Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

Ha, bet you thought I had forgotten about this!  As you can see, I’m not good at the short version of a story.  Day three will eventually come.  In the meantime, enjoy day 2!

Before going to bed on Saturday, we decided that we would sleep in and take it easy in the morning.  I think we were going by 10:00, though I guess I rushed Matt a little in the morning.  I’m just not used to taking things slow!

We were heading to Magic Kingdom first so we decided to take the resort bus instead of the monorail.  As we were getting close to the bus stop we watched a bus pull away.  Of course it was the Magic Kingdom bus.  We were told another one would come in 10 minutes.  After 15 minutes of waiting, watching two Downtown Disney and two Animal Kingdom busses going by; we decided we’d rather be in motion to our destination than waiting there any longer.  We walked back through our hotel, made a stop at one of the carts on the boardwalk for some iced lattes and danishes, then walked over to Epcot to catch the monorail.  As we were walking through the UK and Canada, we thought it might be a good idea to check out what the wait times over a Soarin’ looked like.  We figured we had to be back later for our dining reservations at France, so maybe we could get a fastpass for later in the day before we headed to Magic Kingdom.  So we made a detour over to the Land Pavilion.  The fastpasses for Soarin’ weren’t late enough in the day yet, but the standby wait was 40 minutes, so we decided to ride. 

I have to admit that I find it trying to wait in lines that are wider than one or two people across.  I always seem to be in front of the line jumpers or the people who have no idea what personal space is.  (More on the type of people you meet in line over here. http://www.thedisneychick.com/2010/04/five-people-you-meet-in-line-at-wdw.html  It’s one of my favorite posts.)  Anyway, Matt and I spent the 50 minutes in line fighting off the group of rambunctious teenage boys behind us and the bratty little children behind them to keep our place in line.  I had the <cough> pleasure <cough> of seeing a teenage couple sucking face for a little bit while in line, and Matt and I were amused at the group of people behind us that were so mesmerized by the group games, that they didn’t realize it was INTERACTIVE.  “Why does the bird keep running into trees?”  Because YOU have to work to make it move silly foreigners.  Disney people watching is the best kind of people watching. 

After our “flight” on Soarin’ we walked over to the monorail and took it to the Magic Kingdom.  While we were waiting for the Epcot loop to come we had a nice conversation with one of the Cast Members (who was on the college program) about the state of Disney’s monorail line.  They need to start replacing them soon, though this guy was pretty convinced that Disney was going to expand the line to Studios before they would buy/make new trains.  I find that highly unlikely due to the cost of adding even a mile to the line, but hey, what do I know? (A more interesting article on WDW monorails here http://thedisneyblog.com/2011/07/11/the-monorails-must-roll/ ) Anyway, we had fun dreaming about a monorail white, then our train arrived (lime) and we were off!

Here is where I start to get a little fuzzy, as we went to Magic Kingdom two different times on Sunday, and we were so hot and the crowds were so oppressive, that I really can’t remember what order we did which rides!  I can tell you that during both times we didn’t get to do much, as there were SO MANY PEOPLE.  I know our first stop of the day was to get fastpasses for Space Mountain, and then I forced Matt to ride Carousel of Progress.  I had heard rumors that they may close it in the next year to two, and it was air conditioned.  The last time I was that hot in the parks, I was working.  Yikes!  We ended up sitting through the ‘90’s-rific Christmas scene twice because it broke down somehow.  Poor Matt who didn’t even want to go in the first place was a trooper.  Since every ride had a ridiculous wait time (the TTA had a 15 minute wait. 15 MINUTES!), we decided to head in for more A/C and lunch.  Cosmic Rays had a longer line than Buzz Lightyear, and nothing looked appetizing at Pinocchio’s Village Hause.  Then we remembered the bliss of Columbia Harbor House and made a beeline over to Liberty Square. 

There were almost no lines and I got to enjoy relative peace while I ate my tuna salad sandwich.  One of the many reasons I love CHH is there is a second floor that tends to be less crowded and has great views of Liberty Square and on to Frontierland.  I got to watch the crowds ebb and flow around the Haunted Mansion as we ate.  I will save you my soapbox rant on the bad parenting that so often is seen while vacationing at Disney.  You know, how I feel no pity for the parents with kids that won’t stop throwing fits and whining because for the first time in their lives they didn’t get something they wanted.  I also won’t go off on how I forget how OBEASE so many people are until I go to Disney World and see the family of four who are all over weight chowing down on their popcorn, fries, ice cream, turkey legs, churros, double cheese burgers, and washing it all down with a giant soda, honestly parents, do you not see what you’re doing to YOUR CHILDREN?!  No.  Maybe I’ll save that for another post.  Maybe not.   I’ll just mention again that I’m thankful Matt and I are all about life lessons for our eventual children and that you can sub a bottle of water for your dessert when you’re on the dining plan. 

