Of the various theme parks at Walt Disney World, Alex and his parents
probably had the most pleasant experience in EPCOT, which is billed as
Walt Disney's vision of the future. EPCOT is quieter than its sister
parks, and Alex, a boy who has proven to be sensitive to loud noises,
was able to explore and enjoy himself without feeling the need to
clasp his hands over his ears.
Alex at the base of EPCOT's famous giant golf ball.
EPCOT is essentially divided into two distinct sections. At the entrance
is the famous giant golf ball, officially known as "Spaceship Earth."
In the area surrounding the golf ball are attractions that tell us about
life in the future. Visitors can see gadgets that might become household
staples in the next few decades. At one booth, a woman held a plastic
stick that will one day, she said, be able to scan and retain thousands
of kitchen recipes. (Why is it, we wonder, that new technology is often
presented to the masses in terms of what it can do for our collections
of recipes? We're surprised that Guttenberg didn't print a cookbook
before he printed a Bible.) While that plastic stick may sound impressive,
the fact remains that the "prototype" the woman was "demonstrating" was
merely a plastic stick that had no more functionality than a twig that
you might find in your back yard.
Anyway, once you get beyond the "wonders of the future" section of
EPCOT, you get to a large lake, which is surrounded by miniature
representations of many of the nations of the earth. While strolling
around the lake, visitors can sample the souvenirs, and food, of
countries from Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. During their
time at EPCOT, Alex and his parents enjoyed meals in Norway, China,
and Germany. Alex particularly liked his lunch in the Norwegian restaurant.
He sampled a very sweet tasting goat cheese, and slurped cream of
spinach soup through a straw. We don't know what compelled Alex to
try the soup - he has an aversion to foods that are green - but he was
absolutely wild about Norwegian cream of spinach soup.
Alex visited an Aztec pyramid in Mexico, and learned to play the drums while in Africa.
Alex's exploration of EPCOT was marred, however, by an invasion of the
much dreaded and feared butterfly men. These savage warriors, twelve
feet tall and sporting enormous butterfly wings on their backs, have
ravaged Europe for centuries. You know what we're talking about,
don't you? Sure you do! Alex was buzzing around on an Italian foot
bridge, his mind occupied with whatever thoughts occupy the mind of
a three-year-old boy exploring Disney World, when he found himself
in the shadow of a butterfly man. The butterfly man's entourage were busy
shooing away anybody who happened to be in the path of the bizarre creature.
Alex strikes a defiant pose on a European bridge, just before the arrival of the butterfly men.
Alex grudgingly gave ground to the butterfly man, and could be heard
complaining about the "bad butterfly men" for the remainder of the day.
Run for your lives! It's a giant butterfly man!
If you're worried about having nightmares about butterfly men, let us
assure you, gentle reader, that the butterfly men were merely costumed
Disney employees on stilts. We wonder, though, if the butterfly men
were meant to represent some European pageantry from days of yore, or
if they are part of Walt Disney's master vision of the future.
(He was a visionary, you know.) A future in which the earth's
two dominant species, humans and butterflies, unite to form a powerful
race of giant winged people. (It could happen, you know!)