Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Imagination

Yesterday was our last day at Walt Disney World. A few hours ago, we said goodbye to our hotel and the resort, and I am writing this from our new room at the Megacon hotel.

We spent most of yesterday in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I didn’t know what to expect from the park, but I do know that it blew my expectations out of the water. The theming, design, and attention to detail in that park was just spectacular. I thought it was a little weird to not know where real animals ended and Disney Imagineering began, but I just accepted it, relaxed, and had a good time experiencing the results.

It's closer than it looks.
Sure, I’ll have a beer in Africa!

It was a lot of fun to have beers from different countries. Here I am drinking a Hakim Stout in Africa. It was tasty, and more like a brown ale than what we consider a stout in the West.

Expedition Everest was the most fun I've ever had on any roller coaster, anywhere in my entire life.
Expedition Everest was the most fun I’ve ever had on any roller coaster, anywhere in my entire life.

I like this picture. I put something in the foreground, so the forced perspective of the mountain would make it look even farther away and bigger than it is.

I want to go back to Animal Kingdom at a less busy time of year, so I can really take my time and explore the whole place, even though the crowding made the Asia and Africa lands feel more like I’ve seen them in movies, and in a way added to the illusion.

At the end of the day, we went back to EPCOT, so we could see the movie in Canada, and have one last beer around the world. When we got there, though, our feet were killing us and we were both verging on the cranky side of hungry and tired, so we just got a beer in America (Anchor Liberty Ale), enjoyed the view of the lake and all the people having fun, and skipped the movie in favor of walking back to the monorail for our final stop: The Carousel of Progress in the Magic Kingdom.

On the way out, I asked Anne if she would mind very much if we stopped by Journey Into Imagination.

“I loved this ride so much when I first came here in 1987,” I said, “and I’ve been told by countless people that it’s better for me to let the memory live on, rather than ride it again.”

“Does it not hold up?” Anne asked.

“I guess not, but I didn’t ask why. I think it’s better not to know.”

We made a left turn and walked past a small child, who had clearly had enough of the day.

“It’s Meltdown O’Clock,” I said.

“I can’t blame him,” she said. “This is a lot to take in for a kid.”

“Hell, it’s a lot to take in for an adult!” I said.

We arrived at the fountains in front of the pavilion. “I know this seems silly, but when I first saw these fountains, I was just enchanted. I’d never seen anything like this reverse waterfall, and the little tubes of water leaping from place to place was just magical.”

We walked around the fountains, and I remembered, like looking at a faded photograph or VHS tape with the white balance just off a bit, what it was like to stand in that spot when I was 14, with my parents, brother and sister, sort of in disbelief that I was really there, in a place I had only heard about and didn’t think I’d ever get to visit.

“It’s crazy, when I think about it, that water fountains made 14 year-old me so happy, especially at an age where most kids — myself included — work so hard to be too cool for everything. These fountains just brought me joy.”

Anne said nothing, and I quietly watched the tubes of water leap from pot to pot all around the pavilion.

“Okay,” I said, after a minute or so, “I’m ready to go.”

We held hands and walked to the entrance. A few minutes later, we rode the monorail back to the transportation and ticket center, and then took the ferry across the lagoon to the Magic Kingdom. We watched a beautiful sunset over the lake, and then made our way to the Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland.

It was exactly what I wanted it to be: a frozen moment in time when a Powerbook 170 could control the entire House of The Future, and animatronics were as magical as anything. I’m really glad that it exists, and that it exists in this very specific and particular way. I hope they don’t mess with it at all, so kids (and parents who are looking for a place to sit down for a few minutes) can be inspired to create that Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow they sing about in there.

EPCOT Panorama
EPCOT Panorama (Click to Enpanoramanate)


55 thoughts on “Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Imagination”

  1. Dude, I was just at Disney with my wife and two kids a little over a month ago. You’re making me want to go back again already. It’s been our family trip for the past 6-7 years, and we love it. Top notch service and attention is awesome, especially with a daughter that has tons of food allergies. Disney is a great place for all!!!

  2. I found that problem with DAK myself – there are so few indoor things to do, and so far to talk between outdoor ones, that kids get overheated and cranky-meltdown much sooner than they might in the other parks.

