Posted in Florida 2016

25th December 2016 (Day 8)-Epcot

Yeah, Christmas Day and we are spending it at Epcot.  After a lot of research we concluded that Epcot would be the least busy of the parks and also provide the most stuff to do which might not have long wait times.  Magic Kingdom is meant to be packed and they often close access to the park within a few hours of opening because of the crowd levels.

We had some breakfast at the hotel and then headed down.  Crowd levels weren’t too bad and we parked up quite close to the entrance, so no need to wait for the tram and just walked to the entrance.  We had a few FastPasses booked for the day just in case lines were long but first we discovered that we could see some of the Pixar characters (quite hidden away really) and there was virtually no queue.

So first up we met Baymax.

Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6

Then we met Sadness and Joy in the control room.

Sadness and Joy
Sadness and Joy

Our first Fastpass was to meet the Disney Pals, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. We were hoping they might be in Christmas clothes but they were just in their normal outfits.

Mickey
Mickey
Goofy
Goofy
Minnie
Minnie

Our second Fastpass was for The Seas, so we headed over to there as it was just next door anyway.  Great ride and we got straight onto it.  After going to the ride we went round the aquarium areas and met Bruce and Chum.

Bruce
Bruce
Chum
Chum

After going on the ride and looking round the aquarium we started to head out round the World Pavilion.  Lots of photos but will only post a few below.

Norway
Norway
China
China

As we were walking round and it was sometime until lunch we decided it was snack time and got a caramel apple (I think from the shop in Germany).

Snack Time
Snack Time
Italy
Italy

When we got to the American pavilion we got some family photos done by the Photopass photographer.

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree

And as Santa had finished his duties for the year, his chair was free and we could use his chairs for a photo.

Santa's space
Santa’s Chair

For our Christmas Day lunch we had fully tradition and had booked Tepan Edo in the Japan pavilion.  Was absolutely delicious and cooked in front of us.  We shared a table with 2 other families (a couple and a 3) which was nice and we had a great lunch.  Rosemary thoroughly enjoyed it and loved having it cooked in front of us and the tricks the chef did, making a volcano out of onions.

Tepan Edo
Tepan Edo
Tepan Edo
Tepan Edo
Japan Pavilion
Japan Pavilion

The lunch I booked was a package so we could get seats for the Candlelight Processional which runs just in front of the American Pavilion and has a celebrity narrator, and is really a church service/carol concert.  For Christmas Day the narrator was Jodi Benson.  Not a name I instantly knew but she did the voice of the Little Mermaid and Barbie in the Toy Story movies.  Was an excellent “performance” with lots of Christmas carols.

Candlelight Processional
Candlelight Processional

After the show we got as far as France and got an ice cream.  By this time it was already getting dark.

Ice Cream Time
Ice Cream Time

By this time we started to head back towards the areas around the entrance.  We still had one Fastpass left (which was late in the day but the only time I could get one) which was for the Frozen ride in Norway.  The queues were quite long when we got there as we found out the ride had been down earlier in the day.  But we didn’t have to wait too long (about 20 minutes?) and had our first ride on it.  Unfortunately the ride photo never came through.  It’s on a clever system which picks up your Magicband details and is meant to add it to your account.  But clearly failed that night, which is a great shame.

We didn’t wait around for the fireworks because we wanted to get back to the hotel so Rosemary could open her Christmas presents.

Night Time
Night Time

While at the Christmas Tree me and Rosemary got a Turkey Sandwich as an evening snack.  It was great, massive amounts of turkey, mashed potato and cranberry.

Epcot Christmas Tree
Epcot Christmas Tree

And that was pretty much the end of our Christmas Day at Epcot.  We headed back to our hotel so Rosemary could open her presents.

Christmas Presents
Christmas Presents
Christmas Presents
Christmas Presents

A lovely day and a great Christmas Day as well!

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Posted in Florida 2015

1st August 2015 (Day 9): Epcot

Off to the Epcot again today (second visit this trip, having been a few days ago) and an early start as we had breakfast reservations at Akershus for a Princess breakfast buffet.  I think we had a table at 9:35am and Epcot opens at 9am.  So we got there for the park opening time and went in a couple of minutes before 9am.  There was only a small group waiting to get in (not like the big crowds at Magic Kingdom).

