Thoughts on a Disney World Vacation: Part 3: The Adventure Continues at Epcot and More DHS!

Decided to it was time to take a different approach to this "non" trip report.  Writing was feeling more like a chore than fun, so let me start fresh with the third day of our trip.

It was finally time to hit Epcot; my favorite park!  (Well at least for's hard for me to rank a favorite when I love Epcot and the Magic Kingdom pretty much equally.)  We DID need to get up and get moving as we had an 8:30 ADR for the Garden Grill.  My son had never eaten here and the last time my husband and I had breakfast here was in 2001.  (Believe our last meal there was lunch in 2004 when we got "rehitched;” a silly ceremony that I'm not sure if they do anymore.)  My plan was to eat and then try to get onto Soarin'.  We got to the restaurant early and were seated almost immediately.  As we had experienced in the past, the service was quick and good.  We waited for nothing...Chip's Sticky Bun Bake appeared instantaneously (if only I could have eaten it, but I think my son was glad I couldn't.  He devoured 75% of it).  My allergies were addressed and taken care of with a personal platter of special Mickey waffles (YUM!), bacon (MORE), ham steak, and potatoes.  They boys had their own platter to share which also included eggs (which my son loves but never gets a home).  
 Fresh fruit was shared by all.  My husband and I both had coffee (ok, but not as good as the stuff that hubby makes at home) and I indulged in POG (passion fruit, orange and guava) juice.  We chowed down as the restaurant slowly rotated and characters Mickey (what happened to his farmer hat?), Pluto and Chip and Dale came to visit and pose for photos.
It's not an inexpensive breakfast (what sit down meal at Disney is?), but it is well worth it in my opinion.  Excellent food, service and character interaction with no real waiting.  I'd rate it an A+ meal.

Because we had arrived early and gotten such quick (and good service), we were finished just a little before 9 AM (when the park opened that day).  We headed downstairs to Soarin’ (by this time the park had probably just officially opened).  There was already a 45 minute wait.  Hoping for the best, we got on line.

The wait turned out to be about an hour (an announcement was made while we were on line that there were some technical difficulties which resulted in the extra wait time).  As the attraction had only recently re-opened, we knew without an FP+ the wait time would never be shorter, so we stuck it out.  This is one queue where Disney really does need to do something interactive.  It's a LONG wait in a LONG hallway (to get to one of three HUGE loading areas) and there's NOTHING on the walls to look at.  The area SCREAMS for something, ANYTHING.  

Once we finally got on the attraction and loaded up, it was an incredible experience.  Even better than the original Soarin' (which was pretty impressive in my book).  We really did "fly" all over the world.  Worth an hour wait?  Almost (I'm loath to wait for anything).  If the queue had been entertaining I would say yes.  (Is anyone Disney listening?)

Our first FP+ of the day were now ripe:  The Epcot character meet and greet.  Getting the three of us together for a character photo isn't an easy task, which is the reason why I FP+ this.  We still had a slight wait as we made our way to meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy (didn't there used to be more?  No Chip or Dale?  No Donald?). Some shopping and wandering in Mouse Gears and then it was time for our "tier 1" FP+, Test Track.  Not sure how I feel about this new pre-show and building your own vehicle.  (We did our best to make the world's UGLIEST one.  I think we succeeded.)  The pre-show time (and car building) seemed longer.  The ride seemed faster (although I have been told that speeds have not been increased.)  Still one of my favorites.

My husband loves Mission Space and convinced my son to try it.  Even with an "easier" side, I didn't want to go back, so I sat it out.  While I waited I watched the Jammitors ("Janitors" who play tunes on their garbage cans) play.  (Also had a few minutes of panic when I couldn't find my phone.  As usual, it WAS in my bag; I just couldn't find it right away.)  Hubby still gives it a big thumbs up; son was not that keen on it. 

Staying on the same side of the park, we went to the Universe of Energy.  Rumors are that this attraction is not going to be around much longer.  :(  No surprise though as it first reopened with Ellen's Energy Adventure in 1996.  (We saw it shortly after it opened when we were on our honeymoon!)  I'll miss those dinosaurs.  Plus it's nice to be out of the sun and sitting for a long period.

We skipped back to the other side of Epcot.  (I was hoping to have an opportunity to do the meet and greet with Joy and Sadness from Inside Out, but FP+ are not offered and wait time was always 45 minutes or more. :( )  We went to the Imagination pavilion and experienced Journey Into Imagination (Still miss Dreamfinder) and the Pixar Shorts in 3D (much more entertaining than Captain EO).

