Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mickey Mouse, here we come :)

Those were the words written on the back of a car going the same way as we were headed i.e towards Orlando, Florida on the humid day of 27th May 2005. I know I haven't blogged for what seems like weeks, sort of became too lazy to write in detail about a great trip :-D After more than 10 days, I finally made up my mind to write about it {rolls her eyes}. But I AM doing that atleast now :-p You have to be grateful for that :-p :-D Also, click on any of the photos to see all of our trip photos :)

The drive was long and by long, I mean loooooooooonnnnnnnnnngggggg. It was almost 12 hours. We had Sri's project mate Anjay along with us and later picked his fiancee Vidya up from Atlanta. Sri and Anjay took turns driving the SUV that Sri had rented specially for the trip. We left Lexington at around 11:00 AM in the morning, but reached our hotel in Orlando only about 2:00 AM on 28th May 2005, thanks to the heavy traffic and a jam for about an hour in Atlanta. But I did love the tall buildings there, which according to Sri, are nothing compared to the ones in New York downtown :-! Anyways after reaching the flashy Orlando (and believe me, it was flashy at 2 AM in the night!!!), we did nothing but fall fast asleep as the next couple of days were going to be hectic ones :))

Disney World

The hotel had free bus transport to Disney world. After a sad breakfast of a cold bagel and muffin, we caught the bus. Disney World Orlando is a huge place. The campus stretches to miles and I am pretty sure they'd have spent billions on it. No irony that they are earning more than billions each day :-p But it seems Disney World California is a much better place or so saying were some of the people in the bus ;-)

Disney world itself has many parts - Magic Kingdom, Disney-MGM Studios, Animal kingdom, Epcot, Disney downtown etc. But each of these require a day each to visit and since we had only one day per Disney World, we had fixed on seeing Magic Kingdom. After submitting the online ticket at the entrance and receiving the real ones, we caught a monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Imagine!! A monorail/ferry ride just to go from the entrance to the Magic Kingdom!! That shows how much has been spent!!

At 9:30 AM promptly, with much pomp and splendour (with a train full of cartoon characters arriving and waving, throwing balloons and coloured ribbons at the crowds below), the gates were opened. Disney World is any kid's paradise, a fantasy land where the TV cartoon characters come alive. The castle, the old authentic looking shops, the old-styled horse carriages, vintage cars, if that's not a fantasy, what else is?

We first decided to go to Tomorrowland which was designed in a future perspective with rides and shows all having a future theme. For Eg, "Stich's escape" is a show about how a prisoner escapes from a future prison. The fun is in that the character jumps on your shoulders (simulated by shoulder pads), spits on you (water is thrown at you ;-) ) and also grins near your ears :-D I loved the Space mountain the best in the lot, where you ride a roller coaster in almost dark. You don't know what to expect next and that was really fun :)

Our next stop was Mickey's Toontown Fair where you can see the houses of Mickey and Minnie (designed as shown in the cartoons) and meet cartoon characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald. We took photographs with them :-D Kids were even taking their autographs as if they were real :) Later we walked through Fantasyland where there were merry-go-arounds and shows for little kids, to reach a haunted mansion, which wasn't scary at all as it is designed with children in mind ;-)

Next was Frontierland where I had the most fun. See below ;-)

The picture is of a roller coaster ride called Splash Mountain to ride which we had to wait for min half an hour :-o!! But it was a great thrill when we were hurled to the bottom of the mountain, later splashed into water and ended up half drenched :-p I also enjoyed another roller coaster ride called Thunder Mountain Railroad. There are also ferry rides here.

Our final stop was Adventure land where we took a Jungle Cruise in which the skipper of the boat will take you through a man-made jungle making jokes. Man, she was funny! We also enjoyed a ride called Pirates of the Caribbean and climbing a tree house :) Our trip to Disney ended with a toy train ride which covers the entire Magic Kingdom :) Night, had dinner at an Indian restaurant where food was pretty ok :)

Universal Studios

The next morning, i.e on 29th May 2005 Sunday, we headed towards Universal Studios. Again another huge complex. The parking itself was in a 4-floor building with each floor having names and row numbers so that you can easily (????) remember your parking spot. No transport this time, so went by our SUV. There are also horizontal conveyor belts from the parking lot to the main entrance, only fair as its so far :-p Again after collecting our tickets, we entered Universal Studios. I have to say that I loved all the shows, rides here. In Disney, most of the rides were designed for kids, but Universal had no such restrictions. So it was more fun ;-)

The first show we saw was Shrek-4D, which is a 3-D movie with 4-D effects like when donkey sneezes, water is sprinkled on you and wind blows on your face when they fly on a dragon etc. It was awesome!! Next one was Twister which is a total simulation of the hurricane, with rain sprinkling on your head, the ceiling almost falling on you and cows flying ;-) :-D We also rode a roller coaster called Mummy where the bugs from Mummy movie chase you and the coaster runs here and there to escape. That was one hell of a ride!! There were also other shows like Jaws - where sharks attack your boat, Earthquake - where the train you are on shakes dues to earthquake, the horror makeup show - which was funny and informative, MIB - where you are an MIB agent in the making, learning how to shoot aliens, Animal Planet live - where animals perform tricks etc. Last we went to the Terminator 2 4-D which was in word - Fantastic!! The merge of on-screen and reality was totally cool :)

We also window-shopped and did weird things like this:

Don't worry we haven't dyed our hair, just trying out hats in a hat store :-D Looks like pink is my colour :-D

Later in the night, we went to Orlando downtown and just drove around the place. Had dinner at a pure (surprise, surprise) vegetarian Indian restaurant called Woodlands. Hmm I'm sure they are from Udupi. The management people even spoke Kannada!! Ate dosas and Gobi Manchurian in a restaurant after what seems like months, though its only been a month :-D

Kennedy NASA Space Center

30th May 2005 took us to Orsin, in the Florida coast where we visited the Kennedy NASA Space Center, a working center where space shuttles are launched now and then :) First visited the model of a space shuttle and then saw a 3-D movie which is actually of a space station and taken by the astronauts themselves living in it :) Saw rockets in the rocket garden which are supposedly the real ones and later saw the launch pads where space shuttles are launched to-date :)

The icing on the cake was seeing the simulation of the successful Apollo launch to the moon. That was too thrilling, especially when the countdown ends and the rocket is launched :) There is also a stone from the moon which is displayed (am really not sure it is real :-p) and that's what Sri and me are touching here:

The sizes of each of the rocket parts are so huge that its amazing, but its really surprising that the cabin of the crew is so small that it can only fit in three people and that's it!!! Everything was really interesting and the amount of information I learned here was tremendous :-D

We were supposed to leave Orsin by 12 noon but we could do so only at 2 PM due to the tours we took :( By the time we reached Lexington, it was 3 AM in the night!! Are baap re!!! Sri and Anjay were really tired due to all the driving they did, but all in all it was a real fun and enjoyable trip. Well worth seeing once. But you know what? Sri had already seen the California Disney World and Universal Studios, so most of it was a repeat for him :-D Anyways the poor guy never complained and planned the whole thing just for my sake. Isn't that extremely sweet of him? :))