Epcot Treats

Jalapeno Margarita

A few years ago my wife and I discovered the bar in Mexico called La Cava del Tequila. This didn’t used to be there and is a relatively new thing. They have a a number of margaritas on the menu as well as some appetizers. The best thing is the jalapeño margarita. It is amazing. You have to get there when they open around noon and get there just before then because the lines start forming early. It is worth the wait. Spicy, hot and sweet. The recipe is in the link above Thanks to The Hyperion Papers. Enjoy!




Rides I Miss

Epcot – Horizons

One of the rides that I miss seeing is Epcot’s Horizons. Above is a link to see a youtube video of the actual ride through. This is about all we have left of some of those things. It was one of the original Epcot rides that made it to 1998 I believe and then was torn down to make room for Mission Space. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mission Space, but there is so much nostalgia with the old Horizons ride. For those of you who never had the pleasure, it was high on animatronics showing how our future could be with space travel, and under water adventures. It started out by showing you the visions of the future in around Jules Verne’s time period, how we would all be traveling by hot air balloons and bicycle powered vehicles to robot butlers and valets in the early 20th century.They even played the Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow song from the Magic Kingdom. It moved on to early science fiction ideas from George Melee’s From the Earth to the Moon and the movie Metropolis to many of the short films from the 40’s and 50’s about home automation. Many crazy “Jetson’s” ideas about how we will be living in the future. It moved on to a giant curved screen showing a space shuttle launch and wire frame graphics of a space station. The video onscreen moved on to underwater exploration and then back to animatronic sets showing how a future city may look and inside an apartment. Then it moved on to a large orange grove in the desert using forced perspective to make it seem like some of the things were far away. This was the first time they made use of the smell of orange blossoms. Most people think it was in Soarin’ but it was Horizons that did it. You then moved on to a lab that was above ground with a woman taking to a man on a video screen that was deep under the ocean working on a submersible craft. When you came around the backside it was his view talking to her. Under him was a classroom under water where the kids were learning about seals. They were all in wetsuits and sitting around in a circle. The ride moves on to space and shows what it would look like to live and work in space, with a giant city sized space station. At the end of the ride, you got to choose from 3 different ways to return to Epcot, Space, Underwater or over the Desert. A screen would come up in front of your cart and you would do a flyover in the manner you chose. It was very 1980’s and sometimes a little cheesy, but I loved it.

Summer of 1975

Our First Trip to Florida was a drive down I-75 from Cleveland to Orlando in August of 1975. My parents loaded up the brand new 1974 Buick Lesabre with the suitcases in the trunk, and a small mattress in the backseat so that my younger brother and I could sleep most of the way. Smart, since that way we would be awake less and therefore would not utter the most annoying child phrase ever…. When will we get there? It seemed like it took forever to get there and it really did since the speed limit at that time was 55. I remember passing the time with my brother playing “I Spy” and counting VW Beetles while listening to the radio that would have to be changed every 100 miles or so. It felt like every station played “Rhinestone Cowboy” 24 hrs a day.
I was 8 years old and my brother was 5. There wasn’t much to see back then. Most of the the landscape was forest with the occasional rest stop and exit with a few gas stations and a Howard Johnsons. Mom had packed a cooler with sandwiches and chips and big thermos with Kool-Aid. We would stop at a rest stop for lunch and open the little baggies with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sit at the picnic tables. I always wanted to get moving again because I was so anxious to get to the place called “The Magic Kingdom”, but my dad needed the rest from driving, so I played with my matchbox cars on the table.
I knew about Disney things from watching “the Wonderful World of Disney” on Sunday nights. We watched it every week. I knew about the characters and the movies, Mickey, Goofy, Donald, Pluto. My grandmother had taken me to see “Peter Pan” when I was 5, (the crocodile scared the crap out of me). I loved it though! Everything I had heard about Disney World excited me. There wasn’t the information overload then as there is now. There weren’t commercials galore about Disney Cruises, The massive number of parks around the world, Disney Channel, Pixar or any of that. Most of what I knew was from the newspaper. Remember that?
I remember getting to Orlando after dark and pulling into the Contemporary Resort Hotel just under the front overhang. I remember staring out the window at the massive size of the hotel. I had never stayed in anything this big before. I was used to Holiday Inn’s and Motels. This was totally different. We checked into the hotel that night and I think I went straight to sleep. In the morning after breakfast, which was probably cereal, toast and a big glass of orange juice, I went with my dad to the lobby to get our tickets for the park. This was 1975 so there was no admission to get into the park but you needed a coupon to ride the rides. You got what was called a coupon book. Each coupon was a different color and there were A – B – C – D and E coupons and each one let you on a specific ride. You gave your coupon to the employee at the turnstile. There were about 15 tickets per booklet. We each got one booklet ( I don’t remember what they cost back then). We got our booklets and headed to the park. We took the monorail into the park and that was the greatest thing ever, so sleek and it felt like we were high in the sky> I could see everything. That first look at the park was so thrilling to me. I had seen pictures of it and saw film of it on TV, but to be there was the coolest thing. I just remember looking around with that same wonder that was on my daughters face the first time my wife and I took her. The smells of candy, popcorn and hotdogs and how pretty and clean it was! This was paradise. I fell in love with not just the rides, but the park itself. The way the flowers looked, the manicured lawns and bushes, the trees and the way everything just seemed to go so well together. I knew this was going to be my favorite place in all the world, forever!
It’s been just over 40 years since that first visit and I still get that same giddiness now that I am almost 50. It’s a place where I can feel like a kid and do kids stuff without being judged or people telling me to grow up. Our family would go to Disney almost every year when I was a kid. A few years later they added Epcot and I loved that just as much as the Magic Kingdom. I moved to Florida in 1990 to go to college and went to what was then Disney MGM (now Hollywood Studios) and in 1998 they opened Animal Kingdom. I have been coming here year after year and it never gets old. We have had annual passes and come whenever we can. It’s almost like I need to be there every so often to recharge my batteries.
So this blog site is going to act as a journal. I will share memories, links to videos I find, revues of restaurants, new rides, old rides, trips back in time, maybe a recipe or two and photos. If you love the parks as much as I do or are just curious about why a 50 year old man has had so much joy being in the place that Walt built. You can find some answers here.