Monday, April 16, 2012

Disney - Day 6

On Thursday, we returned to Epcot and with Epcot not opening until 9am that day (late for us!) it gave us a little more time that morning.  The main reason we wanted to get there early was to get on Soarin' because of how quickly that ride fills up and Fast Passes are gone.  We got there just before 9am but with the ridiculously small amount of bag checkers, it took forever to get in.  We got to The Land as quickly as we possibly could, but we still ended up with noon fast passes (or wait in a line over an hour - NO!).  I like Epcot, but they really need some more banner rides - Test Track and Soarin' are not enough.  I love the World Showcase as well, but that doesn't open until 11am.  I think the Future World part of Epcot could really use some new life breathed into it, personally.  Anyhow, we had some time to kill, so we went and saw Captain EO.  Yeah, I know, Michael Jackson from 1986 but it was actually pretty good.  Michael Jackson at his peak and the music/dancing still resonated.  I'd forgotten that the theater actually rumbles and moves.  The kids liked it.  Then, we split from my parents and said we'd meet them at Soarin' at noon.  The girls were hungry so we stopped for cinnamon sugar pretzels under a shady tree.  The boys decided to go and check out Innovations and we were going to go and see Bambi's Butterfly Garden which is a only there during the Flower Garden Show.

The girls loved it!  So many pretty flowers and a lot of butterflies!

Cute little Bambi, Flower, and Thumper topiaries:

Once we caught up with the boys, we went over to check out Club Cool which is a Coca-Cola shop that has all you can drink samples of Coke products from around the world.  Most of them were tasty, but NOT the Beverly.  Think bitter tonic water.  Here are the kids trying it out.  It was disgusting, but a good laugh!

We then headed back to The Land to ride Soarin'.  Now, I will preface this to say that Soarin' is a cool ride.    I loved the way it really makes you feel like you're flying - the wind, the dips, the smells, the ocean mist - awesome.  BUT, I don't know if it's worth the wait.  Fast pass for this ride should be called "Sorta Fast Pass" because it is NOT that fast.  I wish I'd known that before we got in line.  All the other fast past lanes are just that - you breeze past the line and just wait a minute or two to get into the ride.  We figured the same when we got our fast passes for noon since we had 12:30 lunch reservations.  Well, when we were still standing in the Soarin' FP line at 12:20 we started to panic.  I quickly called the Disney reservations line and found out we had about a 20 minute leeway before we lost our reservations.  We asked a cast member walking buy how much longer and he replied "about 5 minutes." (Apparently my mom said something else to him like "I thought this was supposed to be fast pass" and his reply was "Better than waiting 2 hours." Not very magical - she really should have taken his name and reported him - that was our only negative cast member interaction the whole week.)

We quickly found out why the line for Soarin' is so long - the ride loads ridiculously slow.  I was so anxious about making our princess lunch reservations, I don't think I was able to enjoy the ride to it's fullest either.  But I was cool and by mid-ride I was already planning our attack of running through Epcot.  I put Piper in the stroller and RAN.  Everyone else kind of ran/walked, but I took off.  I was NOT going to lose that reservation!  I was so sweaty by the time I pulled up at Akershus that I must have looked a mess.  Kelly, my mom and Caroline walked up a minute or so later and we walked right in.  They quickly ushered us into our "meet Belle" photo.  I was prepared for it to be a mess considering the running we'd done in the hot sun, but it turned out surprisingly okay although my mom does kind of look like she jumped in the photo.  The girls went back later to get Belle's autograph because they didn't know to ask for it then.

It appeared we were some of the last people to be seated during our seating time and we had this awesome table in a back alcove where we could spread out (and cool off) and had a great view of the restaurant.  Caroline had just gone up to the appetizer buffet when Mary Poppins came around.  Thank goodness Caroline had met her in the Magic Kingdom the day before!  You'll notice Piper had just put on her Snow White attire.  She wore it the entire meal - wig and all!  I liked when she asked Piper if she "tidied her room."  Ha ha ha.  Yeah right.

Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) was next - Piper swears she doesn't remember this.  I hold close to my opinion that Disney needs to rework the Aurora dress - Caroline has a more realistic (and pretty) Aurora dress than this atrocity.  The sleeves should be a see through material and the shoulder shouldn't be so severe.  The crown is too big and her hair looks too fake.  Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite Disney movies and I hate that they got her wrong in real life when the got the other ones so perfect.

