A Journey of the Imagination

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

Today, I want to take a trip in my imagination to my favorite park at Walt Disney World. Welcome to Epcot Center! Yes, that is what I called it and will continue to call it the rest of my life!

After making Rope Drop, I am headed to Test Track! I love getting it done early when crowds are more manageable, and I can design my car without being rushed! I have been on both versions and don’t know if I really have a favorite, but this is what we have and I’m going to enjoy it on it’s own merit! After the high speed conclusion, I am headed to Spaceship Earth! To me this is the definition of a classic Disney attraction! I don’t like some of the changes, especially at the end, but at least most of the history is in tact and enjoyable.

Now to use my first Fastpass+ for Soarin’! Like many, I am hoping for an update to both the film and the theaters! Rumor of recent flyovers for filming are circling around, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Once my feet are back on the ground, it’s time to make a pass through Nemo.

Now, I know my choice for lunch can be somewhat controversial, but I love Nine Dragons! The Five-Spiced Fish is awesome, and the service we received on last visit makes it worth a second glance. And, it’s time to tour World Showcase…first stop, Norway and my second FPP on Maelstrom! Love the ride and this pavilion is beautiful!! I hope they leave the ride alone and dowse all of these Frozen rumors! They can stick Frozen someplace else!

Next stop, The American Adventure! My absolute favorite World Showcase stop! I don’t know about any of you, but I always cry at the sound of Golden Dreams! My patriotism comes out anytime I walk into this building. The Voices of Liberty and the Fife and Drum make the entire experience memorable and special!


A quick pass through Morocco to look at some of the mosaic tiling, and Japan for the drummers, then off to Canada for the O Canada movie and some Off Kilter, love this band!! A trip back to the America Gardens Theater for Starship at the Flower Power Concert, then I am headed to Garden Grill for dinner before using my final FPP for Illuminations! After the fireworks, I am going to Rose and Crown for the EPCOT Wind Down before headed back to my room at Disney’s Beach Club Resort!

Hey, If I’m using my imagination, I can do anything I want to, right?

How would your day go? I’d love to hear about it either in the comments below or by email at threestrandswdw@outlook.com.

Have a Blessed and Magical Sunday, my friends!

EPCOT: Future World Story?

Love this Logo for EPCOT!
Love this Logo for EPCOT!
On my first visit to EPCOT Center on October 3, 1982, I didn’t care about backstory, or even why it was there! I DID care that it was a dream of Walt Disney, who I had admired my entire childhood! When I first walked in, it was new! It looked new, smelled new, and acted new! Heck, some of the paint hadn’t even dried, yet. And, there were a couple of pavilions that were not even close to being to being completed! But, I loved every minute of my visit SO MUCH, that I came back six months later and 6 more times over the next three years.

Now, 30+ years later, I find myself wondering about the story. And, I ended up looking at Future World for my inspiration! That is what I share with you, today. My EPCOT: Future World Story

When you think of the original pavilions that made up Future World on opening day, or a shortly after, you can begin to develop an idea of how the story might go in the development of this fabulous Theme Park.

The first pavilion that comes to my mind is one that was NOT ready for opening day, but opened months after. The Imagination Pavilion seems to be the perfect place to begin this story! Anytime there has been creation of new technology, music, art, or any other type of never before seen anything, the Imagination is the most likely place that an idea began! The Imagination Pavilion introduced us to a character named Dreamfinder. His mission was to get us all to consider what could be done inside our minds, with just a bit of thought and creativity. In HIS imagination he shows us how he was able to put together a very lovable fellow named Figment! And, together they guided us on a tour of all the areas where the imagination can have an effect on daily living and progress.

As my story goes, once the imagination has done its job, the time to develop the technology then becomes the task at hand. Thus we have the other pavilions and their part of the story.

Spaceship Earth  EPCOT
Spaceship Earth

Communication becomes a huge part of any type of development. Today, it is quite easy to make a call, text, or even have visual discussions in different locations. But, it wasn’t always that way. As a result, the remaining pavilions give us a glimpse of how things began with a bit of a history lesson before moving through all of the evolution of communication in Spaceship Earth! This attraction takes you through the “Dawn of Recorded Time”. As the ride progresses, we get a look at how communicating has changed around the world through history making it easier to share ideas and creativity.

One of the most basic needs we had in the ‘early days’ was food. And, since most of our food was home-grown, it was necessary to develop ways to farm without damaging the land we were using. The Land pavilion housed “Listen to the Land”. A boat ride that is still used today, with some changes in its presentation (and name)! We got to see much of the techniques used to prepare, plant, and harvest the food needed to feed our families and friends. Today, there is more about conservation than ever. But, the coolest part of this ride, then and now, is the alternative planting methods on exhibit. Look for the Fluted Pumpkin the next time through!

World of Motion was one of my favorite pavilions! It began with the creation of the wheel and took us through the development of horse and buggy transportation, to automobiles, and even to aircraft! This attraction really kept you moving as you got to see images of some of the inventors who began their quest for freedom through mobility by using their imaginations, and then finding ways to take there dreams and make them realities. After all, It’s Fun To Be Free!

