Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Soarin' at Epcot

Everyone recognizes Epcot, don't they? Something about that big white geodesic ball made it our choice for the last day of theme parks for us. Yet again, we got lost in the parking lot. I'm not going to blame Disney for this one. They tried really hard to make it easy for us. We're just not easy sort of people, it appears. We made it on our second go around.

And then another go around because after we sent the kids through the turnstyles and I had joined them, Daddy's pass suddenly didn't work. And he had to go visit Guest Services. We'd already arrived at the park ridiculously late because we'd wanted to use up some last meal credits and had a sit-down breakfast and then had to pack everything and search our cavernous room for bits we'd left. And Epcot really isn't so close to the Magic Kingdom. So, it was 11 o'clock. What a hassle.

At Disney, everything about your trip is stored on your room key and the Contemporary had done such a fine job of botching our keys that things often ended up in the air, including whether or not we could get into our room or use the elevators to get there. Fortunately, they also screwed up the part where they'd offered to comp half our first night's stay. They comp-ed the whole room for that night. I'll shut up now.

Daddy finally joined us on the park side of the turnstyles and had been granted not only access to the park, but at free FastPass good for any ride at any time. Nice. We had an agenda to go on two rides in particular, which had good reviews - Test Track and Soarin'. Since we already had one FastPass, which was not on our card, but just in our hand, we were able to go get a second one. Daddy got one for Test Track. It wasn't good until 2:30, which meant we'd be at the park longer than planned, but also that we had plenty of time.We started at Space Ship Earth, which is the ride inside the geodesic sphere. It had been described as a trip through the history of invention on the planet. It sounded O.K. Not thrilling, but who goes to Epcot and doesn't take a trip inside the sphere?? So we stood in line for about 20 minutes to get on the ride and it was a lot more fun than I'd thought. Really interesting and educational...and there was a robotic replica of Woz inventing the first personal computer! I almost felt like we'd participated in that bit of history, just by knowing who the guy is. I wouldn't be exaggerating to say I really loved this ride, even if it was hardly a thrill ride. At the end, they had us take a little quiz about what we'd like our future to look like. Mam and I were riding together and did the quiz together. From your answers, they put together a hysterical little video that you can later e-mail to yourself. (Here's Daddy's with Smunch) Awesome! Here are Mam and me in our eco-friendly treehouse where we grow flowers and eat organic foods or something.And here are the kids at the end of the ride playing some sort of shuffleboard-related game where they have to move different types of power around to "feed" a city.Obviously, they didn't stop with the invention theme when they got to present day. There was lots of cool stuff to play with at the end of the ride too.

From there, we went on to see the 3D movie, "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience". It's based on that old cheesy movie about shrinking the kids and even stars Rick Moranis (remember him?). It was fine, but I sort of wish we'd stood in line for something else. One thing I noticed is that the rides at Epcot seem to all have this goofy trait of making riders line up to get into some kind of staging area or briefing area or whatever. It makes each ride take that much longer, which is a bummer when you've got limited time.

We had lunch at "The Land", where they had these pretty decorations to look at. They made for a pretty photo, so I'm posting it even though it's not that interesting.As was often the case, Smunch was bored during much of the waiting for lunch to arrive. Smunch was bored a lot during our visit to Disney and there was just one solution. Baseball.Golly gee. How fortunate that Daddy has this great little app on his iPhone that delivers not only real-time game updates, but videos and highlights too! (Can you smell the sarcasm?) Still, I wonder what we would have done without this. Does he get bored only because he knows it exists?

The highlight of our visit for me was a ride on Soarin'.It was right next to our lunch spot, so we did that next. The idea is that it makes you feel like you're taking a hang glider flight over California.California? That's sort of strange, isn't it? Aren't we in Florida? I hear rumor that the idea for this ride was borrowed from California Adventure at Disneyland. And despite the fact that I think it would have been better to hover over the Everglades and other points of interest in Florida, this ride was AWESOME. It really did feel like you were flying over the state. Not a thrill ride either. Just really, really fun.

By the time we were done, it was time to use our FastPass for Test Track...a ride where they put you (and five of your closest friends) in a car and simulate the road tests (only the thrilling ones) they do at GM before a car is ready for production. Daddy and the kids loved this ride the best.They take the car through heat and cold, test the "handling" around corners and finally take it out to see how fast it can go. You can actually see the speed track in the photo above if you look carefully. It's silver from the bottom.

After that last ride, it was about 3:30 and we needed to get going. I looked a bit longingly at Mission:SPACE because how cool is this building?But we didn't have time to wait in line. We had one set of "snacks" left on our dining plan and treated ourselves to ice cream before the kids both got drenched, yet again, in the big fountain by the ice cream stand.And finally, our adventures at Disney World at a close, we trudged through the heat and humidity back to our car for the trip to Longboat Key to see some of Scott's old family friends...not without a mouse or two on the way out, of course!


Jodie said...

I am happy to see you have finally been initiated into Disney...this coming from the Disney-addict. It looks like you all had a fantastic time.

mommieN. said...

Wow...I SO enjoyed your descriptions and photos of the fancy world in Florida. Riveting. It all seems so lavish and huge -- who thinks of all these things? The Pirate Cruise, for instance, is such a terrific idea. Great read(s).

I can't decide if I'm more envious of the fun stuff, or more sworn than ever not to deal with the inevitable lousy stuff!