19 April 2007

The Great Birthday Surprise

The anniversary of Smitty's birth occurred two weekends ago. Smitty is not particularly given over to celebrating the fact that he is aging, insofar as it makes him think about the fact that the last two years have been an utter waste, career-wise, and he feels he's getting too old to right some of the wrongs he committed in the past (like not changing majors in college, studying political science, joining the military, those sorts of things). Smitty doesn't like thinking about things like that, and he didn't want to celebrate his birthday this year.

But Smittygirl says a birthday is a good reason to celebrate. It's not so much a commemoration of age as it is an excuse to have a party and take a load off for a while and do something fun. Hard to disagree with her there. To that end she planned a surprise for me. I kept bugging her all week to tell me, but as soon as she was about to I'd cut her off and say I didn't want to know. Of course this was insanely annoying, which wasn't the point, although it was kind of fun.

I knew we were going out of town, but I also knew it couldn't be that far since neither of us was taking any vacation. Smittygirl resisted until we were in the car and eastbound on I-4 to tell me we were going to Orlando. There are all kinds of fun things to do there. We checked into the Sheraton hotel, the round one you see from the interstate when you're passing by Universal Studios. Pretty cool hotel. Once we checked in she told me we were going to Epcot. Yaay!

Epcot has always been my favorite of the Disney parks (although I've never been to either of their water parks or the Animal Kingdom (Animal Kingdom doesn't interest me; I'd rather go to a zoo)). Lots of people like to make fun of Epcot: The Simpsons, P.J. O'Rourke, Dave Barry… but they're missing the point. O'Rourke pointed out, when he went in the late 1980s, that all the rides were fifteen or more years out of date and not very interesting anyway. Dave Barry said much the same thing. The Simpsons called the park boring. Maybe… or maybe they just didn't want to have any fun in the first place. That's what I think.

I love Epcot. It was the perfect birthday celebration. And what timing! It was the flower and garden show... or something... anyway, they had all kinds of special plantings, plant and flower displays, and even gardening shops, including a guy who was selling plumeria sticks (same thing as frangipani). I bought a pink one. I've planted it on the porch in cactus mix, which is what the instructions said, so we'll see what happens.

What a great day we had. They've changed The Living Seas into a Finding-Nemo themed ride, which is just fine because the aquarium hasn't changed and that's half the reason to go there. The land has a new ride, called Soarin'--but we didn't ride it because the wait was never less than 100 minutes. But now that Disney does the whole Fastpass thing, if you really wanted to ride it you could just go there in the morning and get your fastpass and go back whenever you wanted.

We spent most of our day wandering, only did a few rides. Epcot rides aren't exactly the thrill-ride type of thing, but we had to do the Land so we could steal ideas for our own gardens. And of course we had to play in the jumping fountains! You can't pass that up.

There's a new area, Innovations or some such, with several little science-themed play areas. It would be totally awesome for kids. They had build-your-own-molecule parts. I made a buckyball.

The best part was lunch! Which we had at after two-thirty so it was more of a linner. But anyway. We went to Morocco. Yaay, Morocco! What foresight they had putting Morocco in Epcot. It's the best restaurant there, and even better because they have bellydancers. And I even got a special birthday dessert, complete with candle and 'Happy Birthday' sung in English and Arabic by two waiters and the bellydancer. Way cool. (The camera was acting up or we'd have pictures.)

So it was a great way to celebrate the un-celebratable. Getting older isn't so bad. Wait, yes it is. But it's still an okay excuse to party.


Lucky Bob said...

Awesome. I was hoping you had a great time. Epcot has always been my favorite park too. And a garden show too. Damn. And bonus points for the Buckminsterfullerene construction.

Anonymous said...

Yea! Description of suprise appreciated. It seems the way to bring in the big one is go to a Morrocan restaurant! With Belly dancers!

I've eated at that Morrocan restaurant in Epcot-- when we were on spring break Junior year I think??? Or maybe with family. Anyways, it was way cool then and I'm glad to hear it's still top quality.

Glad you had a great day. How do you feel post-anniversary??? I've been feeling pretty good- it was the week before that sucked.


Ayzair said...

I LOVE Epcot! Any surprise that I loved visiting the countries even the first time we went when I was 5? A born traveler. And yes, Rambling, we went to Morocco and it was great! The inspiration for much couscous consumption the past few years.

The only sad thing about Epcot now, though, is that Journey into Imagination is gone, along with all its trippy 70s animation and Figment. I loved that ride.

scanime said...

Epcot is definitely the best of the parks. I haven't been there in about twenty years now (that's scary) but I still have fond memories of Epcot over Disney World or MGM Studios. Tiffany (who also went as a kid many years ago) and I would both love to go back there sometime. We think we'd have fun, and it sounds like you two did, too.

ams said...

It was sophomore year, ramblin, and I have pictures. Morocco is where the waiter thought I was a Make-a-Wish kid.

Smitty said...

^ Are you serious? I haven't heard this story...

Ayzair said...

Wait, I don't remember this story, either?!?! Though a vague memory is coming back that he was a really cute waiter ...