A wonderful, incredibly dense day. Started out with pushups. The concierge guy told us he could hook us up with a discount on Epcot tickets. We kind of groaned at each other, with just our eyeballs, then said Whatcha got? and he said Sit through this 90 minute presentation where they feed you breakfast and instead of paying $144 for two tickets, you pay $70. I have learned to take your contract work where you can find it and $29ish an hour + a meal is just fine and we said Sure and at 9:30 had this nice enough lady from the Bronx by way of Queens (or vice versa, I forget) trying to sell us on this ridiculous awesome time-share situation which basically meant we could vacation one week out of the year anywhere in the world whenever we wanted to and it was only going to cost us $117 a month for the rest of our lives/the foreseeable future, I’m talking Italy, OAHU, could hear that jungle already whispering, and it really made so much sense we just smiled and smiled and then ran screaming without signing but made sure to pick up our well-earned discounted tickets.
And then we went and, I would say, conquered Epcot. Because it’s all broken up into territories, you know. And we laid claim to every one. The best ride seemed to be Soarin’, (the lack of ‘g’ really grates on me, but is reproduced here because this is the Whole Truth!) so we went and got this FastPass for it, which meant we didn’t have to wait in line and could just come back later at 5 and knock it out, then we went on this killer simulation called Mission to Mars, had to wait a while for that but so worth it, we were broken up into groups of four and put in ships and each assigned a title, I was Mission Commander of course (Catherine was Engineer) and Gary Sinise was Mission Control and before we knew it we were trained and angled up with nothing but a little sliver of launch gantry breaking up all the blue sky in front of us and the clock was counting down then LIFTOFF! pushing a few G’s, felt like, then Hypersleep, asteroid showers, veering through Martian canyons, a couple more fun malfunctions . . . best ride of the day, though, that feeling of liftoff. I was nine again and breathless and anything could happen, the world could swoop down and pluck me up at any time.
I used to be so certain that it was a cosmic mistake or parallel anomaly that my last name wasn’t Skywalker.
Then we went to the Rose and Crown Pub that the twins recommended and had an Imperial sampler of several beers of the Crown (Harp, Bass, Guinness and such, but I’m only now catching the obvious duality here, Skywalker vs. Imperial) and I forgot to mention that the Superman shirt that I just threw on (thinking something on the order of “Imagination, yes.” on the way to Epcot) got phenomenal to disturbing response, like four people at the time-share place alone, you’d think they’d never seen someone outside of Reeve Reeves or Routh wear the big red S before, the agents, the accountants, a potential customer/fellow discountee, Catherine and I were kind of What the hell? about the fanfare, point is, we get to the Pub and the first intelligent person to take note, this Irish bloke who’s greeting, he just asks if there are two in our party and what’s the name, Kent? And we’re just like, Yeah, Ian gets it. And Ian had a few things to say, once the ice was broken, about the new Singer and Raimi flicks, Superman and Spider-Man, was not as forgiving of the latter as I. And it was awesome because he got so excited, I could follow about two-thirds of what he was saying, but he was just speaking gibberish to Catherine. He and I both spoke Superhero. At any rate, fish & chips and Shepherd’s pie and another Imperial pint of Guinness then off to explore the world, killer Beatles cover band, suits and moptops and superb vocal harmonies (even Nowhere Man!), we strolled through every country, our calf muscles somehow reconciling the geographical inconsistencies by behaving as though our hikes were literal, went from England to France (where we watched this cool movie of the countryside on five screens that went 180 degrees around you) to Morocco to Japan to America (which smelled just like the fair, fried foods abound) to Italy and Germany and China, Norway, Mexico, we wanted to see this movie in China but were running out of time and went back to the Soarin’ thing, no we were Soaring dammit, they took three rows of us and strapped us in and then, put it this way, lay your palm down on your keyboard, those are the three rows there, then lift your hand up and put your palm on your screen, that’s what they did so that every row was just jacked face-first into this five-story screen, then they had POV shots of flying around all these picturesque sights of California. I need a hangglider.
On the way to dinner, there was this kickass group of Canucks, Off Kilter, they were like if that one song with bagpipes and Oi!s from THE DEPARTED was a quintet playing five sets a day and shredding, all these complicated almost-bebop guitar and bagpipes melodic lines with Vinnie Jones/Ray Livingston on bass, they were a sight.
Then a nice dinner at this French place, Les Chef de France, I almost went into French when we walked up but at the last minute couldn’t stand to be the prick ordering everything in the native language, but yeah, escargots, bottle of wine, killer lobster bisque, beef tenderloin, we actually had to turn the crème brulèe down because it came in a freaking tub not a bowl and we both thought we were going to be sick (I have not mentioned the massive and necessary amount of hydration that Catherine had us on, but we had probably gone through half a dozen bottles of water at that point) so we excused ourselves and went to get a seat for the fireworks. Catherine said I should ask this particular older gentlemen who seemed to be standing by the stairway down to the water in some official capacity if he had a recommendation on where we should view the fireworks. I didn’t want to mess with him but figured Why not? and got a surprise when he said, Well the best place in the park to view them is right here behind me, only you need a ticket. [big pause] [I decide to bite] Well, how do we get a ticket, sir?
You ask me! he says happily and lays two on us, says Be back at 8:45.
We can’t believe it. It’s 7:45. Do we just sit? Hell no. We missed China! And it’s only half a world away. About fifteen minutes walk. So we stroll, numb and dumb, all the way back over and what a wonder we almost missed. A killer museum plus this movie that compares to the French movie about as well as the martial aspects of each country would if it came down to it (meaning the Chinese would outflank and cannibalize the French before the first word hit the CNN crawl), this movie was a continuous 9-screen 360-degree gorgeous and dizzying piece called Reflections of China which juxtaposed, again, 360-degree shots of the Great Wall or the Xi River with the Hong Kong skyline from 30 stories up. 14 sick minutes.
Then back to our VIP spots, just time to grab another quick pint of Guinness at me olde pub not twenty paces away (the spot was in England, aye) and we sat down to watch a serious fireworks and laser show over the lake in between all the various countries that celebrated the people of Earth as one. The very first firework shot the first line from Gravity’s Rainbow into my mind, A screaming comes across the sky . . .
Epcot was amazing. Quite a lot in one day. But like I said, we conquered it.