Close Your Eyes and Blink Yourself to WDW!

Part II

Edited by Debra Martin Koma
Senior Editor, ALL EARS®

This article appeared in the
July 4, 2006, Issue #354 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

EDITOR'S NOTE: A few weeks ago, we asked you all to daydream with us. "Close your eyes," we suggested, "then click your heels together, or blink your eyes. Now, where in Walt Disney World would you be?" We ran the first installment with your responses, those replies that dealt with transporting to somewhere in the Magic Kingdom, in the June 6, 2006, issue of ALL EARS® (ALL EARS® Issue #350).

We initially received 424 responses — since the first segment ran, we've received many more, and they will ALL eventually be published on our website at They're not all there yet, though — just the first installment. It will take a few weeks to get all the new responses online, so please be patient with us!

As I noted in the June 6 issue, many of you who responded took this opportunity to not only transport yourself to your favorite spot in Walt Disney World, but to be Time Travelers, hoping to recapture a favorite moment… and that's OK. What better way to daydream?! Again, I cannot tell you how amazing it has been to read through all of your stories and memories — I so appreciate you sharing them with us. And now, here is the second installment of "Dream a Little Dream…" this time focusing on where in the other three theme parks (besides Magic Kingdom) your fellow Disney-lovers would be, if they could just Close Their Eyes and Blink themselves to Walt Disney World:


Jana Barclay from Cape Coral, FL: If I could close my eyes and blink myself anywhere in the WDW resort, I would be at Epcot at the end of a fun day with my family and friends, rounding that turn in Spaceship Earth just as the cars start to turn around… seeing Earth on the ceiling right where the door to the tip-top of the ball is… wondering EVERY TIME what it would be like to climb out of that door, stand on top of the ball, and look out over my favorite place in the world.

Kathy Gerhardt: If I closed my eyes and blinked, when I opened them I would have traveled back in time to 1984 and I would be sitting in a car just entering the modern living room in Horizons. I can feel the sting of the air conditioner after being in all the Florida heat and smell the sweet scent of tangerine that I know will guide me to modern farming and one of the coolest kitchens around. I will never forget that ride. I would stay on and ride it over and over again. It chokes me up to know it no longer exists. In fact, I used to travel to Disney World twice a year on my own. I haven't been back to WDW in four years — the changes have morphed my oasis into a loud amusement park — but still, when I close my eyes I'm back in the future, talking on my holographic phone, in my floor to ceiling windowed home, looking out over a futuristic city — and I smile.

Shari Boulay: Blink! I open my eyes and I'm riding in the front compartment of the monorail, zooming toward Epcot! We're just entering Future World, circling wide around Spaceship Earth, gazing down upon crowds of people, and catching flashes of the bright Florida sunshine glinting off the buildings. I can see the World Showcase off in the distance, and I can hardly sit still, much less stay seated, until we come to a full and complete stop before disembarking, and rushing down the ramp (in an orderly fashion, mind you) toward my idea of sheer heaven!

Doug: Do I get to travel through time, too? I'd like to go back seven years, leaving Epcot for the night on the gold train (it had to be the gold train) and giving my niece a stuffed Mickey bigger than she is. She loved it and still has it today even though she's now 10 and an exceptional gymnast with aspirations of going to the Olympics. And, yes, Mickey is still not much tinier than her!

Kalli: I find myself in Epcot, front and center on the Soarin' ride at the first breathtaking lift up over the Golden Gate bridge, with all my family seated with me in the front center row.

Loretta Durand: If I could close my eyes, click my heels and land anywhere on Disney World property it would be inside the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot. We usually go to Disney World in the summer when the sun is scorching hot and the humidity is high. There is nothing more refreshing in the middle of the day than stepping into the Plaza de los Amigos — dark, cool and beautifully decorated. We take our time just wandering around enjoying the sights, sounds and smells. It's like a vacation in the middle of a vacation. Of course, a trip on El Rio del Tiempo is always in order while we are there.

Jean Scanlon: I'm sitting on a bench in the gardens in the United Kingdom, pint of shandy in hand (1/2 Harp, 1/2 Sprite) purchased at the Rose and Crown, and I'm listening to an early set of the British Invasion. Ahhh, can't wait 'til August!

Dyan Jones: My dad and I just love to go to Norway for some lefse (though my mom and sister think it's deplorable!) before starting our journey through the countries. If I could close my eyes and blink myself into Disney, I'd be standing in the Kringla Bakeri with my dad, ready to start another magical Disney day.