We weren’t in a huge rush so walked slowly upto the World Showcase entrance.  This area doesn’t open until 11am but as we had reservations we were allowed through.  It felt like we had the whole park to ourselves.

Empty Epcot
Empty Epcot

Just us and some squirrels.

Empty Epcot
Empty Epcot

We got to Akershus a bit before our reservation and were taken straight in.

Akershus
Akershus

In hindsight we should have waited because we were in the middle of the princess interactions rather than the beginning.  Would recommend waiting for your seating time to get the most out of it, although we did get to meet all the princesses and Rosemary got to do the parade with them and totally enjoyed it.

First up you are greeted by Belle.

Meeting Belle
Meeting Belle
Belle-Autograph
Belle-Autograph

We then got some breakfast from the buffet and hot food arrived as well.  Food was excellent.

Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet

The other princesses then started to come round to see us and sign autographs.

Cinderella
Cinderella
Cinderella-Autograph
Cinderella-Autograph
Snow White
Snow White
Snow White-Autograph
Snow White-Autograph
Jasmine
Jasmine
Princess Jasmine-Autograph
Princess Jasmine-Autograph
Ariel
Ariel
Ariel-Autograph
Ariel-Autograph

All the children then get to join a princess and parade around the restaurant with them to a Disney song.  Rosemary joined Jasmine and got to carry the flower basket.  I think this was the best of the interactions I saw (those with Cinderella were sat back down before Rosemary had finished dancing with Jasmine).

Princess Parade
Princess Parade

After finishing our breakfast (loads to eat and we asked for a coffee to take away with us) it was just before 11am, so the World Showcase still wasn’t open.  But by the time we walked back to the entrance to it they were taking down the barriers.  Our plan for the day was to spend time in the World Showcase, starting in Canada, which is where we headed to first. We watched the 360 degree show and visited the gift shop.  Nice planting there but not a lot else to see.

Canada
Canada

Next round (we were heading anti-clockwise for some reason) was the United Kingdom.   We met Alice there, who was frightfully posh.

Alice
Alice
Alice-Autograph
Alice-Autograph

And had a quick walk around the area.  Unfortunately Mary Poppins wasn’t coming out on the day we were there.

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

We took a short break on leaving the UK and sat down for a moment where the boat launches leave and arrive from various resorts.  We just missed seeing the Evil Queen, who was off to cast a spell on someone no doubt.

Evil Queen
Evil Queen

Next up was France. Just visited briefly really and had a quick look round.  Didn’t stop to see princesses here (Belle and Aurora) as we’ve done that before and there were long queues.

France
France

As we headed out the skies started to darken and it looked like more rain was coming in. The view back to Spaceship Earth was pretty threatening.

Incoming Storm
Incoming Storm

By the time we reached Morocco it was pouring and we took shelter there.  Are worse places to spend a little time though.

Morocco
Morocco

While we were waiting we went to visit Aladdin, who was very friendly, very chatty and made Rosemary laugh a lot.

Aladdin
Aladdin
Aladdin-Autograph
Aladdin-Autograph

She also got the chance to colour in a Duffy and had her name written on the back in Arabic.

Arabic "Rosemary"
Arabic “Rosemary”

After waiting a good while and it looking like it wasn’t going to stop anytime soon we headed out into the rain and the gift shop in Japan.

Japan
Japan

We stopped for something to eat in the American pavilion, eating at the Liberty Inn, before carrying on.  Unfortunately still raining.

Through Italy

Italy
Italy

and into Germany.

Germany
Germany

Things were improving by the time we reached China and I joined the queue with Rosemary to see Mulan.  One of her princesses she still hadn’t seen and this is (I think) the only place she does a meet-and-greet.

Mulan
Mulan
Mulan-Autograph
Mulan-Autograph

Once we had finished things were much better and it had stopped raining completely.

China
China

We were most of the way round the Showcase area by now, and stopped in Norway for some afternoon cakes and coffee.  Rosemary had a Frozen Fever cupcake and we had school bread (as recommended on the Disney Food Blog).  They were excellent. And the coffee was very strong (as it seems to be everywhere at Disney).

Cupcake
Cupcake
School Bread
School Bread

Just Mexico to go.

Mexico
Mexico

We went inside the zigarat and went on the Gran Fiesta starring Donald Duck ride.  Lot of fun and nice sit down boat ride.

Gran Fiesta
Gran Fiesta

And we got to see Donald, who Rosemary absolutely loves.

