Theme Park Review: Disney World (Part 2)

I should probably get to the rest of this while I still remember it, right?  For those of you who missed it, here’s a link to Part 1 –

We’ll pick up after Jason and I left the Splash Mountain line because of “technical difficulties”…to the retroactive running diary!


1:40 PM: So it looks we’re not going on Splash Mountain.  But hopes are still high, since there are a trillion other things to do in the park.  After walking around for a few minutes due to a slight miscommunication, we meet up with Ariel Shoen, who also works for the Chiefs.

For those of you now thinking “oh my god, a girl named Ariel at Disney World!” – congratulations.  You are the first person to realize that, aside from every other person alive.

2:00: Jason and I realize that we have made a grave mistake.  Ariel informs us that the Magic Kingdom is open until midnight, the latest of any of the parks.  Meanwhile, EPCOT closes at 9:00 and MGM Hollywood Studios shuts down at 10.  We vow to return to the Kingdom after the Nationals/Braves game, while realizing we probably should have just started at one of the parks that shuts down earlier.  Would have saved us about 90 minutes of waiting time.  Oops.

2:30: It’s off to Epcot and the giant golf ball!  We begin by going to Test Track, which has a 200-minute wait.  No, seriously.  200 minutes.  Well then…um, Mission: Space it is!

2:45: There are two lines for Mission: Space, a flight simulator of sorts – the orange team, which is more intense, and the green team, which is less intense.  Dunno about anyone else, but the Green Team makes me think of this.

(Damn you, Funny or Die, for not letting me embed videos.)

I’m not sure what the whole point of the colors is, and it’s never exactly explained – couldn’t they just call them “intense” and “normal”?  But being the intrepid adventurers we are, we headed onto the orange line.

Mission: Space begins with a video introduction from a real fake astronaut…Gary Sinise!  Wait, what?  Disney World couldn’t get Tom Hanks?  Or Kevin Bacon?  Or even Ed Harris?  (All right, Gary Sinise is kind of awesome, but still.)  You then go into a flight simulator with positions for four “crew members” – however, since we only had three, we were flying lightly.

The gist of this simulator is that you’re flying to Mars, and it simulates what the crew’s view would be while launching, flying through an asteroid storm, and eventually landing on the red planet.  (Strangely enough, Mars has a gift shop upon arrival.)  You’re supposed to press buttons at the command of the voiceover guy in order to land safely.  It’s a miracle we landed, since Jason completely ignored the commands and I don’t know what exactly Ariel was doing.  I was definitely the Tom Hanks of the team.

3:30: Walkin’ time.  With the Test Track line still longer than the entire running time of Lord of the Rings, we decided to travel through the World Showcase.  The line of countries is an affirmation that you don’t need to have passed first grade geography to design a theme park.  Mexico is next to Norway, which is next to China, which is next to Germany, which is next to OK this is really stupid.  Somehow, Jason and I managed to ignore all types of ethnic food and ended up eating chicken and french fries in a stand outside the World Showcase.

We would have gone on the Norwegian log flume ride, but nobody felt like waiting around for 45 minutes.

4:45: We’re about to leave the park at this time, but Jason decides to buy ice cream from this stand.  Unfortunately, the computer at the ice cream stand was not working, and the young man working the stand said he was not authorized to accept any money during this time.  This led to a three to four-minute argument between Jason and the young employee, with Jason holding out the three dollars necessary to purchase an ice cream bar and the employee meekly holding his ground.  It was Office-type awkward.  Jason eventually decided to just find another ice cream stand.  Working computers were in order!  Hooray for all!

5:20: You need to take trams back and forth from the parking lot to the park entrance, unless you are close enough to walk.  We were too lazy to do the whole walking thing in this case.  This tram ride was a comical one, as our female tram announcer either could not correctly pronounce English or was speaking while eating the microphone.

This guy is easier to understand.

At this point, I was so damn delirious and laughing so hard that while walking through the parking lot, I tripped over a hook on the back of a truck and went straight down to the ground.  It hurt for a moment.  But as the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.

5:45: We arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex, the home of the Braves for spring training.  If not for the small size (9,500 fans), this could easily be mistaken for a major-league stadium.  It has a big league feel in terms of design, concessions and a giant HD video board.  It’s a gorgeous park that feels much bigger than 9,500 seats.

Even with plenty of fun ahead of us – the moment where I was sure this was one of the best days of my life was sealed here.  I went up to the press box to charge my long-dead cell phone, and as I walked down the hall, Mickey and Minnie Mouse walked right by me.  I’m not three years old anymore.  I know that the people in the mouse costumes are probably kids who hate walking around in a sweaty costume for hours upon end.  And still – Mickey Mouse waved at me, and for a second, I almost lost it.  It must have been the giant goofy (not Goofy) smile on the costume.  But I realized then and there that I would probably never be too old for this place.

Tell me you’re not smiling.


Tomorrow: the conclusion of this now 3-part Disney walkthrough, which lasted all the way until the stroke of midnight.


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