Also known as Epcot, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is no small operation. The combination of Future World and the World Showcase make for a full day of rides and walking, and without question, world-class people watching.
But my motivation for driving to Orlando from Tampa and slapping down the $60 for a ticket was not driven by a strong desire to immerse myself in a sea of humanity. No. My motivation stemmed from something greater than any theme park can deliver. It was a bet.
You see, I am not one to readily seek out close interaction with large populations of random people. It is not that I don’t respect my fellow man and woman, it is just that I typically prefer them in smaller doses; or at carefully chosen venues where I can typically predict the types of attendees. Theme parks have historically made me cringe simply because I know I will have to contend with some rabid child or entertainment-starved adult that never seemed to develop any manners or consideration for the world around them.
In combination, patronizing theme parks was not something my family pursued when I was a child. My father much preferred to immerse us in the outdoors far from the manicured landscapes and constructed courses of so-called, “civilized” surroundings.
I had in fact tried to visit Epcot once before when I was in my early twenties. However, I became physically ill the moment I set foot in Orlando. Surprisingly, I felt tremendous the moment we crossed the city limits 4 days later. It was as if I had emerged from some oppressive confinement that had only brought me feelings of claustrophobia and nausea.
But many years have transpired – I now find myself in Florida – and of course, there is this bet.
Have you ever, or do you currently have a friend that could not be more opposite than you? I do.
Somehow fate and work aligned to bring me and one, Josh Kenzer together to plie the virtual waters of the web, and carve out our careers in integrated and online marketing. Despite being very different from me, he is an interesting fellow and one who’s company I enjoy. What makes him absolutely bizarre in my opinion is that, while being for all intensive purposes an intellectual, he has this child-like fascination with all that is Disney. In fact, he runs a rather successful Disney Blog.
Josh could also care less about the outdoors, and he loves to tease me by insinuating that he would be perfectly content if we completely paved over the entire world. In direct contrast, I obviously love the outdoors and would much prefer to be out in it than away from it.
So, herein lies the origins of our bet: I go to Disney, and he finds his way into the natural surroundings of his area, which is currently Phoenix, Arizona. I have since fulfilled my side of the bet, and it is now Josh’s turn. I look forward to hearing about his adventure of getting lost in the Sonoran Desert.
But I came away with something that I did not anticipate. I actually enjoyed Epcot this time around. Yes, the park is still frequented by various human mutations, but I went through some kind of permutation that made me realize how narrow-minded I can be. Instead of focusing on the artificialities and miring myself in negativity, I saw the positives of the park. And there were many. For example, you should ride Spaceship Earth and contemplate what our next monumental technological advancement will be. Consider how we will manage our food consumption in Living with the Land. Observe the incredible similarities between Moroccan and Chinese music. Either way, there’s plenty to glean.
No matter what you are doing always keep looking and listening with an open mind. You never know what you may find.