Monday Memories (3/26/12)
Author: Josh Taylor
For me, a Disney vacation is more than theme park attractions. When I was a child it was all about what I could ride next, but these days, its all about pleasing my senses, relaxation, and quality time with whoever I’m with. Take my Disney World trip in 2004 for example. A trip that completely changed what I did on a Disney vacation. My mom and I decided to go on a trip by ourselves while my father went to Michigan to visit some family. It was some great bonding time that my mother and I rarely got since I was growing older, 19 at the time to be exact. We decided to stay on Disney property for the first time to save on getting a rental car. We chose to stay at the Pop Century Resort which was brand new at the time and we saw as very whimsical.
In previous years, either at Disneyland or Disney World, we had stayed off property with a rental car. This allowed us to always go to Universal Studios, Knottsberry Farm, Sea World, Busch Gardens, etc….My mother and I had already been to those places and felt that this trip would be a larger exploration of the Disney World property. We didn’t want to just hit the theme parks every day. We wanted to see all of the luxury hotels, take in some great food, and enjoy the sights and sounds around us.
On one morning, our first real morning, I decided to get up and grab some coffee. I had a hard time sleeping like I do every first night before the real fun begins. I walked from my room to the main lobby and as I entered, I saw the entire staff of the kitchen dancing to music. This was better than coffee as I was shocked and excited to see such an atmosphere at a place I knew was awe inspiring, however, I still got my cup of coffee and started to walk back to my room.
Knowing that my mom was still asleep, I decided to ditch the room and walk the resort. I found myself on a trail around the lake at the resort. Not knowing of the additions to the Pop Century they were doing, I was curious of the buildings across from our resort, so I took the trail and walked around the lake.
Disney, not making anything simply, had added small signs around the lake. Each sign had a small fact about a certain decade (that’s the theme of Pop Century) or a trivia question that would be answered a few feet away. It was a great way to pass the time while walking by myself with my coffee. Not knowing what was on the next sign, I would rush over to find out.
As I made my way across the lake, I got an up close view of what was to become the earlier half of the 1900s at the Pop Century resort. In big lettering, each building had “10s” or “20s” or “30s” or “40s” on it. It was clear that Disney had plans to expand the market for value resort guests by adding upon the Pop Century Resort. (Although this never happened, and the building sat for a number of years until it was announced as the new Art of Animation Resort, I didn’t know that at the time.) I stood there thinking about what would be a great theme for each section. The 1940s could have this great WWII prop plane with swing music playing in the background. There were so many options that got me excited to see what they would do with the place.
After my stare down of the new resort they were building, I continued on the trail around the lake, taking in small trivia facts and enjoying the Florida sunrise before returning to my room. Already excited for the day ahead, I woke up my mother to tell her about the walk around the lake and how unique it was. It’s an experience I had on my own, unplanned, unexpected, and I completely enjoyed it.
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