Disney Day 2 - Epcot

We followed up our day at Magic Kingdom with a day at Epcot.

We arrived a few minutes before Future World opened at 9am, and joined the crowd queued up to the right (west) of Spaceship Earth (the giant golf ball). The rope dropped, and we walked with the crowd over to The Land to start our day.

  1. Soarin’. We headed here first because we hoped that Julia might make the 40” minimum height. Luckily, she passed with flying colors and an inch or two to spare. Though we weren’t at the front of the crowd, our wait was less than five minutes. Soarin’ was tremendous: a super-smooth simulation of flying accompanied by dramatic scenes of California cities and landscapes. Really great.
  2. Living with the Land. Since we were at the pavilion already, we walked right over to the old Listen to the Land boat ride (now Living with the Land). No line at a “tier 2” attraction like this this early, of course, so we got right on a boat. I was disappointed that the tour guides of the past have been replaced by recorded narrations, but the second half of the ride—through the Epcot greenhouses—were tremendous. Super-sized melons, tomato trees, tiny wheat plants all made for remarkable sights to see.

Randi and Julia ducked off to meet Donald Duck and some other friends of his, so Mom, Scott, Lynn, and I crossed Future World to pick up FastPasses for the Mission: Space simulator ride. Scott and Lynn then killed some time while Mom and I went on the next ride together.

  1. Test Track. After much debate about whether we had been on this ride before (we hadn’t, as it only opened in 1998; we confused it with the former GM World of Motion ride), we got to the front of the ride and boarded our “test vehicles”. Several warm-up tests were followed by an exhilarating high-speed straightaway and turn. While the GM sponsorship of Test Track was a bit heavy-handed in some parts, the ride itself is still masterfully conceived and one I’d love to try again some time.
  2. Mission: Space. Lynn and Julia headed off to Innoventions to play video games, and the other four of us used our FastPasses to walk onto Mission: Space. Against her better judgment, Mom joined me for the more intense “orange team” while the other two tried the “green team.” I thought the ride was good but not great. It started off extremely intense with significant pressure generated from faux G-forces as our rocket launched into space. The rest of the ride was pretty intense simulator fare, but nothing out of this world. I’d pass on a return visit.
  3. The Seas with Nemo. Julia had sat out a couple of rides, so we headed over to ride with Nemo. While the ride was cute, it doesn’t really match up with the quality of kids’ rides like Peter Pan at Magic Kingdom. I took a bit of a nap. The best part of this pavilion was when Lynn and I scored 3 of 5 taking an “advanced quiz” about sea creatures—all in Spanish.

At this point it was time for the Marshalls to head off to their princess lunch at the Norwegian pavilion, and the rest of us grabbed lunch at the Seasons restaurant at The Land pavilion. (Decent, better than most fast food at Disney.) Deciding that lunch could serve as a useful logical barrier in our day, we headed over to the World Showcase. I don’t have much of a blow-by-blow for the country pavilions, but here goes nonetheless:

  1. Mexico. We watched a glass-blowing demonstration here and wandered through the bazaar. Mom picked up a beautiful wooden eagle to add to her collection.
  2. Norway. We rode the Maelstrom ride, one of Lynn’s favorites. I tried to convince her that the lead up to a backwards drop over the steep waterfall was the real deal, but failed miserably. I snoozed through the Norway travelogue film.
  3. China. Walked through it, skipped the film, though we decided we might return to it.
  4. Germany. Enjoyed a Spaten draft. Disappointed that the Clock and Crafts shop didn’t feature many clocks for sale.
  5. Italy. Enjoyed the replicas of the Doge’s Palace and the clock tower at St. Mark’s Square.
  6. U.S. Mom watched the film so that she could hear her favorite song (“America, Spread your golden wings”), but the rest of us skipped it. We did watch a five-person drum and fife corps outside the pavilion. They were pretty good, even though I think their leader and one of the fife players (fifers?) were jerks.
  7. Japan. Walked around, enjoyed a beer.
  8. Morocco. We wandered through the streets of Morocco, before stumbling upon the Genie from Aladdin greeting people for photos and autographs. After a small amount of arm twisting, I convinced Lynn to get on line to meet her favorite Disney character. To our pleasant surprise, as we joined the line, the Genie was joined by Princess Jasmine. The characters’ handlers heard Lynn softly singing some music from Aladdin while we waited, and after he told the Genie that he (the Genie) refused to pose for a picture until Lynn sang to him. Much hilarity ensued (for me, at least).
  9. U.K. We caught a bit of a performance by a Beatles cover band, but then headed off for dinner.

All six of us ate dinner together at the Rose and Crown pub at the U.K. pavilion. We timed our dinner reservation carefully so that we’d have a table outside in good position to watch the Epcot light show at night. What we didn’t take into account was how freakin’ cold it might be. Still, we had a great table and battled trough the chill to eat a leisurely-enough meal to stretch from a bit after 6pm to show time at 8pm. The food was nothing special (Lynn and I shared fish and chips and a “lamb two ways” dish), but the show was great and the pub did manage to serve me a flight of three single-malts after my meal.

We had chosen to go to Epcot on day 2 since it had three extra hours at the end of the day for Disney resort guests. We took advantage of this following the Illuminations light show by hitting up a couple of final rides:

  1. Journey into Imagination. I was expecting to be disappointed by the way in which they butchered the former ride, and I was. While I was glad that Figment now has even more of a starring role, the rest of the ride was pretty bad. And the trademark “Imagination” song was sung strangely—either off key or with some weird harmony that was completely unnecessary. Oh well.
  2. Soarin’. We ended the day the same way we started, back at The Land pavilion with Soarin’. It was great again. Two times riding it, two thumbs up.

All in all, another good day, and not very crowded. The longest line we waited on was actually about 15-20 minutes for Soarin’ at the very end of the day. We missed a few things: Spaceship Earth, the film at the China pavilion, the France pavilion, the Canada pavilion, the American Adventure film, and most of the U.K. pavilion, but we figured we could try to make some of that up on Monday. What doesn’t really come through in the play-by-play is how peaceful it is walking around Epcot for a day. I’ve gotta say, Epcot still shines in my mind as probably the top Disney World park.

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This page contains a single entry by Lee Feigenbaum published on February 8, 2009 11:18 PM.

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