When I finally got a chance to visit Walt Disney World in the early 1990's, EPCOT was just over a decade old. It was a beautiful place to enter - the serene music, the park-like surroundings, the amazing fountain, the various pavilions and their vision of the future - and then the walk toward the international pavilions and the cultures they presented - so wonderful.

And just like a snap of the fingers, the place is thirty-five years old!

And by far the most memorable thing about EPCOT for me was not just finding authentic fish and chips at the British pavilion, but the fireworks show called "Illuminations".

WDW added a short commemoration of EPCOT's 35th Anniversary to the fireworks show. I wish I had been there, but the video is the next best thing...


mickey mouse club

TBTA new Mickey Mouse Club was introduced this week. Bill is not very happy with the result.

I was too young to see the original series. It only ran for four years and so all I was able to see were reruns which started in 1962 - 1968. It along with Walt Disney's "World of Color" - and the animated features, of course - were what captured my imagination.

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Magic in 2012

I'm heading back to the Magic in 2012.

My first Disney cruise was aboard the Disney Magic.

In 2012, Disney is repositioning the Magic to New York City. That is where we will be boarding the Disney Magic and then heading up along the eastern seaboard with two stops in Canada on a 5-day cruise.


No Disney Vacation

Yeah, that’s right.  I’m guessing there won’t be a Disney vacation this year.  I was just there in Waltwalking December and already I’m having “withdrawals”, but I’m thinking it’s time to take a break from the Happiest Place on Earth.  There will be some construction happening at the Magic Kingdom, and rather than go and find that something is closed or being refurbished, I’m thinking this year will be a time for a little bit of a change.

I still have my driving tour of the Southwest I’d like to take. The plan is to fly out to Arizona, get a rental car, and take four to five days to drive from AZ to CO and then to fly home.  It’s basically an “Adventure By Disney” vacation only instead of staying in one and two star hotels and being guided by Disney travel specialists/cast members, I’ll be hitting the Motel Sixes and Holiday Inn’s along the way, finding local attractions by myself, and just enjoying the freedom of the open road.

If I decide to do it, I can add AZ, NM, UT, and CO to the states in which I’ve already travelled:

·         WV, VA, PA, NY, NJ, DE, CT, MA, NH, VT, ME when I was in college (1976-1980)

·         NC, SC, GA, AL, KY, TN, MS, AR, TX, MI, IL, MO, OK when I was in seminary (1985-1989)

·         OH, FL, NV, CA after seminary (1990-2008)

With those four this summer, I’d be well on my way to visiting ALL of the United States.

The American Southwest is one of those areas that I’ve longed to see but have just never taken the time to go and enjoy.  I’ve flown OVER the Grand Canyon on two trips to California, but have never stood on the edge of the Canyon to witness its awe and grandeur first hand.  I’ve never seen the desert in spring. I’ve never seen the expanse that was the Wild West at one point.  I once had a small taste of spring in the West. When I was at Dallas Seminary, on my first spring there I friends drove me out to some of the surrounding areas of the Dallas/Ft. Worth areas. I remember cresting a hill on one of the Texas interstate highways and having to catch my breath.  In front of me for as far as the eye could see, there were vast areas of bluebells which made it appear as though there was a sky blue sea in the distance.  I was so impressed with the colors and the extraordinary beauty of those wide open spaces that I have never been able to forget that image. So I’m thinking I’ll take the spring to zig-zag my way from AZ to CO.

In the fall, my sister and I have thought about driving to Niagara Falls to take in both the fall foliage as well as to see the Falls. The last time I saw the Falls were a few months after my dad died.  Trying to recover from losing him, and dealing with the rejection I had encountered from my home church, I took the time to drive up to Niagara and find my way around – just to try and put some of the pieces of life back together.  Driving there with my sis and seeing the beauty of a fall in the North would be a nice change of pace.

So, yes --- I do go to places other than to Walt Disney World.  I’m fully aware that there are destinations other than Main Street, USA or EPCOT.  I realize there are places other to fly to than Orlando, FL.  I am aware of places without castles, and characters, and manicured topiaries.  This spring, I hope to see wide open spaces of such splendid beauty that my eyes will ache from the glorious goodness of purple mountain majesties and the promise of fruited plain abundance.  I hope to look up into night skies painted with the twinkling diamond dust of millions of stars.  I will look into the depths of water-hewn canyons and marvel at the colors of sand and rock revealed only by thousands of years of sculpting by water and wind.

Fireworks at Disneyland

My favorite Disney travel person, Tina, sent me a link to the fireworks at Disneyland this year. I've seen the regular fireworks numerous times at Disneyland as well as the Magic Kingdom, but the only "special" firework presentations I've seen have been at Halloween and Christmas at the Magic Kingdom. In celebration of our nation's birth, fireworks, fireworks, and more fireworks -- as only Disney can do them.

Listen carefully to the beginning of the video, just as the first fireworks begin, and listen to the conversation from two kids as the "wishing star" firework shoots across the Castle. Very funny...

(NOTE: The audio isn't very good; if you have a base setting or knob for your speakers, you might want to increase that to reduce the high tones to the audio...)