Logline: Recently in a galaxy far, far away... Become a Jedi (or a wizard) as the state of immersive fantasy experiences rapidly advances.
“There’s a series of questions I always ask myself when getting the gear together for a new adventure. Detachable lens camera, point-and-shoot – or both? Rain jacket, leather jacket – or both? Shorts or jeans? Sneakers or hiking shoes? Swimsuit? But I never thought the day would come when I’d have to add a whole new consideration into the mix. Lightsaber or wand – or both?”
In these times of COVID-19 — oft-described as unprecedented and uncertain, when in fact they’re neither — and with plans for a holiday trip to Indonesia scotched by the pandemic, the intrepid Dr. Jones was forced to resort to Plan X: staying closer to home with a trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in warm, sunny Florida.
From one point of view, it seemed like a crazy idea to go into the thick of the crowds in the midst of such an uncomfortable environment, further discomforted with a mask on at virtualy all times.
But, from another point of view, it made perfect sense. While he's not all that into theme parks, this was a good opportunity to check out the new Star Wars area, Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. It’s not so much about the traditional rides as it is about the latest in immersive experiences and interactive technologies. Such a trip is challenging to accommodate when real-world adventures beckon.
Not big on theme parks. Not a big drinker, either.
Nonetheless, after the past 10 days, when the mighty, mighty Mattopia Times finally caught up with the good doctor, he was feeling the sting of a hangover. But it’s kinda funny the New Year’s Day katzenjammer he’s feeling right now has absolutely nothing to do with alcohol. It’s all pop culture sugar shock. As he rubbed his head in a weak form of healing therapy after we entered the hallowed halls of stately Matt Manor, he kept asking himself, “What happened?” while wading through — and trying not to trip over — all the Disney, Star Wars and Potter goodness he rather miraculously managed to haul home. Given the patchwork of packing tricks used, it’s remarkable all items arrived in one piece.
When he got home the night before, he brewed up some java and took a seat in the recliner. Instant nap time, but the kind of nap where he experienced a sensation of perpetual motion — inertia from all the roller coasters and non-stop movement from the previous 10 days.
Together, we’re going to try to unravel the answer to that question, “what happened?” At the very least, the exercise will be therapeutic for Dr. Jones and maybe a smidge entertaining for the rest of the world.
Mattopia Jones proves — against all odds — adventure is still out there, even in the thick of a global pandemic.
Bangkok • Pattaya • Phuket • Samui
Mattopia Jones visits the romanticized and controversial world of Ernest Hemingway, cigars and mojitos.
Miami • Tampa • Havana
San Francisco de Paula • Cojimar
Walt Disney World
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