Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Orlando Day 2

Even though we'd been up all night, we were excited to be on our first adventure at the Epcot Center.
The hotel didn't have a room for us at 7:30 in the morning, but they were nice enough to let us eat at their full breakfast bar and stash our bags in Grandpa's room. We even got peanut butter and jelly from the buffet and made sandwiches to take to the park.

Today was all about Epcot, and even though we were tired, we wanted to make the most of it. We were at the park by 9 am, and the first thing we noticed were the gardens. Epcot is huge, with a massive lake in the middle. A trail that's over a mile long runs around it, and there are many countries represented by small villages. All throughout Epcot in the Spring there are hedges trimmed into the shapes of the characters: Peter Pan standing on a building, Beauty and the Beast in a planter box, and of course, Mickey. We took pictures at a bunch of them. There are also really pretty flowers everywhere, and the lake is filled with waterfowl. It seemed Mark had more fun looking at great egrets, cormorants, and osprey than he did riding the rides. It is so hot and muggy in Florida, but no one seemed to mind very much, and Seth and Dax took turns in the stroller. Mark was a trooper as always, and he never complained once. It was 97 degrees the first day in Florida, but we made it through.
These hedges are growing all over the Epcot Center. The gardens and flowers are really beautiful.
Mom especially liked the color of these flowers and butterflies.
The first thing we did was get checked in at Epcot and distribute passports, which are your tickets and allow you to use Fast Passes throughout all of the Disney parks. Unfortunately, they handed out the passports to all the wrong people, which we didn't find out until later. In the afternoon, we spent nearly an hour getting the passports straightened around, but the kids needed a break by then anyway.

Our first ride at Epcot was Frozen, and the line was about an hour, though it shortened to half that later in the day. The boys aren't into the princess scene, but this was there first real ride, and it was amazing. We went on a boat, which had some pretty good up and down sequences. Mark got surprisingly wet from the splash, and everyone came out laughing. We were amazed by the animatronics. They have come a long way from pirates chasing women around in circles. It was difficult to tell that the machines weren't real people. Things certainly changed for the boys after that first ride. They had been pretty timid at first, not really sure what to think. When two Vikings came by, none of the boys would get near them, and all stepped skeptically back, but after the joy of that first ride, Dax ran right over and posed with them. Then we knew the boys would be all right, so we started our trip through the countries of Epcot.
This is the castle in Norway next to the Frozen ride.
Seth and Grandma posed with Elsa and Anna.
Because it's early in the season, most of the hedges aren't fully colored.
The boys had a great time being with their cousins on this trip.
We weren't sure we wanted to bother with Frozen, but we ended up really liking it.
The animatronic characters are amazing.
Dax totally changed after we rode that first ride!
We'd heard that Epcot wasn't very exciting, but we loved it. First, we decided to pay Disney prices for a passport, which the boys could take to each country. The passport came with stamps for each of the countries represented, but you also find a little kiosk with a person from that country who writes a message in your passport. The boys thought it was amazing, and we spent a lot of time wandering the villages looking for kiosks. Each person made a special effort with the boys, and some wrote specific messages or drew cute little pictures.

