Search The World... In Briefs!

Thursday, February 18, 2010



We finally went to Disney World, and I started to write about it, and wasted my whole blog on ONE stupid ride. After “Mission: Hurl” we literally took a slow boat to China. Across a really tiny Pacific Ocean lies an entire world out there. If you’ve always wanted to see the continents, but don’t have the money to travel to Vegas, this is the place for you.

Japan and China are dangerously close to one another. I heard stories of Japan toilet-papering the pagoda, and China short-sheeting the kimonos. We saw three Japanese girls performing a very entertaining taiko drum routine. Then two Chinese girls came over and said, “ 汉字 / 漢字,” which means “shut up with that racket,” to which the Japanese replied “F you and the sampan you rode in on.”

Canada has a neat movie starring Martin Short. It’s very funny, and the basic theme is that Canada is not just a bunch of snow. It is also a country brimming with cold temperatures and some freezing rain. Also it has half of Niagra Falls. We then cruised by the German pavilion, where you can get a Nazi officer’s hat with mouse ears on it. At the Moroccan village, we bought a very young girl whom we plan to use as a slave, if we can teach her how to mow the lawn. At the French ville they made fun of us for not being able to speak English very well.

They have an American pavilion; someone must have seen all the weird buildings around and forgot that we already ARE in America. They have a movie that celebrates the history of our country in grand panoramic film, mixed with surround sound and of course the animatronics. There is an animatronic for everything, and after a while you start to question your own sanity. “That is an animatronic squirrel!” “No it’s not, but it has animatronic nuts!” I went to the bathroom to escape the insanity briefly, and it seemed to me that even some of my body parts had a life of their own.

While we were waiting for the show to start, this spooky glee-club looking octet of men & women in full period dress starts singing songs in perfect harmony. Not only is there not one stray note in the bunch, but they are smiling fatuously in unison. This is typical Disney at its finest- everything is happy there, but not normal-happy: Stepford Wives-happy. At the end of the trip I was so smiled-out I just wanted to run over a cat or something.

Anyway “The American Adventure” movie was grandly stirring, and I managed not to cry until they showed a picture of George W. Bush, who always makes me weep for the future of humanity for some reason.

Back across the pond, as we say, was Ellen’s Energy Adventure (everything in Disney is either an Adventure or a Journey). You sit in a seat in the theater, and the rows of seats start to move around, going back into time. Animatronic dinosaurs try to spit on you, and there is even an animatronic Ellen DeGeneres, who, if I had control over the robotics, I would make a much better dancer.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends was very cute- you ride around in a clamshell through a series of real fish tanks, with holograms of Nemo and his pals superimposed into the tanks. It is a lot like a snorkeling trip in the Caribbean, only not as well-behaved.

We tried out “Test Track,” which simulates the experience of a test car driver doing a series of quality control exercises, such as heat and cold response, traveling over hazardous road surfaces, blind curves and speed. It’s similar to taking a cab ride in Manhattan. They don’t call them crash test dummies for nothing.

We went to dinner at the Coral Reef Restaurant, a huge, beautiful faux-reef tank surrounded by tables. We were sitting right next to the tank itself, and all of a sudden a group of SCUBA divers swam by right in front of us. At first I thought they might be lost, and there was a large shark in the tank, which I pointed out to them. But one of them pointed at my dinner and made the international symbol for “I ordered that once and it wasn’t that great.” I asked the waiter if they could grab something fresh out of there.

Back at the hotel, we noticed these two Japanese girls. Since Japanese tourists dress so weird, it’s really hard to tell them from the Disney characters that over-populate the parks. They usually have either pink hair or a really long visor, and wear a lot of colorful clothes. A dull-witted-looking American guy was trying to make some time with them. Although women love a guy who can make them laugh, if they laugh while pointing at you it’s generally not a good sign. I’m pretty sure I now know the Japanese word for “beer belly.”

