Saturday, February 29, 2020

Florida Trip Day Two: Epcot (Part One)

With Mickey Mouse at Epcot
Epcot is most educational, relaxing of the four Disney Parks. The rides are more about learning than screaming. Actually none of the rides at Disney made me scream, only the ones at Great Adventure, Universal and Sea World have done that. But at Epcot, you can look into science and technology and then stroll around the World Showcase visiting pavilions of different countries. Very restful. But this was Presidents' Day Week with huge mobs roaming around, getting in your way with their strollers and taking selfies.

My cold was much better on this second day of my Florida vacation (Sun. Feb. 16) with my brother and we had our three Fast Passes for Epcot. The first was Journey Into Imagination. The Fast Pass line was short except we did get stuck behind three people with mobility issues in scooters. Fortunately, they didn't hold us up too much (how dare they!). The ride was a simplistic journey through the five senses led by the animated magical dragon Figment and Monty Python's Eric Idle as a no-nonsense scientist. Child-like and mildly amusing. We had time to kill before our next Fast Pass (Mission: Space), so we took in the Disney/Pixar Short Film festival in 3-D since the theater was right next to the Imagination complex. It was a program of three shorts, two of which I had previously seen--Get a Horse featuring vintage Mickey and Minnie, and Feast, an Oscar-winning short about a dog and his master. The third was a cute piece called Piper about a baby sandpiper.

Goofy at WDW Epcot's Garden Grill
We squeezed in Reflections of China, a 360-degree, short film, at the China pavilion, then went to our next Fast Pass, Mission: Space. You have two options on this simulated rocket ride, a mild orbit of Earth or a more intense voyage to Mars. Of course, we took the second one and it was one of the better rides on the entire trip. You are strapped into a simulated NASA rocket and you feel the gravitational forces as it accelerates and the visuals take you into space. You push buttons to make you feel like you're actually controlling the trip. Then you land at a supposed colony on the red planet.

Lunch at the Garden Grill followed with another expensive character encounter. Chip and Dale (I couldn't tell them apart), Pluto, and Mickey in a farmer's outfit hugged us. As I felt the sweat seeping through Pluto's costume, I pictured the poor Disney cast member, probably a petite young woman, suffocating inside the dog outfit. The meal was very generous. There was no menu, you are just brought heaps of comfort food like turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, then a delightful strawberry shortcake with gobs of whipped cream. The eatery is on a circular disc which revolves very slowly so you can see over the farmhouse set for Living with the Land attraction.

Our third Fast Pass was for the best ride ever--Soarin' Around the World. This was not at Epcot that last time I visited 20 years ago. You are suspended in airplane-like seats and aerial images from around the world are projected in front of you, so that it feels like you're flying.

With Chip or Dale, I couldn't tell them apart
Once you've used up your three Fast Passes, I thought you could order as many as you wanted for use on the same day. But no, apparently you're only allowed one more. Maybe the rules have changed, but there have been several vlogs posted by Disney fans that you could get endless fast passes after your initial three are gone. (BTW, have you noticed there seem to be hundreds of people who have the free time to post daily videos on YouTube about their trips to Disney, planning for their trips to Disney, packing for their trips to Disney, eating at Disney, etc.)

The only Fast Pass available at that point was for a sleepy boat ride of an agricultural lesson called Living with the Land, so we did that and then watched a short film called Awesome Planet narrated by that straight guy from Modern Family (I forget his name, too lazy to look it up). We checked out the Epcot Experience, an exhibit showcasing future attractions including one devoted to Mary Poppins and another for Ratatouille. Then we strolled through the World Showcase and decided to take the gondola to Hollywood Studios. This would mark the beginning of our battle with the Star Wars attractions.

Day Two (Part One)--Epcot 
Journey Into Imagination
Disney/Pixar Short Film Festival
Reflection of China
Mission: Space (Mars--Orange Option)
Lunch at the Garden Grill with Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale
Soarin' Around the World
Living with the Land
Awesome Planet
The Epcot Experience
Stroll through World Showcase
Gondola to Hollywood Studios

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