    To get around that, parents need to know ahead of time that it is like that and prepare for it by trying to schedule regular indoor things through the day (Nemo, Lion King, Bugs Life, and visiting the conservatory) as ways to cool down before the parade or after the long wait for the safari.

  3. It may be a good thing you didn’t ride Journey Into Imagination. The ride was gutted in 1999 to make it cheaper to operate, and what’s there now has none of the charm or whimsy of the original. Also that cool upstairs play area with the neon rainbow tunnel was closed off. Captain EO is a fun bit of ’80s nostalgia, but the rest of the Imagination pavilion just depresses me these days.

  4. I love Carousel of Progress! My family of 4 always has to see it at least once when we make it to WDW. All four of us get the song stuck in our head and it is great! I agree keep it as is.

  5. One of the best times to go to Disney World (other than the week before Valentines day) is early November. It’s not crowded at all. The longest line we were while we were there was about 45 minutes, the rest were all 15 or less. We pretty much walked on every thing we wanted to see. The best part was watching all of the Halloween stuff disappear and the Christmas decor go up over night.
    So in the event you go again, the last week of January/the first week of February or in the first two weeks of November- not only is it off season so less expensive, it’s also less death by hot and with about a third of the people.

  6. I was in the Magic Kingdom last Fall, and walked by someone wearing one of my shirts, one that had just been printed on Threadless. I turned around, and caught back up to her, and babbled out “Hey, you are wearing one of my shirts, I designed that!” She recognized my name and who I was, which was just crazy, and we took a picture. It was a pretty cool.

    And, Carousel of Progress is my husband’s all time favorite attraction. I am more of a Haunted Mansion girl myself. :)

    1. Yesterday at MegaCon, I took photos with two people who were wearing your designs. One was Jack Skellington looking at the TARDIS tree, and the other was me and Sheldon alá Doctor Horrible. I got really excited and said “Hey! I’m Internet friends with the artist who designed your shirt!” to both of them. They weren’t as excited as I was, but I’ll give them a pass because I was, like, *really* excited.

  7. I had to comment on this, as I went to EPCOT in 1984 as a 14 year old and had the *exact* same feeling from those fountains. The “Journey Into Imagination” pavilion, as everything at Epcot at the time, was just inspiring, filling you with the feeling that the future could be great, and the problems of the world could be solved with equal parts imagination and technology. I imagine it’s what the World’s Fairs of the 50s were like; Disney intentionally patterning EPCOT after them. And it worked.

    I was filled with boundless optimism.

    Later visits to EPCOT showed that the park in may ways lost its way and hasn’t evolved forward while keeping that sense of wonder alive, but I’ll always keep that feeling from my first visit close to my heart.

    And those fountains. They were amazing.

  8. I took my wife to Disney World for the first time last year. OK, she took me. Like you, this place (especially EPCOT) has been pure magic for me for as long as I can remember. I actually went to college in FL (although I’m from NY) just so I could have easier access to the parks.

    It was my first time at Animal Kingdom as well and I 100% agree with everything you wrote. It was an amazing experience.

    The only things that did not hold up for me was the food at EPCOT (Morocco in particular). Too many guests had complained about the spices in the food, so they served us an almost completely bland meal. Imagination. I went on the ride, and while it was not bad, it was so different from what I knew from my many previous visits that it did not hold up so well. You were wise to skip it. Lastly, I may never forgive Disney for re branding The Living Seas with Nemo all over everything. It was amazing how it used to be. I actually have an audio file of the Jeremy Irons voice over from the intro movie. I’ll still listen to it every once in a while and be 15 all over again.

    After reading your posts, I simply cannot wait to go back again! Thank you Wil for helping me relive all my memories yet again:-)

  9. Glad you are enjoying our beautiful city and the house of the mouse! Journey into Imagination was way better in 1987 and in your memories because they ruined it when they first added Eric Idle. They removed Dreamfinder & Figment making it a complete waste of space. Luckily after a couple years and enough people asking Disney shoe horned Figment back into the ride with the current version. I still ride it every visit to EPCOT (at least every couple weeks) because Figment holds a special place in my feels. I also salute the shout out to Dreamfinder during the ride.

    1. Figment has always been my favourite Disney World character. I don’t even know why. I first rode Journey into Imagination in the early 90s and I’ll always remember thinking how cool that dragon was.

