The Superheroes are bouncing with energy and need to practice hanging from the rungs of a ladder suspended over an imaginary crevasse as deep as a child’s dreams and as wide as the distance you can cover whilst holding your breath.
There is also some work to do in the pool that involves diving for weights and swimming a width without surfacing to be ready to save the world from the imminent attack from Hydro-Man or the evil Washout and their ilk; you just can’t be too careful with those evil guys in the vicinity.
So the oldies get to spend some time in the sun whilst all of this training takes place and, with the exception of an occasional shout for attention, all assignments are duly passed.
There follows a pasta based lunch for sustained energy and within an hour the Superheroes direct us to EPCOT where there are rumours circulating that Daisy and Donald Duck are staying whilst on holiday from their day job making cartoons.
There are numerous other characters of course and the plan is to corner them one by one with a view to ‘encouraging’ them to sign contracts that will enable them to spend some time with the Superheroes. Two books have been acquired for the sole purpose of this exercise and they have been cunningly disguised with the word Autographs on the front but we know their real ‘legal’ value. The signature is key and without it the Superheroes’ management will not allow these mere cartoon characters the privilege of having their photos taken with either SuperZak or BatHarry regardless of pleas, crying or even tantrums not even Mickey Mouse himself such is the gravitas of our Superheroes.
We park in carpark ‘Create 44’ and have it tattooed on our wrist then head fo the entrance which is not really too far by Disney standards, about 10 minutes walk. We’re in the minority that actually do commit to walking though as the road train tempts the majority and snakes them to the entrance. We smile as we’re there before them and well into the park when the next train (the one we would have caught) actually arrives and disgorges its contents.
The sun is strong today and the temperature heading for the low eighties. We’re heading for Space Ship Earth in the huge golf ball at the entrance when Daisy Duck is spotted and we’re sidetracked for the discussion regarding contracts. A quick word with her agent and “Yes”, she’s willing to sign the autograph book (ahem… err…’contract’) and she’s wanted a photograph with a Superhero for sometime and we’ve got two…result!
However, before this can take place she needs to go off site to make a phone call to Donald who is in Mexico on holiday. Now that works for us as EPCOT is actually composed of many different countries including UK, Egypt, China and surprise, surprise, Mexico; there is no wall here yet. The bonus for Donald and Daisy is that we’re intent on visiting Mexico in about an hour so both of them can have the privilege of signing the Superhero ‘autograph book’ – oops, contract and if they’re suitably attired and speak Kindly to the superhero management, it may be possible for them to have their photos taken too.
Daisy’s been gone for a few minutes and when she returns she’s slightly smaller than she was and she’s wearing a different top but she doesn’t smell of alcohol or cigarettes so a photograph is arranged.
Her manager tells us that she’d mentioned us to Donald when she’d phoned so we told her we’d be in Mexico in an hour so we’d pick it up with him then. She seems a bit uncomfortable with this but the superheroes have done all the posing they intend to do and are moving on so we wish her a good day and head for our connection on Spaceship Earth.
Spaceship Earth is a wonderful journey through time on a ride and culminates with a mini quiz that generates a short video of the two occupants of each car superimposed as cartoon characters in future lives. Excellent.
There’s always an element of training when you’re a superhero and you’re surrounded by all of this technology and today is no exception as we prepare for the ‘Orange – Highly Intensive Course” preceding our mission to Mars. As we join the other participants the tension increases as we’re warned that this is extreme and involves twisting, spinning, weightlessness and high energy travel. If we have neck, back, heart or anxiety issues then we should join the green team who will still do the trip but will not be subject to the same extreme conditions. Well we weren’t anxious until we were issued with these dire warnings. The little Superhero is asked again if he’s up for it and he nods and we pass through into an intermediate area where we’re designated roles. SuperZak is Engineer, his Mum is Pilot and I’m Navigator whilst Lewis is the Pilot of the other shuttle with BatHarry as Engineer.
We’re assembled for a couple of minutes and the pressure is increased further by more warnings about the ‘G’ forces and pregnant women should drop out right now. Anyone else with previous mentioned issues should also take the Green Route; no-one moves!
