Trip Report 2013: Day 3, Part 6: A Night At Epcot

Yes, it’s been a while. I’m going to finish this report up before it’s next October!  I swear! 🙂 Anyway, when I left off, we had left Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village to return to Epcot so that we could make our Test Track FastPass+ reservations.  That went smoothly and we had another good ride – slightly better, in fact, because we got our car’s data into the system this time and actually managed to be ranked. 😀

After Test Track, we headed over to Soarin’, and even with the FPs I can say we had a bit of a wait.  Not a long one, not really.. just enough to get D pretty bored/complainy.  But we made it in! And it was Soarin’, which is to say, great. 🙂  Next we backtracked a little and headed for Spaceship Earth, since we’d had to skip that so far to stay on track with the FPs.

I love Spaceship Earth.  I preferred Jeremy Irons’s narration, but I love the updates to the animatronics and I do like Judy Dench. Just not as much. 😉 Anyway D remains afraid of cavemen, but she didn’t mind them in this and was fascinated by the idea that they painted stories onto the walls.  Her favourite part of the ride is also my favourite: the part when you reach the very top, and you come out to see the Earth from a distance. 😀  Then on our descent we played the game and chose our future!

 

I love it when the heads have hands sticking out of them. XD

I love it when the heads have hands sticking out of them. XD

 

So it was now already 7:30 and we had just a half an hour left to get to Maelstrom.  We also needed to eat dinner.  I picked out a couple of things I thought maybe she might like among the Food and Wine kiosks, but they were ultimately too spicy – we got them from Terra.  Some Chili Colorado and home-made chips for D, and some Trick’n Chick’n Curry for me.  IT WAS DIVINE.

Here's the Terra menu - this is courtesy The Disney Food Blog (www.disneyfoodblog.com) and used without permission.

Here’s the Terra menu – this is courtesy The Disney Food Blog (www.disneyfoodblog.com) and used without permission.

The Trick'n Chick'n Curry which I looooved. This pic is from blogs.undercovertouris.com and used without permission.

The Trick’n Chick’n Curry which I looooved. This pic is from blogs.undercovertouris.com and used without permission.

And you know what? I didn’t actually get that this was vegan.  I did not realize it wasn’t meat! Looking back I should have; now that I know it I recognize the texture of meat substitute (which I quite like, honestly. I’m a fan of non-meat).  But I totally didn’t figure it out at the time.

Anyway, D liked the chips but not the chili, not surprisingly.  And she was not into the curry at all (didn’t think she would be). She was tired and didn’t want anything else to eat just then, and suddenly when I mentioned that her tooth was loose enough to come out and that it would be really cool if she lost it at WDW because maybe the tooth fairy would bring her something super-special, she had a breakdown.  She sat down and started crying that she didn’t want her tooth to come out and she was really upset and all kinds of things. 😦

It was one of those moments where I had to figure out what I needed to do.  So I offered her a legitimate choice of going back to the resort and taking it easy the rest of the night; or sticking to our plan and going around the rest of the World Showcase. She calmed down and really didn’t want to go back to the resort yet so we decided we would take our time going around the World Showcase, not hurry for anything, and finish colouring Duffy and getting our WS flags done.

To this end, we missed our Maelstrom FastPasses. That was really OK.  D doesn’t love that ride, and I have done it before so I can live without it. So instead we took our time and headed to Mexico, rather than the original plan of running to Norway and then doubling back after riding Maelstrom.

Mexico was great because D had not been inside the pavilion before.  So showing her how it was suddenly outside nighttime, inside a building, really amused her.  She did ask me if we really were outside even though we were inside, and then if outside was really inside of a large building too. XD  I think she was kidding, lol.

It's a 3 Caballero! Panchito is my son's favourite. :D

It’s a 3 Caballero! Panchito is my son’s favourite. 😀

You can hardly see Jose, which is a true shame, because he is da beeeeest.

You can hardly see Jose, which is a true shame, because he is da beeeeest.

 

We got our Mexico flag on Duffy, then got in the very very short line for the 3 Caballeros Gran Fiesta Tour. I had done this once before, and I love the Caballeros and have done my level best to get D into them as well.  Side note: when it comes to their changing the original Rio Del Tiempo ride and making it a 3 Caballeros ride instead, well… I normally think that not all rides need to be tampered with to have characters added. But I LOVE this one.  They kept most of what made Rio Del Tiempo good, and livened it up, and I’m sorry but the Caballeros are awesome.  Anyway, we got right on to a boat and got started, and about a minute or so into the ride – after we’d gone past the restaurant and into the temple – the ride kind of shut down.

The lights and the visuals stayed on, but the audio cut off, and so did the boat.  We just drifted.  We slooooowly drifted through the ride, watching Donald run about and Jose and Panchito look around for him, and every so often a recording came on saying that there was a technical problem and that a CM would be by to help us exit later.  We were expecting at any minute to come to a complete halt, but somehow we did keep moving the entire time… just slooooowly. 🙂

And then, unexpectedly, the ride came back on! JUST after they got Donald back!  So we got to hear the song a few times.  D and I debated on getting on the ride again to experience it properly, but we ended up deciding against it, since we had no idea if it would just shut off again.  And we had SEEN the whole thing, just not heard it! 🙂  Besides, it was now just after 8pm, which is actually D’s bedtime. I had known I would be keeping her up a bit late, but I didn’t want to push it.  And I wanted to catch “American Adventure” before we left, if possible.

So we went on to Norway.

Maelstrom was at a 20 minute wait when we got there, so we skipped it.  Instead we went inside the shop to the Kidcot stop so that we could get our flag done.  This didn’t take too long, so we moseyed to China to do the same. This one DID take a little while because there was quite a line at the Kidcot stop! By this point we had pretty nearly finished Duffy so we were just getting the flags done and moving on.  I was also starting to notice that the Kidcot stops were getting a lot of, um, “extra” traffic.

I don’t normally begrudge people collecting things at Disney. I do NOT mind if people take a long time meeting characters and getting a lot of autographs done, I have no issues when adults do things intended for kids, it’s all good.  In this case I’m going to gripe slightly, though.

We got held up a lot because of a high number of people who were collecting Kidcot flags and passport entries.  I can see the appeal, but in this case we’re talking about groups of people who all had one of each.  Not kidding, we honestly had at least one group of three people and each one had a Duffy AND a passport, and had to get the flags AND the stamps on each.  Like I said, I am all for collecting things but I think coming as a group and maximizing the time of the people there is a bit much. I’m not going to preach about it b/c I know there are always reasons to complain about everything, and people who do this can easily come back with an experience they had of a parent or a kid doing something they found objectionable. So I’m just putting that out there.  No offense. 🙂

Here by the way is the completed Duffy!  Sorry some of these are super blurry. I didn’t have good light when I took these, after the trip was done.

We coloured nearly all of him.  We kind of thought leaving him some white spots would be cool, and we were also lazy. :)

We coloured nearly all of him. We kind of thought leaving him some white spots would be cool, and we were also lazy. 🙂

Stamps and handdrawn flags or images! I love how so many of the countries incorporate a Mickey in the flag :D

Stamps and handdrawn flags or images! I love how so many of the countries incorporate a Mickey in the flag 😀

Stamps again!

Stamps again!

Anyhow… after China we went to Germany, where after the Kidcot stop I had to do a little shopping. My husband had requested a souvenir from Germany and since he collects beer steins I thought an ornamental stein would be perfect! (Apparently he expected something to do with the Seven Dwarves. I fooled him!)  So I got this cute little thing here, which he says he likes and I have decided to believe him. 😉

It's the central object. As you can see he likes various little knick-knacks so this fit in well. And look! I was not lying about Lum! :D

It’s the central object. As you can see he likes various little knick-knacks so this fit in well. And look! I was not lying about Lum! 😀

In Italy, since D had not really had much in the way of dinner, I took a page from my friend Amanda’s tradition and suggested we get some gelato. I LOVE gelato!  D went for simple chocolate, but I picked out my favourite, chocolate chip cookie dough. I have a weakness. 😀  At this point it was really getting late, nearing Illuminations time in fact. My plan had been not to wait around for Illuminations and I still wasn’t entirely sold on it. For some reason I had this sense that I would be able to beat the departing crowds if we skipped it.  But on the other hand, we still had to get to American Adventure!

So while everyone else was getting their Illuminations seats, D and I made it to the America Pavilion and approached American Adventure, which neither of us have ever seen, in the hopes of catching the last show.  But it turns out…

There WAS no last show! 😦 Technical difficulties had closed it for the evening.  D wanted to look around inside the building so I asked if we could just poke our heads in to peer around the lobby area, and the CM said sure.  I think we confused a few other people who wanted in, but we just looked and left. I did feel bad, because it was my decision to leave it for later, and D had been pretty set on it.  But she was OK with it, and there will always be a next time. 🙂

We got our final flag and country stamp on the Duffy, and then sat down just inside the America pavilion so that we could call home and say goodnight.  As we did this, the lights dimmed and the introduction for Illuminations started.  It was later than I’d thought. 😀  D was in the middle of talking to her father when the show itself started, and she was ENTRANCED.

She was also exhausted, so I decided to stick to my original plan of leaving during Illuminations… KIND OF.  First I let her stand up on the benches to see what she could of the show.  Once it was about halfway through we held hands and started to leave.  Now, I myself have only seen Illuminations once before.  And it’s good.  It’s very, very good.

But it is just a fireworks show, right?  I’m not all that moved by fireworks.  I remember when I saw it I liked it a lot, but you know, JUST FIREWORKS…

Well, okay Disney, I concede you this one.  I had misremembered.  Illuminations really is not JUST fireworks.  It’s extremely inspiring and even, dare I say it, moving.  We did start walking towards the exit while the show was going, but we did it slowly, and stopped every so often when we could manage a good view so that we could keep an eye on the show.

