Chapter 13
A Visit with Mickey Mouse

OUR trip to Orlando, Florida began on Friday July 16, 1993. We drove to the Select Inn in Bloomington. We went to bed at 11:30 PM but got up at 3:30 AM. We took the shuttle van to the airport. Our airplane took off at 6 AM. We landed in Orlando at 10:05 AM. A monorail took us to the main terminal. Then we boarded a shuttle bus out to Alamo Car Rental. We rented a 1993 Nissan Sentra. We drove 60 miles to Lake Wales where we visited Bok Tower Gardens. It was a very beautiful garden featuring a carillon tower with 57 bronze bells weighing from 17 pounds to 11 tons. We heard a very lovely bell concert and we fed the fish and birds. We checked into the Radisson Inn Maingate in Kissimme. We visited TJ's lounge in our hotel where I had a balloon hat made for me.

Our first morning in Orlando we drove to Disney-MGM Studios. We went on the "Great American Train Ride" which was a ride through famous movie sets such as "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Casablanca", and "Wizard of Oz". We waited on a long line for the "Voyage of the Little Mermaid", a live and animated re-enactment of the movie with great special effects. While on line we were entertained by street musicians. One of them let me play the accordion. Then we took the "Backstage Studio" shuttle bus tour and saw real movie sets. We went through "Catastrophe Canyon" where we experienced an earthquake of 8.4 on the Richter scale complete with fires and floods. I had fun at the playground, "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" where everything was giant size. We enjoyed the "Magic of Disney Animation" , a show about how cartoons are made. We visited "Inside the Magic", a walking tour about special effects. Then we saw a show about stunts called "Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular". They re-enacted some scenes from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Next we went on "Star Tours". Here we took a ride to Endor where the Ewoks live. On this ride the seats shook while we watched a special effects movie. We took a walk down "New York Street". We all loved the "Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3D" show. We had to wear 3D glasses. Back at our hotel we went swimming outdoors till midnight.

The next day we had another full day of fun. We went to the Magic Kingdom, taking the monorail to the park. We walked through Cinderella's Castle and went to Fantasy Land. We took the "Snow White Adventure Ride", a motorized ride. We went on "Cinderella's Golden Carousel". We got to see two more 3D shows at the "Magic Voyage". Everyone enjoyed the "It's A Small World" boat ride featuring music and dolls from around the world. We went on "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" submarine ride. Next it was Liberty Square where we visited the "Haunted Mansion". It was scary but we had lots of fun as we rode through the mansion. We took a ride on the "Keel Boat" around the lake. At the "Hall of Presidents" we saw a movie about the early USA and we saw robots of all the presidents. We returned to Fantasy Land and went on "Peter Pan's Flight", a motorized ride in cars which then become flying vehicles. We flew from London to Never-Never Land. We went on "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", another motorized ride. At Tomorrow Land we took the "Wedway People Mover". We all enjoyed the "Carousel of Progress" ride. We went on "Mission to Mars", a ride with moving seats.

The next day we went to Epcot Center. First we went to the "Living Seas" building. We saw a movie about the sea and then took a car ride through a real aquarium and saw sea turtles, fish, sharks and stingrays. We also got to see a diver and two manatees. Next we visited "The Land" building where we saw a movie about world food and a show called "Kitchen Kabaret". We took a boat ride called "Listen to the Land" which went through a green house and vegetable garden. After lunch we went to "Journey Into Imagination", where we went on a car ride called "Dreamfinder and Figment". It had lots of music. We saw another 3D movie called "Captain EO" at the "Magic Eye Theater". Then we went to the "Space Ship Earth" where we took a ride in cars that went up a steep incline inside of the geosphere and we went backwards going down. After that we went to the "Universe of Energy" building. Here we sat in special theater cars powered by solar energy. Whole sections of the theater moved on tracks through a great dinosaur exhibit. We spent a lot of time in the next building, "Wonders of Life" where we saw a film called "The Making of Me" about how babies are born and a show with robots and videos called "Cranium Command" about how the brain works. We went on a ride called "Body Wars" where we were purified and miniaturized so we could enter a space probe and travel into the human body. Actually it was a special effects ride where the seats shook us up.