Donald Duck
Donald Duck
Donald Duck-Autograph
Donald Duck-Autograph

And so, having walked all the way around the world it was time for us to head out of the park.  Our last visit to Epcot for this trip.

For dinner we went to Red Lobster at the Crossroads of Lake Buena Vista for some excellent Lobster, Gruyere and Spinach dip.

Red Lobster
Red Lobster
Posted in Florida 2015

29th July 2015 (Day 6): Epcot

Off to the park again today (we’ve never attempted so many days in a row at a park although Typhoon Lagoon did feel a bit more relaxed). So we’ll see how the day goes.  Epcot is a big park so, as we’re going twice this visit, we decided to split it into 2.  So today we’re just staying round the bottom end of the park, in Future World, and not going anywhere near the World Showcase.

As we arrived Pluto was doing his meet and greet.  We’d never met him before so joined the short queue to see him.

Pluto
Pluto
Pluto
Pluto
Pluto
Pluto

Rosemary got a huge hug from him and he tried to eat her head (see the video at the end as I didn’t catch it on the stills camera).

We had the morning free of FastPasses etc and just wanted to look round and see what happened.  The Character Meet and Greet at the Epcot Character Spot was quiet, relatively short queue anyway and it had air-con and it was a blisteringly hot and humid day.  So we joined what turned out to be a slow moving queue but did get through to see the characters.

First off the Mouse himself.

Mickey
Mickey
Mickey
Mickey

And we got a family photo all together.  We get so few of these and we really didn’t make the most of the opportunity with PhotoPass.  Should have got more taken throughout the parks, but we learnt that lesson and will do better next time.

Mickey
Mickey
Mickey
Mickey

Next up is Goofy.  We were just behind someone in the queue who were there because their son was playing Goofy that day and they wanted to see him and get photos with him.

Goofy
Goofy
Goofy
Goofy
Goofy
Goofy

And finally Minnie, who seemed very impressed with Rosemary’s outfit for the day.

Minnie
Minnie
Minnie
Minnie
Minnie
Minnie

Afterwards we had a mooch around the shops and visited Club Cool where you can taste a range of international drinks.

Club Cool
Club Cool

There were some which were absolutely revolting but some others were really nice and wish we had them in the UK. Rosemary liked Kuat (at least I think that was the one she liked), which is a Brazilian drink.  I quite liked the berry one from Zimbabwe.

Club Cool
Club Cool

We then headed off for our first FastPass, which was to Spaceship Earth.  Bit unnecessary to be honest as the queues weren’t exactly huge but we were only doing 1 big ride today and just used the others to save a little time here and there.

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

We’ve never done this iconic ride before so we were looking forward to it.  No photos inside as it’s too dark but was very enjoyable if a bit dated.  At the start you get your photo taken and asked questions and at the end they show some things about your future.  Julia apparently had set up home with someone else (she was in a separate car to me and Rosemary though).

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

And I was still having breakfast with Rosemary.

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

Good ride and a vision of what they thought the future would be in 1970.

Couldn’t leave the area without some shots with Spaceship Earth though.

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

We got some lunch at the Electric Umbrella restaurant (burgers again I’m afraid…really must eat a little better). And then went to use up our second FastPass in the Seas area.

The Seas
The Seas
The Seas
The Seas

The gulls are great there. One of my favourite bits from Finding Nemo.

Mine, mine, mine
Mine, mine, mine

Again the queues weren’t huge for “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” but saved a little time. Quite selfie in the car (don’t think Rosemary realised what I was doing and was more concerned with the ride).

The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Towards the end of the ride they project the Finding Nemo characters into the actual tanks and Crush appeared.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Seas with Nemo and Friends

At the end of the ride you come out into the tanks, which are very impressive. The first ones we visited were the manatees, which Rosemary loves.

Manatees
Manatees
Manatees
Manatees

There are some huge marine tanks with schools of fish and a sea turtle.

Epcot Tanks
Epcot Tanks
Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle

There are also quite a few smaller tanks with tropical fish and the like.

Tiny Cuttlefish
Tiny Cuttlefish

We even found Nemo, or at least some really small clownfish.

Nemo
Nemo
Nemo
Nemo

And assume this is Marlin.

Marlin?
Marlin?

And Dory as well.  She looked lost though.