  10. I love this article, so much. It brings back so many memories of WDW as a child. I’ve tried to get down there every year since I was a little one, and whenever I made it, I realized that it still hasn’t lost its luster. It’s one of the few places that still manages to bring me infinite amounts of joy, mostly because it reminds me of younger days when everything felt new and magical. Hell, anytime I’m there, there’s always something new and magical. You should try to get down there for the International Food & Wine festival!

  11. If you ever get the chance, do the Sunrise Safari at Animal Kingdom. It’s basically an extra long version of the Kilimanjaro Safari ride before the park opens. They take you around in the same trucks, but they stop very frequently and talk about the animals (no conventional ride storyline). They even let you stand up in the vehicle (while it’s stopped) to take photos. Then they take you back for breakfast in the park right about when the park is opening. It’s only offered a couple times a week and you have to be staying at the concierge level at the Animal Kingdom lodge, and then the safari itself costs extra, but it’s amazing. Highly recommended.

  12. The long and short of old Imagination versus new Imagination:

    Old Imagination tried to inspire your imagination. New Imagination tries to tell you what imagination is.

  13. I love reading what you have been writing about the parks. My sister has lived in Florida for several years and I have had the opportunity to go to the parks when I have a chance to get down there (I live in Portland, OR). The two childhood times I had been to Disney World, when I was 5 and 14, it was an overwhelming rush to see everything and do everything. There is something to be said about going back when you are older and taking the time to explore the parks when you do not feel rushed. For me, it did not take the any of the magic that I remembered from childhood away – if anything, as an adult I realized how much I appreciated just how much effort goes into running that place every day.

    Did you get a chance to see the projection show on the castle in Magic Kingdom? It blew me away the first time I saw it.

  14. Thank You Wil Wheaton! You have just brilliantly described why two married 36 year old professionals with no kids have visited Disney World 28 times in the last 13 years. For us, it’s like going home and we love how that feels. BTW, COP is always a ‘must do’ for us.

  15. This post brought tears to the eyes. Wil & Anne, I’m so glad you had a great time at Walt Disney World. As a fan of both yours and of Disney, it makes me deliriously happy to see you enjoying it as much as I enjoy both Disney and your work. Thank you for taking a few moments to share with us your thoughts of the parks and the memories and the “magic” they bring with them. I hope the rest of your time in Florida is wonderful as well.

    1. Hey I was the girl that sold you the churro at Magic Kingdom. I was wondering if you were going to post that video you took? It would be so cool if I could see it, or even had a copy of it. You coming to my cart was the most amazing event ever. I just wish I could have spent more time we ya’ll, may tell you where my favorite area of the park are. But I was slammed with guest. Thanks for coming to my cart. You are amazing!!!!

      1. Hey Lauren! My wife posted it on Vine. She’s Anne Wheaton, so you should probably be able to find it with that information. It’s *really* funny. Thanks for letting us put you on the Internet, and thanks for making #ChurroWatch2013 have a happy ending.

  16. I visited Walt Disney World in 1973, I think – the Pirates of the Caribbean ride had just opened. There was only the Magic Kingdom – Epcot Center and the rest had not opened then; Walt Disney World itself only opened in 1971. I was 15. We started early in the morning and stayed all day and late into the night. While I enjoyed some of the experience, what I remember most is being sick of animatronics by the end of the day – I didn’t want to see one more animated anything. I have always cherished riding Space Mountain; I have a deathly fear of roller coasters but found Space Mountain to be a lot of fun – I think largely because they made me take off my glasses and so much of it was done in darkness; I couldn’t see what was coming so just experienced it as it happened. (I wasn’t ill, which is a wonder; I got nauseous on a giant sliding board at an amusement park once.) I’ve never been back, which is a shame, because I understand there’s so much more there there now! It’s wonderful to read of your visit and I’m so glad you had a good time, but I truly relate to your exhaustion and hunger, lol! Thank you for writing; I always enjoy your posts and appreciate your sharing your life with us! Have fun at the con!

  17. I love that you “get it!” Some people really wonder why grown-ups would take a trip to WDW, but you understand. The fact that you chose CoP as your final ride tells me you are truly a kindred spirit! I had a chance to meet Joe Rohde, the genius Imagineer behind Animal Kingdom, last October, and I felt like a giddy schoolgirl with a million questions I wanted ask him! Unfortunately, I had just been to a wine tasting at Jiko, so my thoughts were not coherent enough to sound intelligent, so we just had a nice conversation, took a picture, and waited on our cars from the valet. I hope you have a great time at Megacon!

