Sunday, July 04, 2004

Fourth of July 2004, Part One

This is not so much of a descriptive little "story" like my other blog entries so far. It's more of a traditional journal entry, written on my first 4th of July in Celebration.

I was expecting the Disney parks to be jam-packed with tourists all weekend, but so far that hasn't been the case. On Saturday, July 3rd, the crowds at Epcot were very manageable. My husband and I only waited about 10 minutes in the singles line at Test Track and the same for the boat ride at Norway. The wait for Spaceship Earth was 0. We simply walked right on.

We ate lunch at Canada and then spent most of our time bumming around World Showcase. There was a neat acrobatics show at France and another one at China, plus music at Japan and a patriotic fife and drum corps. at the American Pavillion. That put us into a nice Fourth of July spirit. We had planned to end the day at Typhoon Lagoon, since the crowds typically clear out a couple of hours before closing, but a monsoon ended that idea. Usually the Florida afternoon rain blows in and out within a couple of hours, but this time it stayed all evening and well into the night.

Celebration had its town parade that morning, but we ended up sleeping in, so we missed seeing it live. Fortunately, through the miracle of the internet, we were able to view it on Tom's great site. If you'd like to see proof that the traditional small-town parade has not died out in America, click here.

On the Fourth itself, we went to the Animal Kingdom for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. From the looks of the parking lot, we figured the lines would be totally unamanageable. We planned to grab a Fast Pass for Kilamanjaro (the safari ride), but when we got back there, there was no wait at all. We ended up riding that twice, plus doing Dinosaur, Tarzan Rocks, Triceratops Twist, and Primeval Whirl, all with no wait. Unbelievable! The crowd looked more like the off season rather than a prime summer holiday weekend. Oh well, I'm certainly not complaining.

We also walked through the Asia jungle trek to see the tigers. One of them was lounging around in the water, which looked very refreshing. We had hoped to go to Typhoon Lagoon, but once again the late afternoon thunderstorms thwarted our plans. There was plenty of thunder and lightning putting on an early fireworks show as we left the park, so we just headed home.

I love the Animal Kingdom, but it has spoiled me for any other zoo. I've been to some that are supposed to be "good" zoos, and the poor animals are lying around in cages or concrete habitats or pacing around with glazed, "please shoot me" looks in their eyes. At least Disney has provided a natural environment and enrichment to keep them busy and prevent those psychotic repetitive behaviors.

We took World Drive so we could avoid all the Fourth of July craziness in downtown Celebration. Even though it was 7, and the firworks don't start until 9, the shindig itself began at 6 so we knew the crowds would be forming. But I had an insane craving for an iced coffee from Barnie's (I think they add addictive drugs to their beverages, but I haven't been able to prove it yet), so I decided to risk driving into the Belly of the Beast.

I drove up to the barricades and pulled over while hubby ran to the Barnie's to-go window. While he was getting the coffees, I watched an endless stream of cars pour into the two small parking lots back there, circle aimlessly, and pull out again. Mind you, this was after 6 p.m., and I'm sure those lots had been full for hours already. Oh well, I guess the spirit of human optimism never dies.

As we drove back to peaceful East Village, I noticed that cars were already parking way back on Celebration Avenue by Lake Evalyn. It's now a little after 7 p.m. as I write this, so I can't even imagine where they're parking now. We plan to walk downtown with one of our neighbors; it's a convenient 20 minute hike on the East Village path, which runs into the one by Lake Evalyn and leads over to the hotel and eventually to Lakeside Park. We have handy-dandy portable camp chairs, so we can stake out a spot just about anywhere.

For Founders Day, I noticed that most of the tourists stayed on Front Street or right by the lake and never ventured to the grass by Lakeside to watch the fireworks show. It will be interesting to see if the same holds true for Fourth of July, as I think the crowd will be bigger.

Well, it looks like the rain is blowing over now, as I see blue patches peering out among the clouds. Our neighbor should be over any time now, so I'll close this blog entry and head off for a traditional fireworks capper to my first Celebration Fourth of July.

Learn more about Celebration on my website:

1 comment:

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