Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Road Trip Diaries: Orlando, FL

8 October 2012

We get to Orlando late in the afternoon, and for us it's more of a drive-through than anything else. We're headed straight for Disney - just south of Orlando. 

It doesn't take long for me to realise that Disney World is a whole lot bigger than I imagined. Made up of four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses and twenty-four themed resorts, this huge piece of land covers 47 sq miles (75 square km)! I was amazed to see that Disney had it's own transportation network as well - the area obviously has roads, but there are also highways, rivers and monorails which all transport guests around the park.


We're staying in the Coronado Springs resort - with a distinctly Mexican feel. With all that Mexican in the air, we get swept up, head to the pool, order nachos, drinks and a shot of tequila each (which turns out to be a quadruple once the bartender has given us a free shot, and since each shot is a double to start with!), get drunk, swim lots and then feast on tortillas for dinner. An exceedingly Mexican evening, really truly. Also, a whole lotta fun!

9 October 2012

Disney World was a like a dream, a big ol' fantasy, which just doesn't seem real. I feel like I might wake up soon, and it'll turn out that it never happened.

Husband and I spent twelve hours in the park itself - which was truly exhilarating, truly exhausting fun. This day will be right up there with best-days-of-the-holiday, and ultimate-days-of-the-road-trip.Yes, it was cheesy, and over-the-top, and filled with Disney characters but that's everything you want and more from Disney World. And as all these young little kids run past you, eyes wide, mouths open, beyond excited, it's hard not to get swept up in it. Within minutes I wanted a princess dress, a magic wand and Minnie ears.

Unfortunately the princess dresses were just a little bit too small for me...
We visited Epcot, which is generally recommended as the park for grown-up kids (out of the five parks at Disney), and besides from the rides and virtual simulators, the park features a huge lake, surrounded by what they call the World Showcase. Each section of the World Showcase gives you a glimpse into another part of the world - and each is quite a genuine re-creation. You feel transported around each turn.
We were lucky enough to have scheduled our trip at the exact time of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which made the whole experience even better. There were endless kiosks set up for a myriad of countries from across the world (including South Africa!), each offering different and unique tastes for about $5.

Husband had Japan (sushi), Greek (sovlaki), Argentian (beef skewer) and English (fish and chips). I had Italian (ravioli), Argentian (beef skewer), Polish (kielbasa), Japan (sushi) and Moroccan (merguez sausage pita). Each bite was wonderfully scrumptious.
The park was packed, almost overflowing! And this was only a Tuesday, and off-season. Madness. We saw many honeymooners - wearing matching bride and groom mouse ears, and then, right at the end of the day, an actual bride and groom and their wedding party! Tacky, but cute.

I guess it's all about fulfilling your wildest dreams right? 

The Florida heat stayed with us the whole day. We were hot and sticky from the moment we got there, and kept walking into the World Showcase stores mostly to cool down.
 The park featured a whole bunch of rides as well. But don't expect roller coasters - these rides are all little boats which gently move along indoor passages filled with exceedingly life-like anima-tronics, telling the stories of the past and future of the world's communication, different histories of certain countries, and a trip into the dinosaur age with Ellen Degeneris. They were very good rides, and the anima-tronics were incredible.

We even watched an fully anima-tronic stage production of the history of America! Those robots were damn good - blinking eyes, emotional faces, human-like movements - it was almost creepy. 
 It was particularly enchanting watching Husband wander around the park as he had visited Epcot as a teenager with his family. It was his own walk down memory lane, and wonderful to relive some of his cherished moments. 'Captain EO' was one such moment - it was one of the original movies made with a 3D camera, by George Lucas, and starring Michael Jackson in 1986. In it, Michael's character, Captain EO, commands a spaceship, and flies to a distant planet to rescue the people from their robotic queen. As he arrives, he is captured and in order to break free, he starts to sing, which releases his captors from their robotic selves, and turns them into his very own troupe of dancers. We couldn't help but giggle at the 80's costumes and hairstyles, and at how cheesy it was. Husband had watched this very film on his first visit here, all those years ago.
The day concluded with a wonderful lights and fireworks display on the lake, which was truly spectacular - so good in fact that some people had booked their 'spots' around the lake up to an hour and a half before hand!
From the minute we arrived, to the moment I climbed into bed at the end of the day I had the biggest cheesiest grin on my face. It was just the most perfect day.


Nicola Kritzinger said...

Sounds AMAZING! The last time i went to Disney, it was in France and I went by myself. A bad decision. Next time I hope it's in Florida with friends! Will be the best! It's so lovely to read all your wonderful posts - you're having the best time! It's so cool! <3 so much love for you! miss you lots!

Reaching Robyn said...

Aw hunny - Disney has to be a team effort! We had SO MUCH fun. It was incredible.

Next time, we'll go together!xxx