Vacation in Orlando, FL

You can click on any of the thumbnail pictures below to actually see the large picture.

From Mar 21st until Mar 25th, we went on vacation to Orlando, FL. The city of themeparks it seems, with the 4 Walt Disney World themeparks, 3 Walt Disney World waterparks, 2 Universal Studios themeparks, and a bunch of smaller ones. We decided to go to Epcot first and foremost because, well, we wanted to :-) In the end, we ended up going to Epcot two days, spent a third day in Downtown Disney, and took it easy the rest of the time.

[Kathy and Saffron at Epcot]
[Spaceship Earth at Epcot] [Spaceship Earth at Epcot (night view)]

So you can bet on it that we'll be going back to Orlando, FL sometime in the future for some other parks...

The first attraction (or ride if you prefer that terminology) is spaceship Earth and it describes the evolution of communication. The pictures showing the kind of silvery white sphere, well, that's spaceship Earth.

[Robot at the Communications Dream Forum]

Next we visited the innoventions exhibits, where lots of cool gadgets were shown like a fairly common looking futuristic house with lots of online equipment and a shower/jacuzzi combination with CD player and television. Quite amazing. Anyhow, the picture above shows the robot at the entrance of the Communications Dream Forum.

[Western corner of the World Showcase at Epcot] [Left side of the World Showcase at Epcot] [Middle of the World Showcase at Epcot] [Right side of the World Showcase at Epcot]

One of the very interesting parts of Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL is the world showcase, where a bunch of countries show examples of their architectural, culinary and cultural highlights. We visited most of them, though only a few in detail. The countries that are part of the world showcase are (from west to east): Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. We didn't take pictures in Mexico, Italy and Morocco.

[Look across the lake to future world]

All the countries in the world showcase are located around an ocean... Well, more like a small sea... Or more accurately, it's perhaps better described as a lake. A small one. But it still looks nice when you look from one end to the other.

We did visit Mexico, and took the ride on El Rio del Tiempo, yet I didn't take any pictures. The great Inca temple within the pavilion was worth a very nice picture, but it was way too dark (and too far away to use a flash) to take a picture of it.

[Bow of a Norwegian drakkar]

Our visit to Norway was very nice. Sailing in a drakkar on the Maelstrom was entertaining and educational at the same time. Too bad we couldn't make a quick stop to have a chat with the trolls, but oh well... Outside the pavilion for Norway, a life size drakkar was on display. The picture above shows the bow of the drakkar.

We bought some Norwegian marzipan and enjoyed it tremendously, but I do have to say that I like Belgian marzipan more :-)

[Main entrance to China]

Our visit to China was rather brief, and we didn't actually check out more than the entrance. Main reason was the late hour in the day (first day at Epcot), but partly also because we were pretty tired and not really interested in just looking around a bit. I did enjoy the excellent architecture though!

We stayed for the Illuminations 2000: Reflections of Earth sound and light show on Wednesday, and it was a marvelous piece of expressive art. Disney and GE definitely out did themselves on this spectacle. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the show, taking pictures was pretty much impossible. Which is a real shame because there are really no words to describe it.
It's a must-see!

On Thursday we went to Downtown Disney, but I chose to put the pictures for that after the ones from our second Epcot visit, because it looks nicer to present the entire world showcase without interruption.

Two days after our first visit to Epcot, we came back to see the rest of the park. The pictures are shown in reverse, to continue the description of the world showcase from west to east.

[Kathy in Germany] [View of Germany]

In Germany, we took a look at the architecture and smelled the typical culinary smells that are associated with this country. Kathy sends her regards from Germany!

[Japanese pagoda]
[Japanese monument] [View of Japan] [Japanese garden]

Japan always had a special meaning to me, partly due to me being a big fan of James Clavell's Shogun, and partly because I spend quite some time in Japan during my first job. The architecture is marvelous I think, especially the Japanese garden.

[View of France] [Street in France] [French garden]

The country of wine and the finest culinary art in the world, I think! France! The typical streets of France, a small replica of the Eiffel tower, and cute little shops were a welcome sight (especially since due to INS delays I haven't been able to visit Belgium for more than 2 years now).

Also please note the beautiful garden!

[View of the United Kingdom] [Hedge art in the United Kingdom]

The United Kingdom has such a special air surrounding it. The smell of lagers and dark beer, folk songs floating into our direction from the various pubs. In all a very enjoyable experience and fond memories from multiple trips I made to the United Kingdom myself. Here we also found Pooh as a plush bean bag, with its original looks rather than the Disney version itself.

And again, a wonderful example of the hedge art you find all over Walt Disney World. The umbrella is definitely a symbol for the United Kingdom.

[View of Canada]

Last but not least, the first country we visited on our second day at Epcot: Canada. Again, a very nice picture of scenery you'd find often in Canada.

[The astronomer and his adventurers] [Note the rather interesting vehicle] [An adventurer as angel]

Throughout the park, various performances could be attended, like the Aviators shown above. It's an astronomer and his three winged, nomadic adventurers who can instantly transform into butterflies, angles or villians.

On Thursday we went to Downtown Disney to do some shopping, but we rather ended up admiring the impressive works of art found there, made of LEGO blocks. But first...

[Planet Hollywood] [The Rainforest Cafe]

Lunch! At Planet Hollywood. Later on we walked by the Rainforest Cafe, wondering whether those parrots ever get tired of screaming their heads off.

[Kathy and Saffron in Downtown Disney]
[LEGO Sea serpent] [LEGO dragons] [LEGO UFO with an alien dog] [LEGO tourist taking a picture of an alien and her kids] [LEGO kids sitting near the LEGO store] [LEGO tourist (snoring)]

We couldn't resist taking a picture of Kathy in front of the cute red dinosaur. The little cap on the dragon and its cloak-like garment really make it look like a mommy dinosaur, especially with the little green dinosaur on its back.

The next picture shows the rest of the dinosaur family, obviously being very excited at visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando! Then again, all the people at Downtown Disney were at least equally excited about seeing the dinosaurs.

Of course, not just dinosaurs visit Walt Disney World! One can't leave out the Martians! And to our fortune, some were visiting just when we were there. So I took a picture of the UFO with the green alien dog. I wasn't the only one who felt like taking pictures of the alien family, and so I took a picture of the lady who put her stroller aside for a moment to take a picture of the alien mother with her daughter and her baby.

Finally, the son and daughter of the lady who was taking a picture of the aliens decided that they might as well take it easy while their mother was busy, and sat down next to the LEGO store. Their father took a more comfortable position on a bench, snoring an entire forest to toothpicks.

The family I just described was of course also done completely in LEGO blocks. A pure work of art.

[Saffron the Hell Hound]

Finally, an as yet unknown inner being came to the surface in Saffron. With blazing eyes and jaws spread wide, she appeared quite different from the puppyish, sweet and loving golden retriever I used to know.

Will she ever be the same...?

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Last modified: Mar 27th, 2000
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