  18. Thanks for writing such a wonderful note about the place I have worked for 21 years. I joined the company because of a lot of that wonder you expressed in your post, and I have gotten to experience a lot more of it over the years I’ve been here. Hope you visit again soon, and I hope you get to cherish the memories you make here for a long time.

  19. Wil Wheaton: “AK, EPCOT and Imagination” – “pleasurable to see and read.” My personal thanks goes out to both you and Anne Wheaton (the Mrs.) for taking the time out to give me, and others, a “moment in time” we can truly enjoy !! Awesome work dude !! Have a great day! Imagine …

    James Love

  20. The Carousel of Progress has always been a favorite of mine. My parents would go in and promptly fall asleep, but I always thought it was fascinating. I went last summer, and the “modern era” of the 80’s is almost laughable, but we’d all forget about virtual reality helmets without it.

  21. Animal Kingdom is an incredible park. Sadly, it gets a real bad rap due to its lack of attractions compared to the other three parks. For those that run from roller coaster to roller coaster the park can easily be done in 1/2 a day. For those of us that can kick it down a notch and do not require the mouse to assault us with in your face entertainment around ever corner, Animal Kingdom is a slice of heaven. The detail to the park is simply astounding. There are actually somewhat hidden paths that require a little exploring to find for those willing to look.

    When it comes to the Imagination pavilion, well there is no nice way to put it, it really sucks balls now. Due to a number of issues ride length was shortened a great deal and the pavilions soul was all but ripped out. The link below will take you to a video done by a gentleman by the name of Martin Smith. It chronicles what Imagination was and why it is what you see today.

  22. I haven’t really missed (or thought of) Disney until last night, when Anne tweeted that picture. It makes me think of spring breaks of my childhood…visiting my grandparents, going to Disney and Universal Studios, seeing the animals at Busch Gardens…

    Those were the days!

  23. We went to Disney World last year in June. My first time, my boyfriend had been there before. As much as I liked it, I will point out- if it’s not crowded, there’s probably a good reason. It was SO hot and humid. I think we caught something on the plane because we were sick on our 3rd day there, and the day before we were full-blown sick was the day we went to Animal Kingdom. I got so hot and miserable, *I* had a meltdown and started to cry. And I’m 27.

    Anyway… EPCOT is amazing. The World Showcase was my favourite part of the entirety of Disney World and that’s only partly for the beer. I wish Disneyland had had the ability to put in something of similar scope.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip there, hope you can go again soon.

  24. Hungry + Angry = Hangry

    When I was a kid the Carousel of Progress was one of my favorites. Which was near one of my other favorites (I’m not sure why but it was a favorite) “If You had Wings.” It was one of those rides that didn’t have a line which may indicate the quality of ride. But I still dug it. I was a kid! Leave me alone.

    When I worked for Disney Audio Visual I worked with a guy who used to work in France. He would tell tales of drinking around the world that I could only dream of because I was not of legal drinking age then. I think it’s time for a trip so I can get drunk around the world and go visit my mom in Melbourne, FL.

  25. I know the feeling. I’ve been finding myself wanting to visit Disneyland since it’s been at least a decade since I’ve gone. We don’t have kids so there isn’t that usual excuse to go. I remember one of the last times I went was with my future wife. I still have a photo (yes on paper!!) of her all done up (we were there for an event) while wearing mickey mouse ears.

    I remember then already feeling something of what you described, Wil. I saw the scuff marks where the boats for It’s a Small World left their mark from countless adventures. I saw Tomorrowland not looking so optimistically futuristic. I noticed how rickety the animatronics on Pirates of the Carribean sounded with those hydraulic hisses.

    Maybe it’s because I paid more attention, a consequence of being older and wiser and maybe a little less optimistic. Maybe it was because I cultivated this sense of attention to detail (more in observation than in practice, mind you). Or maybe it’s because I just knew the Wizard was really just a guy behind a curtain.

