Day 2: Epcot & MK

Day 2: Epcot & MK

It’s Monday, January 31, 2011 – Day 2 of our trip –  and we just spent the day at Epcot, followed by a magical dinner and experience at the Magic Kingdom.

We were a little late getting up and going, so we didn’t catch a bus to Epcot until almost 9:00am (this is OK during the off season, but we don’t recommend you do it during peak times).  We headed straight to Test Track and went into the standard (group) Standby queue. We literally walked through the entire queue, right through the pre-show room, and onto a ride vehicle.  I was actually kind of bummed that we skipped the pre-show, since my sister-in-law has never been and it’s important to see all of the pre-shows (and even the queues) at WDW, because they help setup the story.

Anyway, after a hair-messing ride, we crossed the park to the Land Pavilion, where we grabbed a Fast Pass for Soarin’ and then got in the Standby line.  I think the wait was…maybe…20 minutes. For Soarin. 20 minutes. Soarin. 20. Yup. The flight was as awesome as usual. We were in the front row, which became the top row when airborne.  It makes for a better experience, in my opinion, because you can only see the screen, and no dangling feet.

After Soarin, we crossed the pavilion to Living with the Land (0-minute wait). After learning about hydroponics and how to save the earth by growing tomatoes on trees, we skipped over to the Seas Pavilion, where we rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends.  Such a cute ride with cool effects. Everything was working right, including the big, nasty, angler fish.

Then it was time for Turtle Talk with Crush. My brother and sis-in-law had never seen it, and they were both amazed by the “living character” technology.  I still am as well. If you’ve never seen this show, SEE IT!

Our Soarin Fastpasses had matured, so we walked onto Soarin. The Standby queue had reached 50 minutes, so the 10-minute Fastpass line was worth the effort.

The second flight really churned up our appetites, so we grabbed a Quick Service lunch at Sunshine Seasons – the food court in the Land Pavilion. They have an awesome variety, and you REALLY get your money’s worth if you’re using the Dining Plan.

After we filled our bellies, we hopped over to the Imagination Pavilion and rode Journey into Your Imagination. It’s a nice time killer. Definitely not the same as the original version, but WAY better than what Disney Imagineering tried to “fix” it with several years ago.

One more Future World stop – Spaceship Earth – and then it was off to World Showcase. We started with Mexico and worked our way around counterclockwise.

The boat ride at Mexico was as exhilarating as alway(sarcasm), but the pavilion itself is always amazing.  When we visited Norway, we stopped at the Kim Possible station to try out a mission (since we’ve heard so many good things about it, we figured we should try it ourselves).  It was actually pretty cool. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to dedicate to the entire mission, but we HIGHLY encourage families with children to try it out. It’s a great way to help them enjoy the pavilions a bit more.

We walked onto the Maelstrom boat ride, and then headed out to get a Pretzel from a food vendor in Germany. The pretzels were delicious…so yummy that one of those “sea gull things” swooped down and grabbed a piece out of Kayla’s hand. YIKES!

It seemed like a good time for a potty break, but Germany wasn’t having any of that. Their restrooms were out of commission for an unknown reason. Finding alternate potties in World Showcase is always a challenge, by the way.

It was time for our much anticipated American Adventure viewing. We hurried over to see the 3:45 show. At 3:40 the Voices of Liberty finished, and we were told that the show itself was broken. Our schedule didn’t allow for us to see it again before dinner, and they stopped running shows at 7:00pm. We’ll try again on Thursday.

By this time we needed to head toward the Magic Kingdom to see the parade and have dinner.  We went to the Epcot monorail station and hailed the Tronorail, which sped us off to the Transportation and Ticket Center, where we opted to take a Ferry Boat to the Magic Kingdom. We like to change up our methods of transportation to keep things fresh.

We headed straight to Liberty Square and found our favorite benches. We drug them up to our secret parade viewing location and parked our butts for about 45 minutes.  The parade reached us about 15-30 minutes after it started on Main Street, and it was very exciting to see it.  I hadn’t seen it since my childhood days (mostly in the 80s), and it definitely brought back memories.

Timing was perfect…as soon as the parade was over, it was time for our dinner reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern. We enjoyed a hearty thanksgiving dinner and rolled out of there at about 8:30.  The Magic Kingdom had officially closed at 8:00pm, so the hostess had to escort us to the Main Street/Liberty Square bridge, where they had roped off the land. But then we were free to roam Main Street and the hub as long as we wanted.  The music was playing…the lights were on…the castle was aglow…and it was almost completely void of humans.  There was a Photopass guy in the hub, so we had him snap a few shots of us. Then we walked around and took a few shots of our own of an empty Main Street and lands.

Then, at 8:45, we got to see the “Kiss Goodnight” – a rarely seen event that happens when you’ve “overstayed your welcome”.  There’s a little narration, some special music, a light show on the castle, and it ends with Mickey telling you goodnight. It’s a subtle way of telling you to “get lost so we can clean the park” but it’s actually pretty cool.  We really overstayed our welcome and saw the repeat at 9:00pm from the Train Station end of Main Street. Very magical.

A bus ride back to the Wilderness Lodge Villas, and time to crash. Hollywoos Studios…here we come.

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