Day”. After 24 hours of total focus on the Nieceling, I needed a break, and I wanted to experience the Food & Wine Festival, not the Food & Whine Festival. For some activities, especially at Epcot, it’s just not fair to drag along an 8 year old.
Ah, wandering Epcot at my leisure! I still don’t know whether it is fortunate or unfortunate that I wandered into the Art of Disney store this day. I was unencumbered and had lots of time to examine each and every piece on display there, and drew a sharp breath when I came upon “Diana, Mistress of the Hunt” from Fantasia. She was destined to become the downfall of my budget for this trip, as I’d already blown all my Disney Dream Rewards dollars treating the family to dinner at the California Grill the other night.
I bought her and made arrangements to have her shipped home, exiting the shop in a reverie-like daze, thinking about the other scattered representations of the Goddess that I’d seen throughout Walt Disney World. There’s the Goddess that rises up from the smoke during the Tiki Room show, and the one encountered on the Jungle Cruise that’s carved from the rocks near the entrance to the temple. Then there’s a certain reclining statue outside of the China pavilion, which brings to mind Kuan Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy. Finally, there’s that creature at the Animal Kingdom called DeVine (got some photos of her earlier in the week), whom I would definitely classify as a nature Goddess of some sort. In films, there’s Diana from Fantasia, as well as an old Disney short regarding the Goddess of Spring, with demons coming from the fires of hell to threaten her. This particular Silly Symphony is included on the latest release of Snow White on DVD. Here’s a link to some information -
Perhaps I’ve found the subject of some future research paper for school!
Proceeding up the Rose Walk, I made a stop at the Honey Bee Maze, which is suspiciously placed in the same spot as the Doggone Maze from the Flower & Garden Festival. Also, the cavorting “honey bear” topiaries looked suspiciously recycled from the ones that had been pandas out front of the China pavilion during the F&GF during my April visit to the World. Proceeding onward, I learned all about peanuts, and got a peanut planting starter kit (small ziplock with a couple of peanuts plus instructions). Investigating the Food & Wine Festival merchandise, I determined that the shirts this year are lame, and bought one of the F&WF pins. I then stopped at the Florida kiosk and sampled the shrimp and a glass of the mango wine. The wine was just ok, a little more fruity than I like my wine to be. The preparation of the shrimp was nothing to write home about - the roll was simply unacceptable, but the shrimp was fresh, fresh, fresh! Also, there were seashells decorating the kiosk! They were glued down, against theft, I guess. I snapped some pictures of them.
I also strolled along the Rose Walk to capture some of the blooms there. In the act of taking a picture, I heard a voice call out, “Watch out behind you, Segways coming through”, and turned around to see the Segway tour just coming back. They looked so odd, like something out of a futuristic science fiction feature – half man, half machine, with helmets and other safety gear, “marching” along in a straight line like robo-people. They disappeared into the Festival welcome center. Having read of the adventures of others on this tour, it is definitely something for which I’d like to book myself on a future visit.
In this area of the park, and especially near the Journey Into Your Imagination attraction, one can see glimpses of the building which will house the new Soarin’ Over California attraction. This attraction now appears on the Epcot maps (“coming soon”). It is hard to imagine where exactly Disney intends to place the walkway leading into this attraction. I hope it is open by the time I return.
Proceeding up the World Showcase, I headed for the British shops, which were already decorated for Christmas, and looking at them made me lonely for the old chicken coop in which I used to live before moving to The Suite at Chez Bro (almost a year ago, wow, time flies!). Same wattle-and-daub, with low beamed ceilings and stone hearth. I wasn’t able to decorate for Christmas my last year there, on account of I was purging and packing to make my exit by December 31st, so it didn’t make sense to put up lights and a tree. I miss living there. English Tudor is definitely my thing!
To console myself, I absently walked the maze in the little “town square”, where I am certain that both the Darlings and the Banks reside. I expect at any moment to see Mary Poppins herself flying aloft with her umbrella, or else Peter skulking around the windows in an attempt to reclaim his shadow from the dresser drawer. Someday, I’d like to go back to Europe and walk the mazes at Chartres and other places where massive, old cathedrals stand atop sites of even more ancient worship.
In France, I visited the kiosk where I had some crepe concoction and another glass of wine. Beast was there signing autographs, and I stopped to watch the chair acrobats outside of Chefs du France. They are SO funny, never failing to make me giggle! Ducked in to see the film, with it’s glorious soundtrack of French composers and brilliant aerial views of the French countryside.