    Even so, I think there’s room for a certain amount of imagination and an opportunity to create new memories. I vaguely remember my joy and excitement as a kid with all those visits to the park. But I’ve realized it was also from a different perspective (literally, I was a third of my height back then!). Instead, now I have that memory of my wife in mouse ears and of her when we went on Space Mountain’s rollercoaster (a first for me since as a kid I was afraid of fast rollercoasters!) and she basically screamed the entire time. We still laugh at how it must have sounded for someone in line as this woman’s scream dopplered around the track.

    I’m glad you’re finding new memories with Anne. Like you said, in a sense you’re getting an opportunity to be the young couple before kids that you didn’t really get before. It sounds like that combined with everything going on with your professional career (despite the auditions that end up going nowhere, I feel you on that) is making for a really nice period in your life. Definitely enjoy it. Most people wait until they hit retirement age (whether because of necessity or because they just felt it was supposed to be that way) to enjoy life outside of work and that can be to their detriment (I know…I’ve watched this happen to my parents).

    As a waitress used to say (and I used to marvel at as a kid since no one ever did this on a regular basis that I knew of), ENJOY!

  26. I was able to take my two boys 6 and 10 at the time last summer. I had been down once when I was in 4th grade (28 yrs ago). I remembered a lot of it, but it was much better with my kids and wife. While it was alot of hurry up and wait in line, both boys keep asking when we get to go back again.

    Journey into Imagination with Figment was my 6 yr old’s favorite ride. The day we went to Epcot it poured rain all day so the line for Figment’s Ride was non-existant. We must have gone on it 6 times. I was alot different than I remembered as a kid, but the fountains outside brought back the feels. When it stopped raining for a few minutes, the boys had the same look of awe and wonder I think I had.

    Great memories.

  27. I grew up in Orange County and my uncle was the drummer in the Disneyland Band for decades. So Disneyland was a big part of my childhood.

    The Carousel of Progress was also one of my favorite rides. When you wrote “It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow” I heard it in my head as the song rather than just the words. Then they got rid of it and turned it into “America Sings” which was also pretty fun. The last time I was there it was some sort of weird futuristic technology thing hosted by the character “Tom Morrow” (Get it?) We actually hopped a fence to get out of there it was so bad.

    Unfortunately, the crowds at Disneyland have become so large and the cost so high that the joy of going there has been lost for me. Once, as we were being jostled and bumped and pushed by the crowd as we tried to walk to our next destination, a buddy of mine remarked “It’s the happiest f*&king place on earth”.

    I dream of the old days when you could let your kids go play unsupervised on Tom Sawyer’s Island and when the guys running the Jungle cruise would joke around on the P.A. system saying things like “Would the gentleman at the back of the line with 347 E tickets please step forward?” Those were happy times.

  28. You need to stay at Jambo House Animal Kingdom Lodge where you wake up and have coffee on your balcony and watch the giraffes and zebras and many other animals right out side your window. We had an Impala come under our balcony every night to sleep. The lobby alone will just blow you away.

  29. I know exactly what you’re talking about with the water feature. That was amazing to me as a kid. I completely did not appreciate at the time how complicated of a process it actually is to maintain a fully planar tube of water like that going through the air. Very precise controls are required, as well as specially treated water.

    It was incredible to watch and interact with as a child. That’s my favorite part of Disney parks. They don’t hide the cool things like that behind ropes and walls. It’s right out in the open for you to stick your hands into.

  30. Living less than an hour away I have spent ALOT of time in Disney over the years. Carousel of Progress and Hall of the Presidents were always what we called “the coolest rides in the park”. Disney in August you were always thankful for a ride with no wait time, and 15 minutes of 72 blessed degrees. Best Time of Our Lives.

  31. It’s been 16 months since the last time I was there, which was also the first time for both my wife and I and our kids, 4 and almost 1. The same way you felt at 14 is exactly how I felt at 33. I teared up several times, but none so much as when I first saw the statue of Walt and Mickey in the Magic Kingdom.

    The projection show on the castle is an amazing feat of technology, if for nothing else than the sheer scale of the illusion. I recommend the week after Thanksgiving, as the park is decorated for Christmas, and the crowds are lighter. Never made it to Everest or the Carousel of Progress, or Spaceship Earth, but I did get to see Captain EO, which was the big new attraction when I was a kid. It was a duty to my younger self, and now he owes me, big time.

    Right outside that space are the fountains, though, and I took the time to appreciate them. The wind would gust, so sometimes the stream wouldn’t make the leap over the path, and I got a good laugh when a little kid took one of those to the back of the head, because that would have happened to me at his age.

