Day 8 - Too Much to do at Epcot, and Racing the Fireworks One Last Time
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|Wed, 05-29-2013 - 6:32pm|
**Whew, I was beginning to think this trip report would be left forever unfinished, as iVillage hasn't let me log in successfully since last week. Only one more to go after this one, hopefully it will cooperate for the next few days!
Chapter 20. A Morning of Unreasonable Expectations?
Day 8. Thursday
After once again being out a bit late last night, I gave in and decided I wouldn’t set an alarm. If someone had told me a few months ago that I would do this so many times on this trip, I would have thought they had completely lost their mind. But I was really making an effort to be newly flexible.
Once we did get up, around 8am I think, we decided to go over to Kouzzina, on the Boardwalk, again. Hmmm, I can’t remember if we walked or took the boat this time, I’m guessing we probably walked though. Breakfast was good, again. Then I KNOW we did take the boat afterwards, to Epcot! I felt like we hadn’t had hardly any time here at all yet, despite the fact that it was the closest park. Glad we would have another morning, but worried that since we wouldn’t be getting there until well after opening that we wouldn’t be able to get everything done. We actually thought about doing another swim-in-the-morning day, and going to Epcot later. But in the end, we opted to go for the morning and do our usual break in the afternoon.
Our main goal for today was Test Track. We hadn’t seen it since it was re-done last year. But on the way in, I got it in my head that I NEEDED to do Soarin’ again too. I sent everyone else ahead to the Radiator Springs Playground near Test Track (knew Owen would LOVE this) while I made a Fastpass run. To my surprise, they even went ahead and gave me the rider-swap ticket even though the rest of the group wasn’t even with me. This was one time when saving my fastpass for another ride would have been useful, but I didn’t think about it in time and ended up with 3 Soarin’ fastpasses. That we would never use.
Once I met up with everyone else, we went over to Test Track to get a rider-swap there. They were much stricter about it here than at Soarin’, and watched carefully while Brian and Lily went into the queue before they would give me the ticket. I guess I’m glad it was a much more relaxed procedure at Soarin’, or I wouldn’t have gotten a second ride today.
Owen and I went back to the playground (he had NOT been happy to leave it earlier). He was happily playing for quite a while when I got a text from Brian. Thinking they must be done (the wait was posted at 15 minutes, it had been about that long), I was a little confused by the message. It said “We need our tickets.” I asked for clarification, but never got any. After a few minutes, I suddenly remembered that in the new queue for Test Track, you design a car, and it saves it on your park ticket to be used later in the ride! Well, why was he asking me for their tickets??? Even Lily had been keeping up with her own the whole time.
Except that I had made a Fastpass run earlier. And hadn’t given anyone’s tickets back. OH NO!!! We waited over by the ride for a few minutes thinking maybe he was going to send Lily out to get them, but I never heard from him again. Eventually we gave up and went back to the playground. Hopefully they had worked something out.
Time passed, and more, and more. It had been almost an hour! Was the posted wait time really THAT wrong?? Finally they came back. Fortunately, Brian did happen to have Owen’s Key to the World card, and even though it didn’t have any park tickets attached to it, it still worked for the ride. Phew!
By now, I had to admit that my Soarin’ plot was simply not going to work. We would have to head over there immediately, leaving no time for anything else. And we still hadn’t done Mission Space or Universe of Energy. And Lily wanted to meet Duffy (the big one), after carrying hers around all week.
So, realizing that once again, my haste had gotten the better of me, I resigned to skipping a second turn on my favorite ride. And we headed towards Mission Space. Those Fastpasses would have been much better used on Test Track, oh well. Apparently I still have some lessons to learn. Oh, and I did still have a rider-swap ticket for Test Track, but having been on the playground for over an hour, I thought it was time to get Owen inside someplace cool. We could come back and use the rider-swap ticket later since it didn’t expire.
When we got to Mission Space, the standby wait was 40 minutes, a lot worse than I was expecting. So we picked up a Fastpass instead and went on over to Universe of Energy. Now, before the trip, I had said that I didn’t think we should do this ride with Owen. Too much of it was dark, there were animatronic dinosaurs, and it was nearly 40 minutes of being trapped in a moving vehicle with no way out. Sounded like a recipe for disaster with him.
In my very-detailed touring-plans, we would have had time to do it twice, once for me and once for Brian, since we both really like it. But that was when I had assumed we would be making use of a lot more EMH, and NOT sleeping in at all. There was no way we had time for that now. And it was SO HOT! I just wanted to get Owen inside someplace, and at least it would be cool in there…
(For some reason, in all my trips to Disney World, I never seem to get any pictures over here. So I’m cheating and using one off my Photopass CD.)
Maybe he’d be okay. A lot of it was just a movie. And he did fine in the pre-show area, didn’t even argue when we sat down on the ride. Not that it looked like a ride, it just looked like a theater. This was a very mean trick and we should not have played it on him. That’s what I was thinking as it started. He did fine at first.
Until we went into the room with the animatronic dinosaurs. And then there were tears. Lots of them. And begging to “go back”. And a very terrified little boy. To his credit, he didn’t quite have the meltdown I had feared, complete with kicking, screaming, and flailing, just the sobbing. But I was feeling pretty awful by now. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? WHY did I think this would be okay? It had been a morning of unreasonable expectations, it seemed.
But, as I had learned on another difficult episode this week, also at Epcot, the bad times don’t last forever. Even when something seems completely hopeless and ruined, it can still turn out okay. Those minutes may have seemed like an eternity, but we DID finally leave the dinosaur room. And he calmed down. Had a few other minor boughts of fear throughout, but he also enjoyed parts of it too. And I was SHOCKED when our car pulled back into the entry room. There was NO WAY that had been a full 37 minutes, surely we had another 15 or so to go…Well it may not have been my favorite experience on that ride, but we had managed it. And hopefully not made too many people mad in the process.
So despite the rocky start, we were feeling pretty good by the time we left, and Owen was feeling quite proud of himself for having conquered “the dinosaur ride”. Sometimes, I guess you have to overcome a little adversity to feel like you’ve really achieved something.
It was now time for our Mission Space Fastpasses. Brian didn’t want to do this one, as he is very prone to motion sickness. Actually, none of us had ever done it before. I was determined that I was only going to do the “mild version”, but as we were going into the line, Lily convinced me to go for the more intense one. I guess it’s not fair to say “she convinced” me, but she was ready to do it by herself, whether I went with her or not. The thought of letting her go on possibly the scariest ride here, ALONE, was far more nerve-wracking than just doing it with her. So we went. Hopefully I wouldn’t regret this!
And they are NOT KIDDING when they say it’s intense, holy moly! It was a lot of fun, and I think I’m glad I experienced it once, but man. I think once is probably enough. At least for a very long time. For most of the ride I felt like I couldn’t even breathe, and felt a little lightheaded for a long time afterwards. I never get motion sickness either, so I can’t imagine how Brian would have felt, he probably made a good choice to skip it.
Meanwhile, Owen had been having a blast in the Mission Space playground. He had disappeared into the tunnels at the top as soon as they went in, and Brian hadn’t seen him since when we arrived. Needless to say, he was NOT happy to be drug out. But it was time to go to lunch – in Germany!
After having canceled our dinner plans there the night before, I was able to secure a lunch reservation for today instead. (And no, at this point I did not even want to LOOK at my nicely laminated spreadsheet I had brought with me. Although there may have ended up being a meal or two that stayed the same…I'm just glad we had such good luck rearranging things at the last minute)
We had a short wait for a table, and I could tell the kids were starting to fade. Fortunately, they perked up some once there was food. Especially Lily. Owen was battling falling asleep the whole time, but didn’t get grumpy about it. Just looked like he was going to drop right into his plate at any moment. Partway through the meal, the band came out and performed. Overall, I enjoyed the meal a lot more than I expected to. There weren’t a ton of vegetarian options on the buffet, but the few they had were really tasty! As was the pretzel-bread. Yum.
Well, we still had a rider-swap ticket for both Soarin’ and Test Track. Plus Lily hadn’t met Duffy yet. After having been the one to stay with Owen during his naps all week, I figured it was Brian’s turn. He thought he could handle it (and Owen was so sleepy I thought nothing could possibly keep him awake, even if it tried, so it should be easy), so the two of them made their way to the International Gateway and our hotel, while Lily and trekked back towards Future World.
We came to the Duffy greeting area on the way, and there was only a short line. I was feeling a little antsy to get back and not leave Brian on his own for long, but I knew it was now or never. Of course, Duffy was delighted that Lily had her “little Duffy” with her. Made for a cute picture. She really wanted to go into the Duffy store afterwards, but had no money left and I figured it would just cause heartache.