We started in Mexico, and there was even a little ride called the Three Caballeros. It was a nice gentle boat ride that didn't do much but go past scenes of Donald Duck and his two Mexican buddies singing songs, but the boys thought it was great. Then we continued around the loop. First was Norway, where we'd done the Frozen ride. They have actual Viking artifacts there. Next we stopped in China, and the nice girl at the kiosk drew a picture of a panda in each passport. We continued on through Germany and Italy. In Germany we watched the miniature trains drive for a bit. We rushed through Italy because we had to hurry back for Fast Passes. In America, we caught the last half of some singers that were amazing. They were singing classic American songs, and we enjoyed listening to the tight harmonies. We watched a historical movie with Ben Franklin and Mark Twain. It showed some of the history of America and the accomplishments there. Dax and Seth fell asleep because the jet lag was catching up. We had made it halfway around the lake before it was time to find some more rides we had scheduled. Seth slept in the stroller while we hurried back to the front of the park.
We loved the World Showcase at Epcot. This is the temple in Mexico.
Inside another building we did the Caballeros ride and passed this temple.
Seth posed in front of the Chinese pagoda.
Each of the workers was so nice. Disney does a great job at customer service.
Germany had this cool statue. I think it was more famous for beer, though.
We thought the best thing in Germany was this cool train set.
We also met the Seven Dwarves.
There wasn't much in Italy. Mostly we looked at the architecture.
When we first entered the America Show, these singers were harmonizing on traditional tunes.
Their sound was absolutely amazing.
We met up with all the cousins at Mission Space. The little kids and moms hung out while the dads and older kids went on Mission Space. In the ride, there were four members per team: Mark, Dad, and two women that only spoke Portuguese. Our mission was to land our space capsule on Mars. Mark got a little upset when Dad started immediately pushing buttons and flipping switches, which we'd been told not to do. There were several complications on our mission, and our capsule nearly plunged into a Martian gully, but we were able to land the craft successfully. This was the same time that we noticed that everyone was scanning in under different names, so we headed to Guest Services to get things straightened out, and the rest of the group caught up after the ride. Seth continued to sleep through all of this, but this was his only nap on the eight day trip.
Buzz Lightyear was standing outside Mission Space.
There is a ride sponsored by Chevy called Test Track, and it is super fast. Since Dax doesn't have a stellar record with roller coasters, we weren't sure how he'd do, and when he saw the cars zipping by at 60 mph, he was pretty nervous. We told him you got to design your own car and test it on the track, and his outlook totally changed. He had a great time choosing the shape, tires, paint, and accessories, and he actually thought they were going to build that car for us. Both he and Seth loved the ride, and Seth was pretending he was driving intensely the entire way. Dax was especially glad that his car scored highest on the Test Track, and he wasn't even upset that we took some major curves at 60 mph because his car did sowell.
Dax became a roller coaster lover at Test Track.
Seth loved designing his own car.
Of course, Lightning McQueen was outside the Test Track ride.
Dinner was scheduled at 4 pm, and we just had time to ride a little clamshell through the Nemo ride. You might think that Seth would really like this, but he enjoyed the speed and bumps of the roller coasters much more. For dinner, Grandpa had a reservation in Chip & Dale's Rotating Garden Grill, and the boys loved it. The restaurant actually slowly rotates, and you end up back where you started an hour later. At these meals, the characters come right over to the table, and when Pluto first showed up, both Dax and Seth ran right over and gave him a hug! All three boys mugged for the camera and got autographs from Pluto, Mickey, and Chip & Dale. The food was pretty great, too. It was all-you-can-eat, and there was great homestyle food: turkey, potroast, corn on the cob, fries, and about a million other things. There was even an amazing berry shortcake for dessert. It was so fun, and we all thanked Grandpa about a million times.
Look at those smiles! And for the Nemo ride!
There were some nice effects on Nemo.
Right before dinner, the boys found themselves being dinner for Bruce the Shark.
Seth and Dax didn't hesitate for a second when Pluto showed up. They rushed right into his paws!
Our boys aren't always good posers, but those smiles are genuine.
We are so grateful that Grandpa chose to do the character dinners.
They were expensive, but we loved them!
This restaurant rotated at an almost imperceptible speed.
Dad had to tell everyone that this was Dale. The key is the red nose.
Chip, with his black nose, was a hit with the kids, too.
Mom has taught Mark to use the camera so we can get a few pictures of us together.
After dinner, we went on a ride with Grandma and Grandpa called Spaceship Earth. This ride is inside the huge Epcot Ball. The ride was basically a history lesson that travels through Earth's past. It was pretty fun, and I guess it was educational for the kids. Grandma proclaimed it her favorite ride of the trip, but she doesn't really do roller coasters. Seth also enjoyed it, and Mom thought it was hilarious because they take your photo and use it in the ride. She got some silly pictures of us at the end, all of which she wanted to include in this post.
Mom thought these pictures taken in Project Earth were hilarious.
The ride took your picture and edited you in to the displays.
It taught you about how to treat the environment and take care of the earth.
Mom mostly liked it because she took the cutest picture!
The boys ended up saving the future at the end of the ride.
I'm not sure we needed this many pictures of Project Earth, though.
Grandma and Grandpa look thrilled to be a part of the program.
After we'd used up all our Fast Passes, we took the boat across the lake and worked on our passports some more. Dax fell asleep on the boat ride over, so it was his turn to sleep in the stroller while we continued through the rest of the countries. Our favorite stop was in Morocco, because the buildings were so beautiful. Dad wanted to wait in line to see Jasmine, but we didn't have time. We also went to Japan and then on to France, where Mom and Dad took pictures posing as Beauty and the Beast. There was a rock and roll band playing Bohemian Rhapsody in England, so we stayed there for a few minutes before hurrying along to Canada. It was getting late, but there was one more thing we wanted to do on our world tour. They have a pretty funny 360 movie in Canada hosted by Martin Short, so we woke Dax up and went into the show. The boys were getting tired, but Mom and Dad really liked it.
We all wanted to visit Morocco after walking the streets in Epcot.
We didn't spend a lot of time in Japan, but Seth liked it.
There was a Koi pond that Mark and Dax really enjoyed. Dax was asleep or he would have enjoyed it, too. 
After Knowledge Bowl, Mark was excited for the artists in France.
Mom loves Belle, so she jumped right in for this picture in France.
Dad thinks he nailed the Beast pose.
The whole World Showcase is awesome. Maybe the rides aren't as good as Magic Kingdom, but we loved Epcot!
This is in the United Kingdom.
Canada had a totem board, but Dax was asleep, so Mark's feet participated.
Everyone else in our group was pretty much pooped out after that, so they headed back to the van. Grandma and Grandpa had left after the Spaceship Earth ride. Even though we hadn't slept in what seemed like days, we didn't want to miss out on Epcot's signature ride, which is called Soarin'. Luckily, we had a rider swap so we didn't have to wait long, especially since Bob & Steph were waiting in the car with their kids who had already crashed. It turned out to be the best ride of the day. We were in seats that lifted and tilted and took us soaring over the major landmarks of the earth. We nearly crashed into Mount Everest, narrowly avoided the Taj Mahal, and swooped and soared over the ocean. Dad thought this was the scariest ride of the trip, but the boys thought it was the coolest ride ever. Mom loved how you could smell things as you soared around the world. It was the perfect end to the world's longest day.
Dad found the final place to take a picture of our epic Epcot adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Aaahhh!! So fun!!! Epcot was always my favorite as a kid, and I'm glad you guys enjoyed it. That design-your-own-car thing is COOL! Can't wait to read more!


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