Monday, 22 April 2013

Orlando Part II, The Village People

Craig Writes
19/04/13. Epcot rocks.  It is the International Flower and Garden Festival through till May 9 and the place looks spectacular. No one does "theme" better than Disney.

The colour was everywhere
An English Tea Garden
A hundred different characters hedged, topiaried and coloured to perfection. From Snow White to Tow Mater, they all looked fantastic. 

Tow Mater hedging his bets.
One day that'll be our two little monsters heading off to Uni
So clever
The rides were brilliant. Spaceship Earth was narrated by Judy Dench and was a remarkable journey through time exploring the history of communication from the Stone Age to the computer age. Educational and so well done.  Gary Sinise from CSI New York was our Commander on, Mission Space. A G force ride to Mars where I got to play the pivotal role of Pilot and Callum the all important Navigator.  Christina and Charlie were on  a separate mission that got cancelled due to some "heart problems" with a couple of crew members.
Next was Test Track. You design your own car and then put it through it's paces. Christina and Callum designed theirs and Charlie and I were our own team. We'll stick to being professional travellers because our car came last. There was an amazing hang gliding experience called Soarin' and a chest beating, heart rousing trip through the history of America called, The American Adventure. The audio-automatronics are scarily real. You don't have to squint or look sideways to believe that it is Mark Twain or Thomas Jefferson having a little fire side chat with you. During the show they mentioned a John Steinbeck quote,  "We can stand anything God and Nature can throw at us save plenty. To destroy a nation give it too much and it will be on it's knees, miserable, greedy and weak". It may well be time to invoke the spirit of Michael Jackson and, "look at the man in the mirror".

We only made it half way around World Showcase. An Expo featuring exhibits and samples of architecture, culture, history and foods from Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, Canada and the UK. We managed some Mexican Tacos, some Chinese Pork buns and Curry Chicken parcels but the Bratwurst and Sauerkraut  in Germany was the end of us.It's a big world out there.

Funds were running low so Charlie did some busking
He did well so we all got a Bratwurst in a bun
Come on people. Seriously! This Funnel Cake with ice cream is a single serve.
Highlight was the Village People, they played a half hour gig at the end of the day, 5.30 to 6pm. The group still has three original members, construction guy, Indian guy and army guy. The lead singer, cop guy sounded just like the original , Victor Willis. It was a hoot. We got a lesson from construction guy how to do YMCA properly. Great day.

The moves maybe a little creaky but the sound was there. Good times.
20/04/13, It started out as a nice quiet day around home but come the afternoon we decided to get out. The Titanic museum and tour is five minutes down the road but the boys have dug in so we're on our own. Their loss, it was fantastic. Our guide was a brilliant actress playing the author and Titanic survivor Helen Churchill Candee.  Dressed in period costume, she was witty and clever, giving snippets of detail I for one had never heard. Very impressive.
Worth a look

The Titanic was built by the Irish ship builders, Harland and Wolfe for the British shipping liner company White Star Lines and paid for by wealthy American industrialist JP Morgan. It would appear that a sizeable amount of the blame for many of the deaths on this ill fated voyage can be laid at the feet of one man. White Star Lines Chairman, J Bruce Ismay. It was his penny pinching decision to have the 16 watertight compartments that were to make her unsinkable, only go half way up the ship and consequently making her  "unsinkableish". Water could now simply fill up one section then just keep flowing over to the next section until, well, until she sunk. The ship was also designed to have had 64 lifeboats each with a capacity of 74 people, more than enough for every person on board should they ever be needed.  But he didn't like the thought of all those ugly boats hanging around on deck. The legal requirement at the time was only for sixteen lifeboats so that was all he ordered. It was only due to the cajoling from the ships architect that he managed to convince him to raise it to 20. But that would never be enough. Of course when the time came, Mr J Bruce Ismay  made sure  there was enough room for him.

The ship now lies 453 miles south east from Newfoundland in 2.5 miles of icey water. There are over 100 artifacts recovered from the ship on display including an uncorked bottle of Champagne, the Captains wheel, jammed into the starboard setting by the First Mate, a deck chair, crockery, a First Class porthole and a two and a half tonne section of the hull. The rivet holes are pulled progressively out of shape the closer it got to the section where the ship tore itself apart.  

I was mesmerized by each individual piece on display. The gaiety of those first four days was in every piece, wrapped in the horror and the tragedy that ended it all. This 46,000 tonne floating palace was the epitome of luxury and opulence. No expense was spared in Staterooms, Ballrooms or cafes.  The food, the beverage and the service were all top shelf and the passengers were making the most of their well spent dollar. Then, at 11.40pm on 14 April 1912 as she tore into the side of that massive block of ice, that all turned to sheer terror. Over the next two and a half hours it would become apparent to all that rank and privilege would not divide nor save them.  Both millionaires and boilermakers were going to die in a cruel and horrible way.  Many had not only their own inevitable death to suffer but had to endure the utter despair of  waving goodbye to their wife's and their children as they were lowered hopefully to safety. They could only watch on, stretching at their starched collars and pulling their coats tighter against the freezing air, knowing that in a matter of moments they are about to slide down the polished oak decks of the promenade, likely breaking bones and ripping flesh before tumbling into the icey waters of the North Atlantic and sinking below the black still waters.

They recovered several of the 6000 tonnes of coal to be used to propel the Titanic across the ocean surface. It is the only commercial artifact from the bottom of the ocean you can buy. A tiny chip of coal set in a little piece of moulded plastic. How could I say no.

21/04/13 Well it was a grey rainy crappy day today but being the good Aussie storm troopers that we are we took off to Disney Hollywood Studios. I'm running out of superlatives to describe these places. Once again there were the old favourites, Aerosmiths Rockin' Roller Coaster, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and The Studios Back lot Tour. Always good for a bit of a thrill.  Something new was the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. 
Been in one Tower of Terror , you've been in them all
Lots of fun
That was a lot of fun. A non stop fourty minute bang, boom, kapow stunt show with a bit of a difference. They stopped the show at various points and explain what they're doing, how and why, so it's really interesting as well as a heap of fun. There were plenty of turkey legs around but they've lost their sex appeal for now so it was Sloppy Joes and toasted Tuscan rolls for lunch. Whats a Sloppy Joe you ask? Get a big scoop or two of meaty bolognese sauce and throw it in a bun. That's it. 

This ones been photo shopped. Let me tell you, it doesn't look like this!
It looks like you've been in a food fight by the time your finished and your stomachs going to be asking you some questions, but hey, you have to do things at least once.  
There is a must see display on the Walt Disney story. What a remarkable visionary. Him and his brother Ron and a little mouse have built an incredible empire and you can see the desk he sat at where it all started. Another good day.

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