Saturday, October 13, 2007
It was seventeen years in the making, but my first trip back to central Florida since ’72 was magical! And, it almost didn’t happen. If it wasn’t for two friends of mine having colds I may have spent three days in Breckinridge snow skiing. They didn’t feel like being cold so we headed south to Orlando and a love affair with Disney was born.
It was 1989 and EPCOT Center was still the newest park in Walt Disney World. There were new attractions in the Magic Kingdom to experience, like Space Mountain, and there were also things to do that I didn’t do as a teenager. No, this time, every ride was yours to experience for the price of admission. But somehow, looking back, I think EPCOT Center was the focal point of this visit.
The first day there was a marvel. I was stunned when I first saw Spaceship Earth, and further amazed at what was inside. The smell of Rome burning continues to amaze me.
How neat was it to stop by the World Key after exiting the attraction and be able to make dinner reservations? You could also do this at a kiosk on the walkway to the World Showcase.
I admit, that at first, I really thought we were descending in the Hydrolators to Sea Base Alpha.
The final scene in World of Motion still lingers; the futuristic city. I think I read somewhere one time that it was known as Centracore. I was never able to get either a good picture or video of it. I did find a nice rendering of it in a souvenir picture book published in 1987 by Crescent Books.
I really enjoyed the Listen to the Land boat ride. I still do.
I must have ridden Journey into Imagination half a dozen times wishing that the ride would get stuck in the Dream Room, the White Room. I also recall spending a good deal of time in The Image Works; specifically in the Rainbow Corridor and Stepping Tones.
Which way did I end my ride through Horizons? I tried them all but I think Brava Centauri was my favorite.
My first walk around the World Showcase began by way of Canada, the United Kingdom, and so on. I spent a lot of time in France, particularly in the Palais Du Cinema, watching Impressions de France. I especially liked the rumble of the sub-woofers during the climax of Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. I think I spent the next two months trying to find all the compositions used in the film. It is a “must do” on every subsequent trip.
I felt that the audio-animatronics were great in Spaceship Earth but I had not yet seen Ben Franklin walking up stairs in the American Adventure. Incredible! What a show. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear “Two Brothers”.
I first experienced Illuminations from the patio of the Cantina de San Angel on the World Showcase Lagoon. I can still hear the lone clarinet announcing the tribute to America with “Rhapsody in Blue”. The finale of “The Great Gate of Kiev” from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was spectacular.
There are so many wonderful memories I have of this trip and of the first time experiencing the Second Gate. Like the Magic Kingdom, there are things I experienced on this first trip that I have to relive whenever I go. Sadly, some things have passed into memory and can only now be experienced in old video footage.
I think it began with that trip. But now, every time I leave Epcot, I stop just before exiting, turn around, and look at the wonder that is Spaceship Earth. I stand quietly for a moment or two, then say, “I will be back”. Then I turn and walk away and begin dreaming of my next trip.
Next Sunday evening I will do it all over again, and I plan to speak those words. I am looking forward to it.