    I think the highlight of our trip was breakfast with the princesses in Cinderella’s castle. The meal was great and the castle was pretty cool, too. Did you happen to run into Push in Tomorrowland? He’s a roving robotic talking trashcan, and the kids love him.

    We’re going back in a few years, when the youngest doesn’t need a nap in the middle of the day. Then I’ll hit those rides I missed the first time.

  32. Sounds like you had a great time, and it is lovely to hear when other adults “get” the fun of WDW. My husband was a huge fan of WDW when we met, and I thought he was very cool despite that. 😉 Then we took a trip together and he showed me how much fun it could be!

    We live across the world in New Zealand now, but when we visit the US, we always go to WDW. And just a tip – we go in September or October, which have the lowest crowd levels. Maybe one day we’ll see you there!


  33. Heck, I didn’t go to Disney World until I was an adult and I vividly remember that water fountain. It’s one of the most vivid memories I have of that whole park…

    Spinning the giant sphere in Disneyland is a similarly vivid memory for me. I love things like that.

  34. Reading your posts from your trip, especially this one, is bringing back such strong feeings.

    The first time I went to Disney World was last year, March in fact. I was 39. I had watched the shows growing up and even though I longed to go, I knew that my single mother would never be able to take me. And life just kind of happened and I had never been.

    My cousin lives in Orlando so last year I finally got my act together to visit. I was only at Disney World (Magic Kingdom) one day, the other days taken up by Harry Potter and a visit to the Kennedy Space Center (nerd alert!), but it was fantastic. I rode the rides, I bought ears to wear (R2D2 ears… nerd alert!), I had so much fun and when the day came to an end I cried as we got on the monorail. One month from 40 and I was standing there crying behind my sunglasses like a little kid because we were leaving. It was one of the few days I have ever experienced where I could let go of my adult worries and just have pure joy. It was truly magical. I definitely will not wait another 39 years to return.

  35. I loved this post! I went to Disney World three of the four years I was in high school. Our marching band marched in the Disney Parades on main street once a year. The last year, we competed with other concert bands in Georgia instead. It wasn’t fun at all.

    I haven’t been to Disney World in three decades. I wanted to go so badly after Epcot Center was finished (graduated in ’77), but I went to work instead of college and paid dearly for it the rest of my life. Even though I live in Florida (gulf side) I don’t know that I’d be able to enjoy it now due to physical limitations. That and the fact I live on disability and the cost of a hotel there is a pipe dream. I’m glad I was able to feel what I loved most about Disney World in your post – the magic. I LOVED the Carousel of Progress – that and the animatronics were my favorite part of visiting. As a performing band, we were allowed to go into the park early before it opened and truly enjoy it. I miss those days.

    Being my age, Disney World is the anecdote for all the disillusionment in life. I only wish I could afford to go there again and refresh my spirit…

  36. Thank you for blogging your vacation, Wil.

    My husband and I are going to Disney for 4 days during the first week of April, and I will be going to Animal Kingdom and Epcot for the first time ever.

    You’ve made me extra excited about the trip, and given me ideas of what to do/see there!

  37. I highly recommend going to Disney during the first week of November. It’s a quiet time between Halloween and Thanksgiving, but you’re able to be there for the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. Lines usually run about 10 minutes for rides (except Toy Story).

  38. I adore Animal Kingdom and as much as a original Magic Kingdom nut I am EPCOT ranks right up there with being my favorite park. Nobody seems to understand why, most of my family and friends find it boring…how the hell is going to space boring? Explain that to me. I hope you guys got to check out Soarin while you were there, it’s good stuff.
    If you want to go back during the less busy months I recommend early in the year. February is decent, and the Extra Magic Hours if you stay on site really help out. Christmas time is great too if only for the decorations, the lighting of that damned castle makes me feel like I’m a baby every time.
    …yeah…I go to Disney a lot.

  39. I always loved the jumping fountains too. A couple of years ago, I took a high speed camera there, and got some great footage of the Taiko drummers (I showed it to them afterward, they loved it). I also found some boys trying to time a jump to catch the fountain in midair. And I managed to catch them catching it, at 300 frames per second: boys and jumping fountains in slo-mo. Their elation afterward was a great bonus.

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