So.. today July 10th, we had for the most part a very sunny and hot day here in Orlando.. and I of course went out to my favorite Super Target for some shopping... But, as fate may have it... I ended up going to EPCOT Center on a whim..
As soon as I entered the parking lot.. thunderstorms started brewing out of nowhere...
But I safely made it to the front of the park, where they only had three (out of how many?) turnstyles opened, each with a very long line to enter. This was about 7pm.
Once inside the park... I noticed the Leave a Legacy kiosk has literally left the building and it's closed for good!
I also noticed Spaceship Earth has been entirely closed off for it's 3-4 month's refurbishment.
But even more joyful for me was the beginning of the end for that silly wand over Spaceship Earth. "Mr. President! Tear that wand down NOW!"
Then the skies opened and it rained for a bit while... but the rain stopped soon enough and we were all rewarded with a lovely rainbow that reached from one cloud to the next.
I did some minor window shopping, being stopped by several CMs whose attention I got with my "HKDL: Where Dreams Come True" tee shirt version of the same WDW tee they sell all over the property.
Then... took a short walk around the lagoon as the clouds were still semi-grey and menacing, and stopped briefly at the American Gardens Theater...where "BJorn Again: A Tribute to Bloody ABBA" was playing a show as part of the Sounds of Summer music program at EPCOT Center.
Does anyone miss the days of the All-American College band, with guest artists such as Rita Moreno, and the Rockettes?? Or better yet, are any of you old enough to even remember that and the All-American College Marching Band at the MK...??? Oh never mind.
As the Bjorn Again show ended... about 15 mins before Illuminations was to start, the skies opened up again, and few raindrops started coming down.. with some approaching lighting in the distance... I picked up the pace and opened my umbrella (now I have that dreaded Rihanna (sp?) song in my head...eh! eh! eh! My umbrella eh! eh! eh!..). As I am crossing the bridge in between France and the UK... I look over to my right and see a wall of water cutting accross the World Showcase lagoon, so thick in fact that I could hardly see the China and Germany pavillions across the lagoon!
I go ..."OMG!" ...and within 30 secs..the rain started to come down furiously, coincidentally at the same time the "10 mins to Illuminations" announcement comes on. Other guests start running and screaming as the furious downpour moves over head. It was the closest I have ever experienced to a Godzilla movie scene, where people are running and screaming for dear life. I thought..."we need a Sodom and Gomorrah pavilion here"... The crowd's reaction was just too comical.
As I walk down next to Canada, with few souls drenched and running in vain... a HUGE lighting strike hits, like way too close to us... and the thunder was like a loud and terrifying BOOM! Everyone again screamed.. and now I get concerned I walking walking with an open umbrella in a very severe thunderstorm.
But fear NOT! I made it to the front of the park, partially dry from the waist up, with drenched tennis shoes and socks! As I seek shelter under Spaceship Earth... I look back and see the wall of water painted in colors from the geosphere lighting equipment.
Undaunted, I press on, opening my umbrella eh!eh! and coming to a stop under the turstyles at the front of the park. I look back and bloody Illuminations is going ON as scheduled. Freaky! You can see the fire barge's brightness reflected on the rain behind Spaceship Earth!
I then opened my umbrella again and headed to the parking lot with about another 5,000 guests who were way underway to their cars as well... while overhearing a CM telling another... "I can't believe they are doing the fireworks with this weather!!"
While I understand Disney's desire to NOT disappoint the guests who visit the park, I do wonder why on God's Earth do they choose to perform Illuminations under the worst of possible conditions, and with multiple lighting strikes going on all around us! I would believe there were some guests who braved the weather to enjoy the show, but frankly... is this safe? I mean.. Why not delay the show or cancel due to the severity of the weather over the park at that particular time? I feel it would have been in the best interest of safety to delay or cancel this show tonight. The show should definitely NOT go on when safety comes into play.
Add to the bad weather, the other safety issues I witnessed as I walked to the front of the park during the downpour... I never realized how bad the water accumulates in most areas of the park and the parking lot when it rains as hard as it did tonight. There are spots where the water reached approx. 4" in height and at least 10'-15' in diameter. Those floods, along with running guests and what-have-you could very much cause unnecesary accidents in the park. Add insult to injury, when I reached the Innoventions area, to find that most exhibits were already closed and doors locked, taking away much needed shelter space from guests who had to pack the few sheltered areas available in the Innovention buildings (meaning the walking spaces between buildings that lead to either Future World East or West.) It left a bad feeling for me that guest safety is not an item of importance for management when severe weather hits the park out of nowhere. I feel that 1) Illuminations should have been delayed of cancelled due to the extreme rainy conditions, and 2) doors to the Innovention exhibit should have been re-opened for guests to shelter themselves from the severe weather. Way too many people soaked to the bone tonight, which coincidentally... was an Extra Magic Hours night at EPCOT. Enjoy your perks Disney hotel guests!!
Anyways... here is one more look at the very wet Spaceship Earth, and note the wand's lights are now off. Forever.