Dory
Dory

Unfortunately Rosemary was eaten by Bruce during our visit.  Managed to pull her free though.

Bruce
Bruce

But Bruce’s mate, Chum, had a go as well.

Chum
Chum

After finishing on The Seas area we went opposite to The Lands.

Our first stop was Soarin’, which we’d reserved with FastPasses. I didn’t know quite what to expect and as I’m not a fan of rollcoaster rides etc was a bit nervous.  No need to be as this is a gentle ride and it was just the unknown that got me nervous. Rosemary thought it was fab.

Soarin'
Soarin’

Afterwards we went on the boat ride for Living with the Land.  This was very quiet and we were straight on.  It was actually a good ride, bit educational but very interesting and highlights some of the work going on at Epcot to develop new farming techniques.

Living with the Land
Living with the Land

After this we had dinner at Sunshine Season’s restaurant and got some vegetables and salmon for Rosemary which was very good and we had some very spicy noodles. Recommended place to get away from the burgers.  Was also extremely quiet and plenty of seating was available.

We got desert at Starbuck’s with a coffee for us and a cupcake for Rosemary.

Cupcake
Cupcake

We were waiting at the park for the fireworks show, IllumiNations, so did a bit of shopping and sat down for a bit before walking upto the lake.  We found a nice spot just in front of the Canada pavilion and sat down for the show.  Very good show and well worth waiting in the park for.

IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations
IllumiNations

At the end we waited back for a moment to let the surge in the crowd go, as virtually everyone is leaving the park at this point, and then headed to the exit.  Of course, stopping to take a picture of Spaceship Earth lit up.

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

We walked back to the car (it’s much quicker and easier if you can) and Epcot is one of the easiest ones to do this at, headed back to the hotel and bed.

There are videos of the day on Youtube, which have the daytime and fireworks parts separately.

Daytime:

Fireworks:

 

Posted in Florida 2013

9th December 2013 (Day 8): Epcot

In the trips we have made to Orlando we have never visited Epcot in the past, although not really sure why.  But we really enjoyed it and I think it’s now our favourite park.

Coming in we took the compulsory picture of the big ball, although we didn’t go on the ride inside it.

Epcot
Epcot

Instead we headed over to “The Seas” area where we went on the Nemo and Friends ride.

Nemo
Nemo

This ride takes you through the story of Finding Nemo (although very compressed) and out into the aquarium.  There are some very large tanks which are full of fish and even some dolphins as well as smaller tanks with tropical fish and some manatees.

Nemo
Nemo
Manatees
Manatees

Couldn’t resist a picture with Bruce the shark before we went and did the Turtle Talk with Crush bit.  This is an interactive session with a computer generated Crush which is fun as the kids get a chance to ask questions to Crush.

Bruce the Shark
Bruce the Shark

As we were leaving this section we went into the Mickey and Pals section where we got to meet Mickey, Goofy and Minnie. Rosemary seemed to be getting the hang of these character meet and greets now and wasn’t in the slightest worried about them, and actually keen to meet the characters.

Mickey
Mickey
Goofy
Goofy
Minnie
Minnie

As we were nearly halfway through the day we decided to head into the World Showcase and start visiting the various countries.  We’d heard that you can get a passport which is stamped in each country and found them in the giftshop at the entrance to the area.  Finding the stand to get them stamped was sometimes a bit tricky but we did get them all done.

Before we got very far we stopped in Norway for a snack.  I got some of mine at least.

Snacks in Norway
Snacks in Norway

In Germany we got to meet Snow White. This was Rosemary’s first Princess encounter.

Snow White
Snow White
Germany
Germany

I can’t remember if this was in China or Japan now…

China or Japan
China or Japan

While the Morocco area has some amazing tiled courtyards.

Morocco
Morocco

There were some great views from the lake.

Goofing about
Goofing about
View from the World Showcase
View from the World Showcase

In France we got to meet Belle.

Belle
Belle

And we had an ice cream before meeting Princess Aurora.

Ice Cream
Ice Cream
Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty

We stayed on for the Illuminations show on the lake, which was very good.

Illuminations
Illuminations
Illuminations
Illuminations

One thing was that the park was relatively undecorated for Christmas.  The majority of the decorations were around the central area where the fountains are. Still very pretty.

Decorations
Decorations

So a great trip but a massive park that really needs more time to explore properly.