Innoventions/Showcase Plaza

This was a huge circular area. At one end was the Dancing Fountain, and beyond that the huge geodesic ball that marks the entrance to Epcot. It was as cool or cooler a backdrop to fly in front of than the Washington Monument...cooler because thousands of people fly in front of the Monument every year...but I'd be surprised if more than 10 people have *ever* flown on this plaza. Too cool.

Innoventions has some of the best winds in the park, mostly because it's a fairly large area with more distance from the obstructions. When there was enough wind to hover, you could toy with the folks entering and leaving the park, though it was mostly those leaving the park who had decent reactions to the proximity of the kites, as they'd already seen other kite flyers around the park and were at least vaguely familiar with the concept.

The background music in Innoventions is pretty cheesy, and Dave totally cracked me up in the van one night but starting to hum the first three notes of the most common tune.

On the plus side, every 15 minutes, they play some interesting music to run the Dancing Fountain to, including a piece by Yanni. This music was always fun to fly to...

The other big plus to Innoventions was that, at least after Dave started making up the schedules, there was almost always at least two people flying here. This made the time go a lot faster, and was more fun, because you could interact with the other f lyer (landing on their heads, etc.) a lot more often (and without some sort of 'permission') than you could with guests.

Jeff Flying at Innoventions
In this photo, I'm standing near the center of the Innoventions plaza, facing the lagoon, with the Dancing Fountain to my back. I'm flying a Synergy Deca Zero+, and of course wearing my WFK costume. The photo is used by kind permsision of Tim LeBlanc.


Considered by many to be the worst spot to fly, Africa isn't really a country in the way the others are -- it's just a sort of watering hole and gift shop that fills space between China and Germany. There's absolutely no shade, and very little room to fly. The closest water fountain is in Germany. This was where I started to get good at working in no wind in a half-window and learning how to let the kite help me out of tough, tight spots.

I actually enjoyed all but my last shift in Africa, because usually there was virtually no wind there, instead of the flukey winds we had most other places.


My own least favorite spot to fly, I only had to fly there for one shift. Though there are a couple of areas that are nice and large, they're surrounded by potted trees which lead to really weird wind conditions.

Still, Italy had some interesting bridges that you could fly from, as well as the bonus of a bus stop for the buses that travel around the World Showcase. Buses were always fun to play with as they drove past the various sites, but it was even better w hen they were stopped, giving you more time to interact with the guests.

Also on the plus side, Charlie Sotich's booth was in Italy. Charlie is a well-known miniature kite maker from Chicago. He works mostly with colorful bits cut from paper napkins, and for spars he uses such things as paint brush bristles, slivers of bamb oo, and so forth.

American Adventure (AA)

This was our indoor location, and considered a very sweet assignment. Air conditioned and a guaranteed crowd of folks passing time while waiting to get into the theatrical presentation housed in the same building. Flight times were usually pretty short, as the Voices of Liberty choir would do ~15 minute sets every 15 or 20 minutes.

It was in AA that people actually comprehended what we were doing with our kites. Truth be told, this was the easiest place to fly, as you didn't have to contend with weird and shifting winds. The tourists didn't understand that, which was fine. They w ere pretty much just thunderstruck with seeing this sort of kiteflying going on indoors. Lots of videotaping, still photography, and applause. I never did get too comfortable with the applause, particularly when it came in the middle of a flying set. The fact that you got more attention in AA than elsewhere was also a big perk -- it often got very frustrating outside when people either completely ignored you or, worse, made patronizing remarks.


Japan was the second largest area for flying, and was loads of fun. In this spot we usually had two folks flying as well. The winds were reasonably good here, but it was also a popular picture taking spot due to the beautiful red arch built out in the lagoon, which framed the giant ball at the other side of the park...this meant often getting out of people's way, not to mention taking pictures for them.

Breaks were provided here by One World Taiko, a drum duo. Their music was perfect for flying to, but they didn't want us taking attention away from them.

Looking past the arch, the scan shows a Peter Lynn Tako Tako being towed past America. Off in the distance, across the lagoon, rise the roofs of China. Don't be deceived by the size of those roofs -- between Japan and China lie America, Italy, German y, and Africa! In the immediate foreground is a Kevin Shannon/Carlisle Kites rokkaku. On the lamppost are a pair of rainbow diamonds, produced by Go Fly a Kite. Most of the lampposts all the way around the World Showcase had pairs of these diamond kite s attached to them. ( 52k )


Jeff flies his custom SUL Rev 1.5 in front of the arch in Japan while Dave Arnold takes a break to cool off. The stacks of diamonds are being flown from a ski boat in the lagoon. (68k)


The same kite now floats next to a tree near the boundary area between Japan and America. (45k)

These photos are copyrighted by Anne Rock, 1995, used by kind permission


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