Monday, April 30, 2007

4/28/07 - Orlando (Day 2) : EPCOT Center

Saturday was a very fun day for me and my friends as we went to the Epcot Center. Steve and I arrived there just before 11am - just in time for the opening of the World Showcase portion of the theme park. There is also a Future World portion of the park, but the World Showcase was more interesting to us, so that's where we decided to spend the day. Our friend Amber joined us a little after three in the afternoon.

When you enter the World Showcase, you feel like you're stepping into a completely different world - make that 11 different worlds! The 11 different worlds I speak of are actually countries. You get to experience shops and attractions which you would find in each country. One of the most fun parts of the whole adventure is that the cashiers at each store are native to their countries, so you could often hear them speaking in their own native language.

We visited the countries all in the order they were presented to us, starting with Mexico... We then went into Norway where we took a boat voyage through the Viking era and a film which actually takes you back into those ancient times. It was very interesting... Amongst all of the countries represented though, China was definitely one of the most interesting. The "Reflections of China" circle-vision film is a MUST SEE for anyone visiting - you'll be amazed by all of the beauty and history that they cram into a 14 minute film. I was also struck by all of the ancient Chinese traditions - particularly the "Tomb Warriors" which protect the dead so that they will be ready for the afterlife and the Chinese zodiac figures and the stories behind them...

After China, we stopped in Germany. Given that my heritage on my Dad's side is German, it's always interesting to see the traditions of my ancestors. As one would expect, beer and drinking were two of the main traditions prevalent. After passing though Germany, we hit Italy. Since I'm really into Italian food - particularly pizza and spaghetti - I looked forward to going there. We also enjoyed it in Italy because they had a free wine sampling booth!

Next there was the "American Adventure," which gives a look at American History and culture... the highlight of this attraction was a 30 minute inspirational story of America and its people... Although it was interesting, the American Adventure almost seemed a little out of place amidst the rest of the Countries since most of us already know of America's history...

After America, we visited Japan and Morocco... Although both of these countries were interesting, the ones that REALLY intested us were those that were left for the end: France, the United Kingdom and Canada...

Out of all of the countries we visited, the three of us definitely spent more time in France than anywhere else. There was a very well-done 20 minute film which celebrated the beautiful French countryside, along with several fine shops and dining places. It was also the one place in the park where I finally felt tempted to buy a few things.

After France, we ventured to the United Kingdom. We all were getting hungry by this time, so we decided to dine on some fish and chips at the "Yorkshire County Fish Shop."

Our final was our neighbor to the north - Canada. A very well done 22 minute film called "O Canada!" gave a very interesting look into the beauty, culture and history of Canada.

Late in the evening (around 7:30 pm), the "swamp smell" began to invade the park. We all decided to go back and re-visit those places we enjoyed the most in the World Showcase... the theme park closed at 9pm. We all left having had a thoroughly enjoyable experience, wishing that we could someday see all of these places ourselves. For me, France and China seemed to be the most interesting places to see... Italy and the United Kingdom were also very interesting. Perhaps one of these days I will get to go visit and see the rest of them for myself!

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