Disney Recap: Arrival ♦ Epcot ♦ Animal Kingdom ♦ Magic Kingdom ♦ Hollywood Studios ♦ Epcot Holidays ♦
We arrived in Florida on Sunday the 24th, but our first day in the parks was Monday, November 25th: we did Epcot! This was a strategic choice: Magic Kingdom is slammed on Mondays, b/c most people want to begin their weeks there in front of the castle. I was thrilled to begin at Epcot, b/c quite honestly, the countries were my FAVORITE memory from my only other Disney visit 25 years ago, (1988!)
We got FastPasses to come back & ride Test Track as soon as we walked in the park...and already, they were for 7:30 PM! No matter - we began to explore everything else. :-) We went next door to Mission: Space...and it actually broke down with us in the simulator! But, again - no worries: we got extra FastPasses to use another time. :-P
We checked out Ellen's Energy Adventure... (They seriously must've updated that just a few years after I came through...& haven't touched it since! :-D It's early 90's-o-rama! :-P)
Requisite 1st pic with "the golf ball"
Onto the World Showcase!!!
One of my most vivid childhood Disney memories is the boat ride in the Mexican Pavilion. It was just as vibrant & colorful as I remembered. :-)
Love outside Mexico
Vikings in Norway
We also rode the Maelstrom, which was a fun first for me, too (it was being refurbished in '88 :-P). We ate at Norway's Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe - yummy sandwiches & a few pastries. ;-)
Now here's where the day kicked into high gear! The kids began Agent P's World Showcase Adventure: they "signed up" (it's free!) as secret agents to help Agent P (Perry from the show Phineas and Ferb) defeat the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz by completing secret missions sent to them personally over a special cell phone. It was PURE MAGIC!!! There are 4 or 5 different missions to complete in each of seven country pavilions; the missions send you searching the area to find clues. When you discover the correct spot that the cell phone message has sent you to find and press the "OK" button, the signal activates something to happen in REAL LIFE: a smoke signal appears out of a chimney, a banner rises out of a tree, a statue appears for a moment out of nowhere, a laser beam shoots across the window, etc. I would give ANYTHING to have been videoing Annelise's face when she made her first one happen by herself: it was a troll in a window in Norway that turned into a flashing robot for a few seconds when she activated her signal. She was STUNNED!!! It was spellbinding!!! I cannot say enough wonderful things about these Agent P missions; they really keep children engaged in searching & exploring these different countries. Will & Annelise had so much fun and felt empowered!
Clue reading in Norway
Making this Chinese calendar light up & give a clue in China
See their expressions?!?! These missions were SERIOUS business!!!
Victory in China! (Can you make out the little green monkey statue sinking back down under the water in the pond?)
Painted faces! The Blake kids looooove getting their faces painted, and I think this may have been the best they've ever gotten.
Clue reading for a mission in Germany (They made those characters appear in the top of that middle building.)
Meeting Snow White in Germany: this was a surprise bonus! There just happened to be a small line, and LaLa volunteered to wait in it while the kids & I popped into Werther's Karamell-Küche (caramel kitchen) = best caramel corn EVER! (And super fun for me, b/c everyone in there was actually German, so I ordered auf Deutsch and felt super cool! ;-))
I was kind of surprised overall at how little interest the kids had in the characters. I honestly think we *just missed* the "magic age" window with Annelise & her Disney princess obsession. :-/ We're not big Disney character people, anyway, (my kids truly didn't know which one was Goofy & which was Pluto) so that part I expected; but I thought they'd get a little swept up into the character hoopla when we were actually there. Nope. :-P But since they didn't have to wait in line, & they'd already finished their Agent P mission in Germany, they were game for my mom's fave: Snow White...
She was gorgeous, and she did sign the kids' Disney shirts I made! (I knew my kids wouldn't care about the autograph books "everyone" does = more clutter; but I thought it would be awesome for the characters to sign their Disney shirts, so the signatures would actually be *seen*, again! :-D I kept their shirts & a Sharpie in my little backpack I had each day.) She was just so very lovely!
Grandaddo catching a piece of caramel corn in his mouth! Nice throw, Will! (See the corn flying through the air, against the edge of the tree?)
Close-up of Will's face painting - oh, those eyelashes!!!
The model train sign in Germany says "Würzburg" = my German hometown!!!!
The drink in my hand is a Mango Gingerita from the China Pavilion, (even though this pic is in Italy! & I know: anything "-rita" should originate in Mexico, but this sucker was so good, I forgave the poor naming. ;-)) The ginger was VERY intense! I'm still convinced it helped the nasty cold I was fighting. (Yep - I was sick all week. :-/ The stupid cough is *STILL* lingering!)
Epcot family love
"We've got the whole world in our hands..."
Will eating his fave food in Japan: sushi!
After our World Tour, we headed back to retry Mission: Space (we took the green intensity ;-)) and use our FastPasses for Test Track. It absolutely did NOT disappoint! It was JB & Will's favorite thing in Epcot. You get to design your own virtual custom concept vehicle on a touch screen based on the following test criteria: capability (handling), responsiveness (maneuverability), efficiency (fuel-saving and environmentally friendly), and power (speed). You then get in a SIM car for a test drive to see how your concept performs, as you rev through rough terrain and surprise obstacles along the winding Test Track circuit, fly through straight-aways, maneuver switchbacks through inclement weather, hug curves banked at 50° angles, and scale hills that are up to three stories high! The track is almost a mile long, with peak speeds of 65 mph.
We finished our first Disney day with the huge fireworks show, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth before heading back to the hotel around 10:15 PM.
Our next Disney day: Animal Kingdom!