October 2001 Cast: Me 37, using Disney to combat a mid life crisis!! DW Theresa, someone has to put up with me DD1 Emma 12, not quite a teenager but may as well be DD2 Lisa 8, Butter wouldnt melt. The plan for today was early entry at Epcot but we never quite made the early entry. The phone is ringing, it must me 7am as that is the time I set the wake up call for. I press the speaker button and the whole room is filled with the sound of Mickey, Up n at em Pal, Oh Boy are we glad youre here, big doings goin on, so lets get started, see ya real soon!! Yep its 7am and another wonderful day to look forward to. Im quickly out of bed followed by Theresa, Emma is dead to the world and Lisa is just about stirring. 10 minutes later the only one still glued to the bed is Emma. No amount of cajouling is going to lever her out into the reality called awake. We have to send in our secret weapon, Lisa, to prise Emma from her slumber. After our weapon has taken to the task in hand, bed clothes off, using the bed as a trampoline and generally being a real pain, Emma decides the only way shell get some peace is to go into the shower. We are all up dressed, ready and out of the room by 7:45, halfway down the path to the car and Theresa says she has forgotten something, I cant remember what as she forgot something every day, Im sure shes just having a laugh at my expense! Item suitable retrieved, we are in the car and heading for the 192. 8am and we are at the Ponderosa. 3 Adults, one child, coffee, OJs and Coke, using a coupon I get change out of £20. Having been seated we are soon tucking into the mammoth breakfast buffet. Our server is really nice and friendly and whilst talking to her she thanks us for still coming to Florida after the September 11th events. She made us feel as though we had single handedly saved her Job. I almost had a tear in my eye, if I hadnt have felt welcome up to that point then I certainly did now. I was a bit lost for words, after all we were there on holiday. We had thought about cancelling our holiday, but it was only a brief thought, and we all agreed that nothing would control our lives except us. As far as we were concerned this was going to be a normal holiday in one of the best places in the world. Anyway, after the Ponderosa we headed for Epcot. We arrived and were parked by about 9am. As Emma open the car door she hit the car that had just parked next to us, I got out to see if there was any damage, luckily there wasnt. I went around to apollogise to the gentleman in the car, he wound down his window and before I could speak he was apologising for parking too close to our car, I tried to explain but he wouldnt have it, as far as he was concerned it was his fault and that was an end to it. OK I know when to shut up !! Now if that had been in our local supermarket car park in the UK wed be duelling at 50 paces Having averted an international crisis we headed for the trams, a couple of minutes later and we are sat on the tram. Wed been sat on the tram for a minute or so when we heard some shouting. On investigation we saw a man in a red T-Shirt jumping up and down shouting to his family, who were walking from the car at a very slow pace hurry up, the trams here Were going to miss it hurry uuuupp Come on the plans spoiling, come on The kids thought this was highly amusing, the CM on the tram was taking a vote to see if we should wait for the guy in the red T-Shirt or not. If itd been a red and white shirt then Id be thinking it was Spottydog!! But Im sure Dave isnt here until next year We are through security and into the park. Theres no one here Picture A very friendly CM taking park photos in front of Spaceship Earth now accosts us, usually we refrain from the park photos, but she must have been very very nice, as we decided to have the photos taken. She had us all in various poses and took several pictures. There was no wait at Spaceship Earth and we entered without delay. We board the train, and are soon climbing the steep hill and into the darkness, the audio breaks the silence. Welcome to Spaceship Earth Journey with us now to the dawn of recorded time, as we explore the amazing stories of human communication The sights, sounds and even smell of this attraction are wonderful. As we journey through time we get a real feel of the evolution of human communications. Our planet has sailed through the universe of time, and for a brief moment we have been among its many passengers from the very beginning we have always sought to reach out to one another, to bridge the gap between us, to communicate As we progress though the various scenes my thoughts are with the accomplishments of our ancestors. The a lump comes to my throat as we enter the part where the vehicles turn please stay seated, your vehicles are rotating for the return to Earth We are brought face to face with our blue marble planet Spaceship Earth it makes you feel so small. The vehicles rotate again and we are now heading down backwards through the modern era of communications, I love the futuristic city with all the lights representing the Internet. As we exit the vehicles we are soon in the Global Neighbourhood activity centre, we spend a while in here playing with all the toys. I have to drag Theresa away from the quiz machines, shes