Thursday, April 12, 2012

Disney - Day 3

Day 3 at WDW meant Epcot.  I realize that Epcot is the biggest of the four WDW parks and often the least populated but it's a bit frustrating how overwhelmed the bag check lines get during the busiest times of the year.  At all the other parks, there were at least double the amount of bag checking stations as there were at Epcot.  So basically you get up to the gate and stand in line for quite a while just to get your bag checked.  But I guess the rest of the year, crowds at Epcot are so minimal, it doesn't matter.  Just an observation...

Anyhow, this day at Disney was one of the ones that I had lower expectations for and it turned out to be a GREAT day.  We got there around opening and didn't leave until 7pm!  Also, during our visit, Epcot was in the midst of the Flower and Garden Festival so things were absolutely beautiful!  Here's Bryce and my mom by the Fantasia Mickey topiary. 

We quickly got over to Test Track and picked up fast passes and then figured out what we wanted to do while we waited for our lunch reservations.  We headed to the Nemo ride and then went right into Turtle Talk with Crush.  I was underwhelmed by the Nemo ride - most of it you're just watching animations of Nemo - so what!  But at the end you get to see in the aquarium, but not enough to redeem the ride.  Thankfully, it was a short line.  But Turtle Talk, now THAT was cool.  I didn't expect to enjoy that so much.  I was disappointed that the kids wouldn't sit up in the area where Crush could see them, but they all regretted it once he got going.  We all enjoyed that show!  Then we headed out and tried to get a shot of the kids on the wall - yeah, Piper wasn't having it!!

We rode the ride and played around in World of Imagination:

Then had some fun in the fountains outside.  Kevin and Jay had some fun splashing each other:

Then Uncle Kevin and Bryce stood under some water snakes for a splashing good time.  Check out the water snake in the air and it hitting them milliseconds later:

The girls wanted no part of it, so we finished up and strolled around the world to France for our lunch reservation at Les Chef de France.  We needed a good lunch place in Epcot and this place fit the bill since it featured Remy from Ratatouille coming around on a cheese cart.

Lunch was good although it was the least exciting of our meals - but certainly still good.  Piper pretty much only ate the cookie but that was pretty much her diet the entire week.  (I had to let go of my mother control issues of making kids eat fruit and vegetables for the whole week - it certainly made things less stressful even though I had to keep fighting the urge to tell them to eat!)  The restaurant was very busy and fairly crowded and I was getting worried that we wouldn't see Remy.  But just as we ordered dessert, we spotted the cart! And a few minutes later he arrived.

He was so cute - he moved, he squeaked, and his handler interpreted for him. She was quite friendly and came up with some funny things that Remy supposedly was saying.  While I wouldn't recommend this restaurant as a character meal, if you're in Epcot and want something a little different, it's fun and a bonus.

After lunch, we hurried over to make our fast pass time for Test Track.  My mom and Caroline took off first for the restaurant and somehow managed to get lost.  Jason and I were the last ones to leave and we made it there before them.  My dad waited outside for them and thankfully, they allowed them to come in 10 minutes late for their fast pass.  The other excitement for this ride was that Piper made the 40 inch cut off without problem.  They remeasured her a few times, but each time it was clear she was a pass.  She was very excited and I was relieved.  So Jason, Kevin, Kelly, Bryce, Piper and I rode Test Track together.  Piper squeezed in between Jason and I and she loved it!  Especially the high speed part at the end - this was her first real thrill ride.  Here she is just after riding.

Caroline rode with my parents and loved it too.  She's not such a thrill ride kid and was very proud of herself after doing it.

It was pretty hot so we cooled off in the Coke misting area while we all got frozen Cokes - yum!  Then we split up.  Kevin, Kelly and Bryce went to Mexico to ride the Mexico ride while the rest of us went to Germany to meet Snow White.  I think I was almost as excited as they were.  Maybe more!  We were only fifth in line and Snow White came right out on time.  I couldn't have been more pleased!!!  You can see in the video that she spent over 2 minutes with them and was just so wonderful.  Talk about a quality experience.  I was so glad too since I wasn't sure how much time they would get with her at the princess lunch on Thursday.

Afterwards, the men visited the German beer cart and tanked up.  They had a lot of Epcot beers that week - and why not?  It's vacation!

We met up with the rest of our group in a shady spot in Norway and  figured out what was next.  We got fast passes for a half hour later on the Maelstrom so everyone decided just to rest.  My mom had also just bought all 3 kids one of those fan/spray bottle contraptions to keep them cool.  They certainly helped to improve Caroline's spirits that week!   Her'e's Piper doing some leaf organizing and spraying:

While we waited, Bryce decided to take on a KimPossible mission.  If you have kids aged 6 and up, you must try this!  The kids are issued a cell phone (the Communicator) and then they are given a mission in a specific country.  The phone tells them the story of their mission and what to do.  Bryce and I ran all around Norway looking for things and saw things you'd never see just strolling around.  At one point, we pressed a button on the phone and you hear a trumpet and a flag raises.  Another time, a hidden camera takes your photo and it shows up on your phone - crazy!

I liked when we went into the replica of the Stave Church and saw all this cool stuff about vikings.  It helps if your kid can read, but if they can't, you can read for them.  I've read that they are changing the theme/story over from KimPossible (a discontinued Disney series) to Phineas and Ferb (Perry the Platypus) later this summer to make it more current.  We wanted to do more missions but never had the time.

We then rode the Maelstrom and saw the American Experience (and heard the singers while we waited to go in).  To help our aching feet, we decided to take the ferry from America to the entrance to the World Showcase.  Didn't save any time but it gave us all a rest and a nice boat ride.

On our way out, we stopped and rode Spaceship Earth.

I wasn't expecting much but they have really updated it and we all loved the interactive part at the end where they incorporate your answers and photos into a prediction.  Plus, hardly any wait!  Quick stop for a pose by the "big golf ball."

And the lovely ostrich topiary:

And we headed back to the resort and my mom informed us that they were going to take care of the kids and we could go kidless wherever we wanted!  YAY!  The kids ended up spending the evening swimming at the pool having a grand time going down slides and splashing while Jason and I ended up in Downtown Disney.  While I was so grateful to have had that time and to have spent the evening with just Jason, I soooooo wish we had just gone to a park.  Downtown Disney is not my idea of a fun place to go, it's just not.

First of all, the place was MOBBED.  MOBBED at 10pm.  MOBBED with little kids at 10pm.  WTH?  And while I did like poking around some of the stores, I really wasn't in a shopping mood.  And our choices of places that took the Disney Dining Plan were limited for counter service and were mobbed.  We ended up at this chicken place which had a delicious falafel burger but I don't know if it was because we ate so late, it was so heavy or it was tainted but I was NOT feeling very well in the middle of the night.  Barf.  Needless to say I was not impressed with the place and would never waste another night there when I could be in the parks - I guess we just chose poorly.  Although I did enjoy taking the boat back to our resort on our way home - that was kind of the highlight of the outing.  But it was nice walking around without a backpack and stroller for a few hours so it wasn't completely lost.  So if given a "night off" in WDW, go to a park for heaven's sake!

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