Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Attractions - Fountain of Nations

You may find our choice of subject matter for this week’s post a bit odd; considering that it is only a few days until the 20th Anniversary of the WDW Marathon, there are a lot of topics we could focus on.  However, the marathon is the precise reason that this week’s topic has been chosen. 

Think about it for a moment, you have run 26 miles, your lungs heaving breath in and out like a freight train for several hours, sweat dripping down your limbs, your legs tired, your feet sore, your mind fatigued more than your body itself.  Though this experience is exhilarating, it is far more exhausting.  You are only 0.2 miles from the finish line for the WDW Marathon or Half Marathon, and you look deep inside for that little something extra, that something which no sports drink or performance enhancer can capture fully – that spark of adrenaline laced desire that fuels perseverance and fortitude.  Your feet now moving more out of habit from perpetual motion than athletic ability perhaps, you’ve crossed the bridge connecting Future World to the World Showcase and you’ve entered Innoventions Plaza - so close now.  If there was only a sign to signal triumph was upon you.  Then, you hear it. 
A roar liken to a cannon blast, followed by the thunderclap of water slamming against itself.  Did your ears deceive you?  Were the elements themselves cheering you on to finish this race?  Or was the park itself celebrating the arrival of first-time or long-time guests, the delight of the moment uncontainable?  No, it was indeed something elemental, and yet so simple in beauty that it seemed you and you alone may be the recipient of a water dance which rivals the most impressive fireworks displays at any location other than Disney.  Your eyes gaze toward the direction of the finish line which lies ahead, and there you see it, the Fountain of Nations. 

Designed by the same person who created the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, this water fountain provides an astonishing display for guests every 15 minutes throughout the day.   A ballet of water uses 200 jets to propel up to 50 gallons at a time skyward at a distance of approximately 150 feet; before it returns to the remaining pool below with a thunderous clap.  Only then to have the excess cascade gracefully down the stepped sides of the retaining area.  Even more impressive is the fact that, originally, the water within the fountain was comprised of water gathered from all over the world.  Absolutely beautiful, and in more ways than one.  This attraction welcomes newly arriving guests to the worlds beyond and wishes those leaving a magical evening as they exit.  And, as attractive as the display may be during the day, it is even more so in the evening as a variety of ever changing lights enhance the spectacle.  And, in either event, the robust sounds of the accompanying soundtrack help to complete the simple, yet memorable experience.

So, whether you are a guest in Epcot for the day, or a marathon runner who is so close to the reward awaiting you only 0.2 miles ahead – look to the Fountain of Nations.  Not simply for its subtle beauty, but for the inspirational message it provides in either situation or circumstance.  An aquatic microcosm representing the multitude of guests entering in the park, or those running to the finish line just beyond.  The resulting blend of cultures and nations propelling forth as an amazing display of strength, and ending in a graceful, gentle and peaceful cascade of joy and accomplishment.

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