This month on Dispodopolis, we continue our discussion of Walt Disney World during the Covid changes. This time we look at some new experiences in the parks and distance learning at the parks. We talk about some of the foods from the Festival of the Holidays and some of the fun offerings at a couple of restaurants on the Walt Disney World campus. Once again, we talk about the Animation Experience at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and present a new spontaneous show we saw at Liberty Square. We finish our discussion with a review of the attraction, Rise of the Resistance. Fiona ends her conversation with a little Walt Disney World therapy.
We begin our conversation with an introduction to virtual learning at the parks. We spent two weeks at Walt Disney World, which included a week of virtual learning. During this week, we were staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Villa. We had a lovely one-bedroom suite that was a blessing during this adventure. The kids completed their studies in the morning, and then we would head to the parks in the afternoon. We had a view over the smaller pool area and the river that connects Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The views didn’t disappoint, and we saw some fantastic sunsets.
It was a tight area for studying, but everyone had their space. My husband was in the bedroom working while the kids were at the table and the counter completing their studies. They missed two days of school while we visited Animal Kingdom one day and Hollywood Studios another. The kids enjoyed their time in the evening and their two days in the park. Since we live in Texas, school was set back by an hour and started relatively late in the day, but they had ample time to finish their studies in the evening.
Fortunately, on this trip, we were able to enjoy some new offerings in the park. One of those experiences was visiting the Sunshine Terrace in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom. You will know you are in the right place when you see the Orange bird on the swinging sign above the counter service restaurant. We tried the I Lava You Float, and it was very delightful. It is made of Dole Whip Orange with Fanta Strawberry and Red Passion Fruit Syrup topped with Popping Candy. The popping candy, which is pop rocks, was such a lovely surprise and addition. We should have purchased another one. We also tried the Orange Cream Float, which was reminiscent of a Creamsicle. There is something so refreshing about orange flavor and vanilla ice cream combined. One thing to notice is that the Citrus Swirl is currently labeled under the Dole whip name.
Another fantastic place to eat is the Geyser Point Grill and Bar. We had eaten here once before but wanted to dive into why it is a great place to sit and enjoy a meal. It is a lounge-type atmosphere that is open to the elements. They have heaters and fans to ease your comfort during the ever-changing Florida weather. The food is closely tied to bar food, but they have lovely hamburgers for the more picky eater. Even the burger on the children’s menu is big enough for an adult. They have a beautiful charcuterie board and fruit plate to share along with wings. There never seems to be enough bread presented on these boards, so we always ask for a few more crackers or slices of toasted bread.
Next is the Animation Experience at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This experience is a favorite of Fionas and our whole family. It is a wonderful opportunity for kids and their families not only to learn a new drawing skill but to learn a little more about the animals at the parks. There are preprinted lines to start your drawing. The lines cut down on a lot of unnecessary frustration and a lot of anxiety. Some of the characters are a lot easier to draw than others. The Disney villains are among the hardest to draw with their abstract lines and style. Squirt from Finding Nemo was one of the easiest to master, and all the kids did a great job creating him. Sheer Kahn is one of the hardest we have ever attempted and definitely needs a lot more practice to master.
One of the greatest surprises we had on our trip was Disney’s attempt to add some streetmosphere back to parks. We were able to catch a spontaneous show that was spotted in Liberty Square. Above the square was a show with Kermit, Fozzie, and Miss Piggy. Miss Piggy was trying to entangle Kermit by surprising him with a kiss under the mistletoe. This little plan of Miss Piggies failed, and Kermit escaped his entrapment. The show was a silent show that was beautifully mimed by the puppets. It was great to see an entertainment experience like this come back to the parks. Fiona was distraught when they canceled the Great Moments in American History with the Muppets. The show took place in the same location as the impromptu show we viewed.
Lastly, we discuss our first, second, and third experience with Rise of the Resistance. Yes, there are spoilers listed here and in the podcast. We were fortunate to have multiple experiences to really get a great understanding of the attraction. Our first experience was our best and most complete experience, with all the parts functioning well together. The line for the attraction winds around the front of the facade with cascading rocks and lush vegetation. As you head inside, you see the rock that was dug out for the base. The further you go into the mountain, the more elaborate the details and technology becomes. You see stacks of boxes and crates all around. The walls are lined with cages full of gear and weapons for the resistance fighters. The dividers turn from locked storage units to illuminated maps and guidance systems.
Then you enter the first room to become familiar with your assignment and mission. Once you exit the base, you enter into the open air again with an x-wing fighter just beyond your reach. The escape vessel is in front of you, and you enter with Admiral Ackbar as your pilot. Both sides of the craft show you lifting off from the planet, and you shake and roll as you lift off into the sky and then are caught in a tractor-beam. It is a Star Wars mission, so there will be a tractor-beam. You are pulled inside a Star Destroyer and become the prisoner of the First Order. After a brief stay on the launch bay, you are whisked into a prison cell and confronted by Kylo Ren and General Hux. From here, you start your journey on the primary ride vehicle. You will see Kylo Ren again, and you will also see Finn fighting off and a lot of Stormtroopers on your mission to escape the Star Destroyer. It is a fantastic experience and encapsulates all the incredible technology that has been developed by Disney Imagineers. I can’t recommend this ride enough.
Before we continue our discussion of the Walt Disney World changes, we discuss what foods we would like to try and enjoyed at the Festival of Holidays. We talk about the cookies in the Cookie Stroll, and the many savior items offered at the festival. We also discuss the fun and new discoveries inside the World Showcase Events Pavilion. There is really a lot to take in even with the covid restrictions placed on the event. What foods do you look forward to trying at the next Epcot festival?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please enjoy our latest podcast, Dispodopolis.
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