Walt Disney World 2000 Day 1: Home, Dixie Landings, EPCOT

Friday September 8, 2000
The day began early, as most first days of vacation begin. Actually, the day began the night before, as Roger and I decided to stay at the Le Meridien Hotel in Beverly Hills so we would not have to get up super early for the trip. So Thursday night we relaxed at the hotel (see pics in the photo section). On Friday morning we awoke around 6am to get some room service and catch a cab to LAX. The morning was a blur as we made it to the airport in plenty of time. Unfortunately, the cab driver delivered us to the wrong terminal, despite asking us where our destination was. After a quick hike to the other side of the airport, we relaxed in the terminal and eventually boarded the flight. Through some sick and twisted American Airlines master stroke of planning, our non-stop to Florida was on a 737. Way too small for transcontinental flight. At least American didn’t disappoint and provided its usual quota of snobby, rude stewardesses who were more concerned with other matters than the passengers.
About 5 hours later our plane landed safely at Orlando International. I made a mental note to arrange for a chiropractor when I return. In record time, we had our luggage, caught the tram and before too long we found ourselves at the Dixie Landings Resort at Walt Disney World. After receiving our briefing and supplies, we hiked to our room. With the humidity as it was, both of us were soaked when we reached the room.
We decided to go over to EPCOT to catch dinner and a glance at the fireworks. It was a bit different than I remembered, but I was glad to be there. We managed to ride Spaceship Earth with the new Jeremy Irons narration. Not as good as the Walter Cronkite version, but oh well. After eating, we checked out GM’s Test Track and picked up some Fastpasses. We wandered around to the World Showcase to catch the tail end of the Tapestry of Nations. Looked like a cool parade and we vowed to return the next day to see all of it. We returned to redeem our Fastpasses on Test Track. True to GM build quality, the ride broke down as we were getting ready to board it. Disney was nice enough to give us line cutting passes for the next day. Wandering back over to World Showcase, we caught the tail end of Illuminations 2000 – another show we want to see in full tomorrow.
By then, the park was closed and we just sauntered around the pavilions until we finally caught the bus back to the hotel. A long day, but I am glad we had a chance to get a sneak preview of what is to come. I should note that EPCOT seems to be following the annoying Sea World trend of piping music throughout the park. Unlike the 80’s mix of Sea World, EPCOT opted for the feel good background music. I really find it all distracting from the experience, but I am sure there is some happiness inducing reason that these parks do it.