I may have cried a bit.  And I definitely started singing “We Go On”.  I’m not actually sure what I was slightly crying about; whether it was the rousing music, or the love of Disney, or just sharing the moment of being there with my girl and her loving it as much as me… Well, it was moving, and I’ll leave it at that. We’ve all had our moments, I guess. 🙂

We were nowhere near the exit, not really, before the show was done.  So I took D’s hand even more firmly and told her to just stick with me no matter what, and we waded through the crowds – which lessened as we got back into Future World, because a lot of people weren’t actually leaving yet, just dispersing.  And then we bade a fond farewell to Epcot, and schlepped our way back to the car, and left.

Coming up next I’ll talk a little bit about our night at Animal Kingdom Lodge (but not too much, since I already reviewed the resort) and then our Magic Kingdom day!

Trip Report 2013: Day 3, Part 4: Half of the World Showcase

Starting towards World Showcase meant, of course, that – again – we had to stop and watch the Fountain of Nations. I honestly don’t think we were ever able to pass it without stopping to watch. D managed to get just close enough to get coated in a fine mist from the spray-off, which tickled her pink. 🙂 Then moving on, we stopped off at the cranberry bog right before entering WS. This was TOO COOL, y’all! Though I would not want to be standing in there all day, I can tell you that. It was HOT in the direct sunlight!

I wonder how many times that day people asked if they could come in too?

I wonder how many times that day people asked if they could come in too?

D asked, as I’m sure everyone did all day long, if she could go in too. She was told that unfortunately since she hadn’t brought her waders, it was a no-go. I put in that I’d TOLD her to pack them. I think I confused her. 😉

Once we were officially inside the World Showcase, we were SURROUNDED by Food & Wine kiosks. It’s been a while since I’ve been at Epcot for F&W and I’d forgotten how thickly they were peppered throughout!

I really wanted to try everything, but that’s just not going to work when you’re doing the parks on a budget. Unless your entire budget is FOR Food & Wine and that’s a different trip. 🙂 In this case, I wanted to find something I’d like that D might like too. We passed several kiosks before I settled on the Kalua Pork Slider from Hawaii.

If I could go back to one thing it would be this. Pic is from www.disneyfoodblog.com and used without permission.

If I could go back to one thing it would be this. Pic is from http://www.disneyfoodblog.com and used without permission.

OH MY GOSH. This was heaven on a bun. A tiny, tiny bun. A tiny, delicious bun full of meaty heaven… now I’m getting strange. But the pork was really well-seasoned and well-cooked, and the chutney sauce was delicious. AND, I was able to scrape the sauce off some of it and give a few little bites to my moderately-picky 7-year-old, who deemed the pork and the bun both delish, as well. 🙂

We still needed something more for her, so I cast about and ended up buying D a blueberry Greek yogurt from Greece, a cup of Cheddar Cheese Soup from Canada (and she took the opportunity to tell everyone that her father is Canadian), and I want to say she got some pineapple juice. I know it was some kind of juice. Anyway, she loved the yogurt and at first spoonful liked the soup, but it’s a very strong flavour and after the second or so spoonful she had changed her mind. I finished that off and we made do with snacks we’d brought, after that.

We picked out one of the Marketplace Discovery Passports, where you can get a stamp for each country you buy from, but unfortunately we didn’t get to do that much tasting (for budget reasons). Still, I’m so glad to have been able to go for Food & Wine again!

Photo is from adventuresofthefoodaholic.blogspot.com and used without permission, but I can't find mine to photo it.

Photo is from adventuresofthefoodaholic.blogspot.com and used without permission, but I can’t find mine to photo it.

Getting back to our itinerary, and settling into the World Showcase, we headed to Canada first. As mentioned, D is half-Canadian, and she made a point of wanting to see the Canada Pavilion and watch the movie. I love the look of the Pavilion. We went down to the Kidcot stop first, and she and I started colouring our Duffy. The Canadian flag on the one she got was STAMPED on – lazy Canadians. 😉 We decided we’d colour a little bit, together, at each Kidcot stop and not finish it officially until the last one. 😀

Then we headed back up and followed the waterfall across the bridge, to get to the O Canada! theatre.

If you've got no idea where this is, GO TO THE CANADA PAVILION.

If you’ve got no idea where this is, GO TO THE CANADA PAVILION.

Waterfalls are everywhere in Canada. (Not really. Well, kind of.)

Waterfalls are everywhere in Canada. (Not really. Well, kind of.)

I’m not a huge fan of Martin Short, to be honest, but I think he’s a sweetie and genuinely classy. Also I’ll take him as The Cat in the Hat over Mike Myers any day. I mean if I have to choose. 😉 We got there around 1 o’clock, watched the movie (which I enjoyed, because I luv Canada and I get even more sappy over it when I see it celebrated), and when we got out our further exploration of the pavilion was cut short in the search for a bathroom. The URGENT search. XD

We booked it to the UK, and once the urgency was taken care of, we got to wander around a little. D really liked the phone booths, and when I suggested she get in and we take a picture, she turned it around and said *I* should go in! I am all for posing (as we’ve seen), so I was up for it! 😀

It was really hot in there.