Horizons gave us a look at living in environments that might be considered out of this world! Well, at least some of it! This attraction looked at developing areas for population including space, underwater, and desert areas. You are introduced to Jules Verne, who is considered one of the fathers of this kind of thinking. It points out that people are an important resource when it comes to making change of this type. At the end of the ride, guests are invited to choose a scenario of living in space, at the bottom of an ocean, or in the middle of a desert. Then, through the magic of Disney, you get to see a brief vignette that allows you to see what that life might be like.

Finally, The Universe of Energy gave us a peek at some of the ways we made use of various sources to produce electricity and fuels for everyday use such as natural gas and petroleum. After the preshow, you were (still are) brought into this huge auditorium, where you load into the most unique ride vehicles I can think of at Walt Disney World, and the show continued. The movie portion really gave you an excellent look into how we use different methods to produce the fuels to produce energy. Then, the coolest thing happens…the room seems to move (rotates) and the wall disappears, and you begin your journey through prehistoric history to see where the petroleum resources originated. The coolest part of the show, if you ask me! And, the cars are solar powered! That’s right, the power of the sun is used to get these vehicles moving through the attraction! The show ends with an introduction of how scientists and technologists are working to make better use of solar, wind, and hydro power to produce the energy we need for the conveniences we take advantage of every day.

So, what is the story of Future World? In order to get the story of the future, we need to get the story of our past. The future begins with imagination and continues through development and testing! The truth is that this story isn’t finished!

Have a Blessed and Magical weekend, my friends!!

What’s The Attraction: Spaceship Earth

For today’s attraction, I decided to hop parks to take a look at the iconic Spaceship Earth at EPCOT! From many points around the property, you can see this amazing sphere towering over the park, as if to keep watch. Let’s look at some of the features of Spaceship Earth (SSE).

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

SSE opened on October 1, 1982 (I was there on October 3) with Lawrence Dobkin as the narrator of the attraction. Later, the narration was done by Walter Cronkite (MY FAV) from 1986 – 1994, Jeremy Irons from 1994-2007, and is currently hosted by Dame Judi Dench. The narration has been essentially the same the entire time, with a few tweeks to adjust for the change of generations. And, did you know that author Ray Bradbury wrote the script?

The ride inside this massive ball is an omnimover system, made popular for many years throughout Walt Disney World. It stands approximately 18 stories tall, and uses 11,324 tiles to achieve the sporting look. The sponsors of SSE have been Bell Systems, ATT, and now Siemens.

We are taken through the history of recorded time from cavemen, to Phoenicians, and into the vast array of communications abilities of today. Where will tomorrow take us? Only time will tell!

The post show area has had many changes, with he changing of sponsorship, but currently houses Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. A playground of electronics gadgets and interactive displays. In this area you can find the on board picture of you and your party, and email it to yourself and friends for memory sake.

Spaceship Earth, the icon, the history, the attraction. This ride is available on the new Fastpass+ system, but it is normally not necessary. It is a must do on all of my WDW visits!!

Have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!!


Many of us have probably heard that old Nat King Cole song! And, the remade duet with his daughter Natalie made it even more special! That seems to be an appropriate opening for this entry in the ABCs of Walt Disney World, as most visits to a Disney Theme Park is definitely UNFORGETTABLE!

How many of you remember the first time you stepped onto the ground at Walt Disney World? I know I remember! Every visit has a special memory of it’s own, doesn’t it? From the first impression of a Disney Resort to the first time you enter one of the four theme parks, you know that you are about to experience something unique to you and your family.

There is just something about that first time, each trip, when I walk up to The Magic Kingdom! I find the ability to forget the ‘real’ world and become immersed in the story unfolding before me. Life seems to roll right off my shoulders and out of my mind as I make my way under the train station to enter Main Street U.S.A.! And, from that moment on, it’s all about a different time and place!

Similar experiences await us all at the other three theme parks of Walt Disney World. And, for each person the first unforgettable memory may be different than someone else’s. And, that is what it’s all about!

My first memory of EPCOT Center, as it was known on my first visit in 1982, was the massive size of Spaceship Earth and the mix of futuristic music coming out of the speakers to put a lasting impression in my mind. To this day, I still get chills anytime I hear the EPCOT Entrance Loop on http://www.magicalmouseradio.com. I am transported back in time to my first experience here.

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a little different for me. As you approach the park by either car or bus, you get a glimpse of the Tower of Terror as it reaches above the skyline of the park to greet you! You may also have a memorable first impression as you walk through the entrance! As you enter you find yourself on Hollywood Blvd. The buildings have an early 20th century feel to them! You almost feel like a star as you walk in and are swept away by the beauty of this park!

Expedition Everest Disney's Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest
Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom almost offers two entrances! There is the initial entrance, but then there is the walk through Discovery Island on your way to Africa, Asia, or Dinoland U.S.A. The first thing you notice as you clear Discovery Island is the iconic Tree of Life! This towering piece of technology definitely makes a statement! And, of course, there’s the other ‘elephant’ in the land, Expedition Everest! The thrill ride of all thrill rides!

