So EPCOT is my favorite place in the Disney Universe. It satisfies my nerdy girl inner core (the first scenes of Spaceship Earth are all about the awesomeness of reading and writing!), my OCD (getting that World Showcase passport filled out is a labor of love), my love of international cultures, and it’s just damned fun. So I was REALLY looking forward to it.
I was a wee, trifle, tiny bit sore from AK the day before, but I figured it wouldn’t be that big a deal. We arrived early enough that we were able to park right outside the gate, thus negating the need for a tram ride. I have been to these parks for YEARS, literally YEARS, and this has never happened to me. I thought it was awesome. The stroller I borrowed is HUGE and it is a pain in the butt to get on and off the trams, so it was a big plus for me to just walk into the park.
As soon as we got inside, I told Leah I thought we should go up in “the big ball”. She was all for it, but she was scared, as well, and clutched my arm the whole way through the ride. When it was over, she realized it really wasn’t scary and demanded to do it again! So since there weren’t any lines, I said sure, and we did it again and this time she enjoyed it a great deal more.
It seems like there is a lot more “stuff” at EPCOT than I remember, so I got turned around a bit and wound up not really being able to figure out the map. Thankfully there was a helpful cast member nearby who pointed me where I needed to go and we were off to Imagination! Leah was not as enthralled with it as I might have thought, and didn’t care to do it again. The old Imagination ride WAS far superior than this one, in which Disney has sold out and brought in Eric Idle, who I adore but it just really didn’t need to be re-done with a celebrity endorsement in my opinion. And I think in some ways, kids might be savvy to that even if they have no idea that’s what’s going on.
So we made our way over to the Finding Nemo ride. Leah remembered so much about the Nemo musical that we saw, she just LOVED this ride. It was another “get off, get right back on” deal and she was delighted by the jellyfish in particular. Then we went to The Land which was right next door, since they have a new ride called “Soaring” which I was excited to try. There was no way we were getting on that any time soon, so we got a Fast Pass (or as I like to call it, a Legal Line Skipper) and then we ate lunch down there. It was already crazy hot outside, and the A/C felt so good. We ate our brown bag lunch and then splurged on buying dessert at the restaurant—key lime tart for Leah and strawberry shortcake for me, although she didn’t eat much of her tart and she ate all my strawberries! We caught sight of the boat ride and she thought it looked like fun, so we jumped on that. She was especially thrilled with the fish farm/hatchery they have down there and in particular the tilapia they were raising for some reason gave her a real thrill! She wanted to jump off the boat and pick all the fruits and veggies they were growing in their greenhouses and I was once again smugly proud at how healthy my kid is.
We finished up there and had about 4 hours to kill before we had to be back for Soaring (yes, it is that popular!). So we decided to start walking the World Showcase. I got Leah a little passport and we headed out. We got over to Canada, the first stop, and let me tell you, my dogs were barking already. It was hot, darn hot! There are 3 things that absolutely drive me bonkers about Disney: 1. people who walk/cut in front of you; 2. people who stop in the middle of a path/street/road for no apparent reason; and 3. people who take pictures in random spots. well yesterday, EPCOT was full people who would cut in front of us, stop dead, and take a picture. AUGH! So I was getting frazzled. We left Canada and just as we were about to get to the United Kingdom, some doors rolled open and out popped Minnie Mouse. Leah was battling that stroller, she could not get out fast enough. As soon as I got her out, she ran like hell to Minnie, as fast as her legs could carry her, and flung herself into Minnie’s arms. Oh joyous day! There were plenty of other characters there too, and when enough of a crowd had gathered, we were taken back behind the doors and sealed off from EPCOT so we had plenty of time to meet and greet. We saw Pluto, Minnie, someone named Shaker and another one named Big Al, Stitch, Captain Hook and Smee, and Goofy. Leah has recently gotten in to the show “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” thanks to her friend Daniel, and so Captain Hook being there was a BIG deal. In fact, she totally dissed Smee, which made Captain Hook laugh heartily to no end. We went around and greeted everyone and she was on cloud 9, let me tell you, when we left. We made it to the UK and found the passport station and what should be going on right next to it, but Pooh and Tigger were there. well, you can be damned sure we saw Pooh and Tigger too! The nice thing about it was that the guy at the passport table told us to just enjoy Pooh and come back for the passport when we were done. So we didn’t have to wait in either direction, which was great! Although it also kind of sucked since I wanted to talk to a real British person about William and Kate’s baby and I didn’t have the chance. But they’re probably sick of Americans talking about that anyway.
We walked a bit further and came upon Mary Poppins. Mary dared to ask Leah about her friends at home, which Leah took as a sign that she and Mary were friends, so she sat right down on the sidewalk, informed Mary that her best friends were “Dot Dot, Chunk, and Anna” and the proceeded to give Mary her life story. Mary looked a bit deer-in-the-headlights when the encounter was over, but Leah was smugly pleased with herself and Mary is the only character we’ve met in 3 days that Leah actually spoke to, which made me happy anyway.
We next went to France and met Princess Aurora and then Morocco and then the wheels came off the bus. It was crazy hot, my feet hurt, I was tired, Leah was tired, and she wanted ice cream, which I had said no to back in France. We were wandering the showcase looking for ice cream when she caught sight of a line for Snow White, but we were told the line was closed, which caused further hysteria. Mercifully we finally found some ice cream somewhere between Germany and Norway, and we each enjoyed a cone, which cooled us off considerably but didn’t do much for my aching feet. I told Leah we were going to go on the Maelstrom in Norway so I could sit for a minute and she enjoyed it a great deal, actually. Then we went into Mexico since I was hoping to find a sombrero with Mickey ears for my buddy Amber, but unfortunately I didn’t see any. On the plus side, they have a boat cruise in there, so we sat on that and relaxed a bit longer.
It was getting close to time for our FastPass turn on Soaring, so we started heading back to The Land, and I would be lying if I said my butt wasn’t dragging. I know I was making tired-ugly-Susan-face, but I was sweating, smelly, hot, and sore. We got to Soaring and they had to measure Leah since it has a height restriction, and mercifully she JUST squeaked by the requirement. We rolled on in, being happily kept company by a British Rastafarian and his 5 year old daughter who was ADORABLE, and then sat on the simulator. I was just grateful to have something to sit on, but let me tell you, in the entire history of awesome rides at Disney, this is in my top 3. it is absolutely incredible. it felt so real, I was convinced I could stick my toes in the ocean at times. It’s a kind of gliding simulation, but so much more. Impossible to describe, but when it was over, everyone applauded.
Then I executively decided it was time to go home, but Leah wanted to go see the fish on the boat ride one more time, so we did take that little cruise once more. then I about limped back to the car, and drove us to the hotel. I told Leah if she would give me 20 minutes to stretch out, I would take her down for dinner, but somehow that turned into an hour, and that turned into, “Let’s order pizza and have a picnic!” So we did, and she watched Barney on Netflix and peeled the pepperoni and cheese off the pizza while I ate some wings and watched TLC’s new cheerleading show and then put Leah to bed. I took a hot shower and collapsed.
I loved being at EPCOT, it was a great day. By the end of the day, we’d walked over 8 miles, and it was just so hot and exhausting. I was happy that Leah enjoyed it so much and I will definitely bring her back again sometime soon!