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11 August 2002 S C OTLAND ON SUNDAY

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theRock n Roller Coaster and the foreboding Tw i l i g h t
Zone Tower of Te rro r, a ride into a haunted hotel which
plunges 200ft down a lift shaft. The coup degraceo f
the ride is when the doors suddenly open at the top
of the tower revealing sweeping views that show
how high up you are before the13-storey drop. Not
one to ride after dinner.
After a nerve-racking morning on the rides, you will
welcome a break by the hotels pool to calm down and cool
o ff. (Especially when you remember the relentless Florida
sun can mean mid-summer temperatures of about 35C.)
Or you can watch one of the afternoon parades put
on in each park, or takea siesta and emergeto catch
one of the spectacular evening shows.
The Beach Club hotel is perfectly placed for a
s h o rt walk to either Epcot or MGM Studios the
h e a rt of Disneys 100 yearsof magic celebration for
2002. Epcot embodies everything that is disliked
and respected about Disney, so it is only fitting
that it is split in two. The first section is called
F u t u re World, a series of pavilions with themes
such as energ y, health and farming. Cutting-
edge technology including third - g e n e r a t i o n
D
ISNEYS main mascot may be a small rodent but
the mouses Florida home covers 47 square
miles and features four theme parks, three water
parks, a night-time entertainment park, five
championshi p golf courses, tenni s court s ,
beaches, lakes and hundreds of shops and restaurants.
A holiday in Floridas sunshine has been enshrined in
the holidaymakers hall of fame since the 1971 inaugu-
ration of Walt Disney World in Orlando. This year the
re s o rt celebrates 100 years since the birth of its founder,
Walt Disney, and the company has defied the economic
d o w n t u rn by adding even more shows, parades and new
rides to its already colossal complex.
To make the most of your visit, it is best to stay in a
Disney hotel, which also aff o rds you early entry to the
theme parks, free re s o rt-wide transportation and a ro o m
key which doubles as a payment card to charge any
souvenirs bought throughout the re s o rt to your room
and have them delivered right to your door.
If you do choose Disneys Beach Club hotel, you would
be forgiven for thinking that you were in New England
c i rca 1880. Asyou pass through the palm-fringed entrance-
way of the blue clapboard building, you are greeted by
navy-suited bellboys and shimmering chandeliers all of
which adds to the atmosphere of a seaside hotel. There
a re small seahorses stitched into the bed sheets and the
g a rdens are carefully manicured the hotel even off e r s
tours of its topiary.
If touring about isnt your thing, you neednt spend time
t rekking across Disneys vast estate to cool off in one of the
water parks. The Beach Club is home to Stormalong Bay
a pool with apunch covering threeacres and comprising
t h ree lagoons and a swirling tide pool. It takes its name
f rom thelife-sized shipwreck centrepiece containing
a 150ft-long water slide. Disney has
even gone to the trouble of laying
sand on the bottom of the pools. It is
so much fun, kids may well wish to
spend a whole day here, bypassing
the theme park itself.
But not for long, of course, for it is
outside the hotels that the real adventures begin.
R e s o rt guests enjoy great freedom within the
park, for they can buy the Ultimate Hopper
ticket, offering unlimited access to the rides in
all the theme and water parks. It allows guests to
hop from one park to another during the course
of a day, which is handy for catching the best
bits in a single outing.
If you are a speed freak, head for the thriller
rides in MGM Studios. Here youll find
Disney Wo r l d s only looping roller coaster
World of make believe:
a fireworks display at
the lagoon (top) and
D i s n eys mousey stars
M i c key and Minnie
(right) are always on
hand in To o n t own in the
original Magic Kingdom
T R AV E L
Wo rds Christian Sylt
FACT FIL E
Kuoni (01306 747888) has seve n - n i g h t
packages at Disneys Beach Club fro m
1,912 per adult and 1,070 per child
this month. The price is based on two
adults and two children flying with
British Airways and includes fo u r
Ultimate Hopper Pass entry ticke t s .
BA flights from Edinburgh to Gatwick
a re included but since BAs Orlando
service departs from Gatwick at
10.55am and re q u i res check-in thre e
h o u rs earlier, you may be better off
s t aying overnight at Le Meridien
Gatwick (08000 282 840), which offe rs a
special Fr i d ay to Sunday Ta ke Off To u c h
D own room rate from 135.