One thing I would suggest to help make any of your vacations UNFORGETTABLE, is to take time to stop and allow yourself to become a part of the show, even for a moment or two. As said before, Disney is IN the Details! And, if you just run from place to place without taking in some of the backstory, artwork, and design, you may miss half of the memories you could enjoy.

So, from my house to yours…make your next trip to Walt Disney World UNFORGETTABLE!!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!


I’m sure we have all heard the expression, “As different as night and day”! Well, at Walt Disney World it really is more than an expression, that’s the truth. And, the reason it is true? LIGHTING!

The structures all around Walt Disney World have unique characteristics. The attention to detail, as discussed in our January 21 post, Details (http://wp.me/s23hiG-details), just pops as you look around at the color, architecture, and perspective. But, there’s just a bit more to this detail and that is the different personality the parks, resorts, even Downtown Disney take on at night. The reason for that personality change? Lighting!

Think of Cinderella’s Castle during the day. The beautiful colors, the shape of the spires, the contract against the Florida sky and you stand there looking at it in awe of it’s beauty. Now, see it at night! The castle is just one of the examples of how lighting affects the appearance! Especially at Christmas time!

Or, Spaceship Earth at EPCOT as it changes from a giant silver, shiny ball to a multi-colored accent that is the icon of this, my favorite, park!

Spaceship Earth  EPCOT
Spaceship Earth

EPCOT at night!

Even in the resorts, lighting plays a part in the atmosphere of your surroundings. At Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, the iconic figures that adorn the property have a beautiful and impressive look to them. At night, the take on a whole different look that makes you stop and just soak it in! These pictures give you just a taste of what I mean.

Simba by Day! Art of Animation Resort
Simba by Day!
Art of Animation Resort

Simba by Night
Simba by Night

Even the building in the background looks a little different!

As you can see, lighting is as much a part of the show as the cast members. Next time you are in a park, resort, or at Downtown Disney, take a look around at how special the feel is where you are! I think you’ll know it when you feel it!

Until next time, I wish you a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!

EPCOT Visit 2013

Today took the threestrandswdw family to EPCOT! I went ahead of everyone else to have a few minutes to myself in my favorite park. Seems like yesterday when I walked into a two-day old EPCOT Center that looked new, smelled fresh, and had a unique theme that had never been done. And, while it looks a bit more worn, could use a fresh coat of paint, and maybe some updates on a few attractions, my soft spot for this Theme Park remains strong and true.

I got to take my first ride on the classic Spaceship Earth! I miss the Walter Cronkite version, and didn’t get to hear any of the other narrators prior to Miss Dench. She does a nice job, but if you’re sleepy, be careful! From there, I went over to the musical fountain and shot several minutes of video. I love how the water responds to the music, and at this time it is using Christmas music. Nice touch!

Once my family caught up, we rode Mission: Space. It’s a thrilling ride, even on the Green side of things. I love that Gary Sinise is the Capcom! He just fits the part!

Soarin’ was next on the list and it did not disappoint! I do wish they would get a film more fitting to the Florida setting, and we all know rumors are circling. But, until I see it, I won’t believe it! The technology is looking aged, but it still delivers a nice, calm thrill!

While my wife and mother-in-law went to “Livin’ With The Land” I took the kids and we did Figment at the Imagination Pavilion. Then, we met back up at “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” using FastPass+. On this day, that was a good choice for this attraction!

My son and I then hoofed back to Imagination to enjoy Captain EO. I know, it’s old and dated. But, this is only my second time seeing it, and rumor has it may be the last chance I was going to get to see it.

Finally, it was time for the other ride I had been waiting to see. We cashed in our FastPass+ at Test Track! I actually like the changes. It still does the same testing, but it is kind of a blind test. You don’t really see what’s coming, or how the car is going to respond. The road test was exhilarating! My only regret is that I ran out of time to ride it a second time!!


It was time to head to the China Pavilion in World Showcase for lunch at Nine Dragons. I know much has been said about this restaurant, but I like to judge on my own experience without the influence of others. I will be writing later with details of what we all ate, and what we thought about each dish. Suffice it to say, we will likely return on future visits.

We all went our own way for a bit of time to wander different areas of World Showcase. I still enjoy “O Canada” and Martin Short enhances the movie, in my opinion. The visuals are beautiful and the music brings tears to my eyes (and I’m not Canadian).

The highlight of the day was my first ever Candlelight Processional. Our narrator tonight was Whoopi Goldberg and I was very pleasantly surprised at her presentation of the Christmas Story as told in The Bible! As a Christian, it is important to me that this story is treated with respect and honor. And, Whoopi accomplished that task with grace and feeling. Nicely Done!!

I chose to pass on Illuminations! Reflections of Earth on this trip. It’s been hotter than expected with higher humidity that you would think to see this time of year. And, considering my home is under a foot of snow at this moment, I think I’m doing pretty good!

Tomorrow is Animal Kingdom day, so until may you have a Blessed and Magical evening!