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The Girl and I just returned from five days at Disney World. We kicked off my big birthday trip at Epcot, under the shadow of Ray Bradbury and R. Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic sphere. The sphere, known as Spaceship Earth, is a wonderful architectural snapshot of a future that could have been: vintage futurism at its very best.

Where the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s famous flagship theme park, has sagged with age, each passing year makes Epcot a little more retro and fantastic. The real magic though was at Disney’s new Animal Kingdom theme park. This was something else entirely. A dense jungle that opens out into a tropical world containing hyper-detailed African and Asian villages.

I’m not a fan of zoos but this seemed to be something else entirely, more akin to a nature reserve combining education, conservation and research. We learnt about crocodiles, rhinos, gazelles and found out why reticulated giraffes are called reticulated giraffes. I came face-to-face with an alpha-male gorilla.

It wasn’t my plan to gush about a Disney vacation, but this was something special. I got to revisit these places from my childhood and make a few new memories too.