After lunch we joined the crowds at the Haunted Mansion.  Can I just say that the updates to the ride a wonderful? Yes? Oh, well then, the updates to the ride are wonderful!  I’m not the biggest HM fan, but I definitely like it better now than I used to.  Well done Disney.  The updates to the queue though?  They don’t make much sense to me, but I’ll save that for another post. 

After Haunted Mansion we wandered over to Frontierland to try and ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  That and Splash Mountain had such long waits, we decided to cross over into Adventureland to ride Pirates of the Caribbean before we were stuck on the wrong side of the road during the parade.  Pirates is always fun, though I hope they bring back Davey Jones.  The Blackbeard effect was lost on me, I couldn’t tell what he was saying, and it didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the ride. 

By this time we were getting close to our Space Mountain fastpass time, so we headed back over to Tomorrowland.  I do love the addition of music to Space Mountain.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older, but I don’t seem to remember my neck getting so jostled in the past.  Maybe I was better at anticipating the turns, I don’t know.  What I do know is this is the point when I started to get hoarse from all the excited screaming on rides and dehydration. 

With our dinner reservation time inching closer, we headed to the busses to take us back to the hotel.  We had a small debate on if we should stay and watch the Flag Retreat Ceremony as they were announcing there would be F14’s or something along those lines flying over Main Street during the ceremony, and there was a pretty substantial film crew milling around Town Square, but wanting a swim and a shower won out.  I’m glad we decided to leave when we did, because we got to the bus stop at 4:40 and our bus arrived at 4:58.  My nerves wouldn’t have been able to handle the 20 minute wait on the other side of 5:00 with 6:40 dinner reservations.  When people tell you the Disney Bus system runs every 10 minutes, DON’T BELIEVE THEM.  We had a moment when we debated if we shouldn’t hop in the Yacht & Beach Club bus and walk to our hotel from there, but we decided to stick it out.

After a quick swim (where we found a gross uber tan couple) and a shower, we were walking back to Epcot by 6:20.  Can I say how much I enjoyed that our hotel was a 5 minute walk away?

We checked in early for our reservations at Les Chefs de France and they sat us right away.  With the dining plan you get an entrée, dessert and nonalcoholic beverage.  We’ve found that many of the restaurants have started to offer a Prix Fixe menu that has an appetizer, entrée and dessert, but is still covered by the dining plan.  We both opted for the Prix Fixe menu and I enjoyed my Soupe a l’oignon gratinee (onion soup), Plat de cote de boeuf au cabernet avec pates (beef short ribs with pasta, pearl onions, and mushrooms), and Matt and I shared the Creme Brulee and Profiterolles au Chocolat (chocolate cake) for dessert.  It wasn’t the best food on property, but I enjoyed it none-the-less.  

After dinner we headed back in the general direction of the monorail.  We picked up some treats from the new caramel shop in Germany, which we decided to save for later in the night.  We tried to stop and ride the Malstrom in Norway, but there was even a wait there, so we just decided to keep on walking.  We stopped for a quick picture in front of the Fountain of Nations, then we were back on the monorail and on our way to Magic Kingdom.  We ran over and got Fastpasses for Big Thunder, then I think we rode It’s A Small World since the parade was coming soon and the wait times were low in Fantasyland.  Then I’m sure we rode the TTA since the line had gone down.  Again, this is where I get fuzzy.  Sorry I was tired and in case you can’t tell, we make our trips kind of a whirlwind.  This is our version of taking it easy. 

Anyway, I’m sure we rode Space Mountain, then we lined up for Wishes.  I forgot about the castle projection show, The Magic, the Memories, and You or whatever it’s called until it started up.  It was pretty neat to watch.  I couldn’t see the majority of the castle, because I’m short, or the majority of the pictures, because we were far away and I have bad eye sight, but I got the general idea.  Most of it was pretty ordinary, though I did enjoy when they turned the highest turret into a rocket that seemed to blast off the top.  Matt and I are sure they re-painted the castle so that those projections looked more realistic on them. 

