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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finding a Gem

Every now and then I run into or experience something that really surprises me. It can range from things I run into in my day to day life (like the burping troll of Walmart) or things you experience while traveling (an airline employee who is actually helpful).

On my first trip to Disney World over 20 years ago (when I was a little poo flinging monkey) it was everything. When you’re a kid everything blows you away. Over the years different things struck me and most of the time is was something I almost skipped.

First on this list was Splash Mountain. Before I went on this ride I did not like rides with drops or any kind of thrill ride (It’s not weird a lot of kids don’t). Splash Mountain became my favorite ride. Every time I hear the music now it brings a smile to my face. I think one of the reasons this stands out is because you experience it with your entire family and can walk away with a picture of it. The picture on this ride stands out. The Tower of Terror has a decent photo but most of the time it includes a lot of people you don’t know. Other rides may not show your entire group. The amount of people in the picture on Splash Mountain seems to be the right balance.

Next is the ExtraTERRORestial Encounter. This ride blew me away. It was the perfect match for a fifteen year old. It had effects that were so new I’d never experienced them before. The tap on your head, hot breath on your neck, and crazy sound effects left a lasting memory. They should have taken your picture when you got tapped on the head. If you are going to be poked or prodded on a ride it has to be done right. This one was perfect. It’s not like the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” show. That one goes over the top. The poke in the back is just unpleasant even if it is funny to see how parents start running for the exit with a screaming kid after.

I rode Body Wars shortly after it opened. You can imagine that I was quite young then. I’d never ridden a ride like that. I was amazed. I also thought it was funny that it made my dad sick. He could ride anything and not get sick but that really got to him for some reason. I loved the storyline too. It seemed solid or at least it worked for me. Sadly at times there are some rides that come out now that are a little lacking in the storyline or don’t even try.

It’s not a ride but the Hoop Dee Doo Review is memorable no matter what age you are. I was very young the first time I went to the Hoop Dee Doo. It’s one of the few attractions that seems to get better with time. Each time this show has amazed me. The first time when I was a kid my dad got picked to be the Fairy God Mother. A few times later I battled my brother in law and a friend of mine in a rib and chicken eating contest. My brother in law won but he had to lay down at the bus stop because his stomach hurt so much. I was pulled out early because I got picked to be the Indian on stage. By the time I was done my brain told me how full I was and I couldn’t eat my strawberry shortcake. The last time I went, it had been about eleven years since I had seen the show. My wife thought it was going to be corny but went with me after I told her about the “all you can drink” beer or wine. I forgot how funny the show was and how involved the actors get with the show. I was completely charmed again.

Mexico is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Walking in there when I was a kid I was overwhelmed. I just thought wow. The Imagineers broke the mold when they did the Mexico pavilion. It really seems like you are in an open air market at night. The Pyramid in the background is awe inspiring. The restaurant on the river is worth the money just because of the setting.

I was not going to go on Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. My wife and I were walking by it, saw there was no line, and decided to give it a shot. I was shocked. It was really funny. They do an amazing job at actually making the show funny. At first I thought it was going to be mainly for kids. It’s not. It’s funny for everyone. Most of the people they pick out of the audience are adults too. If you have avoided this ride in the past, don’t, it’s a very fun experience. On second thought, if you’re weird looking avoid this ride. They’ll probably pick you out tease you.

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