BOTCON  AT  DISNEY
(griffin's 2010 BotCon report)


THURSDAY - DISNEY DAY 2


THURSDAY 24 JUNE

It was midday Thursday (in Orlando - about 2am Friday in Brisbane) when I left the Hotel room and caught the bus to the Magic Kingdom. After waiting 20 minutes for the bus, and taking about another 20 minutes to get there, I was inside by 20 to 1 (you have to have your finger scanned before they let you in).

I figured that I wouldn't have time to do anything, so decided to just do quick reconaissance instead -  so that I'd know if I'd ever want to come back, I'd know what the park was like.
After only 30 minutes there, I was about 3/4 through the park (going around in a clockwise direction from the entrance), when the camera battery died. This camera has a battery indicator on the display screen, but will show a full-battery icon right up until the last five-ten photos. How are you supposed to know before a long day out, that it hasn't got much power left? Fortunately I was close enough to the end, so decided to go back to the hotel to recharge the battery, and decide where to go next.
So after taking 40 minutes to get there, I was only in the Magic Kingdom for 40 minutes, and then spent another 40 minutes on a bus back. More time spent travelling than actually there.  But that ended up being a good thing, as it gave me time to do a quick walk through of Epcot park as well.
But that later.
First up, the pics from Magic Kingdom...


Map.
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The entrance. (had me thinking of the Dreamworld theme-park entrance back home)

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Closer, with a Mickey garden.

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The main street inside, leading up to the Castle in the distance. That is well over a couple hundred metres away, and it doesn't serve any purpose to the public, other than as a visual icon. The park staff probably uses it for their running of the park, but to the rest of us, it was an inaccessable mass in the middle of the Park.

So many people, and it was really hot.
You wouldn't want to be any of the performers doing the midday Street Parade Party, jumping around, dancing for the public... especially those in costumes...
On top of the the centre float was the Lobster dude from 'The Little Mermaid', on the left float was the candlestick fella from 'Beauty and the Beast', and there were other characters on other floats around the central ringed courtyard.

The singing and music was very infectious, and really brought home the magical atmosphere of this place, as you just wanted to join in and sing and dance too.
Fortunately, the moment passed quickly...
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I had to run off, heading off to the left side of the Map (above) and work my way around clockwise.
First up was Adventureland.

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The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, which you could go up into (can't tell if it is a real tree holding all that up there).

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Magic Carpets of Aladdin Ride.

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Pirates of the Caribbean (some sort of ride).

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Entrance to Frontierland.

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Inside Frontierland.

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Splash Mountain Log ride.

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More of the Western-themed Frontierland.

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Big Thunder Mountain Rail ride.

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Tom Sawyer Island, which is only accessable on those barges.

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Approaching Liberty Square. (An Independance-Civil War era theme)

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The Riverboat, which apparently does laps around the Tom Sawyer island.

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Fantasyland.  Very colourful and feels like you're in a cartoon.

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Carrousel ride on the left, and the Magic Castle behind the building on the right.

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Dumbo ride.

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Snow White Adventure Ride, which blends in well with the Castle behind it.

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Mrs Potts' Icecream shop.

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Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (playroom adventure).

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Mickey's Toontown Fair (just for kids).

(camera battery started flashing, so had to be economical with the remaining photos)
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Goofy kiddie coaster.

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Donald's boat (water play area)

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Looking across the Speedway to the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland.

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Space Mountain.

And then the camera died.  Fortunately I would have only taken about another five photos, of the rest of Tomorrowland and closer pics of the Castle, so at least I covered most of the park for my own future reference (and for anyone else reading this to see what they are in for, if you ever decide to holiday at Disneyworld).

So I was back at the Hotel room at about 2pm, plugged in my camera battery to recharge, and decided to walk around the Boardwalk aread next to the Hotel, to fill in about an hour so that I didn't waste it in the room watching TV or on the internet.
I also had to find this mystery ATM people were talking about, that had double the withdrawal limit of the one in the Hotel Lobby, with half the fee (saving a heap of money on all the money I had to withdraw leading up to the convention - no banks, so was limited to the $500-per-day ATM limit, and I had about $2000 to withdraw before the weekend).

Naturally, these photos weren't taken at this time while the camera was recharging, but were taken about an hour later while on the ferry to Epcot.

The first part of the Boardwalk, with some stores (convenience store, merchandise store, and the ATM).  The Dance Hall was one of the many things on the Boardwalk that didn't open up until the evening.
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The central part of the Boardwalk, with a ferry terminal and more random stores. Nothing fancy, and all pretty expensive.  The pizza shop was like AU$20 for a single topping pizza. No thanks...

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The lighthouse on the opposite side, in front of the 'Yacht Club Resort'.

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This was something that I was amazed at, and thought was pretty clever.