And here comes Snow White!  This is her expression upon seeing her little clone (Piper) in front of her.

Piper was thrilled to see her again and I guess Snow White knew what a super fan she had because she kissed her!

Here's Piper modeling her new kiss mark - she said she would never wash her head again.  In fact, we really didn't wash it - it wore off in the next few days.  (Yes, days - my kids were kind of dirty in Disney.)

Last, but certainly not least was Cinderella.  Caroline was totally enchanted by Cinderella.  She kept asking if we had noticed how blue her eyes were. She was very sweet and engaging with the girls.

After the princesses were done visiting, whew, we were free to enjoy our lunch which was delicious!  I forgot to add that the appetizer buffet was wonderful too.  My mom couldn't get over it.  I especially liked the kids' fare - mini-PBJs and gummy bears - it was those two foods that kept Piper from having a meltdown.

And while the girls did the princess thing in Norway, the boys had a grand time at the Biergarten in Germany.  Back when they made the reservations in October, they couldn't decide between there and England, but I think they were very pleased with their choice.  Great food and they said the beer was delicious.  They each drank like 1.5 liters each!  (Bryce drank root beer.)  Jason said that they enjoyed the German entertainment too and my dad got a video of Bryce dancing around to the music.

The girls arrived in Germany and since the boys weren't done yet, my mom bought the big girls a flight of German wine.  Nice!

Then we split up again - my parents and Kevin/Kelly were going to continue to explore Epcot through the afternoon and evening and we were going to head back to the resort so we could start to pack (cry) and then come back for Illuminations that night.  We slowly made our way through the world showcase though stopping to see topiaries of Mater and Lightning McQueen in Japan.

A quick picturesque shot somewhere near Morocco.

A quick stop in France to see Marie!

And of course, the UK for Alice!  Alice was delightful!  I was just thrilled with how wonderful she was to the girls and how adorable.  She really talked to them and listened - just like the real Alice would have.

And, she gave Piper a kiss!  I guess after she saw Snow White's she knew she needed another one!

This is one of my favorite photos from the whole week.  Piper was so thrilled with her two kisses - she was almost delirious!

 On our way to the gate, we stopped at a bathroom and while the boys were inside, the girls entertained me (and a few other people around).

We got back to the resort and started packing.  Orginally, I had figured we'd go to the Magic Kingdom on he last day but we decided to leave it up to the kids.  Of course, we got 3 different votes - Piper wanted Magic Kingdom, Caroline wanted Hollywood Studios, and Bryce wanted Animal Kingdom.  Because we had gone to such great lengths to do things for Piper and Bryce earlier in the week, we decided to go with HS for Caroline.  Plus, the girls really hadn't had a lot of time in HS on the day we were there.  But knowing that we needed to be back at the resort by 2pm the next day to catch the Magical Express to the airport we would need to start the day early in the parks (which was kind of our thing).  So we arranged that bell services would pick us and our luggage up at 7:15 am and we'd just take the bus from there.  A tall order at an early hour which meant we'd have to be mostly packed before we went to bed that night.  I'm so glad we did this!

Although there was some minor drama when Caroline realized she had lost her tooth from the night before.  She literally threw herself on the floor crying when she couldn't find it telling some story about it being her lucky tooth.  She cried for a good half hour.  Here we are going to dinner at the food court and I was trying to get a nice picture in front of the main area of the resort - she wouldn't even look at the camera:  

But, she somehow got over it and by the time we got back to Epcot, she was in better spirits.  Even enough to pose for me with her siblings.

I call this one their "villain" pose:

My parents got an awesome spot to watch Illuminations and after meeting up with them, Caroline, Bryce, Jason and I went to Mexico nearby to ride the ride because the line was so short.  (Gotta love the Disney line apps on your phone!).  Here's Bryce by one of my favorite places in the park - I love how they bring he outside inside.

And outside was a beautiful sunset:

The felt like posing again, so I took advantage:

And the glow bracelets made their final appearance during Illuminations -which we loved!  Who doesn't love a giant fireball?   I found myself wondering all week how much Disney budgets for pyrotechnics every year.

It was a great end to a great day but a little bittersweet knowing it was our last night in Disney.  We got back to the resort, put the kids to bed and finished packing - we were going to have a very early and busy morning.

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