Finally it was time for what my son had been waiting for...Spaceship Earth.  The kid loves it and wanted to ride it since we first entered the park.  It did not disappoint and was the perfect way to end our 6 hour stint in the park.

Having used all our FP+s, I could not schedule one more and we decided that tonight would be a good one to do Fantasmic at DHS.  I also had it in my mind that there might be enough time once Fantasmic concluded to make our way to Hollywood Boulevard and get a semi-decent view of the Star Wars Spectacular show.  (The latter is not a FP+ show yet and spoiler alert:  there was no way in hell we could have seen both during the busy season.  Perhaps when crowds are lower it would be possible.)  I got the FP+ for Fantasmic before we left Epcot and then while we rested (no nap!) back at CBR, I lined up an early dinner at Mama Melrose. 

Besides resting and refilling our mug at the resort, we took the time to pack up as much as we could. The next day we were moving to the Polynesian Resort.  Although I knew our room would not be ready in the morning, I wanted to move first thing. (Hence scheduling a cab for 8:15 in the morning to move us.)  Before we headed out to DHS, I wanted to have as much organized as possible so that we wouldn't have much to do in when we returned that night and the transition to the new resort would be easy. 

When we arrived at DHS, we had plenty of time before our ADR for Mama Melrose, so I convinced the guys to head over to the Star Wars Launch Bay to meet Chewbacca (15 minute wait) and then Kylo Ren (less than 10 minutes).
 We then headed over towards Mama Melrose and decided to catch Muppetvision 3D again before dinner.  BAD idea.  Not that the attraction was bad (Not in a million years would I say that), but there were tons of people with babies.  And I mean BABIES (not toddlers), and most none too happy to be in the theater.  We were surrounded!

Dinner at Mama Melrose was a disappointment, which is a shame because the past several times we've been there we've loved it.  They have changed from Italian California style to a more generic Italian.  Our waiter barely paid attention to us.  I didn't feel all that confident with the chef.  I ordered the Margarita Flatbread and was disappointed.  I have had it at the restaurant previously and it was good, not this time.  I can get better locally.  (Plug:  I'm hearing that it may be shutter and changed into something Muppet oriented. (Disney may have cancelled the Muppet TV series, but it seems like they are still full steam ahead on Pizza-Rizzo which will replace Pizza Planet and will hopefully come up with something creative for this space as well.)

I didn't want to rush to Fantasmic, so we took our time wandering over there.  I saw that Olaf was available for photos.  You need to understand that my son hates Frozen.  (It's a boy thing.)  So he's no Olaf fan, but we were joking around and I told him I was forcing him to meet Olaf.  While were on line we kept joking about Olaf and Frozen until his face was red from laughing.  (It didn't hurt that Olaf had a slight costume malfunction right before we were to go up.  Imagine the silliest and most rude jokes one could make up about it...and know that we laughed at them all.)  By the time Olaf came back and I playfully "forced" the kid to hug Olaf he was laughing so hard you would have thought that Olaf was his favorite character in the world.  I suppose we are a warped family, but we had more fun at that meet and greet than anyone should.  Thank you for putting up with us Olaf.

By the time we got to the Fantasmic Theater, it was standing room only for anyone who did not have a FP+.  The FP+ seating was all the way to the far left and when I saw that I knew there was no way we'd be able to see the Star Wars Spectacular.  Would have to set that aside for another day.  With 30 or so minutes to go until show time, the wave still seemed to be the mode of preshow entertainment.  Although Fantasmic hasn't changed over the years, it is still a wonderful show and I always cry at the end. (If you just say to me "Some imagination, huh?" I may tear up.)  The fireworks, the water projections, the characters...I love it all.

When it was over, the crowd was so large that there was no way to move for a good 5 to 10 minutes.   We were finally able to slowly move and made our way out to the front of the park (by Oscars.)  From there we could see a bit of the projections on the Chinese theater (which were amazing) but we headed out to get a bus.  (Again, I wish they could post an estimated wait time like they do at the resorts.  It's a great idea; they need to expand on it.)

We crammed ourselves on the bus and got off at OPR (not Jamaica) as we needed to pick up our package from AK, which I had forgotten about.  (Good thing my husband remembered or we would have moved to the Poly without ever getting my son's stuffed animal friends.)  Then it was walk back to the room, pack up everything and hit the hay.  Tomorrow was "moving" day.


  1. Thanks for picking back up with this! (As I sit counting down til 7am so I can make FP.) We are eating breakfast at the Land as well and looking forward to it. I sort of did opposite as you with an early entry into the park hopefully to ride Soarin and then breakfast at 9:30...


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