Bullet Dodge Finale

EPCOT Forever(?)

Our last “FastPass” was for the EPCOT Forever fireworks and special effects spectacular. COVID-19 rendered the “forever” to be futile pretension, though during our wait Pam struck up a conversation with a couple who returned year after years to EPCOT, people who miss it and look forward to reopening.

We found the “FastPass” venue lacking, as there were many structures in the line of sight, as you can see from the IPhone 7 videos in this post. In retrospect, the area in front of the Canada Pavilion was open and might be a better location — when Epcot reopens, you’d need to get their early to grab a space.

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“Dodge the bullet” is rather too active for our EPCOT experience as we did nothing to social distance, cover our faces and, even, attended a sit down restaurant. “Dumb luck” is a better characterization, but it makes a poor chapter heading.

As our time in Florida passed more information leaked from China, posted by their citizens on-line. I recalled the chaotic scenes from the hospital, frightened people screaming in packing halls. Seeking to protect ourselves during the flight home, we sought out N95 masks and all medical masks were sold out. We found packs of N95 masks marketed for auto body work, in Walmart. Wore them on the 2 hour flight home as the only “wierdos” wearing masks as several fellow passengers coughed uncontrollably.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Bullet Dodge Series 8

Japan Pavilion

Epcot is a different experience at night, in many ways an enhancement, a gathering of glamour, smoothing of edges.

These few photographs and one video of the Japan Pavilion exemplify this effect. We were blessed with a full moon.

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Tokyo Dining is a traditional sushi restaurant featuring served by native Japanese. Our service was efficient and attentive from a premium seat acquired through our on-line reservation through a smart phone Disney app. Traffic is immense. I can only think of the research from China that demonstrated transmission of COVID-19 to nine diners by one infected person. We learned in April 2020 a high percentage of infections are non-symptomatic.

After dinner Pam and I enjoyed views from the spacious terrace. All photos for this post are from that time. Many of our family gifts from the trip were from the large and well stocked Mitsukoshi Department Store. It is the only remaining branch of the company in North America.

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Sea Turtle

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Bullet Dodge Series 7

Oh Canada!!

Several times in the “aughts” (2000 – 2009) Pam and I visited Ottawa, the capital of Canada, for work. We’d leave on a weekend to enjoy some personal time before the appointments.

It is sad, I could find no photographs of Ottawa to share with this post. We loved the European feel of the city.

Our exposure to the Canada pavilion was a walk by at sunset on the way to our Japan dinner reservation.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Bullet Dodge Series 6

Norway Pavilion

Our Spaceship Earth “Fast Pass” was next, after the aquarium. With Fast Pass we arrived in a time slot and sped to the head of the line, boarded vehicle like a roller coaster car and enjoyed the presentations (a slow moving ride to the beginning of time through history, the present and the future). Photography is not allowed, so our memories of enjoyment more than suffice. Walt Disney conceived of EPCOT as a well designed city of the future, with full time residences. As time passed, his dream morphed into our reality of today. EPCOT is populated by many, many, many tourists.

Yesterday, Thursday, April 23, in the news we learned COVID-19 was into community spread, with people dying, in January. Here is a quote from the opening paragraph: “In January, a mystery illness swept through a call center in a skyscraper on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Close to 30 people in one department alone had symptoms — dry, deep coughs and fevers they could not shake. When they gradually returned to work after taking sick days, they sat in their cubicles looking wan and tired.” Reconsidered during this pandemic, the Spaceship Earth is a perfect engine for spreading air borne disease.

How close did Pam and I come to the virus circulating among the crowds from across the United States and our world? This question was far from our minds as we, people watching, walked from Spaceship Earth to the Norway pavilion. I have cousins who are Finnish descendants and when my ancestors settled in what is today western New Jersey, 1677, it was resettled Finns who welcomed them, remnants of a failed attempt by Sweden to colonize the New World.

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Many attractions, such as the log home and the following were on display in the bright air. These an all the photographs and videos are from my IPhone 7 — I traveled light to maximize enjoyment of the day.

I was very interested in rooms of Viking information. I had a home with large ash trees, the long bole leading to spread of leaves. These trees are in decline now, attacked by the emerald ash borer, not in my memories of them on warm days, shading the roof.

The IPhone 7 did a capable job of capturing all that was available in the display cases, for later perusal. Enjoy!!

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Coral Shimmer

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

References:

Amid Signs Coronavirus Came Earlier, Americans Ask: Did I Already Have It?“, New York Times Online, April 23, 2020.

Bullet Dodge Series 5

Aquarium as metaphor

Perusing the Epcot brochure as we walked beneath “Spaceship Earth” (see photograph, below) we planning the afternoon. Between that moment and Tokyo Dining at 7 pm we had a afternoon “Fast Pass” for Spaceship Earth.

It was natural to wander into”The Seas with Nemo and Friends,”the first attraction after Spaceship Earth, first turn on the right. Pam and I were enthralled for an hour, walking about, viewing a 5.1 million gallon “Sea Base” aquarium.

A metaphor of aquarium occupants stops at the glass edge, the sea creatures on one side of the glass, the humans on the other very much closer to each other, breathing the same air.

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Here is a crowd favorite, the “funny nose” Unicorns.

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“funny Nose”

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Fish Home Schooling

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Bullet Dodge Series 4

amid the COVID crowds

In the 2000’s the company I worked for was installing software at Walt Disney World and over several trips became familiar with the Team Disney building, especially the wonderful sundial. My coworkers and I took dinner once at the “Rose and Crown” restaurant, Epcot United Kingdom pavilion. At first glance Epcot pavilions have a high cheesiness potential. A saving grace, what most impressed me, was the staffing. Young people from the United Kingdom served us, creating a deep authenticity to the experience.

I always wanted to visit “on my own dime”, January 2020 seemed like a good time. We are not “Disney or Die” (as in “Give Me Liberty AND Give Me Death”), the news available to the public was of an ill defined illness in China. Over that week I researched the park and purchased tickets for Friday, January 10. That morning I greeted the dawn and we headed out later morning for Orlando.

Once Walt Disney World is once again open, as I am sure it will be, two important preparations I recommend are (1) install the “My Disney Experience” app and, on arrival (2) take a photograph of the parking location before boarding the tram. The Disney Experience smart phone app allowed us to book restaurant reservations. Admission fee includes several reservations for attractions, to skip the line. Disney calls it a “Fast Pass.”.

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In keeping with our dangerous position, wandering among COVID-19 spotted crowds, “the invisible enemy,” here are several dangerous inhabitants of the first attraction we enjoyed, “The Seas with Nemo and Friends.”

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Hammerhead Shark

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Lurking Eel

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills