Florida – by Karin Joan

Many of you may already know that Florida is where Disney world is.

Well, technically Orlando is where Disney world is. Anyway, we are anchored in Florida, at a place called Cocoa beach. We rented a car, and yeah we went to Disney world.

There are four parks in Disney world: Epcot; Animal Kingdom; Magic Kingdom; and Hollywood Studious.

We went to Epcot first. It was really awesome. But it’s not a thrill ride park, it’s entertainment. So combined with our unofficial guide to Disney world, and Marike and my Dad’s great planning, we went on all the rides, and attended all the shows we really wanted to see with the minimum of waiting time in the lines.


So we went to Epcot on the third of July. On that morning we got up really early. I don’t know how early, but it was something like five. But it was still dark. We ate breakfast in the car, on the way to Epcot. When we got there, we climbed out of the car and headed in. I can’t remember the order of how we did things but I will tell you all I can about my favourite rides and shows.

Soarin’ was by far the best ride at Epcot, as I think my whole family will agree. What we did was (of course stand in line) and then when we got to the front the cast members (employees) would tell us where to stand to go in. There was a video intro to tell us what to do. We were going to ‘tour’ the world – we went to the great wall of China, we visited some elephants in the wild and went to some artic place, we were at Sidney, and the famous castle somewhere in India, and yeah you get the point. So what we did, was go sit on a row of seats, that was attached to this machine thing. Now the idea of this ride was that we were soarin’ through the world on a paraglider, so that is what happened.

The chairs went up, toward the big screen in front of us. We went to Paris as well.

When we were at that famous palace somewhere in India, we could smell some sort of perfume, and when we were soarin over the elephants there was a smell of freshly cut grass. (Just to let everybody know, I think it was supposed to smell like elephants but believe me, elephants stink a lot.)

Every time we were done at one place they would cleverly let something cover the whole screen and when it was gone, you were somewhere else. Like the killer whale that jumped out of the icy water, and dropped back in, just before you reach it, causing a huge splash covering the screen and next thing you know you’re in Sydney watching the boats sail out of the harbour. It was really well done – it was surprizing how real it all felt.

That was Epcot’s specialty, using technology to make you feel as if that thing was happening but actually you were just looking at a screen.

‘Sum of all thrills’ was also good. It was basically a metallic robot arm, with a thing on the end, in which two people could sit. The people inside aren’t able to see out. Before you get into that, you get to design your own ride. So you can do a twist downward, go up down and even upside down. If you look at the metallic arms moving while waiting in line, it may look as if they are moving slow and as if it can’t be a fun ride, But when you’re in there, it feels a lot different. Inside the little box on the arm, the ride you designed shows on a computer screen.

Epcot also has a world showcase. In the middle of Epcot there is this sort of lake, and all around it, there are pieces of different countries. I don’t remember what way around we went, but we did them in order. First was Mexico then Norway, Then it was China, Germany was next, then Italy. Japan, USA, Morocco, France, UK, and Canada. In each country there was a Kid-cot centre. A table where someone would sit, and sign ‘Passports’. This is the way that Disney worked out to keep the little kids busy while the adults look around the place. So you can buy a Disney passport at the entrance, (or bring your own book, which we did), and have them sign it in every country.

The Kidcot station in "China", the first place we realised that all the staff in the different "countries" actually come from their respective countries!

The Kidcot station in “China”, the first place we realised that all the staff in the different “countries” actually come from their respective countries!

There is a stamp for every country, and what makes those tables Extra cool, (and not just the tables, the whole world showcase), is, that the people working in Norway, for instance actually come from Norway. And it’s the same with all the other countries. At each place, like in Morocco and China they signed our names in their language – I don’t know how they know to spell them like that. Of course where they use the standard alphabet, they didn’t do that, because it would just be the same as always. But in China, Japan and Morocco they use different alphabets. In Morocco they wrote our name in Arabic! And in Japan, when the lady at that table asked me what my name was, and I said Karin, She said it again to make sure she heard right, and said Kalin. I repeated it again, to make sure she heard me right, and she did, she just can’t say the R. I must say, when my dad once told us that the Japanese can’t    pronounce “r”, I didn’t quite believe him, but it turns out he was perfectly correct.


In "China" ;)

In “China” 😉

Most of the people working at the showcase, were on a year trip kinda thing. They came to work at Disney World for a year, and then they’d go back home. But from all of them I liked the French guy the most. I think it was because he didn’t go all, ‘Wow you’re living on a boat!’ When Franci told him that, to fill in silent space as he was signing the books. I think that is because it’s more part of the French culture to just go sailing. Plus he said he knew a few people coming from Africa, who work at Animal Kingdom, Because there they have a bunch of animals,(including some exotic animals from Africa!) And that he was trying to learn Afrikaans with them. We never met any of them, but hey! the idea was nice, to think that there were Afrikaans people somewhere there. We did meet a lady from Botswana. So yeah, I liked him the most. (The French guy).

We went to go watch the American show. It was a really patriotic show, My mom fell asleep during the show, and I almost did. But it was interesting and the music was pretty. I wouldn’t recommend it for any non American, maybe a Canadian would like it too.


Well There were other rides as well, Oh and Turtle Talk with Crush (From Finding Nemo). There’s an actual live person behind the screen where we can’t see him, doing his voice. Apparently that person went to some college where he studied to mimic voices, so that they don’t need the actual person who did Crush’s voice for the movie. It was cool. He would ask random people in the audience questions. Well to be specific, he would ask random children in the audience questions. It really looked and felt as if the animated Turtle on the wall was interacting with the audience.