It was really hot in there.

We took our time wandering through, found the Kidcot station, and kept an eye out for characters; we couldn’t find Mary Poppins but we did bump into Alice. Since she’s a face character, I figured there would be a conversation opportunity so I told D to think of what she’d like to say to Alice.

D asked Alice if this was her house.  Alice answered that no, it was the White Rabbit's house, but he wasn't home and he had locked the door so she couldn't get in to explore. I liked this Alice. :)

D asked Alice if this was her house. Alice answered that no, it was the White Rabbit’s house, but he wasn’t home and he had locked the door so she couldn’t get in to explore. I liked this Alice. 🙂

Couple of cute blondes! :D

Couple of cute blondes! 😀

As we made our way towards France, we passed some CMs drawing on the ground with chalk. They were writing “Supercalifragialisticexpialidocious” and things like that, and D suggested that maybe it meant Mary Poppins was coming, but I didn’t see her so I said we should keep going and we’d try to see her later. Spoiler alert, we never did… I feel kind of bad for it now… but on the other hand, I think if we’d lingered more than we did, we’d have missed getting to see all the pavilions. It’s amazing how time flies at Disney!

As we made our way around the lagoon, we kept trying to meet more characters, but they were always either leaving soon (so no more people in line) or they were coming soon, but I didn’t want to spend more than 15 minutes waiting and hanging around. It was getting later than I’d wanted it to, and my goal was to get halfway around World Showcase before leaving to check in at Animal Kingdom Lodge and take a rest. So we went as far as we could, without stopping for characters or attractions, but still trying not to rush and making a point to find all the Kidcot stops.

Somewhere on this fountain in Morocco is a Hidden Mickey. I don't think it's in this photo, though.

Somewhere on this fountain in Morocco is a Hidden Mickey. I don’t think it’s in this photo, though.

In Japan D picked up an origami sea turtle from the CMs working at the Kidcot stop! She wanted to make a crane, but they said instead she could take whatever she wanted. Then we *had* to go into the store, which also houses their cultural display. Right now the display is on mythical animals, both in traditional legends and in current culture. IE, in anime, video games, and so on. This was REALLY interesting and D and I took our time at it. I went in especially wondering if they’d have any Lum representation, since she’s an Oni, and they DID! My husband and I have always loved “Urusei Yatsura” and he’s a big Lum appreciator so I had to get a pic for him.

Lum! :D

Lum! 😀

By the time we got out of the Mitsukoshi Department Store, where I looked with interest for gifts but didn’t find anything I loved that was priced low enough for cheapie me, it was past 2:30. That was the time by which I had hoped we’d be checked in and going to the pool, so I told D we’d move American Adventure from the afternoon to the evening on our itinerary and make a point of seeing it that night. I have never seen it, and it was D’s other main “TO DO” in the World Showcase. We turned around and headed back to the car so that we could head over to AKL.

Trip Report 2013: Day 3, part 3: Characters, Imagination, and Beverly.

I need to step it up on this Trip Report… I keep taking longer and longer between updates!  Anyway, when I last left off, D and I took a spin into the Universe of Energy… and it was invigorating!! (Or I don’t know, maybe not. LOL!)

When we got out of the ride, it was past 10 o’clock already.  I intended us to head over towards the Land and/or the Imagination Pavilion, but with the possibility of poking about at whatever we saw on the way, too.  This is where D discovered the Fountain of Nations. She was entranced.  It was the first of many times throughout the day that she stopped and watched the show going on.  And the thing is, until she did that, I hadn’t realized that I have NEVER stopped and watched the FoN show.  Not once.  I just never paid enough attention to notice how it’s all synched with the music playing.  Well, I’ve seen plenty of it now, and it’s well-worth standing and watching for a while!

Here’s a video I found on YouTube.  This is NOT taken by me, it is by WDWLive.

I dragged D away from the water and we got in line for some character greetings.  I was on a mission this trip to find Chip and Dale for a good friend who loves them, and I had read that they were sometimes at the Character Spot, but no luck this time. However, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy were there!  And I havent’ said this yet in this trip report, but I love Goofy. He’s not my favourite Disney character but he is my fave meet and greet!

Doesn't it seem like Mickey ought to be the last one you meet? Like let the excitement build or something? OH well, he was first, the end.

Doesn’t it seem like Mickey ought to be the last one you meet? Like let the excitement build or something? OH well, he was first, the end.

This is the first time I noticed Goofy wearing suspenders and his shirt being too short. LOL! See something new every time. ;)

This is the first time I noticed Goofy wearing suspenders and his shirt being too short. LOL! See something new every time. 😉

Two girly-girls!  Minnie is my favourite girly-girl (because D isn't really one after all).

Two girly-girls! Minnie is my favourite girly-girl (because D isn’t really one after all).

THREE girly-girls! :D

THREE girly-girls! 😀

Emerging from the Character Spot, I noticed we were close to Club Cool.  And thus began my nefarious plan to trick D into drinking the Beverly.

I didn’t want to completely put her off all the sodas, so I warmed her up with a couple of other flavours. A lot of the dispenser stations were low on sodas (which I’d later learn was because they were discontinuing nearly all of them), so I had to pick and choose.  But there was a wrinkle in my plan, something I had forgotten: D doesn’t like carbonated beverages. The bubbles irritate her tongue. She never, ever drinks soda.

Well, she was willing to try the first one, to see if she still didn’t like it.  So I gave her the VegitaBeta flavour first. Too strong, she said. I tried the Smart Watermelon flavour next – I really thought it was a little less bubbly.

But this is the face she made.

But this is the face she made.

I said “Try just one more?” because I evidently want my daughter to never trust me again. I even poured the Beverly and took a sip, saying “Oh, it’s really okay!” She backed away shaking her head.  A firm NO.

I know when not to push.  But this was on my “MUST DO” list. SOMEBODY was gonna drink the Beverly.

So I handed D my camera, and I took one for the team.

I regret nothing!

I regret nothing!

Never doubt that I am devoted to my plans, folks. 😉

After this there was a little bit more staring at the Fountain of Nations, then I dragged us into Innoventions West. I picked West largely because we were on that side of the park at that moment, and because I wasn’t sure which was which; if I’d actually known, I’d have gone to East, because West was the only side we did LAST trip.  The last time, D and I had done the Great Piggy Bank game and the fire safety game, and there wasn’t a whole lot else in there; well, this time she was up to do the Piggy Bank game again, so we did, but otherwise once again – not a whole lot to do.  We played a bit of video games (Toy Story) and left, heading to the Imagination Pavilion.

By this time I have to admit, I was getting into a bit of a hurry.  Off and on I’d do that – let us linger someplace, then feel like I had to make up the time.  So, unfortunately, we did not get the chance to take in the Imagination pavilion… which is too bad, because it’s actually among my favourites in the park!  Yes, I mean just for the jumping fountains. 😀  Anyway, I kept telling D that we had to “book it” across the park to get to whatever I had my mind set on. XD  That became a mantra for the rest of the trip, recurring whenever I felt like there was a time crunch, so probably about 2-3 times each day.

In spite of D’s wish to do Captain EO, we did end up just hopping onto Journey Into Imagination.

In MY imagination, this picture looked a lot better.

In MY imagination, this picture looked a lot better.

I’m so torn on this ride – I like it every time I do it, but I also feel like it could just be SO much better.  The song isn’t in it nearly enough. And in spite of having a huge soft spot for Eric Idle, I miss Dreamfinder. Although I also have to admit that I really like the ending.  The first time I went on the ride was the first time I ever heard “One Little Spark”, and with it being sung by Eric Idle, I thought perhaps he had written it!  Yeah, yeah, don’t kill me.  Eric Idle writes some very singable songs!  Anyway, I like the original MUCH more now, but I’m just happy every time I hear it no matter who is singing it. 🙂  Even if it’s a hideous puffy moon face! 😀

In any case, D loves the ride, and I’m more than happy to take her on it.  (I conveniently “forgot” to ask her if she wanted to go on Nemo this time around.)  Afterwards we hung around the ImageWorks area for a while and she built her own Figment, we hopped around on the musical instruments floor, and then we moved on to the Land.

Our FP+ for Soarin’ was still hours away so this time was just about getting onto Living With the Land, which is one of my favourites, and which D consistently mentioned having liked on our last trip.  I wasn’t completely sure if that would hold up, because I didn’t know if she remembered it accurately – but she enjoyed it just as much!

I have only waited in a line for this ride ONCE.  That was in May 2008.  Otherwise it’s been walk-on every time and today was no exception. We got right on and started our tour of different ecological systems… This was the part of the ride that D really remembered.  She finds the part with the buffalo on the prairie to be completely fascinating.  And she was also pretty convinced that it was really raining in the rainforest. XD

AND, I discovered a month or two before our trip – rather by accident – that she loves the song “Listen to the Land”. You know, the song that is no longer a part of the ride? LOL!  But I put it onto a CD for our trip and every time it came on she asked to listen to it again immediately after.  So in honour of D, I’m going to share another of my fave videos by someone else – this one is by Joanna (of the Amazing Technicolor Interwebs), and I love it!

We saw a bunch of the hidden mickeys inside the greenhouse portion, which was great!  A lot of the time, we are going too fast for D to see them. This time she pointed a few out!  She also really liked the baby alligators etc.

Once we were finished, we went alllll the way back out (honestly – the only downside of the Land pavilion is how long a walk it is from entrance to rides, and back!) and then since it was already past noon, it was time to hit up World Showcase!