Tad and Jamie Webb: We would open our eyes and be in Epcot's World Showcase in front of the Japanese Pavilion just after sunset. We would be enjoying a delicious treat from the Boulangerie Patisserie and watching the Tapestry of Nations parade. We would then enjoy the Voices of Liberty performance before watching the always inspirational American Adventure show. Afterward, we would scout out a bench with a good view and enjoy a relaxing hug while we absorb the sights, sounds and fragrances of a cool, spring evening while waiting for IllumiNations to begin.

Lynn Behr: When I close my eyes and click my heels I'm always in a just-beyond-twilight World Showcase standing in front of France, torches blazing, glass of red wine in hand, husband's arms around me, waiting for the start of IllumiNations.

Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys book: I would find myself with friends or family on a bench in the Epcot America Gardens Theater, waiting for delightful sounds from (in the spring) Herman's Hermits, the Buckinghams, the Rascals or (in the fall) the Beach Boys. As Hippocrates (probably) wrote: "Life is short, the Art long." Thank goodness for the Art of Walt Disney World!

Dick Burdick: If I could magically appear anywhere, it would be in Epcot somewhere near France at about 9:35 p.m. IllumiNations has been over for some time and nearly all the guests have left the park. I can slowly wander the long way around the "World" under twinkling lights with almost no one around. There is a wonderful feel of Disney Magic, beauty and peace. The wonderful Disney music is still playing softly and a very few couples are also strolling as slowly as possible — trying to make the romantic moment last as long as possible. I wish this feeling could last forever.

MAHohmann: Can I close my eyes and time travel back to the original Tapestry of Dreams Parade at Epcot? Because that's where I'd be, as swept up and amazed as I was the first time we accidentally happened upon the parade with my then 6-year-old, who was absolutely enthralled by it. It became a HUGE favorite with her; she danced with the puppets often in the years after, and thinking back I still get teary-eyed remembering her total and complete JOY with the "way-la" music and puppets. If I could blink I would be THERE, in that moment; I can still remember the sounds, the smells, the air temperature… EVERYTHING leading up to the beginning of that marvelous experience.

Cindy Welch: If I were to close my eyes right now, and click my heels, I'd want to open my eyes and be in Epcot's World Showcase. I think I'd stroll around the promenade, stopping to watch a set of Off Kilter, then move on to enjoy the gardens in Canada. Today I'd be content to sit on a bench and watch people go by, watch the lagoon, enjoy a snack here and there around the World, and perhaps a glass of wine or a regional beer… click… click… click…

Margaret from Alabama: When I open my eyes I'm strolling through Epcot's World Showcase one late afternoon, sipping a margarita on the way to Norway so I can smell their wonderful perfume, Laila (and hopefully buy something). Then, I'm heading to Lotus Blossom Cafe in China for some egg rolls — a girl's gotta eat!

Sophie Taylor: At the moment it's nearly 1 a.m. in the UK, and I'm revising for my university finals — so this really resonates (and comes straight from the heart!): If I could close my eyes and click my heels, I would wish to open my eyes in the beautiful, peaceful gardens of Italy, with a Bellini in one hand, a FastPass for Soarin' in the other, and the smell of the kumquat trees on the air.

Regina Bosca: I close my eyes and hear "Con Te Partiro" sung by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman and am immediately whisked away to the Italy Pavilion watching my two daughters (ages 2 and 5 at the time) who are enthralled with the Masquerade characters while we (myself, my husband and my parents) are relaxing at an outdoor table at Alfredo's over a bottle of wine, finishing up a delicious lunch. Even today my oldest (now 7) will stop when she hears the song and say, "Remember this from Disney World?" What a magical time.

Jen S. from Wisconsin: I close my eyes and am magically transported to France — the small version of France that exists in the World Showcase at Epcot, that is. It is a fall afternoon and the sun is shining brightly. I am sitting on a bench with my husband, sharing a delectable Napoleon from Boulangerie Patisserie. As I wipe the powdered sugar from my mouth, a smile crosses my face, and I realize that there is nowhere else I'd rather be. When I finish my pastry I think I will buy myself an expensive bottle of French perfume!

