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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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