It's a Walt, Walt, Walt, Walt World

Disney World, Florida.

Here I am attending a 2-day retreat at the Magic Kingdom outside of Orlando, Florida. It probably sounds like a bunch of hogwash, but we actually learned a lot and listened hard and generally improved our professional lives during this 2-day retreat for 25 "united arts" fundraising leaders. All was hosted by our lovely chair, Margot, who runs the united arts program in Orlando. So yes, she's got Disney connections.

While I'm bizzy getting me some mo intelugense, Rob and Taylor get to try out some of the Disney theme parks. Yes, for those of us on the West Coast who are used to one unified Disneyland (OK, there's California Adventure now but still), Disney Florida has four theme parks, each with their $627 admission price. Their only four thrill rides are strategically placed --- one at each theme park -- so of course you have to go to all four parks to get the thrills you seek.

Rob and Taylor choose to check out Epcot on their first day, and MGM Studios on their second. (I've already been to Epcot, and MGM doesn't interest me). Looks like they had some fun, but poor Rob needs to learn the apteture settings on my camera.

Meanwhile, I was "retreating." OK I have to confess, one of our meetings was actually AT Epcot Center, so I actually got to enjoy a little bit of that park, including one of Taylor's favorite rides (and apparently the fastest ride in all of Disneydom), TEST TRACK, and the evening fireworks spectacular.

By Day 3, I am done with work and I get to join Rob and Taylor for the other two parks, the ones I insisted on joining them for, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. (Hey, I like kingdoms!) Animal Kingdom is kinda like a wildlife safari with a few rides thrown in, but the coolest reason to visit is Expedition Everest, the new roller coaster that sends you up the mountain to face the Yeti, then backwards through the caves on your way out. Pretty fun.

Oh yeah, and the safari. Now Rob says he doesn't need to go to the REAL Africa! (More on that later.)

And as we were leaving, Mickey stopped by Animal Kingdom wearing the stupidest Christmas outfit. He needs to stick with his summer wardrobe; this ensemble is not flattering for his waistline.

Day 4 was the Magic Kingdom. Very much like the Disneyland I grew up with, but with four notable exceptions:

* No Matterhorn
* No Gondolas
* No Decent Restaurants
* An Inferior "Pirates of the Caribbean"
The nice part, though, was that park was dead quiet and we had our way with attractions like Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Thunder Mountain.

On our last day in Orlando (this is what, day five?) we just chilled. The hotel (one of the Disney resorts) actually had lovely grounds -- and not a Disney character in sight. (Although there's never any escape from the official Disney motto; every conversation must end with the phrase, "and have a magical day.")

No comments: