Monday, December 17, 2018

A Day in the Life: Disney Edition | Part 5: EPCOT

Welcome back to my Disney recap!  We are up to Part 5 of this series...and we still have one more to go.  I know.  I am really dragging this out, right?!  haha  So sorry if you are over it!  I'll be wrapping it up this week but if any of you have any questions on anything we did, please let me know!  One trip to Disney World (obviously) does not make me an expert but I'd be happy to answer any questions I can! :)  Comment below or send me a DM on Instagram for the quickest way to reach me.

And if you missed it, you can find my previous posts here.

PART 1: Prep Work
PART 2: Travel, Resort Check-In, Disney Springs
PART 3: Hollywood Studios 
PART 4: Animal Kingdom

But today is all about EPCOT!




In all honesty friends, this wasn't a park I was really looking forward to all that much.  It seemed like it was going to be a pretty slow day which it kind of was but that didn't make it bad AT ALL.  The park wasn't nearly as crowded as all the others which made it much more pleasant and a little less chaotic.  The lines were all much shorter too since it was less crowded which worked in our favor several times!

But let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Once again, our group of 8 met in the lobby of our resort after breakfast.  Depending on what time the gates opened every day, we made a plan after day one to be downstairs and ready to go 1 hour and 15 minutes before rope drop.  This worked out perfectly for us.  We were usually at the park about an hour before it opened which got us up near the front of the line at rope drop which is super important if you are running for a popular ride first.

The guys were ready for another big day!  Some were extra excited!  haha



I have video but no pictures of Disney cast members coming out to entertain the crowd by playing the drums on some garbage can lids (so good!) and that definitely helped the time go by faster.  But I was really surprised at how few people there were at rope drop for this park compared to the others.

We weren't able to get a Fast Pass for Soarin' which was #1 on my to-do list so we headed straight there.  I'm pretty sure half the crowd went to the left towards Test Track and the other half went the right towards Soarin.

When we got there we only had a 20-minute wait which was our first score of the day.  If you aren't familiar with Soarin', it's a motion simulator ride where it feels like you are soaring through the sky all over the world.  It is incredible.


I'm including a rider's point-of-view video of it for y'all so you can see what I'm talking about.


This ride is slow and has small drops but if you are deathly afraid of heights, I'd probably say...try it anyway and just close your eyes if you can't handle it.  haha  I'd hate for anyone to miss it!  You literally feel like you are gliding through the air over Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Sydney Harbour in Australia, The Great Wall of China, the Pyramids in Egypt...  It is breathtaking and an absolutely amazing experience.

When we finished our ride, we looked at the wait time on the way out and it was still only 20 minutes.  So we decided to do it again! And here is where I learned a little something I want to pass on to y'all because I didn't know this.

SOARIN' TIPS:

On our first ride, we were seated in Section B row 1.  THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT.  B1.  Ask the cast member if you can go to that row, even if it means you have to wait another round and let people go in front of you.  It is more than worth it.  Here's why.

The second time we rode, we were in row 2 but I'm not sure what section.  We were still towards the center although we weren't DIRECTLY center like the first time.  But here's why this ride wasn't quite as amazing as the first time around.


1.  When you are on any row but 1, you can see everyone's legs dangling in front of you once you take off.  This is super distracting and completely takes away from the experience.  It's still a fantastic experience but row one gives you a clear shot and front row view where it feels like you are the only one flying over the world.

 

2.  And as for why you want section B here's the thing.  The screen is curved.  So if you are in Section A or Section C which are on the sides, some things end up looking a little distorted.  I noticed it a little on our second ride but later in the day we got to ride it for a 3rd time!  That time, I thought I was being smart and asked for Row 1.  So cast member sent us to A1 where I ended up being Seat 1 as well.  Which meant I was on the farthest left of the screen that you could get.  I could even see where the screen stopped and it really lost the magic for me on that one.  But the whole thing was really distorted.  The Eiffel Tower looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Definitely a tiny bit of a disappointment but honestly, the ride is still amazing no matter what.

The takeaway from this, friends?  Don't be afraid to ask to be front and center.  B1.  Anything on that row is perfect and you will have the best seat in the house.  And for the record, I'm pretty sure Disney Cast Members aren't even allowed to tell you no on anything so don't worry about that.  haha  They are all so cheerful and helpful and won't bat an eye at your request.

Once we came out of Soarin' for the second time, we checked our Fast Pass times and realized we had about an hour before could check in for Living with the Land.  But Living with the Land is right downstairs from Soarin and the wait time for it was 5 minutes so we went ahead and jumped on.

Living with the Land


This is a slow boat ride that takes you through everything from greenhouses to fish farms.  It's all about agriculture and if you aren't careful, you may even learn something.  ;) 


Would I wait more than 30 minutes for it if I could be doing something else?  No.  But it was interesting for sure and from what I hear, there aren't long waits for it anyway.

After that, we headed over to Spaceship Earth which is inside/connected to the big silver ball.  We kept thinking there must be something IN the big ball but it's really just this ride.

I kept thinking this would be a spaceship type theme but it really wasn't.  The ride is slow and takes you from the beginning of mankind to now.  You see everything in a timeline from cavemen to Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, to Ancient Greece and all the way up to when the computer was invented.


Things to note.  This is a 15 minute ride!  I love that since most of the rides are over in just a few minutes.  This is a great one if you need to get off your feet for a while or cool off.  

My mom and I rode together on this one and at the end you get to answer some questions to help figure out your best future.  It's all very Jetsons' style.  I'll post videos in my stories on Instagram today.


We walked by Mission Space but didn't ride it.  We didn't have a fast pass for it and I heard it was pretty intense.  (Although, I know they have a less intense version as well.)  I didn't think anyone in our group would like it much so we skipped it.


Around this time, everyone started getting a little hungry.  Test Track was up next and the wait was pretty long.  A little over an hour I think.  So we decided to grab some treats before we got in line.  

Matthew had been asking for popcorn for 2 days now but it wasn't available at any of the stands we could see nearby.  So my dad (who is THE most selfless man in the world) took it upon himself to hunt down some popcorn for his grandson while everyone else sat in the shade and ate their snacks.  When he didn't come back for a few minutes, I went looking for him to see if I could help and we ended up finding a stand nearby that sold popcorn.  So he got Matthew his popcorn and then we split a Mickey pretzel because those things are SO GOOD.


(Matthew's NEGU hat stands for "Never Ever Give Up" by the way.  I had someone message me to ask about that one time.) 

And then it was time for Test Track!  This was the longest line we waited in all day and although the first part of this wait was SO DULL and the music they were piping through was the same tune the whole time, it was pretty cool once we got to the designing of your own car stage.

Matthew and I worked on our design while Craig and Mason worked on theirs next to us.



My parents were on the other side of us and we gave them the award for ugliest car ever.  Hahaha



You can find the entire Riders Point of View Ride of Test Track HERE if you want to watch.  We liked this ride a lot but it wasn't a favorite of the week.  The beginning starts out with the car going through a series of tests and little maneuvers.  And then at the end it opens up and you get to speed around the test track at 60mph.  That's the best part by far but it's just over too soon.  For our group, it was the #2 ride of the day though.



After Test Track, it was time for lunch!  We headed to the World Showcase across the bridge and turned to the right towards Canada and the UK. We quickly realized that if we were hungry, we needed to backtrack and head towards Mexico.  We much prefer tacos over shepherd's pie.

Image result for epcot world showcase map



We ended up stopping at La Cantina de San Angel which was an excellent choice for all.  This is a counter service restaurant and you can sit outside on the patio on the water (which we tried to do but it was full) or you can go inside.  I don't remember what everyone else had but I had the cheese empanadas and they were yummy.  Matthew had chicken strips and chips and I'm not sure what Mason was eating in this picture.



The indoor dining room had a great view of the water.  All of the countries are laid out in a big circle around the water.  You can walk all the way around or you can take a boat across the lake.  The stuff in the middle of the lake is there for the fireworks and light shows at night.  


After lunch, it was time to head towards Frozen in Norway which was the next country over.  And it was SO CUTE!!



We had to wait about 10 minutes or so before our Fast Pass time slot, so we sat around and took in the views.


Waiting so patiently.  ;)  Everyone's feet were DYING by this point, I should point out.  I'm convinced there are no shoes that could have kept my feet from killing me by day 3.  Walking 8, 10, 12+ miles a day for 3 or 4 days straight will do it no matter what. But I am open to suggestions for next time!


We used the time to take pictures in this cute little area outside of Frozen.


Love my daddy so much!!!


And my pretty mama!  I think I've said it in other posts, but my trip would not have been as much fun and I wouldn't have gotten to experience as much if it weren't for them always being up for more.



Before long, it was time for Frozen!  My boys only grumbled for a second about this when I told them we had a Fast Pass for it but they thought it was fun!


They even got a tiny bit wet (like 3 drops) which elevated it about 10 notches in their book.  ;)

After Frozen, we had a group meeting and Craig and his dad decided to take the boys back to the resort to swim.  It was around 3:30 and feet were sore, it was hot and we had done all the "must-do" rides on our list.  I was still dying to walk all the way around the world showcase though and check out each country and my parents and mother-in-law wanted to stay too.  So we split up.

We loved all the colorful detail on the buildings in China.



And I caught my parents being adorable again.




We walked through Germany and Italy...



...until we got to America!


There was a huge gingerbread White House set up on the side which was so cool and made the whole giant room smell delicious.




When we walked back outside, we took a restroom break off to the side and got to walk right past Santa and Mrs. Claus!



Let me tell you, these two were LEGIT.

We moved on to Japan next.



And then Morocco!  There was a Moroccan band playing on stage and it brought out some pretty intense dancers from the crowd.  If you missed these videos from when we were there, they are in my Disney Highlights on Instagram.  And it is pretty funny!


Morocco seemed to be the party country for sure!!

Next up was France!


These street performers came out right as we were walking by so we got to watch their entire performance.  They were so funny and seriously, how did this guy do this?!  I just kept thinking "Please don't die in front of all these kids!!" haha


And then it happened.  When we were almost all the way back around and were near the UK again, we decided to stop really quick and grab some water from a vendor.  As we were walking away, a gate opened up to the left of us and MICKEY MOUSE WALKED OUT.  His "handler" asked if anyone wanted pictures with him so we jumped at it and were the very first ones.  It all happened so fast, I didn't even know what was going.

I clearly also didn't know if I could/should touch him!?!  hahahahaha  I had no idea his elbow was out for me to grab like my mother-in-law had!  It was like seeing a celebrity. #suchadork


He was so cute!!  This all happened within 60 seconds of him walking out of that gate too and the line got long fast.  Seriously, how lucky were we?!

I'm still not sure why I look scared to touch him. Ahhhh!!  (face palm)


We left the World Showcase and checked the Disney app to see how long wait times were for Soarin because it was our favorite of the day.  And the wait was under 30 minutes so we decided to do it one more time!


On our way over to Soarin' we passed a group on stage singing Christmas songs.


And got some pics in front of the fountain.


And then we waited!  This was the time when I asked for Row 1 but didn't know we'd be in Section A...which was the really distorted view.  Remember y'all:  ASK FOR B1!!


On our way out, we stopped to jump on the Nemo ride which was cute and there was no wait for.  And we got to check out the manatee and other aquariums too.


We took the bus back to the resort, grabbed some dinner, rested up for a bit and then headed back for the fireworks.  Craig's parents, Craig and the boys didn't want to come so it was just my parents and me.  And they would have gone without me if I bailed too.  They were ready to soak up this experience for all it's worth and so was I.  So glad they were there or I would have missed so much throughout the week.

I took about a dozen pictures of the gorgeous ball at Epcot that night.



And we loved seeing the tree all lit up.


We ended up with a pretty great spot right on the fence in Mexico.


I can't remember if I've posted videos of the fireworks and light show at Epcot but if not, I'll post them today in my Instastories in case you want to see.  (@amandanall)


It was such a cool show.  At one point, I really did worry things were going wrong though because there were some big explosions and fire!  No one else seemed worried so I figured it was fine.  ;)


I was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed Epcot.  It's not a very fast-paced park and like I said earlier, it was so much less crowded than any other park we went to that week.  I loved getting to ride Soarin' 3 times (and getting to experience it 3 different ways so I could share my tips!) and walking around the World Showcase with just my parents and mother-in-law was so nice.  I would have felt rushed walking through the countries with the boys, Craig and his dad because I know they wouldn't have gotten into it as much as we did.  So it was the perfect decision for them to go swim and for us to keep on.

So that was Park #3!  Next up...MAGIC KINGDOM!!

{UPDATE: FIND ALL PARTS OF THE SERIES BELOW.}

PART 1Prep Work
PART 2Travel, Resort Check-In, Disney Springs
PART 3Hollywood Studios 
PART 4Animal Kingdom
PART 5:  Epcot
PART 6: Magic Kingdom

More coming this week!

And remember that you can find me in the Deals group on FB and on the Deals Blog today!  And I'll have any videos that I haven't already posted from Epcot up in my Instastories.

Have a great Monday!


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6 comments

  1. I could absolutely go to WDW just to spend the whole time walking around "the world". :)

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  2. We only got as far as Norway for Frozen with my little girl. We skipped the rest because she just couldn't hang and why fight at Disney?!?!?!? Maybe one day I'll get to go back and give it a whirl! That band was AWESOME! We saw them, too.

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  3. May your home be filled with Christmas songs, cakes, candies and all the love that this festive season brings.

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  4. I'm terrified of heights so I asked for row 4 on Soarin' (closest to the ground - the cast member thought I was odd for asking for THAT row because of the legs dangling in front of me) but it was still unnerving to me once we lifted up. I made it through it though with my 15 year old telling me when to close and open my eyes for the high views and I was glad I did it because 90% of it was awesome and didn't freak me out with the height.

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  5. I love that you hung in there to walk around the "world" and head back for the fireworks--I would have done the same!

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  6. I have to say your trip reports are excellent! I love how flexible your group was that when some preferred down time at the resort/pool and others still wanted to keep going you guys made it work - I think that is key to a great Disney trip. I'm an over planner and like to stay on schedule to the point I used to schedule in exact pool/relax times at Disney, but after a few trips I decided to just make our FP reservations for our top 3 attractions each day and then just go with the flow the rest of the day and that when traveling in a big group it is ok to split up and let everyone move at their own pace. I'm so happy you enjoyed your trip.

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