Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Five Walt Disney World "Wow-Factor" Moments

For as many times as I have been inside the Walt Disney World parks (and we're talking hundreds here, folks), there are some moments that make me catch my breath in absolute wonder, every. single. time. Whether I am immersed, immediately transported, or simply awed, without fail, I can count on my reaction, and when I'm overdue for some WDW, these are the experiences I am craving most.

1. The very first circuit around Food and Wine Fest.
By the time I descend upon Epcot, I've already been up to my eyeballs in the menus, formed plans, perused photos from previous years. But that very first trip around World Showcase--I take it at a slow stroll, camera in hand, using only my senses of sight, sound, and smell--and I am simply blown away. So many tastes and textures just waiting to be explored and savored.

2. Overlooking Magic Kingdom all lit up at night from the vantage point of Astro Orbiter.
There is just something about the parks lit for night that ups the ante on the magic, as they glow and twinkle. When you factor in the perspective of being raised up above "ground level" and the distance that creates between you and the throngs of guests below, there's just this powerful rush of awe, as if the excited energy of the crowd rises all day and diffuses in the night air, creating a unique blend of thrill and peace. It's magic, quite literally, on a whole new level.

3. The "corks popping" scene in Mickey's Philharmagic.
My favorite of all the 3D shows, this one, in its entirety, is a spectacle. I feel as if I am being pulled into the movies, one by one. But it's during "Be Our Guest" that I am dazzled. I can still remember the first time I sat in that theater and the gasp of delight as the corks "whooshed" past my face. It's these little details, the ones that seem so small in concept, that combine to make me feel transported out of everyday reality and into a (sorry) whole new world.

4. The outdoor track on Test Track.
It's no secret that I love this particular attraction. I loved it in its original yellow-and-grey test dummy incarnation, and I love it in its updated "virtual reality" overhaul (even though I still miss my "moo" sign and hope that one day they will add it back in as a nod to the past, like the portrait of Owl and Toad in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but I digress). I enjoy running through the test features and the burst through the wall into the open air, but it's when we come out of the banked curves and start to accelerate into the high speed loop "grand finale" that my heart races, a grin is plastered all over my face, and I can't resist wooohoooo-ing in sheer delight as we hug the side of the building, going 65mph. Pure exhilaration.

5. The start of Soarin'.
I adore this ride. I love all the scenes. I love the special effects. I love the soundtrack. But the part that makes me wiggle in my seat with anticipation is when the lights go down and we're swooped forward-and-up, and the screen brightens to the clouds that part over the Golden Gate Bridge. Something about sequence makes me inhale sharply and then settle in for my aerial tour.

Ok, fine, if you know me at all, you know there aren't five. There are six. Because that's just how I roll.

6. Fez House.
If you've ever been in a Disney park, then you know that even on the lightest days, there's still a good number of people. Being caught up in the press of the crowd can wear on the senses. I start to feel a little overwhelmed and overstimulated. I start to long for an escape. Enter: Fez House. Tucked, unobtrusively, into a corner or the Morocco pavilion at Epcot, there is this little oasis. I slip inside and settle on one of the benches in the open-air atrium. Even though the doorways are open, the roar of the crowds are muffled here. Somehow, it's always just the right temperature. The fountain gurgles quietly on the far wall. And, most amazing (to me) of all, it's almost always empty. Even those that wander in seem to simply pass through, with little more than an occasional pause for a photo op. My favorite thing is to look up at the sky, with all the Moroccan architecture surrounding me, and feel like I couldn't be further away from where I actually am. That such a place exists, that such a degree of peace can be found, in the center of bustling theme park, never fails to floor me. Ten minutes in this mostly secluded-in-plain-sight hideaway and I am refreshed and ready to go again.

(inspired by this post)

3 with their own thoughts:

*krystyn* Wednesday, August 20, 2014 7:58:00 AM  

EPCOT is definitely on our agenda for the next trip to WDW. Ethan will love Test Track and Soarin!!

~**Dawn**~ Wednesday, August 20, 2014 8:26:00 AM  

Krystyn: Has he not been tall enough on past trips? Or just haven't spent much time in Epcot?

*krystyn* Wednesday, August 20, 2014 9:08:00 AM  

Both really. I don't know what the height requirement is on those, but he just reached 48" this summer, which seems to be the most common height requirement for anything close to a "thrill" ride, though last summer he was tall enough for Space Mountain, so he has likely been tall enough. I've just always passed up EPCOT since our 2010 visit because it's so "heavy" on adult stuff...now that he's a little older though, he does a lot better w/patience and taking turns...something for him, something for me. I'm excited to take him on Test Track - I think he'll absolutely LOVE it. Mom and I are contemplating a quick trip down in Feb - 2 days only - which is what we've done for races...so hopefully it'll work out. :)

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