The next morning we took the shuttle bus to Epcot Center. We began this long day at the "Communicore East" where we saw a show called "Backstage Magic" about the computers used at Disney World. It contained some great holograms. We had breakfast at the "Star Gate Restaurant" where I got to meet Mickey Mouse and Goofy. Next we went to the "World of Motion" where we took a car ride that went through a space tunnel. We also saw a multi-screen movie about future engines. Then it was onto "Horizons". Here we went on a ride where we sat in sideways cars and rode through exhibits about electronics in the future. Then we left the "Future World" part of Epcot and went to "World Showcase". Both my mom and I had special books that we presented at each of the eleven countries. We got the books stamped with special rubber stamps and representatives of each country wrote something in our books. The first stop was "Canada". Here we watched a movie in Circle 360. Next it was off to the "United Kingdom" with it's lovely gardens . Then on to "France" where we watched a movie in Circle 180. From there it was on to "Morocco" followed by "Japan". We really enjoyed the USA building called "The American Adventure". Here we saw a show about the history of the USA done with movie screens and robots and narrated by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. After lunch it was on to "Italy" and "China". At "Germany" we heard the glockenspiel. Next we went to "Norway" which turned out to be our favorite country. We took a boat ride called "Maelstrom", a high seas adventure. The last nation was "Mexico". The inside of this lovely building was a recreated outdoor village. It felt like we were outdoors at night. We went on the boat ride called "El Rio del Tiempo" which sailed through a restaurant. It contained lots of music, fireworks and moving displays. We found a bench just beyond Mexico with a good view of the lagoon for the fireworks. Dad stayed here while Mom and I took the boat shuttle across the lagoon back to Germany. We walked over to Italy and took the double decker bus back around to Norway. The fireworks called "IllumiNations" was great! It had lasers, lights, music, fountains and fireworks. It was very colorful. All the buildings were illuminated.

The next morning we took shuttle bus to the Magic Kingdom taking the ferry this time into the park. Our first stop was the railroad depot on Main Street USA where we took the steam powered train on a ride circling the whole park. We went to Adventure Land and visited the "Swiss Family Robinson's Tree House". We saw the "Tropical Serenade" with singing Tiki birds. Then we went on the "Jungle Cruise". It was a safari boat ride and we encountered lions, hippopotamus, zebras and elephants. Next it was the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. Then on to Frontier Land where we saw the "Country Bear Jamboree", a singing bears show. We took an electric raft ride over to "Tom Sawyer's Island" where we explored caves, tunnels, windmill, fort, barrel bridge and suspension bridge. We returned to TomorrowLand where we went on a motorized car ride called "Delta Dream Flight". We went back to Liberty Square and saw the "Spectro Magic Parade". It had beautiful music and lighted floats of Snow White, Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and others. We also saw the fireworks.

The next day we got up early and took the shuttle bus to Sea World. We started the day by taking the "Bermuda Triangle" ride. Next we saw the Shamu Killer Whale show. Then we went to "Terrors of the Deep", a exhibit about sharks, barracudas and other dangerous fish. We walked through a round aquarium and we stood on a moving sidewalk going through a shark aquarium where sharks swam over our heads. We saw a show called "Window to the Sea" about Sea World's educational programs. It began with a waltzing waters show. We visited the Anheuser-Busch Hospitality Center where we saw clydesdales horses. Then we visited the "Tropical Reef" and we saw thousands of tropical fish in a 160,000 gallon fish tank. We walked through the tropical rain forest where we saw giant catfish. We had a lot of fun at the "Dolphin Community Pool". Here we got to feed fish to the dolphins and we got to pet the dolphins!! They felt rubbery. We watched the dolphin show. Then we went to the "Penguin Encounter" where we stood on a moving sidewalk and saw penguins in a natural environment. We all really enjoyed "Manatees: The Last Generation?" First we saw manatees in a lagoon area. Then we went inside and saw a 180 movie about manatees. Next we went underground where we could view the bottom of the lagoon and saw the manatees up close. We saw a 20 minute musical waltzing waters show preformed to songs from the "Sound of Music" and Neil Diamond's "America". Next we visited "Pacific Point Preserve" where we fed fish to the sea lions. The exhibit had simulated waves. I played at "Shamu's Happy Harbor" a really fun kid's playground.

On our last day in Florida we went shopping at some of the shops across the road from our hotel. We drove to Old Town. This was a unique place with rides, little shops, museums and restaurants. I went on the ferris wheel. I played in the "Happy Days" arcade. I won 28 tokens in the slot machines and traded them in for a Chinese fan and a Tootsie Roll. We got on our airplane at 6 PM and we landed in Minneapolis at 9 PM. We took the shuttle van to the Select Inn where we checked in for the night.

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