Finally back from our Disney vacation, and the Keys to the Kingdom tour at the Magic Kingdom is highly recommended...
I'm back home now, and the magic that is Walt Disney World now becomes a memory from our nine day vacation. Normally I would have tried to blog stuff I saw/learned/experienced, but Twitter changed that. I found pictures that reminded me of certain friends, and those got snapped and sent as tweets from the iPhone and Tweetdeck. Along with the vacation goings and doings, I had a bit of finish-up work to do on the book to get it uploaded for (hopefully) quick availability on the different book sites. Fortunately I only got pinged once from work, and that was a very basic question from the department lead. Of course, when I go back tomorrow, Notes mail is dead and Exchange/Outlook is now the standard. I'm sure there will be plenty of emails and questions surrounding how our Notes applications are interacting with the change. But that's tomorrow... :)
Probably the only thing that deserved a separate blog entry was the Keys to the Kingdom (KttK) tour we took at the Magic Kingdom last Thursday. In all the years I've gone to WDW, I've never taken any of the "behind the scenes" tours, so this was a first. And had I known what these were like, I'd have signed up for one every trip. It was fantastic. KttK starts off at City Hall on Main Street, and then goes through Adventureland, Frontierland, into the Cast Members Only areas, and finally ends up in the Utilidors. The tour guide gives you the history and concepts behind why things are as they are, and shows you a number of things you've likely never noticed before.
While the content of the tour would probably be good regardless, I quickly noticed that the person leading your tour could make or break it. Our tour guide was Meghan, and I was amazed at her skill in doing tours. You could tell she well and truly loves working for Disney, is a major extrovert, and walks the perfect line between "this is the company history" and "here's the Meghan view" of things. And if you give her a hard time (jokingly), she'll dish it right back. It was perfect. We all had fun, learned a lot, and saw things that very few people ever get to see and experience.
Her goal was to get everyone to have a "gee whiz, Meghan!" moment. Those are the moments when you see something for the first time and go "gee whiz, Meghan, I never knew that!" Mine came early at the end of Main Street. The park had just opened for regular hours, and we had made it down Main Street to the end. Meghan was having fun mouthing the words to the announcement (that she's probably heard a thousand times before), and then said "ever wonder where all the sound comes from? Here's something I bet you never noticed. Look at the windows on the second story of the buildings and just watch..." First off, the windows were open, which isn't normally the case. Ah, the speakers are in the windows! But since you can't just leave the windows open all day, they slowly close themselves about seven seconds after the announcements and music finish. The show facade is back to normal, and the show can continue. :)
Ever wonder why the water looks green and not terribly clean in the Jungle Cruise? They inject dye into the water to disguise the fact that the water is only about three feet deep. The hippos in the river? They're not hippopotamuses... they're hippobottomlesses, as they have no bottoms or undersides. The water hides that fact, so why build what can't be seen? And listen carefully to the African characters and their war dance... You *will* hear the phrase "I LOVE DISCO" in there.
That only begins to touch on many of the things I saw for the first time. I was again reminded of the power of imagination, vision, and attention to detail. If you haven't ever taken the KttK tour or wondered if it was worth the time or money, you owe it to yourself to go on it.