2013 Trip Report: Day 3, part 2: Off to Epcot!

I love how she looks like she's about to fall backwards into the fountain

I love how she looks like she’s about to fall backwards into the fountain

All right!  So Epcot! I’d wanted to get there before the park opened, but the tent slowed us down some, and so did my reminding myself not to rush D. Nobody has fun if we’re nailed to a schedule.  Meanwhile, I was pretty excited for the Food & Wine Festival, but I knew not to assume D would want to eat much from it.

D and the Food & Wine signage

D and the Food & Wine signage

I OWN THIS PLACE! (I can dream.)

I OWN THIS PLACE! (I can dream.)

D’s favourite ride from before was Test Track; I had FastPass+ selections for Test Track, Soarin’, and the Maelstrom for the evening, so we decided to do whatever we could in the morning and just have fun. 🙂  I also had a (somewhat rough) itinerary in hand, with our FP+ times on them as well as a schedule for the earlier part of the day.  I’ll be honest: most of the times on the schedule did get shuffled around. And I honestly think that’s how it should be. 🙂  FLEXIBILITY!

But our first priority for the first ride of the day was still: New Test Track!

A quick side note to mention that one of my favourite things about this trip was running, hand in hand, with D to get to our destination.  Except for the times we skipped. That was awesome too. 😀

Test Track’s new ride is very, very streamlined.  It was weird to be in there and try to remember what the queue used to look like!  It’s a completely different experience now.  The interactivity is neat: getting to design your own car is a fun way to pass the time while you’re waiting to board.  Low light levels made it very hard to get a good set of pics on this ride’s queue, but just remember, I was trying FOR YOU. 😛

Uggggh, I really can't believe I'm letting you guys see this awful pic.

Uggggh, I really can’t believe I’m letting you guys see this awful pic.

It's the lighting making the pics look like this. REALLY.

It’s the lighting making the pics look like this. REALLY.

TOUCHSCREEN TECHNOLOGY!  Is there a child alive who doesn't love this?

TOUCHSCREEN TECHNOLOGY! Is there a child alive who doesn’t love this?

Here is the car that we designed. (Mostly D but I love touchscreen technology too.)

Here is the car that we designed. (Mostly D but I love touchscreen technology too.)

Once we’d designed our cars and we were allowed into the next queue area, it wasn’t a long wait to board our ride simulator whatsit, whatever they called it.  Simulator was in there somewhere (unless it wasn’t).  There was a little boy who was very, VERY sad that the car he designed was not the car he got to ride in.  He was crying and we heard him shout “I HATE this ride!” as that family departed… poor baby!  I wonder how much disappointment that ride can create. XD

The ride was certainly fun, and D *loved* it, so I was glad I already had FastPasses to ride it again in the evening; however, speaking for myself, I have to be honest that I preferred the old version.  As clunky and unattractive as it was in parts, you knew what was going on in each test.  I found this version hard to follow, especially because we didn’t properly load our car’s data on the first time we went through, so it took me a while to figure out that they were ranking the specs of the cars.

Tell me this is not one ugly car. And I will call you a liar. :)

Tell me this is not one ugly car. And I will call you a liar. 🙂

What they do is, as you design your car the computers rate that design on certain areas of performance.  Then when you go through the ride, as you’re having fun being bumped around on the track, they run your car’s data with the cars from the other riders, and rank them in each area.  Then at the end they rank each car overall.

Personally, I miss the heat, cold, and corrosive acid rooms.  But, that’s me. 🙂  I mean hey! Tron is fun too. ;P  No, but seriously, it’s still a fun ride and other than missing what’s not there anymore, I don’t think there’s much to complain about.  Plus that fast loop at the end is still there. XD

The cheap way of getting your ride photo!

The cheap way of getting your ride photo!

Having finished the necessary step 1 for the day, we moved onto my second one on the itinerary: Ellen’s Energy Adventure. I was a little bit on the fence about it, since it’s VERY long, but I had a couple of reasons for choosing it: one, I was honestly trying to do the science-type stuff while we were there so that D would pick up some information.  (In fact, I made her write a tiny little report about this ride later.) Two, D loves dinosaurs but I knew “Dinosaur” would be beyond her – too much scary things jumping out at you in that ride.  And three, I hadn’t done it since 2005 and it really does deserve SOME attention.

It's a pavilion of ENERGY!

It’s a pavilion of ENERGY!

On the walk, I explained to D that the lady starring in it was the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo (D: “Oh. Wow.”), and also that the animatronic dinosaurs were only in one part and that they kind of snort at you but not much else.  We got to the theatre just about five minutes before the next pre-show started, and we’d just gone inside when D asked more about the dinosaurs.  Somehow she got it into her head that it was a movie only, and that the animatronics would come *into* the room and like, sit near her and mess with her or something. I’m not clear on this. 😀

She nearly kiboshed the whole thing and in fact got herself into a slight panic so we had to leave the building, but outside I explained to her that it’s not scary, it’s no worse than the Great Movie Ride, and I’d be there with her the whole time.  She finally relented and we’re both glad she did!  The movie is fun, it honestly is – though largely because Ellen DeGeneres is such a delight. 🙂  And Bill Nye the Science Guy was just cute in the 90s. 😉 She did indeed write the report on the attraction.  I’ll look for it later and see if I can put up a picture.

For what it’s worth, as a frequent Disney-goer, I don’t recommend going on Energy Adventure every trip.  If you’ve never done it, DO IT.  If you have, but you’re on a long trip and will be spending at least 2-3 days at Epcot, do it.  If you’ve done it and you’re only going to be at Epcot for one day, skip it.  It doesn’t change.  It may or may not be there next time you come, but at least you’ve done it in the past.  I say this with love, but it’s just so LONG, and there are other things at Epcot to discover if you’re limited on time.  But DO make an effort to see it if you haven’t before; D and I sacrificed nearly an hour of our single Epcot day for it and neither of us regret it. 🙂

Review: The Imagineering Field Guides to Walt Disney World

Coincidentally, a shot of the two books I own! This came from www.imaginerding.com and not me.

Coincidentally, a shot of the two books I own! This came from http://www.imaginerding.com and not me.

I don’t own a whole lot of Disney books, believe it or not. I only own one copy of “The Unofficial Guide to WDW” for instance (the 2013 edition); prior to that I’d just take them out from the library periodically. For fun, actually. 😀

Anyway, in spite of my tendency to not buy myself Disney books, my husband knows to look for WDW themed items for gifts for me, and sometimes he has to get creative b/c I don’t look for them myself and have no idea what to ask for.  A few years ago he picked out two books I ended up loving: The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot and to Magic Kingdom.

If you take a look inside the two books on the Amazon links above you can get a vague idea of what they’re about, but it’s not really going to show you just why they’re so interesting.  What the books do is they talk about the design of the parks from the Imagineers’ perspective – yes, that’s obvious – and then give you a lot of little insights into the designs.

Like the fact that everything in Future World East is angular and hard-sculpted, and everything in Future World West is free-flowing and rounded.  Or that there is a “geographical and chronological transition” between The Haunted Mansion to Big Thunder Mountain, as the design of the areas flow from the Hudson River Valley in the early 1700s (Haunted Mansion) to a journey west across the United States, stretching up to the late 19th century.

The books are laid out section-by-section of each park with stories, concepts, details, histories… just everything.  There’s a lot that hardcore Disney fans will probably know but there is so much that there may be things even they *don’t* know.  I’m not going to suggest facts that people might not know yet because I think it would vary person-by-person and I don’t want to sound stupid. “Bet you didn’t know that John Hench suggested that Spaceship Earth be made in two pieces with the bottom part hanging from the top!”  “Uh, DUH.”

The interior of the Epcot book, again not my picture; displayed in a post here: http://waltswriters.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/the-imagineering-field-guide-series-epcot/

The interior of the Epcot book, again not my picture; displayed in a review post (with more detail than mine) here: http://waltswriters.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/the-imagineering-field-guide-series-epcot/

Another feature of the books that I really like is at the beginning, the same in all titles.  The first few pages of each book comprise a section called “Imagineering 101” and it just covers the history of Imagineering, Imagineering Lingo (very informative), and my favourite, WDI Disciplines.  If you are interested in working as an Imagineer, this basically gives you a list of your job options.  I’m not looking for a career as an Imagineer and yet I STILL love this part. It just gives such an amazing description of all the things that the Imagineers do.  All this stuff you’d never realize.  Like “Character Paint”.  Guess what that is?  “Character Paint creates the reproductions of various materials, finishes, and states of aging whenever we need to make something new look old.”

Also included are plenty of pictures, concept art, designs, blueprints, and quotes and quick facts.  The whole thing is illustrated in a variety of ways, not only by visual images but with brief presentations.  You know, I’m suddenly remembering how long it’s been since I read these…

So honestly – these are a great, great buy. I have no attention span whatsoever so the fact that these can be read bit by bit is a huge plus. Actually I read some of them aloud in the car once on the way to the beach! (I promise I was not driving at the time.)  Of course, with recent park updates, they are not the most up-to-date information available but just for historical info and trivia, these books are top-notch.

Animal Kingdom and MGM/Hollywood Studios are also available. I haven’t read them but I can only imagine they’d be just as good. The cover price on my copies is $9.95 and on Amazon it looks like they’re around a dollar less than that!

Time for a New Top 5! D’s Top 5(6) Epcot attractions!

In preparation for our trip, I’m making my daughter do all kinds of planning stuff without actually telling her we’re going for sure.  Because she lives in a perpetual state of “maybe we’ll go soon!” anyway, and I feel like giving her a specific day is going to drive her nuts. 😉  I’m going nuts enough for the both of us!