Incidentally, Walt Disney had planned for EPCOT to be the model for an integrated community. Laid out in a circle, the small city would consist of businesses in the center, schools and parks in the middle, surrounded by residences for 20,000 people and connected by monorails and people movers. Unfortunately, Walt Disney died before the EPCOT property started development, and the Disney Corporation wanted no part of it.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010



We finally went to Disney World- we had been scared off all these years because of the crowds and the possible bombardment of Americana. The crowds have been managed a little better over the years with the adoption of “Fast Pass,” which allows you to in essence book a time to return for the ride, so you don’t feel foolish waiting in line two hours for an 8-minute ride. It’s a great thing, and I started thinking that they could “Fast Pass” every facet of your life and things would go smoother. I asked my wife- why not “Fast Pass” the restaurants? She said it’s called “reservations,” and we have one for 5 minutes before the park closes, so shut up and get in this line. We started at EPCOT Center, which Walt Disney named himself and means: Experimental Private Coordinated Outhouse Transmutation. I actually forget exactly what it stands for but trust me it’s something like that.

Even on a low-attendance day the crowds are large. If you are not careful you can get caught in a crowd riptide that propels you onto the nearest ride, possibly against your wishes. We were ushered onto one ride that looked like it seated three people, so we climbed aboard with another girl, who had an gi-normous ass. Each of us stood up twice and sat down once, like a game of whack-a-mole, hoping that we could find the right combination of asses to fit into the seat, but it was not to be, so we waited for the next car. The ride was a strict two-seater, and the girl and her ass counted as two.

Next we went to “Mission: Space,” which I hereby refer to as “Mission:Hurl.” It offered a “wuss-friendly” option- you could join the “Green Team” on a very important simulated space mission where you might possibly save the world. Imagine if you will, a pilot, navigator, commander and engineer, all as afraid of heights and motion as you are. We took our places inside the capsule along with two members of another family. Our pilot was a three year-old baby, so we figured we were on the right flight.

The rocket takes off at a zillion G-forces or whatever and I am just trying to keep it together, vomit-wise. I had to look away to avoid barfing on the $20 million controls developed by Hewlett Packard. The pilot-baby was laughing idiotically all through this serious situation. So I figure I'll do what I usually do when I’m driving and open the window, but in space for some reason that's a big no-no. So I try to count license plates, and that of course is another big zero.

Although I heard in the news over the fall that scientists sent a thing the size of an SUV crashing into the moon to see if water would come out of it. By it I assume they meant the moon, since there probably already IS water in the SUV's radiator. It would be just my luck driving along on 684, following the SUV, not paying any attention, and all of a sudden the SUV starts taking off for the moon, and there I am in the middle of a sneezing fit, or trying to get the Yankee score or something, and I end up right behind it crashing into the moon to see if there's any water.

Meanwhile the baby fires the retro-rockets at the wrong time and sends us hurtling into a meteor storm, which sends the simulator into a sickness-inducing frenzy and narrowly misses an asteroid. I yell, "You stupid Baby- what the hell did you do that for! Are you trying to get us all killed?" And the father goes, "Don't call my baby stupid, you greenish-tinted lummox!" I later apologized to the dad, but said in all fairness the baby might be slightly retarded and that he should keep an eye on things.

So we go back out into the sub-freezing temperature of Florida. Seriously, whoever had the dumb idea of moving south for the warm weather is living in a magic kingdom. My sister in Virginia got 2 feet of snow this weekend, while we got ZERO inches. If I have to go to Virginia next weekend to find snow on our ski trip I will be pissed. All the oranges in Florida froze a month ago so orange juice supplies are down, although all the frozen concentrate weathered the chill just fine. I thought I could see a slow-moving glacier coming our way from over near Splash Mountain. I thought we should get the hell out of there, because I didn't want to be captured inside a glacier and discovered thousands of years from now with a sickly look on my face from being on the GREEN team.

There were a lot of exhibits called Imagineerovations, or Engimagineerances, or Edumatioventions, stuff like that. We went into one, and spent about half an hour working a robotic ball-peen hammer trying to break a TV set, which never broke. A stupid premise had I thought about it in advance- why not just release a cat into the area, who will push it off the table the old fashioned way?

Anyway, I have wasted my whole blog on ONE ride, so I will have to finish the Disney trip later…

Incidentally, and this is not apropos of the whole Disney trip, but I thought I should mention my favorite lyric today on Jonathan Schwartz' Sinatra Saturday. Sinatra does this swinging version of My Fair Lady's "Get Me to the Church on Time." At the end he sings, "Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong.... Goddamn bells."

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