Alese & Morton Pechter
of our favorite get-a-ways, Walt Disney World in Orlando, continues
to amaze us. Each time we go we think we have seen it all and there
is absolutely nothing more that Disney can dazzle us with. How wrong
we are! This last visit we saw the opening of Test Track
at Epcot; the opening of Asia, part of Animal Kingdom; the brand
new show Fantasmic, and the opening of Cirque du Soleil,
at Downtown Disney.
LA NOUBA ... CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ... DOWNTOWN DISNEY:
High on our list of "must see" shows is La
Nouba, the new Cirque du Soleil presentation at Walt
Disney that is spectacular. Just think of opulent sets, wild, outrageous
costumes, brilliant staging, razzle-dazzle lighting, special effects,
space-age music and 60 phenomenal performers. They all add up to
one of the most unusual circus performances we have ever seen. There
are clowns and daredevil acrobats and tumblers but no sawdust, performing
elephants or dancing bears.
Instead we are treated to humans who seem to be
made of elastic with rubber bones. They contort themselves into
impossible poses always appearing limber and graceful. Simply amazing!
There are gymnasts who fly around with split-second timing, bouncing
off walls, each other and several trampolines. There are trapeze
artists flying on four intersecting swings and an aerial dance that
uses super-long flowing ribbons as swings. Four young Chinese girls
do somersaults and leap while using ropes to catch large wooden
spools tossed among them.
Nouba means "to party" and this is a party to see. Housed in
a new permanent 30 million dollar home that Disney built for the
troupe, the building resembles a futuristic tent. The circular theater
encompasses 73,800 square feet and seats over 1600 in a horseshoe,
around the thrust stage, with 75 feet of clear air above that allows
performers to spend much of the show floating high over the audience.
This is a show that rates seeing and well worth
the drive to Orlando. It is a great family entertainment afternoon
or evening, but let the little ones know beforehand that they will
not see any live animals at this circus.
... MGM STUDIOS:
new 25 minute Fantasmic show pits Mickey Mouse in a dream-world
battle to overcome villainous adversaries. It is presented nightly
at the new, outdoor 6500 seat Hollywood Hills Amphitheater at Disney-MGM
Studios. Mickey's world of magic creates dancing waters, dazzling
lasers, shooting comets, animated fountains, swirling stars, balls
of fire and other wonders ... all choreographed to the melodies
of favorite Disney classics. A truly fantastic evening of entertainment.
Are you one who likes those daredevil rides? Well,
there is a brand new one for you at Epcot ... Test Track.
It is the longest and fastest ride ... nearly a mile long ... and
gives you a taste of how GM cars are tested before being brought
climb hills, experience hairpin turns, bounce down bumpy roadways
and zip along straight-aways at speeds pushing 65 mph. The Disney
Imagineers have emulated the rigors of vehicle testing that all
GM brands go through. Test Track climbs, spirals and snakes
through the 150,000-square-foot pavilion, including areas simulating
arctic cold and desert heat. About half the track loops outside
the pavilion where maximum speeds are obtained.
There are three onboard computers which together
have more processing power than the Space Shuttle. Just to write
about it makes our stomachs flip. There is more than five minutes
of tire-squealing road tests, including an engine-roaring, three
story ascent; a wildly out of control skid and a 50 degree banked
curve at 65mph. Whew! You may want to close your eyes for the high-speed
crash test. The usual Disney pre and post-shows are there also.
Entering, you see in display models and videos the safety testing
that goes into each production car. As you exit, the post-show highlights
the latest GM models along with an automobile specialty shop that
offers collectibles and mementoes for sale.
Kingdom now has the long awaited area, Asia, ready for us to enjoy.
Walking along the paths we are greeted by storytellers and beautiful
young ladies performing native dances in dress appropriate for the
area. The highlight for us was the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Set in the mythical village of Anandapur, we walked through
a rainforest environment to see the lush home of many different
animal and bird species. Gibbons, tree dwelling apes, swing from
a Nepalese-style monument tower to the ruins of a temple with Thai
design. Tigers roam and play and deer graze near the crumbling walls
of a maharajah's palace. We saw giant fruit bats, some with wing
spans of more than six feet and the largest monitor lizard in the
world, the Komodo Dragon, which can grow up to 12 feet long. There
is a lotus pool and animals we never heard of like the Malayan Tapir.
The exotic feel of Nepal, India, Thailand and Indonesia are represented
in the architecture, animal carvings and ruins scattered throughout
new spectacular ride in Asia is the Kali River Rapids. Climbing
aboard 12-person round rafts (be sure to cover up as this is a wet
ride) we went for an exhilarating journey down the rushing Chakranadi
River. There is spraying mist, fiery brush, falling logs and speeding
turns as we raced through swirling waters and an unexpected, abrupt
drop into churning rapids. Even the viewing guests can have their
fun. From a bridge overlooking the end of this ride there is a button
that allows viewers to activate sprinklers, hidden in beautiful
ceramic elephant trunks along the water's edge, that spray streams
of water onto the unsuspecting rafters below.
When next you visit Animal Kingdom you will want
to cross that Asia Bridge and enter the fabulous, wonderful mythical
Kingdom of Anandapur ... place of delight. As with the rest of Animal
Kingdom, the music and dancing and special story telling along the
streets reflects the life and lifestyles of these Asian communities.
La Nouba ...Cirque du Soleil:
Downtown Disney West Side
Phone for tickets: 407-939-7600
Or .. purchase from
any Disney Resort, most area hotels or theater box office
Showtimes: Wednesdays-Saturdays ... 5:30pm & 8:30pm Sunday ... 2:30pm
& 5:30pm Tickets: $56.50 plus tax for adults $45.20 plus tax for
children ages 3-9 Valet parking is available