Monday, June 18, 2012

Dream Trip Report Day 2--EPCOT (Part 1)

Friday, June 8, 2012

When we found out that our trip coincided with Star Wars Weekend, we knew we'd have to take Nathan to Hollywood Studios before our cruise.  We kept debating about what to do with our other kids.  Hollywood Studios is not my favorite park for little kids.  There are a lot of shows there (my kids have historically not had the attention spans for shows), and the rides are a little over their heads.  My 4-year-old also likes Star Wars, but would he be afraid of the characters?

After many back and forth discussions, we decided that I would take Joshua and Alyssa to EPCOT while Brian took Nathan to Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekend.

I have about 40 pictures from our EPCOT day to share, so I will break this down into 2 posts.

I forgot to mention, the previous night after we returned from Downtown Disney, I hopped the bridge over to the main building to get breakfast for the next day from the resort food court's "Grab and Go" section.  The Grab and Go section was convenient--they had cereal, bagels, donuts, nutri-grain bars, yogurt, drinks, etc.  I just got some juice and yogurt since I had brought nutri-grain bars from home.

Brian and I woke up at 6:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m. back home!)  Once we started stirring Alyssa popped up out of her crib right away (she's a really light sleeper) and then in no time the boys were up.  We had already showered the night before, and we had our clothes laid out, so we just got dressed and ate breakfast in the room.

Now I was a little nervous about going to EPCOT by myself with a 4-year-old and a 1-year old.  I had no idea how they would do, how I would do, or how long we would make it that day.  But EPCOT is my favorite park and I think it's a a great park for little ones, so we may as well just go for it!  I really wanted to make it to all the countries around the World Showcase that day, since we hadn't been able to accomplish that the previous 2 times we were at Disney World with kids.  I also really wanted to see the singers at the American pavilion.  But would that be possible today?

We got to the bus stop shortly after 7 a.m.  EPCOT had an extra magic early opening at 8 a.m. for Disney resort guests only.  There were a handful of people at the bus stop already and we saw this frog on the wall:

When the EPCOT bus arrived, I took Alyssa out of her stroller and proceeded to fold up the stroller for the bus ride.  This was going to be the hardest part.  A kind lady saw I had my hands full and took the stroller on the bus for me.  Yay!  I would learn today that I needed to depend on the kindness of strangers to survive this park outing.

When we were on the bus, Joshua insisted on going all the way to the back row where the seats span the entire width of the bus.  Sitting just in front of us was a sweet family from South Carolina with the most curious 5-year-old girl with a deep southern accent.  "Ma'am, how many are you?"  "I'm 39".  I should have said 29, based on her reaction!  "Is that a girl or a boy?"  (referring to Alyssa.  I get that question a lot.  She has no hair.)

We got off the bus and walked to the front gate.  Joshua saw the monorail circling above and asked if we could ride on that.  I said maybe later, because the monorail goes to the Magic Kingdom and we were not going there today.

It was about 7:45 a.m. and a small crowd had gathered waiting for the park to open early at 8 a.m.  Just before 8, some cast members started checking resort room keys and they opened more turnstile lines.  Despite the crowd, we were inside the gates at 8:05 a.m.

The line outside EPCOT

I wanted to get our picture taken at the front of the park in front of the "big ball", but there was only 1 photopass photographer out there and we waited in a short line for him.  Joshua was not too happy about taking this picture and so he stood there with a big sour face.  Oh well.

Most of the people were heading over to The Land building to ride the Soarin' ride.  We couldn't do that one due to height restrictions, so my plan was to get on Spaceship Earth first.  When I got close to it I could see that it hadn't opened yet.  I asked and they said it would be 20 or 30 minutes until it was ready.  So we headed over to The Land building to ride the boat ride inside.  Then we stopped in the foot court there to share a muffin.

Next we went to the Living Seas building.  We looked at the Nemo stuff outside and then got on the Finding Nemo ride:

The ride dropped us off inside the aquarium.  The kids played for a while in this interactive room.  Joshua wanted his picture inside Bruce the shark.

I expected the kids to want to stay a long time in The Living Seas, since it is so big and my kids usually love aquariums.  But Joshua said he wanted move on, so we did.

Our next stop was the Journey Into Imagination ride.  Joshua loved this one and asked if we could ride it again.  The kids also liked the interactive play area after the ride.  (I have some video of them there).

At the gift shop on the way out, we bought 2 purple Figments.  After all, where else can you get a Figment?  They were happy.

Then we went outside to the part of the building where Captain EO is and enjoyed the fountains for a while.  This is one of my favorite spots at EPCOT--it's never very crowded and the jumping fountains are very entertaining!

After enjoying the fountains for a while, we went to ride Spaceship Earth.  The sign said the wait was 30 minutes, but our actual wait time was only about 15 minutes. (I should mention that until Spaceship Earth, none of our previous 3 rides had any lines, we walked right on).  While standing in line for Spaceship Earth, in the weaving queue, I saw a friend from high school!  What a surprise to see someone I know from so far away in such a busy place! I had planned on waiting for her after we got off the ride to chat more, but unfortunately my kids took off in different directions and I went to chase after them.  What a small world, though!

Joshua liked Spaceship Earth.  He liked the interactive part at the end where I let him be the one to choose our space adventure.

As I was chasing after both kids, we saw that Daisy and Stitch were signing autographs not too far from Spaceship Earth.  I asked Joshua if he wanted to meet them, and he said yes.  (I wasn't sure about this, because last time he was at Disney World about 2 years ago he hated the characters and screamed and cried if they came near).

But this time, he did great!

Alyssa just kind of stared at the characters, she didn't know what to think.

Next we dropped by Club Cool for a bit.  Club Cool has several different Coca-Cola flavors from around the world that you can try for free.  A big hit on a hot day!

After Club Cool, we went to the Brave playground/games section.  This area just opened on June 1.

There was a small line to play the games that we didn't wait in, but the kids enjoyed the playground and I think Alyssa needed a break from the stroller.

It was getting close to lunch time and we had a lunch reservation, and Alyssa had a stinky diaper, so I went in search of a bathroom.  I ran into this companion bathroom that was vacant, so that made it real easy for me to change Alyssa's diaper while Joshua went to the bathroom. (This sounds insignificant, but when you are doing the parks alone with small kids, a bathroom we can all fit into together makes it so much easier!)

We had 12:00 lunch reservations at Les Chefs de France in the France pavilion in the World Showcase section of EPCOT.  I decided early on that I would make a sit-down restaurant reservation for lunch because carrying a fast food tray with a stroller or going through a buffet line with 2 small kids just wasn't going to be easy on me.

Here are the kids right outside "France":

We got seated very quickly, as the restaurant just opened at noon.  We got a table in the corner and had nobody else sitting next to us for our entire lunch.

As soon as we were seated inside, we could hear it start to rain very hard outside.  Whew, we ducked that one!

I had a quiche and a salad.  The kids had chicken strips and fries.  And we shared a delicious chocolate mousse for dessert.

Of course the highlight of this restaurant is the roaming dessert cart, with Remy (the rat from Ratatouille).

To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. 1. You are a very brave woman to do any theme park alone with two kids.
    2. I would have no clue how to navigate my way through any Disney theme park! You really did think every little detail through before hand.

    Whew! I'm exhausted and you're only on day 2!