Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day Four - Epcot

We were so excited to finally get to Epcot!  Colwyn and Lachlann were especially excited about Soarin' because Fiona and Niall were finally tall enough to ride.  They both wanted to ride next to her and were disappointed that she had to sit next to an adult.  We all loved the ride, Fiona and Niall most of all.  It was an especially good ride because we got to ride in the first row, no feet dangling in our faces!  Fiona also noticed the little blue lights set into the floor, which for some reason she thought were just adorable.  These adorable little blue lights became a recurring theme for our trip - she even had me make her one out of paper so she could play with it at our resort (I'll say that she probably wouldn't have gone overboard like this on her own, but Doug and I thought it was funny so we encouraged it).

We had originally planned to do Test Track next, but we decided to skip it because Doug had a job interview that morning and the line was too long.  We did Spaceship Earth instead (one of the kids' favorites!), then said goodbye to Doug and wished him luck!  We were both a little apprehensive - him about the logistics of renting a car, changing into appropriate clothing, and the interview itself, and me about being alone with the four kids in Epcot!

First we sent our postcards from Spaceship Earth and played Body Wars, then the kids and I played in Innoventions for a bit, trying out the video games, climbing on the fire truck, and playing Where's the Fire?  They probably would have been happy to hang out in there a while longer, but we moved on to the Seas next to ride Nemo (big hit with the littles, but the ride went super slow most of the time).  We caught Turtle Talk next, but Niall was getting incredibly grouchy.  We spent a few minutes looking at the sharks, sea turtle, and dolphins upstairs, but I decided we needed to get some food in Niall ASAP before he had a total meltdown.

Lunch was at Sunshine Seasons in the Land pavilion, which, let me tell you, was a TRIAL with the four kids and just me trying to manage everything.  The kids really pulled through as far as carrying stuff, though, so once I had everyone's orders, it went mostly okay.  Colwyn and Lachlann both got chicken Caesar salads, I got the Mongolian beef, and the littles got mac and cheese.  The food was very good, and the kids especially loved the chocolate cake for dessert.  After lunch, we rode Living with the Land.  Fiona made the funny comment in the fish farming area, "Oh, I know why they grow eels!  So they can have electricity!"  Very cute.

Our Fastpass window for Test Track was open then, so we headed over.  Fiona, Niall and I made a huge pink car with ridiculously big wheels.  Niall loved the ride, but Fiona was not a fan.  It wasn't as bad as Thunder or Splash, but she was relieved when I told her she didn't have to ride it again.  Next was Mexico and the Three Caballeros - inexplicably one of the kids' favorites.  There was no line so when we came to the un/loading area, we asked if we could ride again and they let us.  While we were riding, I got a call from Doug saying he was done with the interview, but obviously I told him I had to call him back later to get more info.

While we hung out inside Mexico near the fountain (Lachlann was taking pictures of his stuffed animal, Jones), I called Doug to see how it went.  He told me a bit about it, that he thought he had aced the interview, what he thought of the company, etc, etc.  We had to cut the conversation short as Niall was getting a little handsy with the carved wooden animals, though.  When we came out, we saw that Donald was meeting in his Mexican clothes, so we excitedly got in line.  Donald is one of Niall's favorites.  He told me he wanted to show Donald his Incredibles Magic Band, but he kept hiding it behind his back.  I thought he was going to chicken out, so I tried prompting him by telling Donald, "Niall would really like to show you his Magic Band."  Niall surprised me by going, "Because it's.... Mr. Incredible!" and whipping his arm out to show Donald!  It was absolutely adorable and I wish I'd thought of that trick earlier to get him to interact with the characters.  Donald, for his part, jumped backward, covered his eyes with his hands, and really hammed it up.  It was so fun and cute.

