Podcast 0045: Our Spring Break Adventure Concludes
This month on Dispodopolis, Fiona and I finish our discussion about our latest trip to Florida during our Spring Break. As the policies are continually changing at Walt Disney World, this looks like we may be finally turning the corner to travel normalcy, and soon they will list these covid restrictions. As of today, you can walk outside without a mask at Walt Disney World and only need a mask inside or in line. As for our trip, we look back out the three other parks at Walt Disney World that we visited and how we navigated the changing rules and regulations. We start with Hollywood Studios, then on to Animal Kingdom, and we end with Epcot. It was a great experience that never disappoints because we always try to keep our expectations in check.
Our visit to Hollywood Studios started with setting the alarm for the 7:00 am, the first release of the Rise of the Resistance ride reservation. I have this down to an art and hitting the bar right at seven and streaming through three screens without even reading it or even noticing what has happened. I didn't even know if I had a return group until I exited the area and went back to the main page to see my reservations. Boom, boom, and boom, and we had a reservation. Now they always estimate a return time, and we received an estimate of 11:45 am. The park wasn't opening until 10:00 am, so I went back to sleep. We arose later in the morning and got ready to go. When the park opened at 10:00 am, the call-back numbers flew by, and they called our number around 10:45 am. We weren't there at the park, but they are flexible with return times since you have no control of when your number is being called or what group you have been assigned. We were able to get on the ride around noon with no issue.
This trip to Hollywood Studios was the day that Fiona Disney bounded as Beaker. This bound was probably her favorite outfit of the trip, and she had a lot of fun with it. We were able to get some great pictures before tragedy struck. Now to be entirely fair, tragedy is easy in Fiona's life. When we rode on the Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway, the tornado room took us as a surprise, and Fiona's headband blew off her head and somewhere into the room. We alerted a cast member right away, but it is nearly impossible to retrieve your item back the same day. They have a very intricate system that is all on the computer. The cast members in the park no longer handle the day-to-day lost and found situation. We filed our report immediately and checked back at Customer Service before we left to appease Fiona.
Fiona had started a conversation with a cast member in one of the stores on Hollywood Boulevard. She explained how she had lost her headband and that we were in the store looking for something to replace it. We couldn't find anything that fit the bill and exited the store. As we were sitting on the bench and planning our next move, the cast member came running out of the store holding a blue headband. She apologized to Fiona that they didn't have anything to replace her headband but wondered if a blue flaming Hades headband inspired by the movie "Hercules" would work. Fiona was grateful for the kindness of the cast member.
We knew there was no way we would see this item again that day. A week later, we received an email letting us know that they had not found it and had closed the case. But a miracle happened three weeks later, and they let us know they had located our item and that they would be sending it back to us. Thank goodness. That took an item off my list. I was going to have to make Fiona a new one.
We were able to get reservations at the 50s Prime Time Cafe. This is one of our favorite places to dine. The chicken dinner plate can feed two people. It is so much food, but it is good hot comfort food. The only thing we were disappointed in was that the chicken pot pies are not back on the menu yet. The chicken pot pie can is not available because of the preparation process and how it didn't fall within the guidelines of the covid restrictions. But Fiona ran into another kind cast member that was saddened by her headband story and tried to cheer her up by placing a glowing ice cube in her drink. We all really appreciated his kindness and the excellent food and excellent service. It is never a disappointment when we dine here.
The last thing we checked out at the parks was the new product line created by Jerrod Maruyama. You can check up the immense depth of his work on dribble. He created a fun collection of decor pieces for the kitchen and office. They are display items and bowls to be used in the kitchen. We loved the fun and fancy-free feel of these pieces. It is a part of his Kingdom of Cute. Our two favorite pieces are the Dumbo and teacup floral displays. Many stores in the parks are still closed, and we only saw Maruyama's items in the stores on Hollywood Boulevard; and we're hoping that this will be changing soon with all the new updates in the parks. Also, we aren't sure how full this park can get. On the days that we attended Hollywood Studios, it seemed about as full as it could get. Most walkways were crowded, and lines ran up and down them. Hoping with the opening of capacities on the rides, this will clear out some of these lines.
Our next day was at the Animal Kingdom, and it was a nice slow day for us. We didn't ride everything, but we did walk around and enjoy the park. There is so much to see on the Discovery Island Trails, Maharajah Jungle Trek, and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. We traveled through the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail on this visit. We hadn't been through here in a while, but it is well worth the trip to see the juvenile gorillas that are quickly growing up. Make sure you stop here on your next trip. They are so curious and so loving to watch with their family. And don't forget to stop in and see the naked mole rats that live in one of the buildings along the trail. The kids love the nod to Kim Possible.
On this day, Fiona was dressed up as Dumbo and tried to find as many references to elephants as she could. She made sure to stop and take pictures with each one. We didn't see many elephants on our trek through the Kilimanjaro Safari, but we did find little trinkets throughout the park with which Fiona could take pictures. She has worn this outfit in the past, and this outfit is probably the most well-adapted version for hot spring days. This time there was a fun addition to the bounding outfit. Cousin Ryan had sent Fiona a Timothy the mouse handbag that completed the outfit.
