Day 4 - Epcot, a Rainy Afternoon, and Meeting Lightning McQueen
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|Wed, 05-15-2013 - 2:01pm|
Chapter 11. A Laid-Back Morning at Epcot.
Day 4. Sunday
So, having given up on my early morning Animal Kingdom plans the night before, we slept in a little today, well if you count 8am as sleeping in, lol! I didn’t manage to get a breakfast reservation at Captain’s Grille (it seems the mobile app was blocking out anything within the next two hours), but I was somewhat optimistic that we’d be able to get seated anyway. I was right. They weren’t very busy at all, in fact.
The buffet was really good, one of the best breakfast buffets I’ve had! Even Brian, who usually hates buffets, enjoyed it a lot. It wasn’t huge, but had good variety and everything was so fresh. And it was fast. So we were on our way to Epcot shortly after they opened at 9am. So much for my die-hard rope-drop strategy though, we were going to have to go-with-the-flow a little more today.
We made our way slowly towards Future World, and headed for the Epcot Character Spot first. Lily still hadn’t gotten to meet Pluto (since Brian and Owen kept meeting him without her) and none of us had met Minnie yet. The normal location is still under construction, and it took us a while to figure out how to get into the temporary location. Turns out we walked right by one entrance to it when we first got to Future World, oh well! There still wasn’t much of a wait. Actually, it seemed like the crowds had really dropped off today, at least it wasn’t bad yet.
We had 3 nice meetings with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. It’s so much fun to see Owen interact with the characters now that he isn’t afraid of them! And I’m also very glad that Lily still enjoys them. Not so much the princesses, but she still has a soft spot for the furry ones.
Since we had missed rope-drop, I ran over to Soarin’ to get some Fastpasses. No way was I going to stand in line for an hour! I was able to get them, but I had to reschedule our lunch ADR again (after just having made it last night) since we probably wouldn't make it in time otherwise. So glad to have the mobile app that can make ADRs, we ended up using it a LOT for the rest of the trip.
The others went on over to Figment and were playing by the fountains when I found them. When it was time for the ride, Owen did surprisingly well. I thought we were going to be in for another meltdown as we first went into the building, but he quickly got it together and for the first time, didn’t freak out getting onto one of the indoor rides. Progress!
I still miss the original Figment ride, but this newer version is pretty cute too. Afterwards, the kids played for a while in the Imageworks labs, there is always so much fun stuff to do in there!
Then it was time to head to The Land! Looking back at my pictures, I can’t figure out if we rode Soarin’ first (with our Fastpasses), or if we did the Circle of Life movie first. But, I suppose it doesn’t much matter. We did both. I know a lot of people think the movie is too preachy, but it does make some good points, and I think it does so in a pretty uplifting and inspiring way. We always enjoy it, anyway.
We had to use rider-swap to do Soarin’. We actually all had fastpasses, but this way Lily would get to go twice, and by the time I went, I think the FP may have been expired anyway. I sent Brian and Lily first, and Owen and I visited Sunshine Seasons for a snack. I let him have a juicebox, possibly his first one ever, and he was totally amazed. I think he gulped it down in about 10 seconds, lol! And was like, “Wow, that was GOOD!” afterwards. Better not make that a habit! I had been planning to take him on the Living with the Land boat ride while we waited, but it had a strangely long wait. (So much for it not being busy…) We never did end up getting to do it this trip, bummer.
After Brian and Lily finished, we traded off. Lily was ready to ride again, and Owen was really wanting to go to the Oz playground. So we agreed to meet them over there when we were done riding. Even with a FP, Soarin’ takes notoriously long. It’s so much fun though, I still think it’s my very favorite ride!
By the time we were done, it was almost time for lunch. I had managed to re-arrange our lunch ressie at Chefs de France for today, but we were going to have to hurry to make it! And it was again, shoulder-to-shoulder people everywhere. Seemed to take forever to get to the Oz playground to pick up Brian and Owen. Where did all these people come from? So much for the quiet morning.
We made it just in time though, and were seated right away. Last time, this had been one of my very favorite restaurants, so I was looking forward to getting to do it again. The kids were pretty worn out though, and the meal would feel a little more rushed and stressful this time. At one point I had my bread sitting upside down on my plate, and I think I terrified a poor waitress, who quickly informed me that it was very bad luck to do that, and insisted that I turn it over at once!
The veggie lasagna was very good, just like before, though we passed on the yummy chocolate cake for dessert. Lily and I were trying to stick to one dessert/day, and with everyone being so tired, I figured it wasn’t worth spending the time right now.
A good lunch, but not the re-creation of our previous one that I had been looking for. I know, I know, I’ve learned that lesson by now!
I had hoped to do the France movie after lunch, another one of my childhood favorites that I hadn't done since, but the kids were both grumpy already, so I had to let it go. When we came out, it was pouring rain. We donned our rainjackets and headed back. Fortunately, we were not far at all from the International Gateway so we were at the room, and in bed, pretty quick. Well, both kids were anyway. I think Brian went to the gym for a while.
