I love Walt Disney World. It’s the truth, it’s actual. It probably doesn’t hurt that I first went when I was 2, and went back about every two to three years until I was 12 when the parents bought a Disney Vacation Club timeshare and we went every years, and now, well, I’ve been twice this year and am returning again … tomorrow.
When you tell people you are a Disney fan, you get a variety of responses most of which center around “isn’t that just for kids” or “doesn’t it get boring”. First of all, neither of those are true. I grew up with Disney, and I’ve been through numerous stages of Disney enjoyment, and believe me when I say there is a Disney World out there for everyone. Today, however, I am going to focus on Disney for geeks, because, well, I’m a geek. So are my sisters, husband, and parents, and we all love Disney, so there must be something to that, right? Read on and find out!
Found on Wikimedia Commons.
I’ve decided to focus this article on the four theme parks, although there is a ton of other geek stuff to do outside the parks in Downtown Disney, the Wide World of Sports, the various resorts, and probably other things I’m forgetting. For now, onward to the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.
The Magic Kingdom
This is the classic location everyone thinks about when they think Disney. It’s also my least favorite park, so it gets to go first. It’s full of iconic Disney movie rides, characters, and small children. However, there are a few places to head to get your geek on. The Mothership’s favorite is Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. It’s a ride where players have a laser gun which they use to shoot various targets and rack up points, i.e., a video game. My family is quite competitive about the scores and will take pictures and text them when others are not around for a new high score. I enjoy most of the rest of Tomorrowland as well since it includes the futuristic indoor roller coaster Space Mountain, not super thrilling, but worth a spin (on the left side, no really, they are different!!).
Thanks Joe Shlabotnik for the great picture.
I love Animal Kingdom. Disclaimer: I’m a biologist. There are a lot of real animals in this park and it can be fun to watch them do their thing. I particularly like the cichlids and the tigers. If you want a closer look, you can go to the Conservation Station where you can watch animal surgeries and vet care and learn about conservation and endangered species. My favorite ride is Dinosaur, a thrilling trip back in time to late Cretaceous Period to find an iguanadon. I was a dinosaur obsessed young geek for a number of years, I know others of you were as well. Just watch out: not all dinosaurs are vegetarians! Finally, there is Everest, the exciting roller coaster ride through the Himalayas, while a Yeti is on your trail. Pretend you’re in the X-files, then throw up your arms and scream!
Still not our dino, but at least this one’s a vegetarian! Thanks to the photographer Mr. Kathika.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This is the place is you are a film and tv geek or a science fiction geek. Its long standing affiliation with MGM studios means that there is lots of movie history still to be had. Go on the Great Movie Ride to become part of the movies. It features Indiana Jones and Alien, including an animatronic of Ripley. Check out the Backlot Tour for both a fun trip through some special effects, but you can also catch a glance of some props in the boneyard from Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy among others. Then there’s the Indiana Jones stage show. My favorite place is the SciFi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. It’s a restaurant set-up like a drive-in theater, you eat in cars fitted with seats and tables in front of a huge screen that plays trailers from some of the greatest B movies of all time like Plan 9 from Outer Space and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Apparently Troy Thompson likes the SciFi Dine-In Theater too!
Finally, there is Star Tours. I used to love Star Tours. Here’s the thing, though, it’s currently undergoing a complete renovation and nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen when it reopens. I will not speculate here. However, there is a lot of Star Wars merchandise, characters, and a Jedi training school in Hollywood, as well as the Star Wars weekends special event every year, so Hollywood Studios can truly be geek heaven.
Previously known as the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, but now just Epcot, this is the favorite park of both my husband and I. The front of Epcot is known as Future World and it is made for science! geeks. My favorite pavilion is The Land (see above re: biologist) where you take a boat ride through their greenhouse. You can also take a walking tour of the greenhouse for a more in depth look. The Seas has a wonderful aquarium and some great interactive marine life exhibits, though I would skip the Nemo ride. Dawn likes to take the Scuba session through their tank. I also love Imagination which I think is very geeky due to being about always having fun and being imaginative. At Test Track, you get to be Buster (like the Mythbusters). Skip Mission Space. You’ll thank me later. Ellen’s Energy Adventure has Bill Nye and dinosaurs, so that’s fun, too.
Don’t forget about the many small exhibits in Future World called Innoventions. You can often find various games and puzzles in there. There’s also a new attraction there called The Sum of All Thrills where you get the be the engineer and design a coaster-like ride, then you get to test it in the simulator. Bonus: in the pre-show, there is a Virtual Boy. Seriously.
The back end of Epcot is the World Showcase, a series of pavilions of different countries. This is good for various kinds of geeks. If you are a beer, wine, or food geek, there are wonderful drinks and noms to be had in every country. If you are a Japanese culture geek, including pokemon, anime, and food like pocky, you can just die happy in the Japanese store Mitsukoshi. They have a million stuffed pokemon and Final Fantasy statues. History geeks should hang around colonial America. I’m also quite fond of the trolls in Norway.
There’s nothing like having wine and prosecco in Italy, in Epcot. That’s me and Dawn chilling during the Food and Wine festival.
So, as you can see, Disney can really be quite the geeky trip. Whether you are a gaming geek, a science geek, or a beer geek to start with, I really believe that after a well-planned trip to Disney World everyone can become a Disney Geek!