Disney World: Day One, Epcot

February 6, 2008 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

Epcot was my fav of the three parks we visited – so much to do, see, and eat!

Getting There
We flew down on a 6:30 am Southwest flight.  I liked Southwest’s new cattle herding method – much better than having to stand around for half an hour and much more orderly and polite.  It was a non-stop and we arrived a little early (8 am).  We hopped on the tram to the main terminal, went down a couple levels, checked in with Disney’s Magical Express Service (loved it!), and hopped on a bus to our “resort” (Pop Century).  We didn’t have to get our luggage at baggage claim; they got it for us.  We checked in, got our room keys hooked up to our credit cards (awesome – you only need your room key to buy stuff in the parks and resorts), stashed our carry ons at luggage service (free), and hopped on a bus to Epcot.


Where We Ate
Breakfast – We grabbed counter service at Sunshine Seasons (Future World: The Land).  I wanted to make sure I’d be hungry for lunch (I’d had a granola bar on the plane), so I just had a chocolate croissant and part of Jason’s banana.  The croissant was good, but not half as good as the ones in France.  Jason had a bacon, egg, and cheese croissant sandwich.  Although not spectacular, it was easy and not horribly expensive.  If I hadn’t already eaten something for breakfast, I would have gotten the kids meal.

Lunch – Lunch was great at Cantina de San Angel (Epcot: World Showcase, Mexico).  I had yummy nachos and a really big cup of Dos Equis.  The way they put together the nachos was interesting – they had the toppings in separate parts of the container in case someone wanted to avoid one particular topping.  I thought that was pretty smart.  We sat at the edge of the lake, relaxed with our beers, and giggled at the noisy seagulls.

Drinks –  We tried various soda flavors at Ice Station Cool.  Be warned – Beverly from Italy is NASTY!  But you still have to try it.  Vegitabeta from Japan is creepy.  The others range from good to tolerable.

Dinner – We decided we’d do one real, sit-down meal during our stay.  The experts (everyone but me) agreed that Epcot was the best place for it.  On the bus into Disney, we picked our country and I called in for a reservation.  That morning, they had three times for a reservation for 5 at Chefs de France – 5:10, 8:40, and 8:50.  Eating at the later times would have meant missing IllumiNations, so we opted for the earliest time.  (BTW, I’d probably recommend making this decision a bit earlier to get a more ideal time.  6:30-7 pm would’ve been better so we would’ve had more daylight.)   Three of us decided to go for the “French Menu” – onion soup, chicken, and creme brulee for $30 (stellar deal).  The onion soup was really good, though I wish my bowl of it had been hotter (it was barely hot enough not to send it back; not as good as what I had at the Old Salem Tavern).  The chicken and potatoes were fairly standard; the sauce was good, but there wasn’t enough of it.  Jason’s beef tenderloin was tender and tasty (if you get this, be sure to order rare/medium rare else they might butterfly it – yuck).  The creme brulee was passable (I think it’s probably very tough to make good creme brulee in mass quantities, so “passable” was acceptable under the circumstances) and the madeleine was good.  Jason enjoyed his apple crepes.  I also liked the French beer I tried, Biere Kronenbourg 1664 (man, is that some old beer!).

Snacks –  Yes, we’re pigs.  At least some of us were!  While waiting for IllumiNations to begin, we snagged some pastries from the bakery at France.  It’s a great idea if you have room in your tummy!  Some of our group also tried some wine from Italy.  The cheapest way to do that was to get a 4 oz glass for $4 at the tasting bar.  I was too cheap to even do that.

What We Did/Rode 
Spaceship Earth – We were glad to see this ride (the one in the “golf ball”) open; it was supposed to have been closed for refurbishment.  My buddies said they’d definitely been working on it.  I thought it was cute, a neat little walk through history.  It’s a very tame ride, suitable for all ages.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends – Ride in a clam shell through the aquarium looking for Nemo – yes, he’s lost again!  It’s pretty cute (and very tame), and I liked wondering how they projected the Nemo characters into the real aquarium.  The aquarium was neat, too.  Obviously it wasn’t as good as a real aquarium, but it was very good considering it’s one of many attractions.

Soarin’ – This is one of the best rides EVER!  We snagged FastPasses for it as soon as we arrived, which was a very good idea.  You strap in and go hang gliding in California, flying over the Golden Gate bridge, the ocean (it feels like you should lift your feet to prevent your toes from dragging in the water!), snowy mountains, etc.  Make sure to sniff while you’re gliding – you’ll smell oranges at a couple of parts.

Mission: Space – This was also one of the best rides ever.  Don’t waste a FastPass on it because it’s not necessary – the lines are generally short due to fear of barfing.  No joke – they have barf bags on the console.  The ride simulates launching into space and landing on Mars.  I’ve never felt anything like it.  Sometimes you get a hint of the lift-off feeling when you take off in an airplane, but this was intense.  And the pull of gravity as you land on Mars is something else as well.  We did the intense version, so I’m not sure how the gentler version differs.  (Yes, they actually made a gentler version because so many people got sick on the intense version!)  There are nearly a dozen warnings, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend this ride for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.  Jason felt just slightly woozy for a minute after we got off (he can’t read in a car), but I was fine (I love reading in cars).

Maelstrom – This ride was unbelievably cheesy.  We waited in a looong line for this little boat ride that explores the heritage of Norway.  The cheese factor was so high that it was awesome.  There’s a little dip and you might get splashed a tiny bit, but it’s very tame.

Test Track – Test Track was pretty cool and apparently a pretty accurate reflection of how GM tests its cars.  This ride is normally a good choice for FastPass.

Reflections of China – This is a 360 degree movie – very cool.  After seeing the movie, my desire to visit China increased exponentially.  We just don’t have land that looks like that!  It’s beautiful.

Wandering around World Showcase – I had a blast wandering around the various countries.  There was an especially friendly fellow in Canada; I learned all kinds of things about Canada from him.  I was pleased with myself for recognizing “Hampton Court” in England.  I think I could easily spend an entire day taking pictures of the pretty buildings and talking to people from the various countries.  There are also a bunch of cute/amazing/fun acts to see – like the Chinese gymnasts.

IllumiNations – This was amazing.  There aren’t really words to fully describe it.  It’s not just a fireworks show, but, once you’ve seen it, no other fireworks show will be able to hold your attention (okay, well, you’ll probably still like really good ones like at Magic Kingdom, but you’ll generally be unimpressed with fireworks).  Three people in our group CRIED because it’s so beautiful.

More pictures are here.


Entry filed under: TheStates.

Disney: My top ten Disney World: Day Two, Magic Kingdom

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