Monday, March 02, 2009

How to save $200.00

Answer: Don't go to EPCOT! We were in the area and the glossy propaganda stated that the quietest time to visit Experimental Project - City of Tomorrow - acronymically EPCOT - is after Presidents Day and before Spring Break. Marian had visited once before, about 25 years ago; I had never been there, despite having lived in Orlando for five years in the eighties. We thought we had it made in the shade for a leisurely day.With a 9:00 am opening, we set off early to beat the crowds. By 9:20 am we had become part of the ten lanes of stationery vehicles in line at the parking toll booth. With no signs to show the cost, acceptable methods of payment or even indicating that five of the toll trolls were actually on the passenger side of the vehicle, confusion reigned. Thirty carbon emitting minutes later we were at the booth, quickly parted from $12.00 for a parking permit, only to immediately rejoin the traffic as it was funneled back into one lane toward the parking lot. A further ten minutes and we were under the control of a bunch of effete Jobworths, more focused on impressing the world at large by pirouetting about on their Segways, than actually getting folks parked. Oh joy.Next up, following a half-mile walk, was the bag search. Fortunately, we were bagless and skipped this little diversion, while those lucky bag-toters got to stand in line some more.Onward to the ticket office. Here, after listening through all the promotions, special offers and disclaimers we were relieved of $75.00 each, plus state tax, city tax, entertainment tax and visitor tax in exchange for our one day single attraction pass.
One final hurdle - the turnstile - an idiotic affair requiring individual
training for every punter, about half of whom had to be admitted manually since their co-ordination skills were inadequate to the gymnastic intricacies required to operate the machine.Hooray, we were finally in the Holy of Holies. Well, almost. Even though the park opens at 9:00 am, the exhibits, generally, did not open their doors until 11:00 am and anyone with the temerity to arrive before that time would jolly well have to wait around until Disney was good and ready. By 11:00 o'clock of course, every popular exhibit had a line out of its door a couple of blocks long. Stunning piece of planning! As it turned out, this hiatus provided an opportunity to evaluate said exhibits - kitchen history, advanced Wii, world fastest dodgem car and other assorted drear - all designed to delight sub-teens and nothing that we old fogies cared for. The International Village thus became our sole objective and, obediently, we joined the gathering herd waiting for the rope to be dropped opening the way to this bonanza of banality.
Arranged around a little lake, grandly titled The World Showcase Lagoon, were what purported to be representative
pastiches of about a dozen different countries and their cultures - China, Mexico, Morocco, Japan, Germany, Italy and so on. Poetic license on steroids! The realism of some presentations, the bell tower in St Marks Square, Venice for example, was such that we were almost disappointed not to find an air fan at the rear keeping it inflated. Every "country" had the same format - a snack stand with $7.00 hot-dogs, an expensive restaurant, a more expensive restaurant, a gift shop and toilets. Stylized ethnic decor, seemingly lifted straight from movies like Pinnochio or 101 Dalmations, resulted in a kind of Lilliputian surrealism wherein the sole believable element were the gifts in the Chinese gift store which were genuinely made in China.
By noon, we were back on the road pinching ourselves to confirm that we weren't dreaming. If you need further evidence, click here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Now if you had spent more time in Norway you would have left knowing you and spent time in the most important place. Aren't you glad you went?

Now on to Disney World and please tell me about it as some how my presence didn't appear there during our stint on living in Orlando.

Enjoy your travels and use the lawn chairs ;-)