I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
WEDNESDAY: TYPHOON LAGOON
I’ve never been to a water park before, or at least not in my recent memory, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I left my camera and GPS behind, since we planned on spending all day in the water. Typhoon Lagoon had a “river” circling it that you could float down; a “beach” (paved) that periodically had gigantic waves to body-surf on; and water slides of various excitement levels. I only did a few of the water slides but Ian and I went around the river several times over the course of the day. I also took a much-needed nap and read my book, a nice lull after the intensity of our day at Hollywood Studios.
I ended up having mixed feelings about the water park in general: We had fun, but I found the concrete beach aspect unpleasant and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the bodily fluids and diseases all the other people using the water park could be spreading through the water. I know the water was heavily chlorinated, but I still couldn’t stop thinking about all the little kids not holding it, and walking around barefoot with all those other people also walking around barefoot ended up kind of freaking me out. I couldn’t really relax. Also, even though the park was very nice, I guess I’m just not a water person. I extremely rarely choose to go swimming, even in the hottest weather, and my vacation destinations tend towards the mountainous rather than oceanic.
However, I did have fun on the water slides and the times Ian and I floated around the park in innertubes. We spent all day there, so I diligently applied waterproof sun block every couple hours and as a result avoided sunburn completely. Yay!
On Thursday we returned to Epcot Center to finish everything we didn’t get to on Sunday. Actually, we also redid the Test Track ride because it was so fun — redid it 3 times! We also went on Soarin’, which was really cool. We were on the bottom row, so it looked like our feet would touch the waves and treetops as we “flew” over. The real highlight, though, was the 1.5-hour behind-the-scenes tour we took of The Land, where they do all their experimental hydroponics stuff. That cost extra, but we learned a ton (for example, insects like white, blue, and yellow, and can see all the colors plus into the UV range; and the “fruit” in fruitcake is all made from one tasteless melon that’s flavored and colored to look like different fruits). It was excruciatingly hot and humid in the greenhouses, and everybody on the tour was dripping by the time we finished, but it was well worth it. I recommend it to anybody going to Disney World in the future.
After that we looked at a couple of the World Showcase displays — the UK and France — and Ian was picked to be part of the UK’s street show. He did a good job and later told us he remembered the show from last time he saw it, about 10 years ago. They have just kept doing the same show over and over this entire time.
By the time we finished all that we were all feeling tired and grumpy, so we went back to the hotel recoup a bit. We ordered pizza (the decadence! I know!) and felt better after eating.
Unfortunately because it was fairly late by the time we got around to some of the showcases, the performances had ended for the day. That meant we did the Mexico ride (I thought it was a little too cartoony and didn’t really inform people
about Mexico), the Norway ride (not bad, and it finished with a 5-minute video that, while old, did give a little better sense of what Norway was like), and the China museum exhibit and video (on par with the Canada video: Visually stunning at times, but a little weak on content; also no mention of communism, which I imagine was strictly banned from the perfect Disney World vision of global unity). In general from every country’s video I got the message that the spirit of _______ (fill in country name) is in its people. The rest of the showcases we walked through to admire the astounding buildings they had replicated on a small scale. I have to admit, I found the scale and attention to detail of these places really quite amazing. For example, in the UK one, they planted plane trees, which they have in London in abundance. The Chinese one had incredibly detailed painting. We finished with the Illuminations grand finale of fireworks, fire, lasers, and lit-up water fountains. It was very impressive and certainly quintessentially Disney.
FRIDAY: TRAIN HOME
Today Ian and I head back on the train, north to our real lives. I have received two assignments for my LCI seminar next weekend and need to practice my instant turns and quick stops. We have massive packing to undertake and real jobs to work at. You can only suspend real life for so long, and I think that’s really good. I doubt I could take another day of triumphant Disney theme music playing from discreetly hidden speakers.