Chapter 12. Hoping the Weather Doesn’t Spoil our Evening…
Once they woke up, we hung out in the room for a while. It had been raining most of the afternoon, so swimming hadn’t appealed to anyone. After a while, we wandered down to the lobby. I was hoping to visit the Photopass desk to ask about the Goofy pictures that were still missing from my account, and they kept very limited hours here. We were right in the middle of them, finally.
Brian took the kids outside while a very nice Photopass CM helped me. We did finally find them, thank goodness! I kind of got the feeling that she was not at all familiar with the parks, and didn’t even seem to know most of the characters. She tried very hard, but I was a little surprised that a Photopass CM would be so unknowledgable. We still had a little time before dinner with that sorted out, so the kids looked around in the Marketplace for a couple of small souvenirs, and we wandered around outside some more, under the covered areas since it was still raining off and on.
At one point, Owen and Lily cuddled in one of the deck chairs watching the rain. Instead of picking up my somewhat-annoyed attitude towards it, they smiled and said they were having “bonding time”. That lightened my mood immensely. Why life had chosen my long-awaited vacation week to continually break-down everything I thought I knew, and start teaching me from scratch, I don’t know. But it sure seemed like it was all week.
Finally, it was time to go check in for dinner at Cape May, right in the Beach Club. It was just a short wait for a table, and we helped ourselves to the buffet. Again, I was a little nervous taking Brian to a buffet as he tends to dislike them, but once again this one ended up being a hit! They didn’t have a ton of vegetarian options for me, but I found enough and it was good.
It had seemed like the meal was going quickly, and I thought I allowed plenty of time with our reservation, but suddenly it seemed like we were running late if we were going to make it to DHS in time for Fantasmic! So we quickly finished up and headed for the boat dock. On the way over, the boat captain mentioned that Fantasmic! would be starting soon, and at first seemed hesitant to suggest that we would still be able to make it, but considering the weather… the park had probably cleared out considerably so it was unlikely that it would be full. They would just need to run. There was a light misty rain still, but probably nothing to threaten the show at least.
They, because of course, there was no way Owen was going to be okay with that! I had actually been thinking that he and I might do something totally different tonight – either swim or go to another park. But it wasn’t exactly swimming weather, and he was really wanting to meet Lightning McQueen. So that was our agenda for the night here.
Brian and Lily took off sprinting as soon as we left the boat. They ended up not only making it, but getting the best seats in the house – front and center! Meanwhile, Owen and I slowly worked our way towards the Cars greeting area. Well okay, I actually had no idea where I was going so most of the time we were aimlessly wandering. For some reason I just can’t wrap my head around the layout of DHS, it’s so confusing! But Owen was liking the experience of just seeing everything, so we were in no hurry anyway. DHS is a neat park to be in at night, with all the lights.
Finally, we stumbled upon Lightning McQueen and Mater. The whole area was completely abandoned, except for the Handler, and a Photopass photographer. So they were pretty excited to see Owen come up! Unfortunately, Lightning McQueen and Mater were LOUD! I hadn’t been expecting that, and it was almost too much for Owen. But since there was no one else waiting, he could take his time and slowly work up his courage to approach. The Handler was really awesome, he spent a long time with Owen showing him different parts of the Cars and reassuring him that they weren’t scary. Owen never really relaxed the whole time, but he has talked about meeting them non-stop ever since, so he must have enjoyed it despite being a little scared.
We didn’t really have any plans after that. He wasn’t seeming tired yet, so there was no reason to rush back to the hotel ahead of Brian and Lily. We wandered around some more, and finally he decided that he wanted to meet Buzz and Woody again. (Couldn’t talk him into giving Toy Story Mania another try, lol!) There was a bit of a line this time, but with nothing else to do we decided to wait in it. He had fun playing around all the Toy Story stuff in the queue, and even played with some of the other kids while we waited too.
He was much less shy this time meeting them than he had been before, and this time there was a Photopass photographer here. Afterwards, it was about time to head for the front, and I got a text from Brian that they were on their way too. We were at the boat docks first, and a boat was there, but we didn’t want to get on without Brian and Lily so I thought we’d just wait for the next one. It turned out that they came just a couple minutes later, and the boat hadn’t left quite yet, so we just made it on!
Unfortunately during the time that we were waiting, Illuminations had started. And even from a different park, the fireworks were enough to send Owen into a frenzy. We almost couldn't even get him down the ramp and onto the boat because it took us out of the make-shift shelter of trees we had been "hiding" under. Sigh. I suppose going downtown for the 4th of July will be out of the question this year.
In my newly-shuffled plans, it ended up working out that we would be going back to DHS tomorrow, for the morning AND evening actually. I had tried to avoid overdoing one park in a short period of time, but what can I say. My carefully planned itinerary was out the window now, so that’s how it ended up. This would be the “DHS-part of the trip.”