a sucker for quizzes! Out of Spaceship Earth we head over to Test Track to get some fastpasses. When we get there I find that the fastpass is closed. The wait time is posted as 30mins so we decide that well join the line. Whilst in the line it starts to rain lightly and I hope that the ride isnt shut as I know this ride suffers from the rain and it is usually closed as a precaution when it rains. Luckily the rain is only slight and we are soon entering the attraction. We enter the pre-show and are told what is going to happen to us, the test engineers set the appropriate tests and we are dispatched to the loading area. At this point Lisa decides that she doesnt want to experience this ride, Theresa isnt that bothered either so she goes out the escape exit with Lisa. Emma and I get front row seats and we are off to the testing facility. We put the test car through its paces, brakes, skids, high speed cornering, suspension, climate chambers and the outside track. Well the vehicle passed and we live for another day! We meet up with the other two and head for Honey I shrunk the Audience. There is no wait here, we pick up our 3D specs and go straight in to the pre-show area. After watching the Kodak film the doors to the Magic Eye Theatre open and we are soon seated. We are in the laboratory of Prof. Wayne Szalinskis Imagination Institute, he is about to receive his award as Inventor of the Year. Then something goes terribly wrong, we and the rest of the audience are shrunk by the professors shrinking machine. I wont spoil the surprises that are in store for those that havent experienced this attraction yet. I will say however this is not for the squeamish, especially if you have a morbid fear of snakes. Panorama Picture 1 After Honey I shrunk the Audience we made our way to the LIVING SEAS As we get close to the Living Seas, we can hear the ocean, well almost. There is a rock formation that has waves crashing over it just outside the entrance. We enter and the queuing area depicts scenes from the early deep sea explorers. We soon enter the holding room where there are two exits one to the hydrolators and one to the film theatre. Last time we were here we missed the film so we head for the short line for the theatre. We are soon seated in the front row with a huge screen filling all the space in front of us. The film starts and shows how the earth and the oceans were formed all those years ago and how the ocean forms part of the life cycle of the earth. This is a wonderful film and Im pleased we stopped to see it this time, even the kids liked it. The film finished and we headed for the hydrolators for our journey to the ocean floor. The kids loved this and are still not completely sure if we were actually under the water or not. Who am I to burst their bubble We enter the underwater research facility, Sea-Base Alpha. We are surrounded by massive aquariums containing sea creatures from all over the globe. Emma spends ages watching the Dolphins. My favourite is the giant puffer fish, Im not sure if Im watching it or its watching me! We spend quite some time here admiring the wonderful creatures. We head for the hydolators and are soon transported back to the surface, we didnt even have to go through decompression! Panorama Picture 2 Back on the surface we exit and make our way to the camera centre to have a look at the photos that were taken when we entered the park. We selected a couple of photos and had them sent to the hotel. Next we head for Innoventions West. Although Im a techy type person who loves all things gadget I actually found this a little boring, as did Theresa. The kids liked playing on all the computers and sending email post cards etc. We left Innoventions and headed for the Land. On the way we stopped off at Ice Station Cool. This is pure advertising but such a great idea and its free. For those that have never sampled Station Cool, it is a great spot for free drinks. You enter through an Igloo where you are met by a room filled with drinks machines that dispense various flavours of coca cola from around the world Now that our thirst had been quenched and we were now cool we head through the coca cola shop out into the afternoon sun again. We have booked the Ice Cream Social at the Garden Grill for 3pm and the time is now close. We enter the Land and make our way to the Garden Grille, we are given a pager and told our table would be ready in about 15mins. We decide to have a quick look around whilst waiting, down the escalators to check out the wait time for the Land ride, it is about 10min wait. The fastpass is working so I grab some passes for after the Ice Cream Social. We did some shopping in one of the shops then our pager started flashing. Great our table was ready. The Garden Grill is a circular restaurant on two levels, the upper level has table and chairs and the lower level consists of booths. The whole restaurant revolves at a very slow pace, it takes about an hour for one revolution. The inner part has very large bright sunflowers painted on the walls and the outer part is scenery from the Land ride. We entered the restaurant and was quickly seated in one of the booths on the lower level. The booths are great as you all face outwards and can see the Land scenery go past as the restaurant