We went on Maelstrom next.  Colwyn and Lachlann liked it, but Fiona and Niall were less than thrilled.  We knew it was closing soon, though, so skipping it was just an option.  We all needed a bit of a pick me up by that point, and we had plans to "Snack Around the World" - try a snack or two from each country.  I kind of had a feeling it wasn't going to work out, though, because with the heat we just weren't hungry at all.  However, Norway has a fantastic bakery!  I wanted to get something more specific to Norway, but the kids opted for a chocolate mousse dome in the shape of a Viking helmet.  Oh well.. they enjoyed it at least.  We bumped into our first huge tour group trying to get back to our strollers - a wall of pink that took up the entire main walkway.  So annoying when you've got four kids trailing you and you don't want anyone getting lost!

We wanted to make it to the next showing of American Adventure, so we hustled through China, Germany, and Italy, all the while cracking jokes about how magical it was to travel so fast across the world.  When we approached the American pavilion, I was very surprised and excited to see a character training set going on!  These happen most often in certain areas of Epcot when they need to train characters, but are fairly rare (we'd never seen one before).  You can sometimes meet rare characters, and this set did not disappoint - we got to meet Gideon from Pinocchio!  I hurriedly reminded the kids who he was because there was no line, and the boys were happy to meet him.  Niall and Fiona refused to get out, so we joked with Gideon that they didn't want him turning them into 'bad children.'  He was pretty much the only rare character, but we saw (I think) Minnie, Chip & Dale, Goofy, and King Louie.

By then Doug was texing me that he was entering the park - but the show was about to start.  The Voices of Liberty were performing so we crowded in to watch and the kids found places to sit on the floor.  I've never seen them before, so I'm not sure if this was a special event, but they did a sort of tribute to 9/11.  It was very moving.  We were anxiously watching for Doug when they starting letting people into the theater.  He ran halfway around World Showcase, though (carrying his backpack full of clothes he wore to his interivew), and thankfully, he made it just in time.  The show was enjoyable, and we all appreciated the AC and being off our feet.  We did giggle a little at a few of the out-of-date bits, like Lance Armstrong.

Japan was next - we got two cups of Kaki Gori (shaved ice with syrup), then shopped in the department store.  We picked up Pocky, Choco Bears, and some Hello Kitty souvenirs for Kristine.  Fiona also talked us into letting her get a mermaid Hello Kitty stuffed animal.  We got to the Rose and Crown in time for our reservation, and the hostess who seated us was named Fiona, too.  We sat outside on the patio - normally something we'd have been thrilled over, but given the heat, we were kind of disappointed.  It was a lovely view, though, and ended up not being that hot.  Everyone got Fish and Chips except for me; I got cottage pie.  Everything was delicious, and the I got to have a few bites of the kids' fish.

We snapped a few pics outside of Canada then went to ride Soarin' again.  The wait time was listed at 10 or 15 minutes, but I don't think we waited more than five.  There was a little bit of jostling about who would get to sit next to Fiona (Colwyn and Lachlann were both excited to experience the ride with her, it was sweet), but agreed to keep it fair and have Lachlann sit next to her, since Colwyn sat next to her in the morning.  Colwyn got to sit next to me, and we pretended to smell things other than oranges and pine trees (like when you see the people riding horses, we said, "Oh, there's the horse poop!" and in the LA scenes, we said, "Smell that smog!  Mmm!")

The kids had been asking to do Club Cool all day, so we finally let them after Soarin'.  They had fun tasting all the different sodas - I abstained because it usually gives me a stomachache.  We shopped in Mouse Gears a bit, then found a spot for Illuminations.  I thought we had staked out enough space, and positioned ourselves where we thought some hardscaping would prevent adults from standing in front of the kids, but we had some people disrespect our personal space and kind of ruin our view.  I'm not a xenophobe by any stretch of the imagination, but we did notice on our trip that 9 times out of 10, if people weren't respecting our personal space or following etiquette, they were from overseas.  This was the case for Illuminations, and it was really frustrating because we had been sitting there for a while, holding our spot.  The language barrier is a real complication, because it's not like you can explain the situation.  The result of all this was that we found Illuminations kind of a letdown.  Maybe in a better location we would have enjoyed it more, but I really like Wishes a lot more.  Weirdly, Lachlann said he definitely preferred Illuminations.  Maybe it was the pyrotechnics.  Boys.

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