Howdy there Gonzales. As the lazy days of summer wind down, life has changed again for most of us. The new school year is underway, parents’ schedules are ramping back up and school zones are alive with the chatter of excited children (in most cases, anyway) happy to see old friends and make some new ones. Please watch out for the them, as their minds are occupied with curious expectations of what a new grade or school will hold for them this year.
Last week I had just saved a group of tourists from a dead headless shark while on our family honeymoon in Florida. Never too busy for public service, guess the “S” on my chest didn't stand for stupid — or did it?
The remainder of our time in Panama City was spent just chilling out on the beach and getting ready for Disney. We had purchased a five-day package deal at the resort, including hotel and passes to all the major attractions. I'm sure many of you have been there, but if not, just think of Six Flags on buckets of steroids. With four theme parks, two water parks covering over 27,000 acres (43 sq. miles), 23,000 hotel rooms serving 52 million visitors per year, it's major!
It was a leisurely eight-hour drive to Orlando filled with laughs and plenty of junk food. We arrived late afternoon and got checked into a really nice hotel in the resort. It had a beautiful pool with a large waterfall just outside the dining room where Eloise and I would sit and have coffee in the mornings while letting the boys catch up on their sleep. Believe me when I say that five days to see Disney World is not enough. Our pace was fast and furious, but we were all having a fantastic time.
Disney, of course, spared no expense when creating these parks. The grounds and buildings are all first rate and meticulously maintained. The rides, exhibits, robotics, animations and characters are all very well done. Quite an experience.
First up; Disney's trademark, the Magic Kingdom. We caught the tram (goes almost everywhere in Disney every half hour or so) to the Polynesian village resort and took the monorail around the lake to the Magic Kingdom entrance. Once inside, you’re on Main Street where they hold the parades with all of the Disney characters, surrounded by shops and eateries. From there, onto the rides and exhibits, such as Space Mountain, an indoor roller coaster in almost total darkness except for the stars and planets on the ceiling. Those curves can be kind of tough when you don't see them coming. We saw a great 3-D cartoon (when 3-D was still in its infancy) where the seats moved and water, among other things, was sprayed in your face. Very well done, we all enjoyed it a lot and would jump whenever something was thrown at us. Rides like the Carousel of Progress, which shows the beginnings of technology up through present day, and It's a Small World were enjoyable. Then onto one of my favorites, Pirates of the Caribbean — an indoor boat ride with singing, dancing robotic pirates culminating with you getting caught between two pirate ships firing canons at each other, complete with explosions in the water leaving you somewhat damp.
Midafternoon was always time for lunch, a dip in the pool and a quick nap to get refreshed for the evenings activities. Talking to Matthew the other day, he said he really remembered the Haunted Mansion. You enter through a graveyard into a picture gallery, a tall cathedral type room where the narrator explains that this is what some of the inhabitants looked like in their mortal bodies, the lights go out and you see someone hanging in the bell tower. Next you board two seat carts and head through haunted hallways and rooms complete with singing and dancing ghosts and goblins (including a dog) in different scenes, ending with your cart facing a mirror where you see one sitting between you as the narrator explains that “a ghost will follow you home.” No evil spirits for us thanks, we've got Jesus!
Epcot is famous for its geodesic sphere which contains the Spaceship Earth ride. It takes you on a journey showcasing how advancements in communication has shaped our modern world starting with prehistoric man and dinosaurs through current space travel, highlighting how the creation of the alphabet and mathematics has gotten us to where we are, including the copying of biblical manuscripts on exotic fabrics. This is where we were introduced to hydroponic gardening, tomatoes the size of your head.
Epcot's World Showcase has multiple exhibits around a lake, highlighting different cultures from around the world, including food — not quite sure about some of those French cheeses. “Enjoy your food.”
We did make a trip into Orlando for dinner and a show at Medieval Times. Michael and Matthew were really into the medieval thing at that time, we have pictures of them, and their friends, dressed up in homemade cardboard costumes complete with helmets and swords. Our yard was a role playing haven. They got a thrill out of the show, sword fights, jousting, saving a damsel in distress and eating with our hands, we all had a blast! Exhausting but fun times.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 reads, You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. I simply can't thank God anywhere near enough for putting this family together, it has been my greatest pleasure. Thanks Lord.
Until next time, live, love and appreciate what God has done in your life, even through the tough times.
Be safe and happy,
Love you guys, Eric.