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Published: February 28th 2018
Hollywood Studios I
Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice at the front gate of Hollywood Studios.
After having spent four wonderful days with my friend Belinda at Quest Air it was time for me to leave for Disney World to attend the conference that I had come to Florida for. Belinda took me to the hotel, the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin. On our way to the restaurant by the pool where we wanted to have dinner together we bumped into my colleagues from Norway and Sweden and they joined us. And then it was time to say goodbye to Belinda, she drove back to Quest – again thank you so much for having me and for the great days we had.
The conference I was at was the 32nd Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
. I had organised a symposium on the topic of gamification, and like at the last conference in Liverpool there was great interest in the topic: the room was completely full of people and they were even standing outside the doors. This conference was interesting, SIOP is clearly one of my favourite ones, but I won’t bore you with the details, but rather tell you what else I did while being in Walt Disney World.
There are a lot of fancy restaurants there, and I got
Hollywood Studios II
Star Wars performance on stage.
to try two of them. There was the Paddlefish
, a restaurant situated in a riverboat, that offers very special seafood. I am a vegetarian and got a nice veggie alternative, but it was interesting to see how they had prepared all the seafood, and to see how one of the servers prepared the lobster right at the table. Within no time he cracked the legs and pulled out the meat. Our US colleagues invited us there, it was a great experience, thank you so much!
The other fancy place is Victoria and Albert’s
, an award-winning fine dining restaurant. We had a ten-course menu, and we got individualised menu cards for it that had our names written on top of the page. There was a different wine with each course. The experience was absolutely amazing and it is needless to say that the food was just fantastic, let alone the experience. Our Nordic colleagues had invited us for this event, so thank you so much for this!
Since we were in Walt Disney World, though, I also had to go to some of the theme parks. I had been to Magic Kingdom and Epcot when I had been to Walt Disney
Hollywood Studios III
The Clone Troopers are amongst us!
World two years ago (see my post on it
for some impressions), so this time I wanted to see Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Achim joined me for Hollywood Studios
, which was within walking distance from our hotel (although very few people actually walk, what they do is catch one of the boats that passes all the hotels and takes them to the theme parks, or they catch the bus, of course). When we entered the park there was a show with clone troopers happening on the centre stage. Star Wars was one of the featured themes anyway, I would say. My personal highlight of the theme park was “Star Tours”, a 3D simulated flight to some of the destinations from Star Wars, with guidance by C-3PO. As a movie fans of course we needed to take the Movie Tour that took us past some famous movies like for example Casablanca. For this movie the scene they had chosen was the famous one where Rick says to Ilsa: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” (Which had been translated into German as “Ich schau dir in die Augen, Kleines.” – completely wrong!). There were also scenes from “The Godfather”, “Alien”, and various others, it was fun!
Hollywood Studios IV
The movie tour with the famous scene from "Casablanca".
Another attraction that we went to was the “Muppet Vision 3D”, a 3D movie featuring some of the Muppets. The 3D effects were cool, but the whole thing not sooo much fun. Altogether I have to say that I was not too impressed with this theme park, whereas I had loved both Magic Kingdom and Epcot. But Achim and I had fun anyway.
One afternoon I spent in Animal Kingdom
. For this theme park I had to catch a bus. My highlight here was the huge tree in the centre of the park, an artificial tree beautifully crafted with all kinds of animals in its bark, called “Tree of Life”. One can walk around it on several trails and at night it is beautifully illuminated. Underneath it there is a movie show called “It’s tough to be a bug”, where one gets an idea on what it must be like to be so small. Also there was a safari type tour where visitors are taken through “Harambe Wildlife Reserve” in large jeeps. There were giraffes, zebras, a type of cattle that is, as far as I know, called “Ankole-Watusi”, and even lions. Moreover, there were various trails one could walk,
Animal Kingdom I
The Tree of Life in the centre of the park.
the “Maharaja Trail” featuring Indian wildlife, and “Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail” featuring African wildlife. And there was a fun rollercoaster, “Expedition Everest”. I did not stay for too long though because I wanted to spend the evening with some of my colleagues, and so I caught a bus back shortly after dark.
My last night at the conference was a short one, hung out with the awesome colleagues for too long, so after a very short night I had to pack and leave because I wanted to spend the day with my aunt and uncle who live in Ocala, just about an hour’s drive from Walt Disney World. I had rented a car and drove to their place. It was great to see Helmut and Anne. Last time I had been in Florida they had come down to Disney World to see me, now it was my turn to go and visit them. They live in a community for elderly people, and when they showed me around I was really impressed: There are various gyms, pools, tennis courts, a golf course, community houses where one can meet others, and if you need assistance you can get it easily. Helmut
Animal Kingdom II
A closer look at the carvings on the Tree of Life.
and Anne made sure I had a good time: They showed me around town, cooked lunch for me, and even introduced me to their neighbours. Way too soon I had to get back into the car and drive to the airport in order to fly home – thank you Helmut and Anne for a great day, and it was wonderful seeing you!
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