I was not sure how I felt about going round a park all day and most of the night again, to be honest, especially after the attack of the rabid flautas*. However, it was our last day, we had saved the enormous Epcot firework display for our last night, and we were going, dammit.
(*I say, ‘after’, but it turned out more of an, ‘in the middle of’. I have never been so grateful that the Yanks have a public loo every fifty feet, and take back everything I said about Disney’s standards of hygiene).
The first thing we did after parking up at Epcot was bugger off to find a bus to Hollywood Studios instead.
Apparently the above features a lift, sorry, elevator, that goes flying up and down with you stuck in it. No.
Street sign. Much more my speed.
The Bossman had said I would love the backlot tour. Once we actually found it, anyway. And indeed, we saw many awesome things, and then we went into a movie set that the driver was ‘getting special permission for’ and as soon as I saw the oil derricks and the big lorry marked ‘flammable’ I realised it was the same deal as the Disaster! ride at Universal, and indeed it was; fire and water and explosions everywhere and very pretty (if somewhat alarming, and yes I know it’s perfectly safe, but we were downhill of a firey oilslick, or at least what appeared to be one, with no way out the other side for the cliff, and things can go wrong. Especially for me.)
Woo! People who aren’t me get soaked!
And it is pretty!
And there are planes!
And people use them for this…
Oh yeah and the sudden-death-terror thing…
We went to see the Muppets ruin a 3D film premiere after that, which was a nice change of pace, and then queued for this big Lights! Motors! Action! thing, during which I saved this guy from a giant bug that was crawling up his back. Approximately several million people followed us into the amphitheatre, but it was well worth the wait – they had a wee mock-up of a town in the South of France, and used it as the backdrop for a high-speed automotive ballet depicting one man’s quest for a parking space. (They did appear to claim there was some sort of spy plot to it, but basically, every time he tried to get parked up, the evil cars came and double parked at him and he had to flee). There were various stunts and in the end the guy blew up the town behind him as he left in a huff (I may have missed something in translation).
In France, you go out to get cheese come rain or shine, whether or not you are actually on fire.
That was EPIC! I said to the Bossman.
Meh, he replied. Needs more monstertrucks.
After that, we took the boat back to Epcot. Woo, boat! Admittedly, it would have been just as quick to walk, but we got to see all the Disney resort places were people were staying, and very odd they were too – like pretty waterfront towns, only not quite? Granted, I have spent the last fortnight going round Fake Everything, which is possibly bad for the soul, although [no rambling about human phenotypes and what counts as ‘genuine’ creativity – Ed]
Epcot did not appear to be a preserve of rollercoasters, which was odd, considering even the safari parks have one on every horizon. Instead, it’s all little zones recreating various countries; we came in at France, which appeared to be the northern bit, not the southern part we’d just seen mocked up next park over. Ooh more photos of fake things opportunity! However, this month it was also hosting ‘Eat your way around the world’, with extra little stalls from about another twenty countries. Having regretted eating my way south of the border last night [note to self, that sounds dodgy, change the wording before blogging it], I settled for drinking my way around the world; nobody uses chip and PIN here, and they rarely ask for even your signature (and when they do, they never ever check it against the one on the card – it’s a credit card fraud nightmare waiting to happen! Oh no wait, the Bossman tells me it’s already an insane credit card fraud hotspot. Gulp). So, they just wave your card at the machine and then a beer arrives. You don’t even have to confirm the price!
True, it is not a pint of beer, and indeed on trying to purchase a pint in the wee Thai place the (caucasian) vendor told us, repeatedly, to Watch out, it is not a drink, it is Two Drinks. (Pshaw, we said, but under our breath for it is rather rude).
Anyway. I had beers of many countries* and walked around trying to identify what places the architecture had been ripped off from. Morocco was rather good, every surface being covered in tiny, delicate lattice-work and/or painting; it might not be quite as intricate as the real thing, but it was a good attempt. And they had a traditional Moroccan band playing, which was very atmospheric. (Note: I have been as far as the Moroccan border, if not the capital, and I think for authentic atmos I might have had to be jostled by about ten thousand people an hour, but that’s not so different to Buchanan Street on a Saturday afternoon, after all.)
*But not Norway. Which was a shame, they had lovely little Norwegian architectural replicas, all dark wood and forebodingness and grass on the roofs, verily (I don’t recall actually seeing that in Norway, but I was in the capital) so I rolled up to this beer stand that was charmingly dressed as a sleigh and asked the wee vendor what they had.
Carlsberg, he said triumphantly.