slowly revolves. You can also see the boat of the Land ride as it passes by. Our server is soon taking our order for drinks and says that all the characters are on their way around. All of a sudden there are a couple of white hands covering Emmas eyes, its Mickey hes snuck up behind her and took her by surprise. Next hes pushing her to one side so that he can sit down. He poses for a photo then skips to the other side of the booth to give Lisa a big cuddle, another photo then as Mickey waves goodbye Chip appears with Dale very close behind. Mickey Picture 1 Mickey Picture 2 Chip sits down and starts to sign Lisas colouring page when Dale decides he wants to sign it first and steals the page from Chip, this results in some pretend pushing and shoving, much to the amusement of everyone, a passing server tells them to behave and Lisa gets her page back with both their autographs. The kids are dragged out of the booth and both Chip and Dale dance with them and pose for some photos. Our server arrives with our Ice Creams and the kids are served by Chip and Dale before they say goodbye. Chip Picture 1 Chip Picture 2 Chip Picture 3 Dale Picture 1 Dale Picture 2 The ice creams look delicious, the kids have upside down cones just like Mickeys Sorcerers hat, they have sweets and chocolate wafers also. We have cones with chocolate wafers and chocolate chips. Ice Cream Picture 5 mins later Goofy makes an appearance and poses for some photos. Goofy Picture 1 Goofy Picture 2 Lisa is eating her ice cream whilst constantly looking over her shoulder looking for the characters to show. She isnt disappointed as she can see Mickey making his way around. I can feel the excitement in the air and he hasnt got to us yet. Eventually much to the relief of Lisa hes here. Again he sits down and is pointing to Lisas ice cream then to his head, Lisa soon realises hes saying the ice cream is like his hat !! Mickey pretends to eat some of the ice cream then feeds some to Lisa. Mickey Ice Cream Picture Next he takes the camera and hands it to Lisa then pulls me over towards him and gestures to Lisa to take a photo whilst he proceeds to cover my face with Ice Cream. Everyone is in fits as laughter at my expense, Theresa has to take the photo as Lisa is laughing too much. Mickey wispers Mickey Feeds Me Mickey spends quite some time at our table and the price of the Ice Cream Social was worth it for this moment alone. Its about 3:30pm and the restaurant is almost empty and we are getting lots of attention from the characters. Dale comes around with a sign saying hell work for Peanuts or Cashew donations sorry all out of peanuts, do have some choc chips though! Sign Picture I think the Ice Cream Social is one of the best secrets in WDW, I have never seen it advertised and at $6.75 per head its an absolute bargain. I have paid more than that just for an ice cream and that didnt include characters. We leave the restaurant having had a really great time and head down to the Land ride. We use our fastpass as the line for this ride is still very long. We climb aboard the boat and it takes us through various scenes depicting a tropical rain forest, a small town, a hot desert and an early family farm with all the sights and sounds that go with them. We see different farming techniques such as desert farming, hydroponics and aeroponics. We travel through the greenhouses where we see different crops growing in a variety of different ways. Some of these crops are served in the Disney restaurants. After the Land we headed for the World Showcase. First stop Mexico, this is one of my favourite countries in WS. We wander around the shops then take the El Rio del Tiempo River of Time. This is a nice relaxing boat ride with some great touches. After Mexico is Norway, we decided to give the Maelstrom a miss as there was a 15min wait. I love all the Trolls displayed in the shops and some of the fragrances were wonderful. Next is China, here we just wandered around the shops as we did for Germany the n Italy. We found a spot for the Tapestry of Dreams parade. I went off to get some drinks and on my way back there was an announcement made that the parade was cancelled due to high winds. It was a little breezy and I suppose those tall puppets dont do too well in high winds. Oh well well have to watch it next time we visit the park. We call into the Liberty Café in USA for some much needed food. Then we head off to Morocco where there are some acrobats doing some amazing stunts, we watch these then go back to Japan for some shopping. We decide that we would give Illuminations a miss tonight as we are feeling tired and we have a Illuminations cruise booked later in the holiday. Spaceship Earth Picture Having had a wonderful day here at Epcot we drag our weary bodies back to the car and head back to what we are now calling home All Star Movies. We get some drinks and go back to the room. In the room the telephone is blinking and there is a message saying we have a package to be collected from the gift shop. Im duly dispatched to collect it, it is The rock and Rollercoaster picture from yesterday. Time for bed, tomorrow was going to be KSC but we had heard that some of KSC was closed due to security. We changed our plans and are now going to Blizzard Beach and do some Shopping.