Donald Duck at Disney World EPCOT

Donald Duck at Disney World EPCOT

We met Donald Duck in Mexico, and got his autograph. He was standing outside, and even though he was standing in the shade, I really pitied him. It’s really hot here in Florida. Of course he would go off shift every now and then, then another person would put on the suit, and pose. No one would ever notice the difference, since they don’t speak, on account of not being able to mimic the voices of the characters. I also saw two Pluto’s around with large lines of people waiting in line to get their pictures taken. Oh and in China, we also saw a Mulan, Who I personally think has it better than Donald and Pluto, because she didn’t have to wear a suit, only the fancy dress Mulan wears in the beginning of the first movie, to “get her match”. And her hair is done up in a bun on her head, which is very practical in this heat.


dsc_0041We also did Agent P’s showcase adventure. If you know Phineas and Ferb, then you should know that they have a pet Platipus who is actually a secret agent, who’s nemesis is Doofinsmurchs. Well in this thing, you go to the Agent P stall to sign up – they give you clearance to a page on your phone, where Major Monogram will give you, Agent (Insert initial) a mission. We were agent Z.

(Insert from Marike: The photo is of us all crowding around trying to see the little clips of Major Monogram telling us our next step in a mission.)

There is a new mission in every showcase, except Norway, where they have a big Frozen ride. It’s to get the kids to want to look at the showcase with the adults. Frankly we just did it because it was fun, Our parents would never need to do one of those things to make us want to explore places like that.

To tell the truth, we just stopped briefly in Japan, Morocco, UK, and France. Oh and Canada, because we didn’t have time, and we still wanted to ride ‘Sum of all thrills’ before the firework display in the evening. I didn’t mind skipping Canada and UK, although they looked very interesting. UK even had a mini Big Ben. France had a mini Eifel tower, and we didn’t even notice that until afterward when we saw it on a picture. But Morocco looked very interesting. Japan, well I didn’t mind too much, but I still wanted to see it. I can see why some people buy yearly passes.


Oh and I forgot to mention, There was a meet and greet for Baymax! The line was too long, but I took a picture or two with my phone. Not very good pictures but pictures.

This photo was taken by Franci.

This photo was taken by Franci.

There were a bunch of other rides as well, mostly shows, and they were all cool.

I’ll do the other parks in a future blog . . .


But I’m not going to mention all of them now, because it would take to long, let me move on to animal Kingdom, which we did next.


We did animal Kingdom next, but we did a break day between the two days. otherwise we never would have made it. Animal Kingdom is my favourite Disney park, due to the animals.


dsc_0146They had two hippos, but we saw only one of them in the cage. It was a smartly designed one, Like otter cages. You can see under the water and above. Due to the extra big glass wall. Anyway, that was how it was, and of course the water was super filtered o that you could actually see the hippo in the water. The Hippo was in the water, completely submerged. From above you couldn’t even tell what was supposed to be in the cage. But under the water, the hippo was standing with it’s hind legs on the bottom, but resting his head on a big rock, so that his front legs don’t touch the bottom. It was very interesting. The woman outside the cage, ready to answer any questions any tourist might ask her, told us that they do have three hippos but the other two were out on the safari, and that this was the only hippo that slept like this. Every now and then the hippo would lift his head to breath, then he would rest it back on the rock.



How many animals can you spot?

The big emblem of animal kingdom is a huge tree. Of course it is probably fake. But it’s really pretty. If you look closely at the trunk of the tree, you’ll see a bunch of animals. As if carved into the tree. Fake or no, the tree is a wonderful work of art, that came out amazing. Every time you look at it you find a different animal, you haven’t spotted before. Inside of the tree there is actually a theatre for a show. Called “A bug’s life.” You know the movie ‘A bug’s life’? well the show is basically the main character in the movie putting up a bug awareness show, for the humans, so that we watch out for them more. It was quite entertaining.



One reason I like Animal kingdom the most of all the parks is because of the moisturizing fans they sell. We didn’t buy any. But all over they would sell them to tourists. And they would keep them cool, in huge containers full of ice. I think the main reason they sell more of these fans here, is because very little of this park is actually inside. Most of it is outside, and there is nearly no air conditioning. Way different from Epcot. Anyway, the ice, which we got from ice containers, kept us cool and hydrated through the whole thing, which was really refreshing.


Here we could sign up to be Wilderness Explorers. All over the park, there are random places where you can earn badges\stickers to put in your book, it was quite fun. We only used one book, although we all took one at first. Its just way easier to have only one book for everyone to share than each to do our own. It was very fun.

Oh, there was a Splash Ride. That was very fun. I don’t quite remember what it was called but it was fun anyhow. Basically it’s, everybody gets into this round thing, which twists and turns randomly in this picturesque river. In the Unofficial guide, they said some people got really wet, and some people didn’t get wet at all. Now Franci and I were the two that got really wet. We got absolutely soaked. Franci had wrapped her Camera bag and part of my back pack in her yellow water proof thing. –Each of us got one especially for the Disney parks— So her camera bag didn’t get wet, and my bag didn’t get as wet as it could have gotten.

(Random insert from Marike – the ride was caller “Kali River Rapids”.)


Before plash



During splash


Post splash

There was a big Jungle book show that night. The dancing was pretty amazing,


Well I have run out of things to say, but I will now proceed to tell you about meet and greets we saw and met there.

I don’t think we met that many, but the most popular were by far, King Loui and Ballo from the animated jungle book. We met Micky and Minnie mouse. Oh Marike and I met Raffikie, The monkey from lion king. We all met the Chipmunks (Chip & Dale)… Yeah animal kingdom wasn’t that big on the meet and greets, but Hollywood studious had a lot!


“Micky” and “Minnie” signing our books 😉



This is the end of this post.



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