Disney World Is Truly MORE Than a Magical Place (As Is Universal Studios, Too!)

By Lorenzo Marchessi

Walt Disney World: Lorenzo Marchessi (second from right) and friends.

Walt Disney World: Lorenzo Marchessi (second from right) and friends.

What an amazing adventure I had while celebrating my Birthday in the largest of all the Walt Disney Properties in the world with over 30,000 acres comprised of 24 themed resorts, parks, reserves, and amusement centers. It opened on Oct. 1, 1971 and subsequently Epcot opened in 1982. I am going to give you the lowdown on not only some of the sights to see, but also a perspective on what to expect, watch out for, and generally be conscious of.

DAY ONE: DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM — To be honest, this was the park I was looking forward to the least. But, surprisingly enough it has rides that are fun, fantastic, and amazing. This is definitely for the animal lover because there are not only petting zoos for the kids but an actual Kilimanjaro Safari that takes you past real giraffes, caribou, and even alligators just outside your vehicle.

DAY TWO: DISNEY’S MAGIC KINGDOM — It was a day of amazing fun and memory making as we viewed the impressive Hall of Presidents where every president of the United States is present and some even speak. We saw the ever aged Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland, Peter Pan’s Flight, “It’s a Small World,” and the hysterically funny 3-D adventure Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Tomorrowland was the best with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland’s Transit Authority People Mover, the bright and fun Carousel of Progress, the weird and confusing Stitch’s Great Escape, and our absolute favorite Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor where the audience is part of the jokes, all done live in real time with interactive Monsters from the movie on camera!

DAY THREE: DISNEY’S EPCOT — I must say this tied with first place as my favorite of the parks by Disney. The attraction that was just OK was Ellen’s Energy Adventure (she was funny, but the ride was slow and dull) but the rest of them like Re-Imagines: Spaceship Earth which was narrated by Dame Judi Dench was astonishingly amazing and visually stunning. Fun and inventive were Eric Idle and a character called Figment who is a dragon that teaches us about the five senses which was really fun and immersive as a ride. Then there is Mission Space. What a great simulator with actor Garry Sinise as your mission commander guiding you to a quick but realistic 4-D simulator of a trip to the Mars surface.

Now, all that aside, the best part of Epcot was the food from all over the world. We ate food (that included appetizers, snacks, lunches, and full dinners) made by imported chefs and staff from England (or U.K. as they list it), France, Morocco, Italy, Japan, Germany, and China. We just didn’t have any room for Mexico, Norway, American Adventure (old West style), or Canada. The chefs, waiters, waitresses, busboys, and maitre d’s were all astonishingly polite, in their native clothing and extremely kind and generous. The food everywhere was superb! Well prepared, beautifully presented, completely filling, and ultimately heavenly tasteful!