Disney Day 5 - Epcot (again) and Fantasmic

Monday was a relaxing day. The six of us took the boat over from Wilderness Lodge to the Contemporary for a breakfast buffet with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. This was pretty much exactly as advertised, with a mediocre but plentiful spread of standard breakfast fare, accompanied by short visits from all of the major Disney characters. Julia had a great time though I think she was might have been starting to get a bit weary of all of the oversized hugs from oversized characters by now.

Following breakfast, Lynn and I (finally!) boarded the monorail to head off and spend the day at Epcot. We didn’t have very concrete plans—we just wanted to see some of the things we’d missed and enjoy a (comparatively) leisurely day. Here’s what we hit up in the morning:

  1. Spaceship Earth. We had skipped the old favorite a couple of days ago, but there was no line for it so we headed straight here. They’ve revamped all of the scenes inside (and I imagine the narration as well) to give a somewhat updated tale of the history of human communication. And the ride now ends with a cute but somewhat pedestrian look into a custom future based on the touch-screen preferences of the riders. Best part of the ride is still that it’s a relatively long and peaceful ride in the dark.
  2. Behind the Seeds Tour. We headed over to The Land pavilion and signed up for the first greenhouse tour of the day which was starting in 15 minutes. The tour was pretty good, though I think I expected more from a Disney behind-the-scenes tour. We did get a guided walk through the four main greenhouses, along with explanations of many of the techniques employed to keep pests away, to grow fruits and vegetables in novel and efficient ways, and more. Unfortunately, the intern who led our tour, while very enthusiastic, didn’t know the answers to many of the questions asked by the impressively-informed group of people on the tour with us. While she repeatedly promised that people could “fill out forms” at the end of the tour to receive answers to the questions, that didn’t really benefit the rest of us. Got some neat photos though.
  3. Soarin’. The entrance for Soarin’ is right near the starting point of the tour, and we noticed before the tour that the Fastpass time for Soarin’ was only a few minutes after the tour would end, so we grabbed a couple of Fastpasses. The third go-round of Soarin’ was still excellent; we were glad to get one last chance to experience it.

We headed from The Land to the World Showcase, intending to work our way counterclockwise around the countries, focusing on those we hadn’t seen much of the other day. This meant starting in Canada, which we had missed altogether the last time around. The Canada pavilion features a 360-degree “Circlevision” travelogue film about the country, narrated by Martin Short. This is a spectacular movie—I’m guessing that many visitors to Epcot skip the movies in favor of more shopping or eating (or walking), but I think that’s a mistake, as the films are quite good indeed.

Next was the U.K., where we tried and failed to grab a table at the steakhouse for lunch. We perused the rest of the London-like streets and headed across the small bridge to France. We had lunch at one of the three eateries in the French pavilion (Les Chefs de France), sharing what was probably enough food for four or five people. Two soups, a collection of three pâtés, a goat-cheese, grapes, and walnut salad, and a wild mushroom and four-cheese flatbread. It was all quite tasty, putting breakfast to shame but being put to shame by our dinner the previous night at Citricos.

We leisurely strolled the rest of the way around the World Showcase, stopping only to enjoy the (wonderful) 360-degree film on the many landscapes and cityscapes of China. We completed the circuit, saw that even the singles line was a bit too long to justify another ride there (since Lynn couldn’t go on that one), and headed out of the park. We hopped on a bus and headed over to Hollywood to meet up with Mom, Randi, Scott, and Julia.

We arrived a bit early and took our second animation class (Mickey Mouse this time, see the drawings), then met up with the family to have a bit to eat. We had come back to Hollywood to take in their renowned nighttime light & music & more show, Fantasmic. As recommended to us, we entered the Fantasmic stadium nearly 90 minutes before the scheduled start of the show and bided our time. The show was… weird. Some of the effects and the theatrics were truly amazing, but everything was sort of diminished by the, uh, plot. The, uh, plot was a cross between epic, absurd, and nonsensical, with quite a bit of the latter. In the end, I’m glad I saw Fantasmic, but I’m not sure I’d say it’s the “can’t miss” show that others seem to think it is.

Back to the hotel, a bit of dinner, and sleep. One more day to go.

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This page contains a single entry by Lee Feigenbaum published on February 25, 2009 11:15 AM.

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