Tag Archives: travel

What I Learned on My WDW Summer Vacation, 2010

6 Sep

I strongly prefer the CentraCare urgent care facilities to the Wallgreens’ Take Care clinics. Sure, this probably sounds obvious, but you go try to decide between two nearby clinics when you’re spiking a fever, woozy from medication side effects, and desperate for help ASAP.

Myself at Epcot in a wheelchair

My idea of a medspa vacation? Stopping off for a chest xray between Epcot and Raglan Road.

You can get around Walt Disney World fairly easily in a wheelchair or ECV, but I’ll bet it’s easier if you plan ahead. I’ll have a whole lot more to say about that this coming Friday, in my Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral.

Epcot’s Morocco pavillion is a great place to do your Akbar and Jeff impersonation. Pictured here: Son as Dad, Dad as Son. We also had a great lunch at Tangerine Cafe. I do so enjoy that vegetarian platter.

Akbar and Jeff

Life in Hell reference, anyone?

Captain EO is ridiculously fun, in that “trainwreck” kinda way. It’s also interesting to trace the influences. The Wiz was fresh in my mind, having watched it back at the condo when I was on bedrest, and the similarities between the dance number and costumes from “Everybody Rejoice” in the Wiz and “We Are Here to Change the World” were stunning. Just look at those formerly downtrodden minions transformed into Solid Gold Dancers! We’d also seen Star Trek: First Contact recently, so couldn’t help being amused by the similarities between Supreme Leader and the Borg Queen. And oh yeah, a few similarities to Ghost in the Shell and Terminator too . . . the io9 blog has a piece you might enjoy, if this similarity intrigues you.

Supreme Leader from Captain EO

Supreme Leader from Captain EO

Borg Queen

Borg Queen, from Star Trek: First Contact

Honestly, I would’ve bought one of those Captain EO rainbow shirts on the pushcart outside the attraction, but it didn’t light up like his, not even if I shrugged off my jacket dramatically and shouted, “ooooh!” in my most convincing 1980’s way. We are here to change the world!

Someone listens to the Those Darn Cats podcast! Well, I kinda already knew that. But it was still super cool when, at the end of Captain EO, I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey, it’s Jennifer and the Watchamacallit!” Sure enough, it was Colleen, who listens to the show that I co-host with my BFF Lisa, and on which my son appears fairly regularly.

Meeting Colleen

Collen, myself and my son

Epcot’s The Sum of All Thrills is but a moderate upgrade from DisneyQuest’s Cyberspace Mountain. Both of these motion-simulator attractions allow you to customize your ride. Sum of All Thrills offers far more possible modifications, but you simply don’t have enough time in that two-minute design period. Also, the robot-arm Sum of All Thrills ride vehicle allows for wider range of motion, but doesn’t do inversions quite as well as the drum-style Cyberspace Mountain. I’m glad to have both available, though, especially since rumors of DisneyQuest’s imminent demise seem to crop up pretty regularly.

The queue for meeting Toy Story 3’s Lotso does, indeed, smell of strawberries. Not the real kind, of course, the horrible Lik-M-Aid strawberry that has nothing to do with anything that grows from the soil. The Cast Member on duty told me that sometimes she can still smell the strawberries when she goes home to her apartment at night. I sure hope she gets hazardous duty pay for those shifts.

Meeting Lotso

Is my son disturbed by the smell of strawberries, or by the fact that we're hugging a fascist dictator? Probably both.

Those lines for Toy Story Mania don’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Geez. By noon on a slow day, your FastPass return time will likely be after 6:00pm.

Toy Story Mania scores

The cat? It's mine!

Anime fans owe it to themselves to skip the new exhibit in the Epcot Japan pavilion. I was very excited to visit Spirited Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars, as I’m a big anime fan, and have more than a couple anime conventions under my belt. But imagine my dismay when all of us in the family found factual errors in the displays. You already know I’m a nitpicking anime freak, so here goes:

Description of Rei Ayanami

Description of Rei Ayanami, from the Spirited Beasts exhibit

About the only things they got right here are that Rei is, in fact, from Neon Genesis Evangelion, and does sport headgear (not real antennae) that resemble cat ears when she’s headed for battle. She’s not a robot, her origins are pretty darn clear by the end of the show, and the only places I can find her in a cat tail are on hentai fan art sites (not exactly canon here, folks).

Free Dining isn’t packing ’em in like it used to. Sure, when I checked a couple weeks before our trip, Le Cellier was booked solid the whole week of August 29. But once we were on site, it was easy to make a last-minute ADR, and even to increase the party size when we arrived. And there were plenty of empty tables at lunchtime. So what gives? Some speculate that Hurricane Earl may have scared Guests away, but I’m not so sure that it was ever close enough to Florida to have that much effect. I think it’s the economy, combined with the fact that the Value Resorts now offer only the quick-service dining plan for the Free Dining promotion (though I believe you can upgrade to the full Disney Dining Plan for a fee).

I love love love using the Lines application from TouringPlans! Gotta give a big shout-out here to Henry Work, the developer, and Fred Hazelton, the statistician. The wait time predictions were often exactly right, and always close enough to be useful. Finding park hours and show/parade schedules was easier than reaching for a Times Guide.  The game mechanics are fun; I earned my “rope drop” badge by submitting at least one wait time within 20 minutes of park opening. There’s also a friendly community in the app’s “chat” section, which is really more of a message board; I wish I’d asked for their advice about urgent care clinics, as I’ll bet someone would’ve guided me away from Wallgreens.

I can have a good time at Walt Disney World under somewhat trying circumstances. I’d been sick on vacation before, but never like this. I had to ask for a lot of help, and was blessed by both family support and Disney’s (mostly) impressive access for wheelchairs and ECVs, at least from my novice point of view.

I’d rather not be sick next time, but at least now I know more about how to get help if I need it.

Myself in an ECV at Magic Kingdom

Rolling right down the middle of Main Street USA.

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