What? No! I cried. Give me your house red! (It was Californian, but never mind).
The Bossman came back from the loos at that point, attracted by my waving an empty stein at him, and declared me an alkie. I asked if he wanted a beer.
Yes, he said. What do they have?
What? No! cried the Bossman, and the wee vendor’s face was a picture of hurt feelings. Whoops. In fairness, we have it back home, it’s what we drink when there isn’t anything else but Tennents. However, it tuns out that, unlike the beer, the vendors all have been imported from their home countries…
So what is the food offering from bonnie Scotland? I asked. ‘Mince, rutabaga and mashed potato’, apparently. Well hell, I have never even heard of rutabaga! But it turned out to mean, haggis, neeps and tatties.
While having a ciggie between Morocco and… Japan… we chanced on some folks from Georgia, one of whom was busy setting a cunning tourist-freak-out zone with a big fake rubber spider. Which was surprisingly good, it climbed up a web all by itself-
The guy assured me that it is, in fact, harmless, despite being a beautiful rainbow of colours and almost as wide across the leg-span as my hand is across the hand-span. We have them all over the woods back home, he added. He turned out to be really nice, as did his mum, and both were very well-travelled and, despite hitting the booze and fags just as hard as I was, very genteel. In fact, I am suffering withdrawal from hearing anyone say as much as, heck, or, poot, in my presence. I may have to get home and spend half an hour shouting obscenities into a cupboard just to get my equilibrium back.
Although I nearly got an early start on it when we discovered the fireworks were six whole hours away, and there was little to do but sit around admiring the lovely replica scenery and get absolutely tanked at vast expense.
It is okay for you, said the Bossman. I have to stop now, for I am driving us home.
So we went to the futuristic part, and went on the test-track thing. My, what a long queue. And at the front, you have thirty whole seconds to design your vehicle! So the Bossman designed it (I wanted a Mad-max thing with spikes on, dammit, but did not get) and plasma-charged it and merrily assured me we were ditching handling, efficiency and every other damn thing for sheer acceleration; and I got to choose the colour. Grr, so gender-essential, especially for a man who had to take his nail varnish off before the firing range expedition. But I made no fuss cos I was a bit plastered and time was ticking.
And then we got in our car.
This car will handle as you designed it! announced the speakers. First up, handling in bad weather!
Shite. I do hope this is an amalgamation of all three design teams in the car, I thought. Then I realised the rest of them were a third of our age and probably hadn’t rated ‘not dying in your vehicle’ highly either. Jeebus. How realistic was this? Would we actually be killed to demonstrate our spectacular ineptitude?
Yeah, so probably not; but when I was a teenager, I did once get given a thirty-second count-down to my death by my gliding instructor, who said if I was too stupid to right our plunging-from-8,000-feet dive, he was prepared to let us both die just to prove I was rubbish (or, possibly, that Women Can’t Pilot For Shit). He counted right down to zero, told me, Congratulations, you have killed us both, then flipped out when I dived for the canopy release handle. Although in fairness, I’m not sure in the heat of the moment if I snarked, Maybe not, or, Maybe I’m not. (Parachutes, you see. Mandatory in an un-engined aircraft; not so much in one with ever so many moving parts, which I find a bit odd.)
I was vaguely impressed with myself that I called his bluff by waiting till he got to zero, just to see if he was serious, before diving for the handle; rather than crying or begging for my life (which I had my suspicions he might have been trying to provoke).
Ahem. So this, and many other hair-raising experiences like it, may explain why I need calming pills and tend to take anyone suddenly acting like a psychopath at face value. Thanks, dad!
I used to be so much better at my stoic-in-the-face-of-death face, however. On the other hand, these days, I am so much better at screaming, From hell’s heart I stab at thee, foul psychopath! and spending my remaining seconds battering my tormentor about the head.
Well at least I didn’t scream when we suddenly went racing out of the Tron-like zone and piled around outside at about a hundred miles an hour.
After that I had all the beers of all the countries I could find, screw the expense, because goddamn.
And the fireworks were really great and I would have got the best shots ever if I had just gently yet persistently shouldered some small child out of my road, but somehow, the ghosts of high-speed terrors past whispered to me that perhaps being a bastard is as gentically-heritable a trait as being an alkie, and we don’t want that, now, do we?
No. So here are some shots with a bloody great railing in the middle of them. And if the lack of shouldering-out is the reason I never succeed, so be it.
Hmm. Bet nobody’s worked some sort of moral tale into a story of going to Epcot before. Whoops. I blame the Beers of the World.