Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Walt Disney World Family Vacation - Part 2

This is part two of our family vacation in Walt Disney World. For part one, go here.

To catch you up, my dad decided to take the whole family to Florida - all FOURTEEN of us. We stayed in a giant apartment at the Boardwalk Resort just outside Epcot Center that's probably ten-plus-times larger than our apartment in Barcelona. It was big. And it was on a lake. With boats. Crazy.

Goofy with Ginny, Diana, dad, and some random Disney character:

It's been a few years since I was last at Disney World. I'm not 100% sure when it was but, like with lots of experiences in life, I remember the first time. I was 13 when my dad's mom took me. Back then, it was pretty much just the Magic Kingdom and Epcot so I think we spent a day or two at each park.

I remember the Magic Kingdom being fun but what really sticks with me is going to Epcot. The whole future thing and then all the countries you could visit. They all seemed so exotic and strange. Well, if you've been reading this blog at all, you'll know that I've been fortunate enough to see first-hand all but one (!!!) of the countries in the Epcot World Showcase. It's a bit crazy, I know. I didn't even realize it until we were walking around the park.

So, the first half of this story is dedicated to my parents who've given me the opportunity to have this oh-so-crazy trip around the sun we call life. In clockwise order on the map above...

There's Mexico, where I lived for two years:

...with Mariachis, of course! (Well, I didn't actually live with Mariachis but they were at the house...)

Then there's Norway, which Diana and I visited when we went to see Lena and Tony in Sweden a couple of years ago.

A little bit farther around the World Showcase, one of my favorites, China seen here with Epcot's version of Beijing's Temple of Heaven:

Next up? Germany. Surprise of surprises. We loved living in Germany and miss our friends there very much. The Disney version could be any one of a hundred small towns littering southern Germany:

Just about half way around, you come to the land of pizza, pasta, and faulty engineering, Italy. Diana hanging out with some Italian guys who, she assures me, are just friends:

At the half way point, the United States makes its appearance. Really, it seems a bit redundant as Disney's is as "American" as they come. There's no photo from the U.S. area but I'll throw in this one of me with a Mickey-shaped ice-cream sandwich. American or what?

Japan is next up in the World Showcase after the U.S. Can I just say again how much I love and miss Japan. And not only the food! I learned so much there.

Continuing along, Morocco, which is the ONLY country of the lot I haven't been to. Actually, we're just waiting on our friends Natalia and Adil to get married in his hometown of Fez so we can tag alone for the big party!

Next, France, followed by the United Kingdom and, last, but not least, our crazy poutine-eating cousins to the north, Canada (sorry, no links). Yeah, Epcot's pretty cool and it brings back a ton of memories!

The rest of this post is made up of random items from the trip. In the past, it would have been a separate post but I'm getting lazy in my old age.

I normally only get to see my family in small bursts during holiday visits. This trip was great because we got to spend a surprising amount of time together as one big group.

It also provided lots of one-on-one time that I was craving!

My next post will be about photo ops, characters, and Disney's photo package. But, one character stands out from the whole trip. Pocahontas. Yep. One of Disney's brown princesses.

We spent our third day at Disney World visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom, which is part zoo, part amusement park. It's full of zoo-type animals, log-flume rides, counter-service food places (if you've been to Disney, you'll know), and, on occasion, character meet-and-greets.

Because my sister had booked Disney's all-you-can-eat-style PhotoPass (more on this in the next story), we made sure to try to get as many character pictures as possible. Now, many of the meet-the-character locations are along major paths through the park or near entrances or exits to shops or attractions...except for poor Pocahontas. You can't actually see Disney's brown princess. She only gets this little sign, which you can see behind another brown princess.

Unlike all her character brothers and sisters, she's hidden down some narrow path and behind some bushes. Hey Disney, how about an upgrade for Pocahontas?

It isn't all back-alley though, so don't worry. The big name celebs get air-conditioned buildings:

All in all, an amazing time. Even with a daily bit of rain, the whole family was all smiles...

Thanks again for the amazing trip dad! You outdid yourself this time.

I'll leave this story with a composite of two photos taken on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios that pretty much sums up how we felt during the whole trip.

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