A trip to the Walt Disney World Resort is an absolute sensory experience. Many guests seem to be pulled to one specific sense. Each sense is a like a spider web, catching tourists as its prey. Disney enthusiasts spend their free time trying to formulate the sensory experience that Disney is, but it often proves impossible to do it justice. Through this blog, I hope to bring to life the indescribable, or at least give a glance into the heart of Disney, rather than the brain. For a writer, emotions and senses are the greatest things to write about. For a travel writer, they’re vital oxygen that allow a memorable story to breathe. The unfortunate thing about Disney World (and most destinations, for that matter) is that you can’t always bring senses back with you, only a remembrance of what it was like. When one comes across the opportunity to capture a sense for good, the opportunity is often immediately seized. That explains why I joyously ran to the juice section of my local grocery store. My parents told me the rumors, but were they true? As I confirmed my hope, I quickly grabbed one (expensive) bottle of Disney senses, and rushed to the cashier, afraid that any second I would wake up from this lovely dream without paying for a sample to take home. But it was real. In my hand was a bottle of… GOP JUICE!
Okay, no, GOP juice is not its own religion, like turkey legs or Dole Whips, but it is a unique flavor that stuck with me from my most recent trip. February 20 was a warm, sunny morning at the Polynesian. We took the short, leisurely stroll from our room in Aotearoa to the Great Ceremonial House for our reservation at Ohana. Cast members presented my family with colorful leis, and after the usual 10 to 15 minute wait, we were seated. For my birthday, they gave us a table with a nice view of the castle. I gazed out at the castle, then back in the dining room filled with characters, while taking in the famous Polynesian aroma.
After a few minutes to soak in the atmosphere, our waitress came to our table and filled our glasses with a juice so orange that Orange Bird himself would be jealous. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled to try it. It looked very strange, very fake. However, I trusted Disney, and decided to taste it. Boy, am I glad I did! Every tropical flavor you could imagine invaded my taste buds, and I was even further immersed in my resort.
“What is this?!?!” I questioned our waitress.
“GOP juice!” My mom and I traded confused looks. GOP..? “It’s a popular beverage in Hawaii- a mix of guava, orange, and passionfruit!”
At that moment, it was love.
I can’t remember exactly how many glasses of GOP juice I had, but thanks to our lovely waitress, my glass was never empty. When I returned home, GOP juice became another missed memory, placed on the shelf with my favorite attractions, Adventureland egg rolls, and Epcot music. I knew in a matter of months I’d return to most of those things, but the juice was a different story. We didn’t go to Ohana on every trip. There was a hole in my stomach that I knew I couldn’t fill. Its only fuel was the flavor of sunshine itself. Then, the miracle happened.
“I have a surprise for you!” warned my parents. I couldn’t even imagine what it could be. My dad went to the fridge, and pulled out an illustrated bottle. I slowly read the label aloud, “Passion… Orange… Guava… POG… GOP!” Right before my eyes was an unthinkable dream come true! It was by far the most exciting part of my day, and probably week. It may seem lame, but it was a perfect reminder of how grateful we should be for simple pleasures. No, I wasn’t still in my room at the Polynesian, but at least it tasted like I was. Sometimes, that’s really all you need. (However, a personal pineapple soft serve machine would be a welcome addition to my life, to use in between cups of GOP.)
Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust,
For information on finding your own bottle of GOP, go to www.bolthouse.com!