Trip Start Apr 02, 2010
Trip End May 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 15, Friday April 16, 2010; Disney World to Homestead, FL

Greg's Version:

A few thoughts as we leave Disney World, Disney World in many ways is stuck in a time warp.  It is still 1971.  It is my opinion that when Walt Disney died the vision for Disney World died with him.  The most glaring example of this is the transportation system.  The Park uses 1970 era GM buses to move people about.  I believe that if Walt Disney's vision were still alive Disney World would be a model of how to do urban transportation with heavy rail, like the monorail; light rail and people movers that could efficiently move tens of thousands of people around the park every day.  On the other hand, it is wonderful to step into the timeless places like Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

First stop of the day is Gatorland then the drive to Homestead. There was a chance we might try to find the Henry Flagler Museum but we decided to press on and not stop.

Somewhere I saw a sign stating that the only thing that interests gators is food. What we saw at Gatorland seem to prove this.  As we walked in we walked past pens of young gators just lying in the sun.  Other pens contained older gators and the only one I saw move was getting out of the water to lie in the sun.

We followed a pack of school children to see Gator Wrestling but didn’t get to see much.  The reason was that the kids were so interested in seeing everything that it took them over 10 minutes to walk the 200 feet to the arena. So we went back and looked at all the exhibits that had caught the kids’ attention.  At one point there was a coin operated machine that dispensed food for the animals.  Standing on the rail next to the machine was a peacock looking at the machine and at us like: What are you waiting for? Get me some food.  We dropped a couple of quarters and fed the peacock and a few other animals.  By then the school children had caught up to us and wanted to feed the animals.  The exhibit that caught my attention was the venomous snakes of Florida.  There are nine venomous snakes that call Florida home they range from three kinds of rattlesnakes to cotton mouth to coral snakes.  All of this made me glad that we only need to worry about rattlesnakes in California.

We rode the train around the park and saw some interesting things like the history of Gatorland.  We walked out to the breeding pond and were impressed with all the Wood Storks.  Check out the picture of the nesting storks.  After watching sleeping gators the Wood Storks were exciting.  They are large birds and flying around the pond made an impressive sight and made the stop well worth the price of admission.

The first half of the drive south was uneventful.  We traveled along the Florida Turnpike but got off at Ft Pierce and drove south on I-95, what a mistake.  The drive on I-95 though Fort Lauderdale and Miami was bad enough but when I-95 suddenly ended and dumped us onto US-1 traffic crawled to a stop.  It took us over an hour to travel eight miles until traffic became light enough to travel anywhere near the speed limit.

Mary's Version

Well, I can see what Greg is talking about, the transportation at Disney World.  The monorail does go from a couple of the parks to the resorts, but not all.  And, you have to go to the main monorail to transfer from one monorail to the other, to get to the right place.  But Greg does agree with me in that no one else but Disney could move as many people as go to the parks every day, in such an efficient manner, considering the 1971 mode of transportation.

As for Gatorland, Greg is also right.  The gators, (there were lots and lots of them, and that was impressive), are kind of boring.  Unless, I imagine, if you saw them actually eating what they eat.  As in birds, whatever comes their way.  Needless to say, I don't really want to be a witness to that!  From boring to euwwwww!  Nature does what nature does, I realize.  It is violent, for sure.  I just don't want to be there. 
As Greg said, the birds were more impressive.  The park had a boardwalk, and when you walked on it, it was somewhat at the same level as the tops of lots of the trees.  We saw wood storks actually feeding their young!  Just look at the pictures Greg took!  These really large birds often took off and flew to the other side of the park, to another tree.  Just above our heads!  Huge wing spans!  That was what impressed me most.  Gorgeous!  We were right in the middle of civilization, in Orlando, but I really felt like we were in the wild.  Gators and huge birds.  Amazing.

I think the drive on 1, once we involuntarily left I-95, took an hour and a half to go 22 miles.  You live and learn. 
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