Michael Smith from Baltimore, MD: If I closed my eyes and clicked my heels I would arrive in the courtyard in France. My wife would be peering around the corner of the door and waving to me to come forward. I would turn the corner and there standing all by herself with no crowd to be seen would be Belle. Pictures would be taken, pleasant talk would ensue, and I would drift off into that magic world that Disney created with Belle and the movie Beauty and the Beast.

Andrea J. Mercadante: I close my eyes, click my brand new Asics running shoes together (the ones bought now, specifically so they can be broken in before our annual trek to Disney for Food and Wine Festival!) and I am in Epcot, sipping a delicious glass of wine, snacking on a luscious chocolate-covered strawberry from the little stand outside of Italy, and watching IllumiNations in front of Japan (or Norway, if Japan is too crowded). Ahhh! I want to be there now!

Anna Watts from Birmingham, UK: My mind wanders to the magic of WDW every spare minute, but today I'm in Epcot with my best bud, John. We've been walking around World Showcase and I've just stopped off in France to grab a glass bottle of Orangina and treat myself to a little present from the perfumery. We sit in the courtyard, laughing, enjoying the heat of the sun and looking at the pins we've just traded… and then I spot Belle and Beast and run to join the queue so I can get a picture and autograph. I am so, so happy — there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be and nobody I'd rather be with!

Margery Hunter from Saugus, MA: BLINK — I am on my first bus to Epcot! I can see the Epcot golf ball, I can see it! Oh, that walkway music sends chills of enjoyment up my spine as I enter into my version of the Disney Twilight Zone. Please don't make me go home! Oh, the people, the colors, the smells and the sounds are all a part of what makes this so much fun. The shopping, the dining, the entertainment, the fireworks — what joy! OK, I do need a vacation after my Disney vacation, but this sure beats sitting at a desk all week. The best part is that I can make this trip by closing my eyes any time I need to get away, a minute at a time!

Disner2: I close my eyes, click my dress shoes, and I know I'm somewhere else. While keeping my eyes closed, I feel that my too-tight dress shoes have changed into comfortable tennies and my necktie has been replaced by a lanyard. I can hear the horn of a Friendship, children laughing, and I think that was Alice scolding a rabbit for running too fast and wearing a pocket watch. I snap my eyes open and I'm sitting on a bench in the back garden of the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot. In short, I'm in heaven.

Joe Westerberg from Duluth, MN: If I could close my eyes and go anywhere on WDW property, I would go to the garden area in the UK Pavilion where the British Invasion plays their concerts. Give me a pint of Guinness in my hand, my wife, two daughters and mother-in-law (she usually travels to WDW with us), and I would be a very happy guy! Actually, as a 5-year cancer survivor who had to cancel our first family trip to WDW in 2001 due to my cancer diagnosis, I would be glad to be anywhere at Walt Disney World because I would be cancer-free and with my family in the Most Magical Place on Earth!


RJ: I would be standing in front of the big red and white guitar in front of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. The anticipation of walking into the studio to see Steven, Joe, Tom, Joey and Brad ("How do, people!"). The thrill of getting ready to Walk This Way, rounding the corner, watching the super stretch limos pull in, climbing into the limo, pulling down the harness. The feel of the limo slowly backing up, waiting for the traffic light to turn green and then the moment arrives. The light turns green, the tires squeal as the limo peels out and I am launched into the most amazing twists, turns and inversions of my favorite roller coaster. The perfect ending, arriving at the concert of my favorite band of all time, Aerosmith. And then I look at my husband and son and say, "Let's do it again!"

Leeanne W.: I would be sitting with my husband and two children in the "Mickey" area of Fantasmic. We've been waiting since 6 p.m., and now it's 7:55, and the crowds are getting restless, waiting for the show to begin. People start doing the "wave" in anticipation. But look! The lights dim, and the music begins. I look at my husband with a tear in my eye. I can't believe we made it to another showing!

Will Garmer: I choose the open courtyard in front of Star Tours. Why is this area one of my favorites? Because it is a place of wonderful firsts for me. On my very first visit to WDW, in August 1990, the first park I chose to visit was the Disney-MGM Studios. The first attraction I chose to experience, Star Tours. And when I got there, I snapped my first of what was to eventually become thousands of photographs of WDW. Whenever I look at that photo, I am taken back to one of the most special of my many memories from Walt Disney World.