Soon after that was done, Wishes started.  This is my favorite nighttime show at Walt Disney World.  I got pretty annoyed in the beginning when the large Spanish-speaking family (more like Spanish-shouting) next to us wouldn’t shut the hell up.   But after a few minutes of me shushing them, they seemed to realize there was music and such that went along with the show, and they got quiet enough to hear the music.  It was beautiful as always, and after I cleaned up a few tears at the end, we were off to Frontierland again.  We made it there before most of the crowds to find Big Thunder was “101” or down, as in not operating.  After checking on the wait time for Splash Mountain (60 minutes.  At night.) we headed off to ride Haunted Mansion again.  Back again we went to Frontierland where Thunder was back up and running with a 40 minute wait.  At this point it was around midnight and I was starting to feel really tired.  I made Matt sit with me and we people watched for a while until our Fastpasses were good.  This was Matt’s first item riding it in the dark, which is my favorite time to ride, so after our first time through we got back into line and rode in the back, which gives you the “wildest” ride.  It was a great way to end the night. 

Finally we headed back to the hotel as we wanted to be up for Animal Kingdom’s Extra Magic Hours the next morning, and it was already 1am.  So much for taking it easy, right?


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Below is the first part of a trip report of Matt and my quick vacation to WDW a few weeks ago.  As you see, I’m very detailed, so I’m still in the middle of writing out the rest of our trip.  So, since this post is long enough, enjoy day 1, July 16, 2011:

After a flight I care not to mention again (unless I can tell you about it in person) Matt and I arrived at MCO, ready to hop aboard DME and get whisked away to the Caribbean Beach Resort.  Or so I thought.  As we were taking the tram to the main terminal, Matt gave me my last surprise of the trip: we weren’t staying at the Caribbean Beach, he had been sneaky and upgraded us to the Boardwalk Resort!  It wasn’t the Grand Floridian, but we would once again be staying at Disney in style in one of their Deluxe Resorts.  It took me a while to believe him, but once he showed me the DME paperwork, and we were in the line for the Boardwalk bus, I was so excited.  I have the best husband, by the way.

We didn’t wait in line very long at the airport, though we did wait a long time on the bus for it to fill up and head out, which was kind of frustrating.  I wasn’t going to let it bother me too much though, since the bus was free of whining and screaming children (and our flight wasn’t; oi), and we were heading to a nice hotel. 

The Boardwalk was the first drop off (yay!) so we were soon walking into the lobby to check in.  We tried to get an upgrade to water view, but settled for a king room instead.  Side note: We couldn’t upgrade to a water view because “we didn’t pay for one”, which, ok stingy Disney, I get, but then it wouldn’t be called an upgrade, would it?  Anyway, as a bonus I’ve never had at Disney, our room was ready, so we got to head there first instead of leaving our bags with bell services.  Despite a few eyesores (bubbling wall paper, stain on the bathroom wall) the room was really nice and had a nice balcony (which we used exclusively for spraying on sun screen during the trip).   We spent a few minutes admiring the room, and then it was off to the parks.

Now, one thing you must know about Matt and me is that we are planners.  I don’t know how to relax while on vacation, especially at Disney.  Before we left we had everything planned out.  Where we were eating (thanks to the dining plan), which parks we were going to on which days, everything.  For the first time though, when we got there we threw all that out the window.  We kept our Dining reservations of course, but when we headed out of the room, we decided that this time around, we would go where the wind takes us, and I think we decided this independently of each other.  So while we were planning to head to Magic Kingdom and stay there all day, we actually ended up walking out to the Boardwalk and taking the ferry to Hollywood Studios. 

Now there is a walking path to Studios, but I opted for the ferry, thinking it would be air conditioned.  I THOUGHT WRONG.  I don’t know if it used to be at one point, or if I just imagined it was before, but goodness, that was one uncomfortable ride.  It wasn’t the heat so much as the smelly, muggy air that never moved.  As more people got on (huge crowds from the Swan and Dolphin) the ride got more uncomfortable.  That was the only time we took the boats this trip. 

Once we got into Studios, we raced back to the Tower of Terror.  Since this was July, I was expecting tremendous wait times, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised throughout the trip.  The longest wait we had the whole time was for Soarin’ the next day at 50 minutes.  That’s not to say that there weren’t ridiculous wait times ever, just that we were able to avoid most of them. 

