Orlando Classic Trip

November 21–26, 2012

I visited California after Christmas in 2008. My friend Lee Madinger, his twin daughters, who were then 18, and I went to Disneyland. I realized it had been 40 years since I had been there before, perhaps to the day, almost for sure within a week. So I thought that since I had been to Walt Disney World in Orlando in 1982, I should plan to go back there in 2012, not pushing my luck to wait for 40 years. Then it turned out that Davidson would be playing in the Thanksgiving weekend ESPN basketball tournament in Orlando, so that was it in terms of planning.

David Rorie and I flew to Orlando on the day before Thanksgiving, supposedly the busiest day of the year for airports. Everything went off without a hitch, though, and soon we were met by the Disney bus that took us to the Beach Club Resort, near Epcot. Almost as soon as we exited the bus, we were met by a young woman who asked if I were Mr. Lee. She escorted us to the check-in desk, and soon we were on our way to the room.

That evening we rode over to the Downtown Disney area, where we ate and explored the area.

From our room we could see the sphere at Epcot.

We had breakfast at the neighboring hotel. Since it was Thanksgiving Day, I had turkey sausage. Then we caught the bus over to watch basketball.

I was told that the baseball stadium is where the Braves have spring training.

Davidson won the opening game against Vanderbilt. We headed over to the team hotel for the celebration. The central area of the hotel had elaborate holiday decorations.

The next morning we had the breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Friday Davidson won its game against West Virginia. There were no basketball games on Saturday, so we used the first day of our passes to the various Disney parks. We started with the earth dome at Epcot. While waiting in line, we met Fran Fraschilla and David chatted with him for a while. He turned out to be one of the announcers for Sunday's championship game between Davidson and Gonzaga.

Pirates of the Carribean was one of the main attractions at Disneyland when I visited 40 years prior. It has now been updated to be a bit more politically correct and to incorporate characters from the eponymous movies.

Epcot still features pavillions for various countries, sort of like a small world's fair.

Another of the classic rides is the Jungle Cruise. Its hokiness was a lot of the fun. You see lots of static tableaux of animals. I think the original version had a little more animation.

At least you still ride under a waterfall.

On Sunday Davidson lost the championship game to Gonzaga. The Gonzaga fans told us that they would be pulling for Davidson until we meet again. Because of the holiday weekend, it was much cheaper to fly home on Tuesday than on Monday, so we had Monday to use the other day of our passes to the Disney parks. We visited the Animal Kingdom park, a new one to me. It is symbolized by the Tree of Life. (This brings me a chuckle as I recall the mangled song in Die Meistersinger.) David poses in front of the tree.

That night there was a lighted parade. I took lots of pictures with my cell phone. They came out surprisingly well. Here are a couple of examples:


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