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.

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! 🙂