We lunched at the ABC Commissary to enjoy some air conditioning.  To our surprise our cheeseburgers came with three fried shrimp on top.  Apparently it’s called surf and turf on the menu, which tells you how much we were paying attention when we ordered.  Yay for the dining plan!  I have to admit, Disney could do much worse with their fast food.  Generally speaking, it’s pretty good across the property.  The advantage of the dining plan is that you can sub a bottle of water for your dessert.  It’s not a cost savings, but it feels better doing that than always choking up $2.50 every couple of hours. 

Now forgive me as I don’t remember everything we did in order, but I think it went, Tower, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours, then back to Tower.  Rockin’ Roller Coaster had a 80 minute wait when we got in line, but they opened the single rider lane soon after and Matt and I hopped the line and were through in about 20 minutes.  I think we could have made it through faster, but the cast member working loading seemed to have a grudge against the single rider line for some reason, and refused to use it when called for.  She got switched out fairly quickly though and we were back in business.  Star Tours was a pretty short wait.  A part of me wanted it to take a bit longer, since it was all new and such, but I’m not going to complain, I saw enough to get the gist.  The new ride was sweet!  I’m a fan of simulators and it was even more fun the first time through since we were in the last row, which means my feet didn’t touch the ground.  I was thrown around a lot.  I couldn’t tell you where we went, but there was a lot of falling if I remember correctly. 

After we got through our highlight of rides, we decided to take the bus to Epcot.  I thought walking all the way there would take too long, and I wasn’t getting back on the boat.  As we entered Epcot, the line for Spaceship Earth was pretty short, so we took a turn on that.  It was the only time we rode it, which makes me a little sad, but I know that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.  After checking out wait times in Innoventions Plaza, we decided to head over to Mission: Space and Test Track as there was no way we would get on Soarin’ at that time of day. 

Mission: Space Orange (the more intense version) had a surprisingly long wait that ended up being even longer because the ride kept getting shut down.  I suspect protein spills.  We spent quite a lot of time being, ah, “entertained” by many international cheering squads that were all over that weekend, especially while in this line.  (“They’re not even saying real words!”)  We ended up having a very nice conversation with the family behind us in line on the values of working hard to get what you want in life.  I love Disney people.  The dad and youngest daughter ended up being in our shuttle.  I would guess she was round 6 or 7 and was terrified going into it, but left the ride laughing. 

As we left Mission: Space we saw looming dark clouds of a coming storm.  We decided to risk the long wait in line at Test Track.  Matt and his family historically have bad luck with waiting in line for this ride and having it be shut down due to inclimate weather right before it’s their turn to go, but we tried anyway.  Once we got in line we wondered if the ride had recently started operating after being shut down a while, because we waited 10 minutes total, even though the posted stand by time was 40 minutes.  We got to ride before the storm set in and I had a blast screaming around the hairpin turns.  We got a laugh from the entire car as I explained to Matt that I like to scream at that particular spot to scare the people waiting in line. 

We took a quick jaunt around the World Showcase as we were looking for a quick service place to eat that was air conditioned.  Thinking the Land pavilion would be too crowded, we ended up at the American Adventure eating the recommended chicken nuggets.  I’ve only eaten there once before a long time ago, but it was pretty empty and quiet, so I didn’t mind the uninteresting food.  At this point we were getting pretty close to Illuminations time, but as we were both breaking in new sandals, we decided to head back to the hotel to change shoes.  Can I say what a luxury that was?  We walked there and back in about 10 minutes.  10 minutes!  That’s nothing in Disney time!

Anyway, we stopped in France on our way back so I could enjoy a Grand Marnier Orange Slushie, for which we waited an annoyingly long time.  There was a group of very drunk people taking orders at the one and only stand that sold this drink for all their drunk buddies or random passerbys, it was hard to tell exactly who was getting all the alcohol.  They didn’t even buy a slushie, which I will remind you, they were at the only stand that sold them.  Why they didn’t head to another stand, I’ll never know.  I hope they all got woken up nice and early and loudly the next morning. 

Anyway, the storm was coming in earnest by the time I got my delicious drink, so Matt and I got prime seats in Italy to watch it come in and wait for Illuminations.  There was no one else around us.  The storm was pretty awesome and we were out in the rain for a while until the cold got the best of me and Matt took pity and bought us rain ponchos.  After that the storm died out pretty quick and we only had to wait about 15 minutes for Illuminations.  If you’re wondering, Illuminations goes on every night, rain or shine.  Thankfully we enjoyed it without the rain.

After that we walked back to the hotel and enjoyed some time in the Boardwalk’s main pool before heading to bed. 

