Who knew training could be so much fun?
SANS â€“ Day 2
Ok, so today was the official start of the conference, but outside of classes not a whole lot goes on aside from a few late evening speeches or vendor demos. They had the first vendor meet & greet, but I didnâ€™t make it to that.
Today, was Epcot.
Well, first I had to take the shuttle system out to the hotel the conference is being held at (Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin Resorts) to register, get my conference badge and pick up my books for training. They handed me a tote bag crammed full of spiral bound books. Each day of the course has a book, and each book is essentially the slides with a LOT of explanatory text accompanying it. So, I got my books, bag, badge and complimentary shirt and head back to my resort to drop it all off before beginning my first day of park hopping.
So, around 11am I make it out to Epcot, and buy myself an incredibly high priced ticket. In Epcot I hit the following:
-Spaceship Earth (the ride inside the golf ball)
-Mission: Spaceâ€¦ it rocked
-Test Trackâ€¦ a quasi-roller coaster that does a sort of series of automotive tests (like speed tests, swerving, hill climbs etc. It was OK
-Soarinâ€™â€¦ One of those simulators they have all over the place. You sit in a seat and are suspended in front of a giant projection screen and it simulates hang-gliding over Californiaâ€¦ complete with appropriate scents etc. Pretty damn cool, but Iâ€™m not sure if it was worth a 2hr wait
-Innoventionsâ€¦ played some group video gameâ€¦ kicked everyoneâ€™s butt.
-World Showcaseâ€¦ Checked out all the respective country areas.. which are mostly just zoned gift shops with a single â€œmuseumâ€ or art galleryâ€¦ Overall pretty neat, but a tad overrated.
-Fireworks displayâ€¦ At 9pm they set off a really nice fireworks display set to music. Not a really big production, but respectable nonetheless.
Interesting tidbits from the day:
1. Did you know that the Italian, French and Moroccan sections of the World Showcase in Epcot arenâ€™t actually owned by Disney? Well, I may have to fact-check this later, but according to one of the Moroccan employees, they actually were gifted to the countries and thereâ€™s some lease agreement with Disney, so while theyâ€™re in Disney, theyâ€™re not entirely operated by them, they have a bit more freedom.
2. Itâ€™s a very small world. In the morning, the shuttle I took from Downtown Disney to the Dolphin/Swan was driven by a guy who used to live down the street from my grandparents in OHâ€¦ He didnâ€™t know them, but knew exactly where they lived when I described it to them.
3. I will never ever ever ever take anyone under the age of 15 or 16 to Disney. I heard more kids crying because they were exhausted and/or over-stimulated in one afternoon than I have in my entire life. Despite the whole deal with Disney being targeted at kids, I donâ€™t think most can appreciate itâ€¦ and itâ€™s all so overwhelming itâ€™s difficult to deal with. Some kids may deal with it well, but I can see it as being too easy to get swept away by it all. Lots of cranky kidsâ€¦ lots of cranky parents
4. Perception of weather is a lot different down here. It was a nice 65 degrees out, overcast, no humidity and a breeze. People were complaining about it being cold! I was loving the heat! Guess thatâ€™s what you get for being from the Frozen Northern Wastelands.
5. Disney shuttles are NOT a reliable way to get around. They may be cheaper and more convenient than driving yourself, but if you have to get somewhere in a timely fashion, the busses arenâ€™t the way to go. It took me about an hour and a half to get from my resort, to the Dolphin, register and get back to my resort. Of course, thereâ€™s no direct shuttle service from resort to resort, you have to go through some middle point, usually Downtown Disney.
6. I can actually be quite social when Iâ€™m in the proper mood. Normally, I donâ€™t talk to strangers much, Iâ€™m not much of a socializer etcâ€¦ But for some reason today, I was in such a good mood, that I was just laughing and chatting with all sorts of people. Of particular note was Nadia, an employee in the Moroccan section. We sat around and chatted for a while, hung out with some pretty drunk 20-somethings from West Palm Beach for about and hour and just had a good time. I never do that normally. Itâ€™s amazing what a good mood will do for you.
When all was said and done, I got to sleep around 3am. Not good considering I had to be up early in the morning for my first day of classâ€¦ you know, the actual stated purpose of this trip Sure I can do an 8hr class on 4hrs of sleep after a very very full day of running around an amusement parkâ€¦ sureâ€¦
(Iâ€™m actually typing this dayâ€™s entry over the lunch break from the first day of classâ€¦. So damn tiredâ€¦ going to fall asleep any minute now and I still have 4hrs left!)
So the first day of fun can be considered a resounding success... tomorrow class starts.