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Day Two: Epcot

We were worn out after our long day at the Magic Kingdom, so on Monday night we made the decision to throw the guidebook and its advice out the window and retool the schedule. On Tuesday morning, instead of waking up early and getting to Epcot as soon as it opened, we instead slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. Then Chris and his parents took the kids to the pool while Amy and I went grocery shopping. We ended up getting to Epcot around 2:00. This is the approach we took for the remainder of our trip and it worked out so much better for the kids. Take that, guidebook!

Epcot was the most beautifully landscaped of all the parks, although I see that I didn’t really capture that in pictures. Here we are all at the entrance. Why I didn’t take our picture with the giant golf ball in the background, I don’t know.

Epcot is divided into two sections – FutureWorld, which is kind of quasi-educational, and World Showcase, which has shops and restaurants and attractions representing the different countries of the world. We started out in FutureWorld, and were heading to The Seas pavilion when we saw a sign for the “Epcot Character Spot.” This turned out to be a place to meet and greet Disney characters – after waiting in a long line for the privilege. Mallory said she really, really wanted to meet Mickey, so we got into the line…and within fifteen minutes, when it was clear the line was not moving very fast, she said she really, really didn’t want to meet Mickey after all. But, once you’re in a line, you’re in a line, so we stuck it out. (This was the only time on the entire trip that Mallory got pouty. She really was a trooper.)

And it was worth it, after all.

I don’t know why it should be so much fun to meet people dressed up in goofy (or Goofy!) costumes, but it is. The girls got hugs and autographs from Mickey and Minnie and Donald and Pluto and Goofy, and although for all we know, the people within the costumes may have been rolling their eyes or cursing our names or wishing they were elsewhere, they treated my kids like they were the only kids they’d seen that day. The girls loved it. So did I. It was particularly funny to see Donald and Pluto having to balance the autograph books on their noses (er, bills). Goofy was the best – totally in Goofy character; he gave us all kisses and then did some kind of pantomime about taking our picture. It was just really fun. And here is the proof!

Then it was off to The Seas, an aquarium pavilion decked out with characters from Finding Nemo. Now, Finding Nemo is one of my very favorite movies, so I was particularly charmed by the whole area.

The Nemo and Friends ride had only a 5-minute wait – hooray! We hopped aboard a clamshell car and rode around looking for, well, Nemo and his friends. The ride featured all the characters from the movie, and kind of wound through a giant aquarium, so you could see Mr. Ray AND real sting rays all at once. It was adorable.

The best was yet to come – we then went to Turtle Talk, an interactive show featuring Crush the sea turtle. The girls got a good seat, but after they sat down photography was forbidden, so this is all you get:

Crush comes out on screen and actually converses, through Disney magic, with the kids in the audience – and he picked Mallory (“the girl in the yellow shell with the brown fur on her head,” as he said). He asked her name and her age, and then got her to say, “Totally sweet, dude,” in Crush-ese. She was all lit up after that. It was awesome, dude.

(Not so awesome: the little boy who, at the end, started heckling Crush. He heckled Crush! “Whatever,” he said, really loudly, after Crush told us humans to try to keep the oceans clean. His mom yelled at him afterward, I was glad to see. You don’t heckle Crush.)

Up next, Mickey Mouse ear ice cream bars:

Then we progressed to The Land pavilion, where we wanted to ride Epcot’s signature attraction, Soarin’. (Can I just add that I wish they'd just called it "Soaring"?) However, the line was too long (over 2 hours), so we hopped aboard Living with the Land instead. Now, my guidebook had warned me that this ride was absolutely not interesting for small children. It’s about agriculture, basically; you take a journey through the history of farming, and enter a laboratory with displays of farming innovations. “Kids hate this ride!” the guidebook said. Well, not my kids – they were fascinated. “Wow, look at that huge tomato!” Phoebe said in the hydroponic section. “That carrot is growing upside down!” Mallory said. They were pointing out cocoa beans and enormous bananas and asking about eggplants and cabbages – they enjoyed the heck out of it. They wanted to ride it again after we got off, and they still talk about how fun it was. So there, guidebook! (It didn’t hurt that it was very cool, temperature-wise, on that ride. Very pleasant and breezy.)

Next we rode “Figment’s Journey into the Imagination,” or something, which gets my vote for the dumbest ride at Disney. It featured a dragon named Figment, and you – well, it’s not worth explaining. The kids liked it, though, and they loved the interactive music playroom we got dumped into after the ride.

At this point I had planned to move on to the World Showcase, but Phoebe hit a wall and just wasn’t up for walking that far. We headed off a meltdown by buying some souvenirs and drinking some lemonade.

Here are the countries we did not visit:

Then we decided we might as well go stand in line for Soarin’, since it was supposed to be really spectacular. This was, without a doubt, the worst line experience of the whole trip. Most of the rides at Disney have interesting queuing areas, decorated to match the them of the ride. Soarin’ is a flight simulator, so they did the queuing area up like an airport concourse, but since no one has fun waiting in an airport concourse, it just added to the misery. There were times when the line didn’t move for ten or fifteen minutes. I got a lot of pictures like this:

But – and I keep saying this – it really was worth the wait. Soarin’ simulates a hang-gliding trip across California. You swoop and dive and soar around while watching a huge screen with the scenery – one minute you’re over the beach, and you can feel the salt spray, and the next minute you’re over a ski slope, and you can smell the pine trees and watch a couple of skiers bust it over a jump. You end up, big surprise, flying over Disneyland as they set off fireworks. It was amazingly fun. It was such a high note, we decided to go on home after that. (Again missing the closing fireworks spectacular.)

There was a lot at Epcot we missed – besides the World Showcase, we skipped the Space Pavilion, which has a couple of rides, and all the Innovation/Technology stuff. But I think we did just the right amount, that day. The kids didn’t get worn out, they were happy with what we did do, and they were unaware of the things we didn’t do. It was a really good day.


aimee said…
I wonder if the characters had a strike and said they would no longer walk around in the muggy heat and to have their own air-conditioned room. I know I wouldn't want to be stuck inside a sweltering Minnie the Mouse costume all day trying to be happy. Just a random thought...

Great recap of day 2. You were so good at making sure your kids stayed happy!

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