So on to Test Track! The Fastpass wait wasn’t long at all. While we were in there, Lily mentioned that once they were loaded into their car (on her first ride with Brian), there was some sort of mechanical problem and the ride was shut down for a while. No wonder it had taken them so long, I hadn’t thought to ask about it earlier. We designed our car, and were soon on the ride. It was neat, but I think I prefer the old one. It’s never been one of my favorites though, so I didn’t have a strong opinion about it. One thing I hadn’t noticed before – on the part where it takes you speeding along the track outside, it seems to go over a lot of backstage areas, where you can see employee parking lots and such. Maybe it’s supposed to be part of the “testing experience”, but to me it just felt like we had left the “Disney Bubble”, and I didn’t really like it.
Now, decision time. Head back and relieve Brian of nap-duty, or use the (improperly obtained) rider-swap ticket for Soarin’. For many rides, my sense of obligation and morals would probably have prevailed, but not here. If I had a chance to get one more ride on Soarin’, I was going to take it. (We should not have even had that rider-swap ticket, because we never “swapped”. They had given it to me when I picked up the Fastpasses, that we never used before they expired, even though I didn’t need it yet.)
Well, it was another great ride. And I only felt a little guilty. Still wish that sometime we could get the middle-middle section again. That’s where we were on our very first ride in 2008, and have never managed it again. It seems there was some kind of Magical luck looking out for us on that trip.
Chapter 21. Doesn’t Everyone Run from the Fireworks?
When we finally made it back to the room, well over an hour later, I was completely flabbergasted to find Owen still awake. Brian insisted that he just wasn’t sleepy, but I knew better. I quickly shooed him and Lily out the door to the pool, and sure enough he was sound asleep within minutes. But now he had probably lost his chance to swim, by the time he woke up, it would be too late.
Today I had more than picture-work to do while he slept though, it was time to start packing. Just 24 hours until our flight home would be leaving. It seemed an insurmountable task, but it almost always does. And after a couple of hours, I was pleasantly surprised at the progress I had made. I did try to wake Owen up a little early so that he could get one last short swim, but he just wouldn’t do it. Oh well. There will be plenty of time to swim this summer at home, I guess.
Soon it was time to make our last walk to the International Gateway, for dinner in Japan. We still had a pretty long wait past our reservation time, but at least our pager was good anywhere within the Japan area, so we used the time to explore. Owen loved running around in the garden, and we spent some time in the Spirits Hall.
I’ll admit, I hadn’t really been looking forward to this meal, it was one that Brian had really wanted to do. But I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The Japanese chef came and cooked our food right at our table. I was worried that it might scare Owen, but instead he was quite entertained by it. He especially loved the volcano tower that she made out of slices of onion! And then she turned it into a train engine and he thought that was hilarious.
But, it had ended up being a LONG meal. We got our check at 10 minutes until 9pm. And you know by now what happens at 9pm in Epcot. Yep, 10 minutes to get out of the restaurant and from Japan to Yacht Club, lest we have a screaming banshee on our hands again. But it was that or stand around inside waiting for the next half-hour. We decided to make a run for it. And I mean a RUN! We drew quite a few strange looks. It didn’t help that every couple minutes they came over the loud-speaker announcing that the fireworks were about to start. Owen was starting to get panicky already. We crossed out of the gates as the lights dimmed and the final “warning” announcement was made. Any second now they would start. We knew from experience that being out of the park didn’t mean being safe from the fireworks.
Salvation – there was a boat at the dock just about to leave! We yelled that we were coming and to PLEASE WAIT! Lucky for us they did. We had no need to take the boat back, other than that it would provide a fireworks-shelter for the next few minutes. Maybe we could time it just right, and the show would be in the middle (firework-free) segment when it dropped us off at YC. (By now we had just about memorized the timing sequence of the whole show) We did get to see a few of the fireworks out the windows. Owen didn’t want to watch, but was okay with them going on as long as he was inside.
Unfortunately, the stop at Boardwalk took longer than normal, and while all was silent when we docked at Yacht Club, I knew we couldn’t be more than a minute from the sudden finale. We broke into a run immediately, but it wasn’t enough. Just as we were coming off of the pier, the sky erupted in lights and booms.
And so of course Owen screamed like a banshee, still running like mad for the building. We must have looked like quite the circus, running one after another down the sidewalk, the littlest in front, again running and screaming as if from a demon. Well, that was one way to end our last night, I suppose. Appropriate, perhaps, in its own way. It didn't seem funny at the time, but I'm sure we'll laugh about it later.. okay, maybe we've already laughed about it a little.
So we settled in for our last night (and of course Owen calmed down as soon as we made it into the building.) On all of our previous trips, the last day has turned into a disaster for one reason or another. Naturally then, I dreamed the whole night of all the things that were surely going to go wrong tomorrow. Can we possibly, finally, break the "Last Day Curse"??? We would find out in a few hours. And at least there wouldn't be any more fireworks.