Trip around the World

So, the boys and I sat down to watch Blade Runner last night: not the original theatrical release, the remastered director’s final cut with the unicorn and without the voice over — if you’ve ever seen the film you’ll know why it’s important to be specific. Sadly, Kevin and Shannon barely lasted through the first fifteen minutes, citing exhaustion and heavy eyelids as the reason. I can’t really blame them; the slow deliberate pacing of the film is not for everyone, particularly movie-goers in this post-Avengers world. Still the world that Scott drafted in the film delights me with its horrid beauty like a living breathing movie monster. If the boys could get past the pace, I think they’d find a wonderful enlightening experience.

What’s all this got to do with Disney and vacation?

Well, on Tuesday, we had stepped out into the rain to eat lunch at Epcot, which lies within walking distance of the Boardwalk Resort. Epcot unlike the other Disney parks is often ignored I think by the younger generations. It doesn’t possess the flumes, animals, and roller coasters of the more ‘fun’ parks, but offers a worthwhile experience if you’re willing to explore . . . and perhaps old enough to drink.  Just like Blade Runner.

Tuesday morning the clouds still lingered over the resort, blocking all view of the sun or sky. Not that the absence of either hindered me from taking pictures. This shot is a view of the Disney Dolphin Resort rising from behind the Boardwalk’s Dance Hall.

After spending most of the morning, dodging rain showers at Hollywood Studios, we scuttled back to the resort to dry off and change for lunch at Epcot’s new pizzaria. Here we have a shot of France, one of the countries that makes up Epcot’s world showcase. When first built, each ‘country’ was designed originally by the representative nation as a way to encourage tourism. I’ve eaten at the restaurant here once before, sampling the duck, which I found to be quite good if a little greasy.

Each country in the Epcot ‘World Showcase’ circles a giant pond or lake, where the nightly fireworks and laser show takes place. The pond represents the oceans or something like that, which simultaneously separate and join all the nations of the world. I read a lot about the parks when I was a kid, you see. Disney was big into symbolism . . . and money. Lots and lots of money.

Oh and the country here is Morocco. I heard from Leo, Katie’s boyfriend, that needing a nation from the ‘Middle East,’ Morocco had appeared the most neutral. I can only imagine how Epcot would look had they chosen Iraq or Iran.

Japan! Awesome country. ‘Course as an anime fan, I’m rather biased. Still, I love the food here. Unlike the Japanese cuisine back in Maryland, all the chefs here hail from Japan (as apposed to Korea or Hawaii). Moreover, the shops sell Ghibli movies and Gundam models. I even bought a Legend of Zelda hat last year.

Ah, finally, we’re here at the Pizza Place. So as I was saying, Disney recruits people from all over the world to work here in Epcot and across Disney world. Thus, all of the waiters and cooks that work in Epcot’s Italy hail from the nation itself.

The ovens in the kitchen were awesome, shaped like the maws of bearded giants. Etched into the wall above the ovens, the designers had listed their names: Stromboli, Vesuvius, and Etna (two named after volcanoes and the third as I remember was the puppeteer in Pinocchio).

Our server — whom I’m going to call Marco — heralded from a town a mile or two north of Naples. One thing I learned about the Italians: they love to talk, almost as much as the Irish. Marco told us that his visa with Disney lasted about a year, and that he and his girlfriend (who worked in Epcot’s France) were considering a road trip across the US in the near future to visit San Francisco before moving to Australia for a month or two. He seemed quite excited and eager to travel and explore the world. I envied him somewhat.

By the time we left the pizzaria, my mind buzzed with wine and Marco’s stories. Kelsey, my niece, had decided to dance in the ‘town square’ with my Dad right before this statue of Neptune. Kelsey dance consisted mostly of kicking her feet and sliding from side to side; it was awkward and cute. My father’s dance was also awkward but proved less cute.

Disney Imagineers modeled the tower in Italy after the famous Florence Cathedral designed by the Renaissance architect, Brunelleschi. The view was beautiful even in Florida, though mostly for the blue skies that awaited us from behind the tower.

After dinner, Mom and Aunt Sue wanted to grab a drink from each country along the world showcase, what they called “drinking around the world.” Essentially, each ‘nation’ allows visitors to sample their wines and alcoholic beverages before purchase. This proved a deadly opportunity for my mother, and Germany was just the first of her stops.

Katie and Leo stopped in Norway to purchase a bracelet that Kate had eyed earlier in the day. I don’t know how much the gift cost, but Leo seemed rather pale as he reemerged from the shop. Norway also is one of the few ‘nations’ here at Epcot that features a ride through the legends and lore of Norway. Essentially, visitors load into a Viking ship and leave the attraction with this knowledge: Norwegians love the sea, drill for oil in the sea, and are obsessed with trolls.

An excellent opportunity for Disney to market some Marvel characters to gullible geeks/tourists and again I saw not one Thor comic or t-shirt anywhere. *sigh* Norse mythology alone is awesome. You don’t even need the costumed Marvel brand to sell it either. The epic of Norse gods, Midgard, Loki, Fenrir, the Norns, Beowulf, and Ragnarok . . . the myth reads like a comic as is. If only there was a creative studio who could create an awesome animatronic boat ride based upon it all . . .

Yes, this was sculpted out of sand. Pretty awesome movie too. Not exactly Pixar’s best but miles better than Cars or anything else in theaters at the moment.

Pretty awesome shot across the lake from Norway to all the other countries across. I even got a little artistic with the little branch hanging down. Sometimes I astound myself. And the sun! Ah, it was good to see him again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s