Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz
You can blame Jules Verne.
When I was young, I had the “Illustrated Classics“ comic-book version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Then, I saw the Disney 1954 film version, and loved it so much, I recorded the audio with a tape recorder (holding the tape recorder up to the TV of course), and I’d listen to it every night as I fell asleep. Sometime later, I saw Mike Todd’s 1965 film version of Around the World in 80 Days, and was similarly transfixed.
The idea of going around the world, retracing that fictional journey, has always appealed to me. Michael Palin did it in 1989 for a BBC series of the same name. But, in these modern days of jet aircraft, taking 80 days to circumnavigate the globe seems like much less of a feat than it did back in Jules Verne’s day. So, I asked myself, could you do it in 80 hours?
Turns out (depending on where you draw your line around Earth), it’s not actually that difficult. But, then I asked myself… if I were to circle the globe in such a short amount of time, what would I do along the way? And, it just sort of hit me: see every Disney theme park, of course!
We’ll get into the why and how of that in later posts. But, setting that as my goal, the path (or should I say, the flight path) forward became much clearer. It makes sense to start at the beginning, where it all began: the first Disney theme park, Disneyland in California. From there (with a stop at neighboring California Adventure) it’s on to Orlando, Florida where four parks await (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios). Surprisingly, there are no direct flights from Orlando to Paris, so I have to connect in Newark before landing at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios (Paris). Then, the longest flight across Europe and Asia to Hong Kong Disneyland. Things pick up as I try and knock out two countries in one day and jet up to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea before they close. Then, back to Anaheim, California (via San Francisco) to where I started at Walt Disney’s original “happiest place on Earth”.
Well, that’s the plan in a nutshell. I’ll get into more details later. In the meantime, keep following me and feel free to submit questions for me to answer later. Thanks!