I'm back. I survived Disney World. It was actually nice.
Okay, it was more than just nice. I had a great time with SKO at Disney World despite the withering heat and throngs of families. SKO & I always have a great time together, so I was not surprised that we had tons of fun. Well I should give Disney a bit more credit- the rides were really fun & kitchsy (we also lucked out by being randomly handed a super fast pass for most of the rides at Magic Kingdom- it was like winning the lottery, we cut tons of long lines and felt like rock stars with our special passes around our necks). Also, staying at a Disney resort & using Disney transport was a pretty efficient way to travel, especially since I do not drive. Bear with me as I post tons of photo mosaics of our trip...I just learned how to make the mosaics and overindulged just a bit (I will make it short & sweet because no one really wants to see vacation pics of SKO & I except, well SKO & I):
Here's our hotel- Disney's Coronado Springs- named after one of several gold driven, blood-thirsty, disease carrying explorers. SKO & I joked about how the decor of the resort should truthfully display in Disney fashion- cartooned carcasses of the Native Americans hanging on the walls of a hotel named after a Spanish conqueror. The hotel was pretty despite it's ill-fated name. Tons of fun to be had at the Magic Kingdom- we went most of the rides and returned in the evening for more fun & fireworks. My all time favorite: The Mad Tea Party from Alice In Wonderland complete with Dormouse peeking out of the teapot. SKO & I took turns spinning our teacup to sickening fast speeds. We both felt a bit queasy afterwards since we did go on after dinner, but it was all worth it. Then there was the ridiculously hot day where we wandered through Epcot in a daze. We dragged our feet through The World Showcase (a glorified open mall of different areas simulating countries from Mexico to France) in the searing heat. We were delirious walking from China to Italy in search of lunch...My favorite country was Morocco- from the beautiful tilework to my first decent meal in a pretty restaurant complete with belly dancing performance and rosewater for our hands after the meal.
There was a particularly interesting ride at Epcot- The Land, where they took you through their hydroponics planting system- everything from millet to kale to Mickey Mouse shaped pumpkins grown without soil. They were also experimenting with aeroponically grown tomatoes- grown in air and systematically misted with nutrients. The one thing that did bother me on this ride: farmed fish & crocodiles. Sad.
There was the day spent at Disney's MGM Studios Theme Park. The park was very cute- kind of a replica of old Hollywood. There was a backlot for New York with fake subway stations, water towers on buildings. The disturbing thing was the paint graffiti on the lionheads & the dilapidated apt building with apts for rent- this is how they represent NYC? shameful and stuck in the 70's- they might as well have added dog poop all over the streets if they wanted to convey old scary NYC...Mine & SKO's favorite- a Star Tours ride based on Star Wars (we happened to watch the entire Star Wars dvds this summer). And yes, we did hum the theme to the Dark Side for some time on line for the ride & after- annoying perhaps to some. Judge me by my humming, do you? Ah Yoda, we heart thee.
Now, I'm sure you all want to know what a vegan can eat at Disney. Well, the good news is that there were a few vegan options for the most part- well really at least one definite at all the parks was the veggie burger, which I think might have been a Boca burger- very meaty kind of burger. As with all theme parks, there's tons of bad for you burgers & fries, but the nice thing at Disney- they list on their park maps which places carried vegetarian & healthy alternatives ( not a big selection, but always something to eat). So I went armed with Lara bars, nuts, cookies & Primal Strips as a supplement, but ended up being sufficiently fed. The two best meals that I had was a simple vegetable couscous dish in Morocco at Epcot and a surprisingly good tabouleh wrap with black bean salad at the ABC Commissary at MGM. The worst was lunch in Japan at The Yakitori House. The only veg options- iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes and an order of mixed vegetables. Well I was so excited to hear mixed vegetables that I happily ordered that with a salad and a side of rice. The mixed vegetables turned out to be frozen peas, corn & carrot. That was the most disappointing meal. Overall though, it was nice to have at least one veg option at most places. Also, I learned to drink my coffee black because although they had non-dairy creamer, upon further reading of ingredients, I discovered that the non-dairy creamer contained caseinate derived from dairy. Some how defeats the purpose no?
My biggest pet peeve at Disney- in every theme park, there were people devouring giant pieces of flesh. Some turkey fleshmonger must have an in with Disney and was able to secure a contract to sell huge turkey drumsticks at all their parks. They must have some big connection to push these turkey drumsticks because it's not everyday you see people snacking on fleshy drumsticks. Check out the eerie correlation between guy's bare leg & turkey leg he's munching on. Why can't people make the connection? Turkey flesh, human flesh on a bone- no difference. Stop eating animals- flesh is flesh. Yuck. After Disney, I was able to visit with my father's side of the family in Florida and have happily brought Tofurky Italian Sausages into their lives. My father's side of the family is Buddhist and the nice thing was how open they were to my veganism. My father & his sister- my aunt on separate occasions told me how proud they were of my veganism. My father loudly announced to all at the dinner table where we gathered that the sausages were free of all animal product. He said it twice. It was really nice that not only were they so accepting of my lifestyle, but that they were actually proud of me. What a complete contrast to the reaction from my mother's Chinese Catholic side of the family. I guess being Buddhists- veganism is not such a foreign concept. My father also loves the Purely Decadent mocha almond fudge that I put in his freezer. I may send them a care package soon so that they will incorporate more animal-free foods in their home. On that note, I wish you all a wonderful weekend. SKO is back home in Florida and the summer is coming to an end. One further note to SKO: See what happens when you give up your couch privileges and go home to Florida? Always someone ready to take your place...