 

Anyway, last night we made our first “Must Do” list, which since I’m me and I love Top 5 lists, we made as Top 5s. Not that she has any idea what a Top 5 list is.. yet.  Oh, but she will soon enough. 😉  I asked her which park she wanted to look over, and she picked Epcot; I found the results really interesting and not exactly what I had expected!  The first two were actually exactly what I had expected, but then she kind of deviated from what I thought a 7-year-old would gravitate towards…

 

Oh, and you totally know the ride is exactly like this, right? Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Oh, and you totally know the ride is exactly like this, right? Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

1: Soarin’.  Boy did she love Soarin’ last time!  We used a baby-swap so she got to ride twice in a row, once with me and my friend Amanda, then again with her father and Amanda (lucky Amanda, lol).  I’m not sure if she’ll take well to not getting on twice in a row this time. 😉  In spite of her excitement for Soarin’, she doesn’t actually remember it all that well, though she remembers the idea.  She loves to hang out of the car window – as much as we’ll let her, anyway – so I can see why this one holds a big appeal for her.  So this was not a big surprise, though I was taken by surprise that she chose it for her #1… I had thought that the #1 slot would go for the next one.

 

Test-Track-Pavilion1

Photo credit from disneyspectrum.com.

#2: Test Track.  For weeks, nay months, nay YEARS, this was D’s favourite Disney World attraction.  She thought it was the greatest thing she’d ever seen!  Again, that whole ‘Hanging out the car window” appeal is showing. 😉 I’m not sure why D’s ranking changed slightly when we made this list, but it might just be because the memory is fading and she likes the idea of “flying” now a little bit more than a fast car ride.  She also is aware that the stuff she remembers from the first trip isn’t there anymore – well, most of it.  The part she remembers best is the loop outside, and I know that hasn’t gone anywhere. 😀  She still does refer to Test Track as her favourite ride, but it doesn’t seem to be the one she’s most anticipating anymore, that’s all.

 

Yeah, I know most people don't remember Living With the Land for this scene. But my daughter does. *G* Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Yeah, I know most people don’t remember Living With the Land for this scene. But my daughter does. *G* Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

#3: Surprise number one: her next choice was Living With the Land!  I recall she had liked this ride a lot when we did it before but I didn’t think it would stick with her.  I mean everyone likes being on a boat (I, well… that’s a generalization, but you know what I mean), but when you’re making your “MUST DO!” lists, and you’re the kind of kid who enjoys sticking her head out of moving cars, do you put a slow-moving boat ride in your precious limited space?  Apparently you do if you’re D, who remembers the ride going past the Garden Grill restaurant and thinking that was just SUPER COOL.  She also likes the whole scene with the buffalos where the storm is in the background.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing on Living with the Land in any way, shape or form. I love it! And I think it’s a great ride for kids! But I expected her to pick, like, The Seas with Nemo or Mission Space or something.  Nope!

 

#4: Surprise number two, D turned the rest of her attention to the World Showcase for the remainder of her list. So no Seas with Nemo at all!  Her first choice? “O Canada!” in the Canada pavilion. 😀  Since her father is Canadian, I’m not surprised, but I am pleased. 🙂

Enjoy this full-size image from , because I say so!

Enjoy this full-size image from interactivewdw.com, because I say so!

 

My American Adventure awaits! Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

My American Adventure awaits! Photo (c) The Walt Disney Co.

#5: And the final choice was, without hesitation, “The American Adventure” in the America Pavilion.  You know what?  I have NEVER SEEN THIS.  So it will be a first for both of us together. 🙂  I love that she wants to celebrate and explore her dual heritage by poking around Epcot’s World Showcase.  I love that she wants to poke around World Showcase to begin with!  This is a reminder to me that kids naturally *do* want to learn.  It’s often up to parents and other adults to keep that interest in learning going, instead of assuming “Oh, she’ll think that’s boring” and letting it extinguish.  D surprises/reminds me of this all the time.

 

I think it's completely understandable that I would want this. Who wouldn't want this?

I think it’s completely understandable that I would want this. Who wouldn’t want this?

#6: Well, she insisted on getting a bonus one. But she couldn’t pick what other World Showcase country she wanted, and I told her I was still going to do my list so why didn’t she see if there was another Future World attraction she liked.  Then she remembered Journey Into Imagination with Figment, so TA-DA!  I think D likes this ride more because I love and repeatedly sing the theme song than because of the ride itself. Though she certainly does remember the scene with the skunk smell. XD  I have a weird sort of pendulum emotion towards this ride.  I don’t recall ever having gone on the original, but I’ve become obsessed with the Dreamfinder.  I miss him without having any idea what he was like in the ride. 😛  So I like this ride but I feel like it’s sorry in comparison with what it was… which I never experienced.  Oy.

 

For the sake of comparison, here’s my list (done after hers, so not too much crossover):

#1: Spaceship Earth
#2: Soarin’
#3: Mexico/Gran Tour Fiesta
#4: Norway/Maelstrom
#5: Universe of Energy

 

We intend to walk through the full World Showcase this time too, since we barely set foot in it last time, but we’re making a point to definitely do the ones on the lists this trip.
Got an Epcot Top 5?  Favourite World Showcase country?  Any comments at all?  Leave me a note! 🙂