You can contact the Orlando To u r i s t
B o a rd on 0906 550 8911 for info r m a t i o n
on other Florida theme parks such as
U n i ve rsal Studios and Sea Wo r l d .
Death-defying rides, water parks, parades and shows make Orlandos
D i s n ey World a non-stop fun destination. But if all you want to do is
lie on the beach, the lagoons come complete with imported sand
T H ATS NOT ALL FOLKS
S C OTLAND ON SUNDAY 11 August 2002
39
L ATE CHECK IN
mobile phones and Sonys robot dog, AIBO, are the stars
of interactive displays. The second section, World Show-
case, features mock-ups of 11 countries planted around a
massive lagoon. The staff (or cast members as Disney
p refers to call them) re p resent natives from the diff e re n t
countries and the shops arefilled with expensive import e d
gifts, but it is all typically Disneyfied. The UK section has
a pub serving fish and chips and a daily perf o rmance by
a Beatles tribute band, while the French section contains
a mini Eiffel To w e r.
At night the action centresaround the lagoon, the place
to catch fireworks displays that put this summers Jubilee
in the shade. Epcots nightly event is Reflections of
E a rth, a stunning son et lumire show set to classical
music that mixes lasers, fireworks and images pro j e c t e d
f rom a giant rotating globe.
The grand finale to a days visit to MGM Studios is a
S ave up to 155 per person on a seven-night stay
in Miamis South Beach by booking thro u g h
America Direct (0870-889 0827). Between Au g u s t
23 and 31, the company is offering a weeks ro o m -
only accommodation at the Holiday Inn from 595
a head. United Airlines flights and use of a re n t a l
car are included.
Book befo re the end of August and you can grab a
s even-night all-inclusive holiday at the fo u r- s t a r
Almond Beach Villas in Barbados for 1,780 for a
couple up to 1,020 off the usual price if yo u
t ravel with Cresta Holidays (0870-161 0930)
b e t ween September 3 and October 29. BA flights
f rom Gatwick and tra n s fe rs are part of the deal.
Fancy an exotic break befo re Christmas? Wrap up
warm and head for St Pe t e rs b u rg where Fre g a t a
Travel (020-7375 3187) is offering three-night deals,
departing on December 6, for 350 per pers o n .
British Airways flights from Heathrow, tra n s fe rs
and half-board accommodation at the fo u r- s t a r
Hotel Pribaltiyskaya are included.
Ta ke a Halkidiki and North Sporades cruise on the
20-berth motor yacht Viking Star II from Salonika
t h rough Seafa rer (020-7406 1747) between now
and early October and get a free upgrade to a
better cabin. Prices for each of two people sharing
for a week between September 11 and October 2
a re from 699, including flights from London.
B e t ween August 16 and November 25 you can
spend a week at the Berjaya Langkawi Resort on
the island of Langkawi, in Malaysia, for only 585 a
head through Quest Travel (0870-442 3542). Flights
f rom Manchester and tra n s fe rs are included.
p e rf o rmance of F a n t a s m i c !a live-action show which pits
Mickey Mouse against Disneys classic villains. Of course
Mickey saves the day, but along the way there are lasers,
c a rtoons projected on to fountains, and an attack by a
scarily realistic 80ft dragon which sets a lake alight and
launches 1,000 fire w o r k s .
T h e re is also Disneys Animal Kingdom, a safari park
with rides including two roller coasters Primeval Whirl!
and Tr i c e r a Top Spin which are brand new this year. The
highlight of a visit to the safari park is still Festival of the
Lion King, a stage show with production values as good
as the hit West End musical.
With so much to choose from, the original Magic
Kingdom park now looks slightly sedate in comparison,
but there is plenty here to amuse. Youll always find
Mickey and Minnie in Toontown, where the doors are
deliberately crooked and houses garishly coloure d .
And if you are still not exhausted, night owls can part y
until 2am at PleasureIsland, Disneys homage to adulthood
and home to countless clubs and restaurants. Closer to the
re s o rt and just across the water from the Beach Club is
J e l l y rolls bar, wherepianists are happy to take requests and
have a memory for lyrics as long as Dumbos tru n k .
Wo rds Jeff Mills
The UK section has a pub serving fish
and chips and a Beatles tribute band,
the French part has a mini Eiffel Towe r