I’ve written about that suburb of Disney called Florida once before.
And about the Disney secret that, in reality, there’s nothing magical waiting around the next corner.
Unless you consider sweaty screaming kids to be magical.
Well, I stand corrected.
I recently visited Epcot to watch my mom paint at the EyCatchers booth.
And to get a Napoleon around the corner in France—every bit as good as I remember.
Ben and Eve and I decided we should ride a couple of rides.
After we stopped by the Star Wars artist booth, of course.
I was too bashful to ask questions, so I put Ben and Eve up to accosting Brian Miller from Oktopolis.
(Why can’t I think of great names like Oktopolis?)
“When you opened your drawer full of bow ties this morning, why did you pick that one?”, asked Ben.
Brian didn’t skip a beat.
“This is my Epcats bow tie”, he said, “My wife picked it out and dared me to wear it.”
His wife is an archeologist specializing in frankincense, by the way.
And sure enough, his bright yellow bow tie was covered in pictures of cats.
And yes, he does actually have a drawer-full of bow ties.
We said goodbye to Brian and moved on to the Test Track ride.
We didn’t like each other well enough to wait the extra time in the line for groups, so we took the singles line and had a great ride in short order.
But then Eve said she’d always wanted to ride Soarin’.
So we walked over and stared at the bright red sign.
A 70 minute wait time.
For some reason, Eve looked over at a young lady nearby and asked the obvious.
“So this is a 70-minute wait?”
Then, “Would you like a magical upgrade?”
We looked at each other.
What’s a magical upgrade?
“Does it involve time shares?”, asked Ben.
“No, it’s free”, she said, “If you like, you can skip to the front of the line and ride right now!”
“Ok… sure…”, we agreed.
Stephanie proceeded to lead us out the emergency exit and into a dimly lit alley.
I used my peripheral vision to scan the area since it looked sketchy and I was pretty sure we were going to get jumped at any moment.
I didn’t gain much more confidence when Stephanie opened a door with the label “DANGER” clearly posted on it and motioned for us to enter.
“Don’t worry”, she said, “This is where we take all the VIP’s when they don’t want to mix with the rest of the crowd.”
And then she disappeared through another door and left us alone.
In a dank little hallway next to an empty dog kennel.
After a while, the door opened and another Disney employee walked by and gave us a strange look.
“We’re supposed to be here”, we said, “We think.”
Finally, Stephanie came back.
“Your ride is ready!”, she said.
And sure enough, it was all legit!
Stephanie led us through the door and directly to the ride, front and center, best seats in the house!
And I have to say, the ride truly was magical.
I wish I had recorded all of my involuntary oohs and aahs.
When Jumpy Friends makes billions, I want to have one of these theaters in my mansion.
And I’m going to hire someone to travel around the world and make new movies every week.
Better yet, I’m going to have some billionaire hire me to travel around the world and make more of these incredible Soarin’ experiences.
Even better still, I’m going to hire my billionaire self to travel around the world making these movies and then watch them in my mansion to relive the glory days.
David, you’re hired!
After the ride, we took a photo with Stephanie.
“Have you ridden Frozen yet?”, she asked.
“No”, we said.
“Would you like to?”
And she gave us special passes to go directly through the FastPass line, no waiting for a time slot.
How cool is that?
And wow, animatronics have really advanced since “It’s a Small World”.
Frozen was like living in a 3D animated film.
You really did make our visit certifiably magical!