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Epcot - Florida's United Nations - a world showcase,
and don't forget the lovely flowers

© by Mike Keenan
Click for Orlando, Florida Forecast

It's crazy to try to take in an entire Disney theme park in one day, particularly when one of us (me) has a mobility problem. Thus, we have acquired a two day-pass for the Epcot Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) in our hot little hands and at Guest Services, I also acquire a "quick access pass" that excuses me from going up and down a thousand rows of people, waiting in line.

     As soon as we enter the park, I'm impressed with the grounds. Good old Disney. Neat, clean, spacious, inviting. In fact, we happily jump on several rides, one after another. First, we ride on "Ellen's Energy Adventure," hosted by Ellen Degeneris, the TV host/star. It's a great educational ride, but our grandson is too young. We are plotting a potential multi-generational trip. Nonetheless, great potential here for a few years hence.
     Next, it's "Mission SPACE." We choose the Green Team for a "milder" journey. I can't imagine what the Orange Team might experiences during their "intense" flight. Another neat ride, which sets me up for "Test Track," which my spouse wisely declines. After the raucous road ride, I conclude that auto track test drivers must be either wacko or fearless or perhaps wacless, combining the two elements.

A Remarkable Mouse  Space Ranger Topiary  Flowers Everywhere  Talking To Cinderella  US Seal  Kids In Water

     We have time to take in three countries: Mexico, Norway and China. Each is a enjoyable experience, and I enjoy talking to the young people representing those countries. We take a boat ride back across the lake towards the Epcot entrance. I sit beside 9-year-old Ryan from Nebraska, and when I ask what he likes the best, he blurts out, "Everything!" Ryan has hit the nail on the head. The flower gardens alone are worth a visit. When we arrived, we decided to finish the morning with a visit to the Canadian pavilion. Tomorrow, we return to see the rest. The 360 degree Canadian film is snazzy and MC, Martin Short, a fine choice, typifying our self-deprecating humour. Nice to see the film start off featuring where we live in Niagara. Sometimes, we take where we live for granted. This film will surely inspire folks to check out Niagara, the Bay of Fundy, Vancouver, Toronto and even the prairies.

Living With The Land Cucumbers  Living With The Land Squash  Mexico Exhibit Moroccan Fountain  One Large Epcot Golf Ball

     Day 2: In late morning, we return to Epcot to complete the country venues, however we begin with a walk through the golf ball-shaped Spaceship Earth. From there, we soar in The Land building, experiencing the beautiful scenery of California while simulating an exciting hang-gliding. Next, we climb aboard for a boat voyage through hydroponic green houses and a fish farm. (We later lunch in the same building on veggies derived from the green house. How cool is that!) Finally, we take in "The Circle of Life" that features Lion King characters who remind us of our environmental ethic.
     Next, it's like visiting the UN building in New York City as we explore The United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, The American Adventure, Italy and Germany. The UK delights us with its flower gardens and Mary Poppins and Alice of Wonderland fame. France features tasty food, and here, my wife makes a few kitchen purchases. France also features a gorgeous film as appealing as that of Canada. Makes one want to fly there toute suite. Morocco and Japan's lustre is unfortunately eclipsed by the reality of today's conflict in Africa and the Middle East, and of course, the multiple disasters in Japan.
     At The American Adventure, a great deal of time is devoted to history (the little guy in front of me fell asleep) with not enough focus on the many modern major U.S. achievements in space exploration, science, architecture, the arts and hey, what's with no mention of baseball! Yes, there is a quick pic flashed on the screen of Jackie Robinson sliding home, but that's it. C'mon, we need Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Willie Mays and yes, damn it, I continually date myself.
     Italy and Germany present beautiful European facades with their towers, sculptures and fountains, and again, I am appreciative of Epcot's beautiful flowers and layout, unfortunately for my spouse, ("just one more shot") every few steps a photo op. We enjoy the boat ride back towards the entrance. This is a park to which I can easily return.

Chinese Pavilion  Italian Exhibit   Japanese Exhibit  Norwegian Exhibit

Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review. Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine. His work is found in QMI published dailies such as the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, London Free Press, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun.

Photo Credits
Mike Keenan

If you go
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Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Walt_Disney_World/Epcot
About.com: http://travelwithkids.about.com/od/disneyworld/fr/Epcot_center.htm
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