Between France and Morocco, an area dedicated to Valencia, Spain had been set up, and I stopped to watch a team of dancers, who were executing something akin to a flamenco, complete with castanets – except, they weren’t wearing noisy, stomping shoes, they were wearing espadrilles, which were largely silent.
On to China, then, where I was delighted to discover that the pond out front was abundantly outfitted with lily pads in bloom! As I was examining one of the pictures I snapped, I noted some strange blot on one of the lily pads and zeroed in on it – a frog! I’d never seen frogs here before. Using the zoom, I made further examinations and discovered that this pond had many, many froggies. Little frogs, and big frogs, and medium-sized frogs, and even one frog who had not yet lost his tadpole tail. He looked awfully big not to have done so yet, and I’m suspecting he is a mutant frog sent from outer space to populate the earth with more mutant frogs! I’m not really sure how long I stayed there taking pictures of froggies and flowers and lily pads, but it was enough time to have forgotten to re-apply sunscreen and my shoulders turned a bright, threatening pink.
When I was finally able to tear myself away from the froggies, I made my way to Norway, where I rode the Maelstrom with a bunch of folks who all followed my example of raising arms and crying, “wheeeeee!” as we descended the modest drop – much giggling ensued. I then stopped in Mexico for a beloved mango margarita and a churro, going into the temple when I’d finished. The marketplace inside the temple was all decorated for Christmas already, too. I was able to get a semi-clean shot of the volcano by placing the camera on the wall separating the marketplace from the restaurant, and then I rode the Rio del Tiempo.
When I emerged into the blinding sunlight from the darkened temple, the character bus was passing by. For future reference, standing up there on the landing of the temple is a great place to be for this mini-parade, as the bus is a double-decker and the characters are more or less in your face up there.
I stopped off on the bridge between the World Showcase and Future World to see what I could see, and I got a nice shot of that lovely little blue heron that hangs out there sometimes. Looking down, I could see tons of turtles swimming around in the water – someone said they were leatherbacks. They have funny, beak-like noses. I watched little kids playing the water playground while waiting for the monorail to pass by, so I could get a shot of it passing overhead before the backdrop of the Imagination pyramid. I kept getting distracted by all the play, though – it was truly an international scene going on there, with little kids squealing in delight in multiple languages and accents. There were a couple of Chinese kids, some from Great Britain with their rosy cheeks and pale eyes and hair, one little Hispanic girl who was cute as cute can be, and various American accents in the mix.
Finally, I proceeded in the twilight to the pin station in the plaza sorta between the Electric Umbrella and the Fountainview, where, with a sigh of resignation, I purchased a binder to hold my growing pin collection. I will never understand how exactly I became a pin collector, especially since I specifically remember mentioning in a trip report several years back that I would not be using the free lanyard I’d been given upon check-in for the purpose of displaying a pin collection. I distinctly remember declaring that I had absolutely NO intention of ever collecting pins….*sigh*. I’m sure I never intended to collect seashells either, but there ya go!
I waited outside Mouse Gear for a little while to see if the fountain show would happen but alas, it did not. I had really wanted to photograph it with the colored lights at night time, but it was not to be this trip. Oh well – next time! So, I called my SILs cell phone to see where they were, and she said to meet them at Downtown Disney. Caught the monorail to the TTC and then to the Poly, where I was able to board a bus to DTD, and soon I was meeting them at the Earl of Sandwich for dinner.
We were seated outside near the little merry-go-round. Nieceling rode it and had the good fortune to be seated in the spinning teacup. However, the little girl seated with her started to feel sick from the spinning, so Nieceling stopped it, and then asked if she could ride it again to get her spins in. This time she was rewarded with a partner who had no such aversion to spinning, and she was a happy camper.
After we’d eaten, we headed back to the resort and watched portions of Illuminations from the balcony. The wind conditions made it so that the smoke from the fireworks drifted into the resort, enshrouding everything in mystery. SIL and I sat on a bench in Jackson Square for a while, just watching the people go by and digging the Christmas lights. When I went back to my room, I found that I had a towel critter sitting atop my TV. Heh, heh, heh, I just knew that leaving Jessie and Woody out in plain sight would prompt the Mousekeeper to think there were children there, and that I would get a towel ducky! Tee hee!
Ugh, now I have to pack. *sigh*
Back to Fall Frolick November 2004