The gull-wing doors open and reveal a cockpit of dials, buttons and a lever. There’s also a screen immediately in front of each of the seats and as we take our places we’re told to pull down on the harness above us and the non-returnable ratchet clicks as it closes down on to our upper body. We’re pinned in now and SuperZak is giggling as he pushes a few random buttons. The Pilot and I are also giggling but there’s an element of nervousness with our mirth and then the doors close…
There’s a period of silence that’s more threatening than all of the previous warnings put together. The screen in front of us sparks into life and we’re looking at the sky, there’s some blue and a few fluffy cumulus then there’s noise; a lot of noise. The whole of the cockpit starts to shake and the screen likewise. There’s a voice counting down and a crescendo of more noise followed by movement and the skin of our faces becomes taught. We’re heading towards the clouds and distant blue that’s turning to black as we approach inner-space then, just as we begin to get concerned about the ‘G’ force and what is next we float. It’s rather nice… then we begin to accelerate, we’re in something called hyperdrive and I’m being asked to press some buttons which I do then we’re in to an asteroid belt with boulders the size of Wales (I had to get that one in). We manage to dodge around them and the next instant we’re descending towards Mars and a disaster as we overshoot the end of the runway and end up balancing on a precipice where the Martian ice gives way and we’re looking down the crevasse. Suddenly all is well and we’re being invited to exit, I’m a little disappointed that we’re not going back but I do urge you to do this ride and ignore all the warnings; it’s great.
We exit the ride and make our way to Finding Nemo where, once again we’re in a boat and looking for our illustrious hero. A little tame for the dynamic duo. Perhaps aimed at the very young but still great fun.
Back in the sun again and we’re walking to Mexico over a couple of beautiful bridges surrounded by wonderfully planted gardens awash with vivid colours and centred on beautiful topiary representations of famous cartoon characters from all our childhoods. It’s really nice.
As we enter Mexico I note there is no wall yet so the queues are minimal. Then we see Donald Duck. He’s busy posing for adoring fans and we tell one of his agents that we have a couple of undercover superheroes who’ve got a message from Daisy who’s still just over the lake, in Florida. They’re OK with this and agree the contract terms the moment the word ‘superhero’ is mentioned and in order to remain incognito, we join the small queue.
On leaving Donald we decide on a ‘Journey into Imagination with Figment’. This requires us to cross the lake again to ‘Imagination Land’ and after a brief hiccup with directions we’re here.
This is a ride exploring all the senses including sound, sight, touch and, to the amusement of the superheroes and all the other children, smell. This element of the ride doesn’t require a lot of imagination when I tell you the star of the show is a skunk with an overactive bum.
Back into sunshine and, more importantly, fresh air, we’re heading to another fast track into ‘Frozen Ever After’ a wonderful ride that has the potential for getting wet when the cars are directed down chutes both forward and backwards and there’s an unbelievable response from both superheroes and all present joining in “Let It Go”, there are moments that are fabulous and this is one of them.
We leave the ride and make our way back towards the monorail with the intention of a meal on the way and we’re lucky, a restaurant on the side of the lake enables a great top up for superheroes and parents alike and even grandparents find a salad to nibble as the sun goes down over the lake and the temperature is still 24 degrees. It’s March and I’m feeling very blessed, this might not to be to everyone’s taste but if you’re not on a mountain or a moor, where else would you want to be, hugged by the warmth of the climate, the wonderful surrounds and the love of your family. Bliss!
The refill is not hurried and the Superheroes are a bit tired but there’s the fireworks next. It’s a tough call but they manage the walk back to the monorail and journey between parks without complaint and within half an hour we’re in Magic Kingdom looking down Main Street USA towards Cinderella’s Castle. It’s still 22 degrees and comfortable when the fireworks start and the mix of music, timing, luminaire on the castle, search lights into the sky and the fireworks is sublime. The display is magnificent and is well worth the time and trouble to do the cross park jump.
We leave after the last notes of the display are played and make our way to the monorail for the return journey to EPCOT. I have a superhero with head tucked under my arm fast asleep and his Mum has his brother likewise at the other side of the carriage. As we alight, my superhero is picked up by his dad whilst his brother is gathered into a cuddle by his mum and we make our way to the car. It’s quite a distance so I’m delighted to share the carriage of the little one with his mum and as we transfer this smaller hero from his mum to me he wakes and says, “Y’know Granddad?”
“Yes”, says I.
“Y’know, if you have two hearts and someone shoots you in one, you’ll live on”
Now this is a very profound statement so I nod my response.
His next comment is, “That’s a very big ball” and points at the huge golf ball that is Spaceship Earth at the entrance to EPCOT.
I look back to see where he’s pointing and smile; he’s right, it’s huge, and lit up with all the colours you can think of.
I don’t really have an answer, I’m just delighted he’s woken up in such a good mood. Even superheroes can get a bit fractious when it’s three hours after their bed time and he’s only four so I give an him an extra hug… and receive one back.
You don’t get better than this!
Enjoy the snaps…G..x