It looks like a pirate ship built to look like it had run aground, just as a visual prop on the beach.
But it is actually part of the pool complex behind the palmtrees.  The stern (rear) of the boat is actually its own enclosed pool (the red umbrella is for the lifeguard), and there is a stairway up the side of the mast to that platform people are standing on. In the photo below, you can see that the 'fallen mast' from the platform, is really a water slide tube, that comes out into the main pool behind the trees.

How awesome is that?  Both practical, and looks like an authentic shipwreck as well.
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So I was back at the room about an hour later, to pick up my camera and prepare to leave, when our third room-mate arrived - Foster/Fosterlager on TFW2005.
The front desk had called the room to see if it was okay to let him have a room key, because it was just Simon's name on the reservation. Lucky for him I was in the room just as he had arrived, as Simon was out for the day, while I was only there for like 10 minutes.
I waited for him to come up, to tell him a few things about the room and what Simon was doing. And to tell him about the sleeping arrangements - only 2 beds for the 3 of us, which meant someone was gonna have to cuddle up with me for the next 3 nights... nah, just kidding. We took turns on the floor, which wasn't too bad (I had the second night).

It was about 3.20pm when I got to the ferry terminal and one was just arriving for Epcot (an acronym from the words - Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) park.  It was only then, after we went past the Boardwalk and through the canal on the other side, that I realised Epcot was just on the other side of the lake to the hotel, so could walk it if necessary. (I had all those maps and just never noticed it was litereally backing up against the Hotel/Boardwalk property)

With the ferry doing a couple stops on the way (Boardwalk, Lighthouse), it was 4pm by the time I got off at Epcot.  Doing the same thing as at Magic Kingdom, I decided to just do a quick walkthrough, to take photos, and know firsthand what was there, for later.
It took me just on an hour (and it was still very hot), but this time I went counter-clockwise, because the ferry drops us off at the back entrance (bottom right of the map below) at the 'International Gateway'.

Also from the map below, you can see that Epcot has two sections - World Showcase section (several cultural themed sections), and the Future World section (all the futuristic buildings you are more likely to see advertised, including the giant 'golf ball').

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Looking across the lake, to the various themed nation exhibits. It was a bit like a World Expo and the different nation pavilions.

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Looking across to the 'United Kingdom', it would be the last stop on the way home, an hour later.

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Across the lake again, looking at 'Morocco'.

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And again...

...again...

...and one more, just to be sure...

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So, the World Safari began with France. (kids could get 'passports' that get stamped as they visit each Country)

Dispensor needed no passport, as the humans fear him too much to deny him entry to their countries...
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Morocco.

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Japan.

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From Japan, across the lake. (the giant 'golfball' in the distance)

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America.  (this one made no sense... we are already in America, and are at the park to immerse ourselves in other cultures and countries, and they do this to make sure we know what country we are still in.)

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Italy.

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Bordering Germany, was this miniature, working trainset.

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Germany.

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China.

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Inside had an exhibit of the terracotta soldiers.

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Norway.

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Mexico. (with special parking for those Incan warriors hurt in battle...)

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Onto the other half of Epcot, with the Future World part of the Park.
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Test Track ride - an extra long ride that takes you superfast, apparently.

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Mission Space. (some of these sound really interesting, I really gotta come back here one year)

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Universe of Energy ride.

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A currently unused building.

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Getting closer to the 'golfball'.

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One of the two Innovations Exhibits, that have interactive scientific displays.

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Inside.

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Still getting closer...

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Almost there... (this thing was huge)

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And underneath, where the entrance was. This interactive exhibit was called Spaceship Earth.

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A Disney Art shop. (high-end merchandise)

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The other Innovations building.

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The Seas ride, with a Finding Nemo theme.

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Outside was a few of the Nemo cast for kids to play with and have photos taken.

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One of the two monorails going past - this one had the new Tron movie featured on it, as it suited the futuristic theme.

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The Land exhibit had 2 rides inside, and a short film with characters from The Lion King.

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Imagination was the last exhibit I saw (the outside of), which sounds like a visual/optical effects interactive experiance.

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Back into the World Showcase, for the last two countries.
Canada...

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...and United Kingdom.

Dispensor has now conquered the world.
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Just as I was approaching the exit, I saw a Disney character greeting people and having photos taken.

The one, and only... Donald Duck.
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The time was just on 5pm, as I walked back out the Epcot rear-entrance, and walked back to the Hotel (which was quicker than waiting for the next ferry, and spending 30-40 minutes putting its way back).  It only took me about 20 minutes to walk it, which gave me enough time to get ready for the 6pm opening of the BotCon Store (I wanted to queue up at least 30 minutes early, as it could take a few hours in the line when the Store opened).
 

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For those interested, and for my own future reference, these are maps of the 3 other major Disneyworld parks.

Animal Kingdom (includes actual animals and rides).

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Blizzard Beach Water Park - one of two water parks, this one with a snow theme.

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Typhoon Lagoon Water Park - the other one. Both would have been very popular that week I was there, with the heatwave that part of the country was having.



griffin @ otca.com.au

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