Okay...before I start the next day's report, I do have to announce a winner from the previous day's report. Renee Perri, all of SIXTEEN years old, was the first to correctly answer the question I had inside the last post. Check out her response in the comments section of the May 1, 2016 post, which, to the best of my knowledge, is 100% correct (including the rumored link between the proposed Dragon Tower coaster and Islands of Adventure's Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge at the Universal Orlando Resort). Renee, you totally rock, and I'm fully convinced that you would easily annihilate me in a Disney World trivia contest!
Now...onto Day 2 of our report...
It took a couple of threats to get the boys to sleep the previous night, thanks to them just being brothers. Of course, that meant that they went to sleep a lot later than we had hoped, which, of course, meant that we had to get their butts out of bed in order to have any chance of making it to rope drop in Epcot.
Sheri always teases me about being the ultimate planner and making sure I put a bathroom break in the plan somewhere (she’s joking, folks…she knows I always put in 1 bathroom break a day muahahah). She probably doesn’t want people to know, though, that she’s probably just as much a planner as I am. She has the clothes picked out down to the underwear that we’re supposed to have on every day. I usually acquiesce and let her have one day where we match; she often sneaks in two days (wait until you read the report of the Universal Orlando trip we just came back from). Today, though, she went fairly easy on the matching trend; we got to more or less pick what we wanted to wear this day. Aaron, Eric, and I all thought something was wrong, but she was good with it; her revenge was the matching shirts for Magic Kingdom the next day.
Anyway, the goal was to hopefully leave at 8:00 to make it past the turnstiles by 8:30 or so. Getting the boys out the door proved to be a little bit of an effort (“Dudes…you know the protocol by now…we’re on Disney time, and this isn’t the first time you’ve experienced it”). I nearly called a friend of mine from the Disney World Trip Report Hall of Fame: Commando Nikki! Nikki is the daughter of Robin Costello, who was affectionately known as “Delswife” in the trip report arena, and one of Robin’s epic reports chronicles Nikki constantly attempting to get her entire family on the move out the door to the parks; it was rumored that a whistle and/or an air horn were part of her arsenal…oh, okay, she used them all the time! If she could have connected up a train horn to blow, she would have used it!!!
We eventually (FINALLY) made it out the door around 8:15 and hoped that the traffic wouldn’t be too horrendous; I recall the very first Disney World Trip that Sheri and I did where we stayed on Black Lake Rd just off of Irlo Bronson and cursed every stop light on Bronson that made us take forever (until I found the back-door entrance to Disney World using Sherberth Rd.). I hoped we could make it to Soarin’ not too long after the park opened as I had FastPasses for Test Track instead of Soarin. The entire vacation would be ruined if we had to wait more than 5 minutes for Soarin!!
Well, from the parking lot of Vacation Village to the Epcot Toll Plaza, it took us a grand total of nine minutes. Current time: 8:26 am.
See? Nothing to worry about.
I could get used to those commute times!
We flashed our APs and got waved through, parked in the second or third row from the entrance, gooped up with sun screen, walked to the entrance, slipped through bag check, and made it through the turnstiles by 8:32!
Honestly, I think it’s a toss-up between the Flower and Garden Festival and the Food and Wine Festival…I don’t know which one I’m a bigger fan of. To a certain extent, they’re kind of morphing into similar experiences, with topiaries during Food and Wine and food kiosks during Flower and Garden. Regardless, I like both, and I REALLY like both when we get to experience both during a single event. We had some time, so we grabbed a couple of pics near the entrance.
@#$%#%@&@$ Selfie was taken, too...
Just before 9, we were positioned near Innoventions West for the daily Dash to the Land Event. As soon as the ropes are dropped, the sea of humanity typically makes a mad run to be the first on Soarin…and today was no different. We love walking and watching people sweat as they try to get ahead of everyone else…why they have to do this, I just don’t know. They often look like fools, they probably will smell for the rest of the day, and, while I could be mistaken, I think that the cast members in charge of Soarin will probably reset the attraction and run it again about 3-4 minutes after the first show. I wish I would have gotten a pic of the dash…we stayed behind and walked with others, all shaking our heads and snickering at the sight.