Cheri Smirnov Meridian from Idaho: I'd be forever sitting in my "limo" at the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster with Aerosmith music blasting in my ears, hearing the countdown and just TAKING OFF! I've been going to Disneyland/Disney World since my first trip at 9 months (in 1956!) and although I love everything about Disney — this is the best!

Jen Richards from Westford, MA: I close my eyes and blink. I open my eyes and I am at the top of the Tower of Terror. I look out onto Hollywood Boulevard to see the guests gazing up at the Tower pointing to what seems like my elevator shaft. I have just enough time to grab onto the bar before I plummet down the elevator shaft for the first time.

Liz Hearne-Johnson, mother of Crews and Henderson, from Texas: I concentrate really hard, close my eyes and blink, and I will, by the magic of Disney, be seated in the theater of the stage production of "Beauty and the Beast" at Disney-MGM Studios! I feel the warm Florida breeze on my face as Belle enters singing to the baker. I clap lightly as Lumiere leads the food and cast in "Be Our Guest." My son and I sing along quietly with Mrs. Potts as Belle and the Beast dance in the ballroom. I weep quietly as the doves are released at the end of the performance. It is truly a "Disney Day" for a 50-year-old child.


Kathie: I would be in Animal Kingdom, on the safari, just as the jeep rounds the bend and slows down for Elephant Island — I hear that beautiful African music and I am just transported!

Bob Gilroy Dauphin from Manitoba, Canada: If I could close my eyes and blink my family to anywhere in Walt Disney World, we would suddenly appear in front of Kali River Rapids. When we took our kids for their first and only time in 2004, we were disappointed to find out just weeks before we left that it would be closed for refurbishment. I have always been disappointed that our kids did not get to ride this great ride and with it being so expensive to take three boys to Disney World, it may be many years before we will be able to take them back again. My kids would likely disagree with me as they all would likely want to end up in front of the Tower of Terror. We talk about Disney World at least once a week as they remember many of the rides, and love to reminisce. They are now 8, 10 and 12.

Mark: If I could click my heels or clap my hands and be anywhere in WDW, it would be outside the raised stage at the Festival of the Lion King… dancing with the animals. Being close to that stage holds so much magic and power. And seeing my niece leading the animal sounds for one of the sections (it was the elephant one, I think)… unreal.

Paul from NY: Sitting in the theater hearing the animal calls announce the beginning of the Festival of the Lion King — this to me brings together everything Disney: outstanding performers who never lose their freshness, wonderful actors, singing, and characters with a lot of character. I have been taking my kids to this since its opening and each time they get something different out of it. My oldest daughter, who is a dancer, wants to be the bird who flies…or at least a tumble monkey. It leaves me smiling and singing every time.

Cathy: If I could blink my eyes and open them at WDW I would be in Animal Kingdom down by the river eating my lunch at the Flame Tree Barbecue with the noise of the now-defunct Tarzan Rocks show in the background. Peaceful. Beautiful. Good food.

Jen K.: I open my eyes to find myself sitting in the giraffe section of the Festival of the Lion King, watching the amazing monkeys tumbling across the mats. Having just come from a fabulous ride on Expedition Everest, it feels wonderful to relax and enjoy the best show in all of the World while I contemplate what to have for lunch at Tusker House before embarking on a safari! If only I could pinch myself and find it all to be true…

Vickie Jardin: CLICK MY HEELS AND BLINK?! I would be with my family on our second family vacation (all 21 of us in 2007). My husband and I would get up very early and sneak off to Animal Kingdom to take the first Kilimanjaro Safari of the morning, hoping to relive what we saw together in 1998 when our family went on (many for the first time) vacation at WDW. Through the mist we saw a small herd of wildebeest on the run — just like all the nature shows when I was a kid. It literally took my breath away. My husband and I spent our honeymoon at WDW back in 1983, so there is so much magic to be thankful for. We plan on renewing our vows for our 25th at WDW and I know that I will be thankful for another 25 years of magic. Thank you so much for a chance to remember the past and look forward to the future!

Kristy Balbuena from Annandale, VA: It's a humid July day and I am aboard Kali River Rapids about to go down the huge hill backwards. My brother is strapped in beside me. On our left is dad alone, and beside him, my husband and mom. My brother and I begin to yell since we'll be getting wet. Moments before we hit, my dad, brother and I lean right (the rest of the raft members, too) with great force, spinning the raft so that my husband and mom will be soaked… we pick up our feet and laugh, watching the water pour into the raft from behind them!