In this park, we saw a lot of references to the new animated feature, Raya. We were excited to see Raya's influence at the Animation Experience at Rafiki's Planet; they were teaching how to draw the many new animal characters from the movie. When we visited, they taught us how to draw "Dyan" one of the Angus characters that a catfish and a monkey inspired. Adia, my middle child, wasn't too excited until she found out that the character is a female. None of the characters in the movie are animals that exist, but they are all inspired by animals from the Southern Pacific Asian region.
Two fun treats that we tried at Animal Kingdom also centered around the release of "Raya." They had a Baby Tuk Tuk Ice Cream Sundae that is described as a "yummy sundae build for speed. Chai spiced caramel cake, chai caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, green tea cake crumbs, salted caramel crispy pearls, and edible image of Baby Tuk Tuk." It sold for $6.99 and was scrumptious. If you enjoy Asian-influenced deserts, green tea ice cream, and spices, you are sure to enjoy this sundae. The caramel ties the spicy chai taste altogether. The sundae was available at the Dino-Bite Snacks, attached to the front of the counter restaurant, Restaurantosaurus. The other dessert was much more designed for a sweet tooth and visually designed to tempt a younger crowd. The Mighty Mist Soft-Serve Ice Cream is described as a "strawberry and vanilla soft-serve ice cream with a blue-tinted, white chocolate-dipped waffle cone rolled in sparkling sugar." It sold for $5.49 and was thoroughly enjoyed by the children in our family. It reminds one of the vast sparkling unicorn merchandise that is currently flooding the pop-culture world. It was available at the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck by the Everest attraction.
The last park we visited on our trip was Epcot, and once again, we found ourselves attending the Flower and Garden Festival. It was a limited affair this year with lots of restrictions and distancing. They also had a much more limited amount of souvenirs and even fewer items with dates. Disney learned their lesson from last year. They still had the Spike Hide and Seek event with the best swag of any of the Hide and Seek challenges. This year they reward was two melamine plates. There were four different sets to choose from Spike the Bee, Orange Bird, Minnie Mouse, and Figment. Each was well-themed and worth collecting. The second half of the event had plastic water cups with straws that matched the plates. We were much more relaxed with our searching this year and did not find all the Spike bees. The good thing is that you can receive your prize even when you don't finish your search. It is quite a task to complete the challenge in one day.
One of the best things about this trip was witnessing the newly completed front entrance. The new fountain is up, and many flower beds surround it. The temperature in the front of the park has dramatically reduced with the removal of the metal-lined monoliths that radiated the sun's heat. Also, the flower beds held many topiaries from the brilliantly designed Disney animated feature "Fantasia." They had hippos dancing and alligators swaying. The mushrooms were circling, and the ostriches were on their toes. In the center was Mickey as the apprentice surrounded by brooms and buckets. The boards are still up in the center of Future World, but the announcement of Club Cool returning to Future World has many in our house excited about what is to come. We can't wait to have Beverly back.
This day was the day that Fiona dressed as Doctor Bunsen Honeydew. Not many people knew who she was, even with her wearing a lapel pin with the Doctor's picture. TheThe few that did were excited to see her dressed as a rare character. She was excited and kept the layered look on all day long. It was a warm day in the park. We made sure we stopped and took pictures with the Muppets' topiaries in the flower beds between England and Canada. We learned on this trip that the same actor, Dave Goelz, voices doctor Bunsen Honeydew and Figment. A few actors have voiced figment, but the most recent is Dave Goelz. Dave Goelz's most famous character is Gonzo from the Muppets. Dave Goelz is one reason Fiona wanted to Disney bound as Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at Epcot and needed to ride the attraction Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
We made a special stop in the American pavilion to experience the "Soul" exhibit installed for the movie and promote Black history month. It is a wonderful small exhibit with many pieces of note. They had sheet music and instruments from many influential artists who played jazz in many country regions. Some items displayed were Louis Armstrong's trumpet, Gene Krupa's drum sticks, and Bix Beiderbecke's Cornet. I was surprised to see the collection that they had put together. Across the hall, they still have a lovely collection of Native American art pieces worth the time to experience. The collection includes beaded items, leather clothing and shoes, and pottery. There were many representations from different areas in the country.
Our last tip for a trip to Epcot is to make sure you have a ride on a boat that takes you through the attraction Living with the Land. It never disappoints and is always a relaxing adventure through time and a fantastic greenhouse. It is an environment that they always decorate to celebrate a festival or a holiday. It is an optimistic look at the future, and quite frankly, we need more of those experiences. They had many sand drawings celebrating the Flower and Garden Festival, and there are quite a few hidden mickeys throughout the greenhouse. On this trip, we saw a lot of shrimp and surgeonfish.
Before discussing our closing conversation about our spring break excursion, we ask what Disney movie we want to watch to get excited about a new attraction to the states'? There are so many new experiences coming to the parks we can't wait to experience them. Epcot has the "Guardian of the Galaxy" and "Ratatouille" themed attractions coming. Magic Kingdom has a "Tron" experience being built. California Disney has an all-new land coming that centers on the Marvel Universe. What attraction are you excited about, and what movie do you want to re-experience to prepare yourself for this attraction? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can share on a future episode.
We would love to hear from you and your family. If you have any comments, questions, or fun and fancy-free thoughts, email us at email@example.com. Please enjoy our latest podcast, Dispodopolis.
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