Eventually, we made our way into the Land where the masses had already made their way into what had to be the absolute best Soarin ride ever. We strolled in and, because we walked, we had to wait a gut-wrenching 5 minutes to start listening to Kronk in the pre-load area (yep…center section, top row...best location to watch the film).
Our vacation was going to be ruined because the wait.
During our excruciating wait for Kronk to tell us the ever-popular “heelLLLLLO and WELcome to SOARin” spiel, we talked up with the family behind us, who gave a lot of information on the Food and Wine Festival Center (get the free chocolate, look for the hidden bathroom and phone charging area, etc.).
Awesome as always, Sheri and I both breathed in the pine and the orange smells during our flight. The official announcement of the extended refurbishment of our favorite attraction came just a few days prior to our arrival, so we wanted to make sure we got on this. After we got off, we almost jumped back in line to ride it again, but we resisted. It’s going to be hard to top the California version of Soarin, but we’ll withhold judgement on the new digital film that will have us Soarin all around the world until we see it a few times.
Our Fastpass window for Tron Tra…errr…Test Track started at 9:25, and it was right at about 9:25 (thanks to that killer wait time at our first attraction). Since we were here, we decided to hop on what we think is one the biggest sleeper attractions in Epcot…Living with the Land. We walked on and just about had the boat to ourselves, until a group came in just before we launched.
Always a tranquil ride, we chilled as we snapped pics in the greenhouse.
With that done, we decided to head out of the Land Pavilion, once again foregoing one of the only attractions we have yet to do at Walt Disney World (the Circle of Life movie). As we trekked over to the Innovations East Breezeway, we caught a couple minutes of the 9:45 fountain show. I seriously could just stand and watch the fountain for an hour and not get bored.
Over to Test Track for our FastPass. We flew right up to the doors to design our car. I let Eric make the car, with a few “suggestions”. I recalled Brian Thompson, a friend from team AllEars, mentioning a few days before we arrived, that he decided to “screw the environment” to make the biggest muscle car for the attraction. I took Brian’s words to heart and convinced Eric to soup up the engine a LOT!!!
We made it a special contest with the rest of the attraction car, as Sheri and Aaron designed a car while one other family in our car designed their own collectively.
We won the overall challenge…hands down (though we did get our asses handed to us in the efficiency category). Quoting Brian’s reply on Facebook, “You have done well, young Padawan” .
We had plenty of time built into our schedule to take in the Festival, so we headed into the Wonders of Life Pavilion (yes, I’m still going to call it that, even though it’s now the Festival Center). Once we were in, I hopped into the line for the Welcome Center to see if we could get the ever-popular Festival Passports, and I recognized the cast member who was manning the entrance where we got into the park. He remembered my shirt (and the banter we had at the park entrance), and we joked about who was stalking who. I tried to get him to spill where he would be stationed next so we could meet up again, but he wouldn’t give up the information. I knew I should have signed up as an interrogator for SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) during my Secondclass/junior year at the Air Force Academy (I selected Basic Cadet Training Cadre Over SERE). Had I done so, I might have been able to get his entire schedule (along with his checking account, social security number, and birthday).
We walked around and, recalling what our new friends from the Soarin queue told us, headed towards the back of the building to grab some samples from Ghirardelli, find the hidden bathrooms (which, while we did find, we did not use), and look at some absolutely amazing scenes created entirely of chocolate.
As we left the Festival Center and tried showing the boys the solar panels on the roof of Ellen’s Energy Adventure, we ran into our school’s band/choir directors again, and we caught up on how the trip and their research was going. We joked about our research starting in a few minutes when we made our way over to World Showcase for the food kiosks. They agreed wholeheartedly.
Before our Fooding and WINING, we had to take a moment to reflect on our grand and miraculous spaceship that has sailed through the universe of time; we had to thank the Phoenicians, smell Rome burning, and communicate from somewhere other than Earth in 1969.
(Sheri always likes getting some shots of her future)...
Woohoo...I got all four of us on the globe!