Look for day 2, soon to come!

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The Start of a Trip Report

So I’ve decided that since I keep putting off writing one large trip report from, you know, September, that I will post little tidbits about the trip as I remember them. 

First, I hardly took any pictures on this trip.  This is quite a strange habit I’m developing and it’s both refreshing and sad.  I liked the freedom of not having to lug around a camera all the time and make people stop for the obligatory pose in front of certain giant landmarks, but I miss looking at them now that I’m home and my memories are swiftly being replaced by save the dates and project plans.  The few pictures that were being taken on a regular basis were on my brother-in-laws phone, and he hasn’t shared any of them with anyone else yet.  I may need to steal his phone and rectify that situation.  I will share with you one of my favorite shots and one of the few I took.  We went to Epcot on the morning of our second day there and, though we had to wait a long time for the monorail from our hotel to TTC, then wait for the Epcot monorail, it was worth it to ride on the TRON-o-rail.  We still got there fairly shortly after opening, and Matt and I ran ahead to grab Fastpasses for Soarin’, which we were walking back to use when I snagged this picture after riding Mission: Space our first and only time. 


Within the first three days we’d already hit everyone’s must-do’s in all four parks, which left us six more days to do it all over again!  There were a lot of firsts on this trip for me and for the others.  It was exciting to go with Matt’s family and learn a different pace for touring Walt Disney World.  It was also hard leaving not knowing when I will be back again.  At this point, not for a long time. 

 I’ll try and post more on the trip in the next few posts, but I wanted to get something started for those who really want to know.  That’s all I have time for now, so TTFN!

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While I’m counting down all the things that I’m looking forward to about this coming Disney trip, I do want to take a moment to mention something that is long gone that I still wish I could experience. 

The Tapestry of Nations was a parade that was put on at Epcot for the millennium celebration from 1999 to 2001 (then it changes to Tapestry of Dreams until Disney got rid of it in 2003).  I had the opportunity to see it a few times when I visited my sister while she worked at WDW, and I wish now that I had made more of an effort to remember it as it was beautiful. 

It was a beautiful parade for so many reasons.  The puppets were beautiful and graceful, the dancing and drummers were almost hypnotic, and the music, oh, the music!  They still play the parade theme after IllumiNations at the end of the night, but most people are so concerned with the mass exit, that they don’t notice it.  It’s so beautiful.  I get it stuck in my head occasionally and it drives me crazy because I don’t have a recording of it. 

Now, we all know I’m a sucker for parades, but this was truly an exceptional experience.  I’ve found some recordings of the parade from youtube.  If you’ve never seen it or if you’ve forgotten how beautiful it is, I suggest you take a look. 

Highlights from the parade

This video has my favorite part of the parade, when the puppets run and embrace each other. 

I’ll just have to keep hoping that Disney decides to bring it back.  It would fit well at Animal Kingdon…

Have I mentioned that it’s beautiful?  What do you miss the most at Walt Disney World?

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Day 23: Fountain of Nations

Today I’m looking forward to the Fountain of Nations at Innoventions Plaza at Epcot.  This is usually one of the things I forget I like until I’m standing right in front of it after entering Epcot.  I usually catch the end of the show and don’t want to wait around until the next one.  That’s why I use the magic of youtube to see what the entire show will look like.

Who knows, maybe this year I’ll actually see the entire thing in person.  It’s just another Disney touch: that surprise of, hey, take a second look, this may not be just what you originally saw when you first looked. 

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Well, it’s been a week or so. I haven’t taken my mind off the pending trip, but my life has picked up. I expect to be super busy from now until we leave, so I’ll post when I can.

For today, I’m thinking about Soarin’ Over California. This ride has a ridiculously long line, but it’s worth waiting for 20 minutes in the FastPass line, which is a fairly regular occurrence. If you do decide to brave the standby line, there are fun games and information to pass the two hours time you’ll be standing there. Just make sure you pee before you get in line, because those ocean scenes will get you if you don’t.

This is another low key ride, but unlike the TTA, everyone else is in love with it. Feeling like your gliding over famous California landmarks while orange pinesol is sprayed into the room makes for a relaxing, yet invigorating experience. The only parts of the ride I don’t care for are the sped up footage of LA at night (Disney didn’t know they only got one shot and had to make due with their trial run) and the fake fireworks at the very end. Yes, it’s Disney and cute, but much more effort could have been put into it I feel.

Still, I can’t wait to get my fast pass and experience my “flight” over the golden coast.

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