Thursday, December 15, 2016

Disney Daze - Part Three

And now, another exciting installment of Dave-El and the El Family as they explore the Friggin' Happiest Friggin' Place On Friggin' Earth....

Part Three 

Tuesday, December 6th, the El family made our way to EPCOT. But first….WAFFLES!

If you get breakfast anywhere on site at Disney World, chances are you’ll find waffles but not just any old waffles, no sir. These are waffles shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head!

Of course, precious little in Disney World does not have the imprimatur of Mickey’s head in some form or fashion. Still, these waffles look unique and they taste great. Seriously, there are few things that taste better than a Mickey Mouse waffle.  So our day began with a short walk over to the Old Port Royale to find some waffles. Which we did. What we didn’t find, right away at least, was a place to eat them.

Randie’s hated enemies had struck. Random Cheerleader Zombies were EVERYWHERE! All ponytailed and perky, giggling and babbling. Seriously it was like being at a convention of human sized tour guide Barbies. It was more than a large crowd of cheerleaders. It was an infestation.

Eventually seating was secured thanks to a very kind and friendly man who was cleaning up after the Random Cheerleader Zombies.

And the waffles? The waffles were so GOOD!

And now… off to EPCOT!

EPCOT was the 2nd Walt Disney World theme park opened in Florida after the Magic Kingdom. EPCOT is about SCIENCE! Centrally located near the entrance is what I called EL GOLF BALL DE GRANDE! 

Disney calls it Spaceship Earth which made the news the night before by being transformed into the Death Star in advance of the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (Coming to a theater near you. Check your local listings.)

Inside the EL GOLF BALL DE GRANDE… er, Spaceship Earth is a ride that takes you through time, watching mankind evolve from cavemen drawing on walls and using rocks for tool to developing into the advance beings we are today, bitching about slow Wi-Fi connections and voting for Donald Trump. We have come so far, haven’t we? 

Meanwhile, over this wonderful land of knowledge, a storm was brewing. Heralded by a fast moving wind, a hard rain began to fall. This prompted us to buy our first souvenirs of the day: Disney rain ponchos. 

Here’s the thing about Florida: it hardly ever rains and then it does… a LOT!

Here’s how the weather goes in Florida:

No rain.

No rain.

No rain.

No rain.

No rain.

No rain.

No rain.


No rain.

No rain.

Protected by the mighty shields of our plastic Disney rain ponchos, we made our way to Mission Space. This is a simulator ride that replicates a journey to Mars. You’re sent on your way by Gary Sinise. 

I know that seems oddly specific but there he is on screen, going down the list of stuff we have to do to get into space, get to Mars and NOT DIE! There are two versions of the ride: wussy and extreme nausea. We opted for wussy, much to Randie’s disappointment and Andrea and I’s relief. Andrea could not handle the extreme version of this ride. She could barely handle the wussy level. Here’s the deal: Gary Sinise barks out orders on which buttons the riders are supposed to push in order to survive the ride and make it to Mars. Thank God this ride is pretty programmed to do its own thing because Andrea’s over in her seat flailing away, slapping at whatever blinking button that might be blinking in front of her.

Next up is Soarin’. Sad to say we did not get to this ride at all in 2009. Without a Fast Pass or a donkey load of camping equipment for the regular line, it just ain’t happening. We did get in for 2011 with a Fast Pass and we had Fast Pass ready for Soarin’ this year. Once again, a rather famous person shows up on screen to give us instructions, Patrick Warburton who played Puddy on Seinfeld and was the voice of Kronk in the Emperor’s New Groove. By the way, Mr. Warburton will be Lemony Snicket in the new Netflix adaption of An Unfortunate Series of Events.

Soarin’ is another simulator ride that makes you feel like you’re flying free high in the air over cities and mountains and oceans and forests and… oh, it’s such a marvelous experience. Even with the old couple sitting next to me commenting on everything.

“Ooh, Harold! It’s the Eiffel Tower!”

“Sure is tall, ain’t it?”

“I think it’s romantic!”

“You think everything’s romantic, Edna.”

“Is that the Taj Mahal, Harold?”

“Could be, Edna. Don’t smell any curry, though.”

“Oh no! We’re getting really close to those mountains, Harold!”

“It’s just a simulation, Edna.”

“Look, Harold! We’re over the Artic!”

“I think it’s Antarctica, Edna.” 

“Isn’t Antarctica in the Artic, Harold?”

“No, Edna. Antarctica is in Antarctica.”

“That doesn’t make sense, Harold.”

Speaking of talking, we stopped by for an exhibit in The Living Seas where Crush the Turtle from Finding Nemo chats with people in the audience. It’s actually kind of funny and cool. Yes, it has been updated to include new characters introduced in Finding Dory. Amazingly enough, Crush can react to individual people in the audience.

“Pshaw! I see an old dude with white on top and a red Polo shell. What’s your name dude?”

“Oh my, Harold! That turtle is talking to you!”

“I don’t think so, Edna.”

“Not cool, dude! Talkin’ to ya right now, dontcha know.” 

“This is so exciting, Harold!”

“OK, I’m gonna to talk to one of the little humans instead. Hey, little dude! What’s your name?”

“I peed my pants.” 

"You know, I'm gonna swim back into the big ol' blue, dudes."

Eventually we made our away over to the World Showcase. If the main part of EPCOT is dedicated to science, this part of the park is about cultures around the world. Areas dedicated to replicating even in just a small way various parts of the world such as Mexico, Italy, Japan, Morocco and England.  

There's even a section of the World Showcase that looks at that strange and exotic land known as... AMERICA! 

Inside the American exhibit (AMERICA!) is a show combining film, animations and automatons to tell the story of... AMERICA! While we were there, there was an exhibit of Washington buildings and such made out of gingerbread.

Inside the capital were little gingerbread politicians. You could tell they were politicians; they weren't doing anything.



Right across from EPCOT's America (AMERICA!) was a performance by a choir and orchestra performing Christmas music. 

In our previous visits in 2009 and 2011, we had dinner in the Norway exhibit. In a bid to keep me from saying the word "fjord" way too many times with what I think is a perfectly acceptable Norwegian accent, this trip we had dinner in China at a restaurant called Nine Dragons. It was a very lovely place to eat. Randie had a fish entree that was not deep fried in stick form. 

I'm not sure what the story is with Randie's expression in this photo. Maybe this is the part where I explained just how much food costs in Disney World. 

I really like EPCOT's World Showcase at night. Yes, it's a collection of facades to look like different parts of the world but in the place of shadows on light, one can almost get lost in the fantasy of strolling through a different country. And the lights along the edge of the lagoon at the center of the showcase are always a beautiful sight to see.

Speaking of the lagoon...

We stayed to watch EPCOT's fireworks show which takes place in the heart of the lagoon. I groused a bit about having to stay for the show in the Magic Kingdom the night before. But this is one show I can really get behind sticking around to watch. First of all, fireworks are just a part of the spectacle. At the center of it all over the water is an illuminated globe with light and images dancing over it's surface. The sky is split with lasers while plumes of fire dance on the water. And then there is the fireworks which are among the most spectacular I have ever seen. I don't have any pictures of it because it's such an entrancing spectacle, I don't even think to hold up my phone.  But here's a pic I found online to give you a taste of it.

And a fun time was had by all. 

But it was time to go. 

And fun time was over.

We had spent even longer at EPCOT on Tuesday than we did Magic Kingdom on Monday so we were very tired. Still, we had to stagger with what felt like thousands of people as we all made our way to the exit. My feet felt like a pair of cacti that were on fire as the bones in my lower back were grinding to dust. Finally we make it to the bus. Where's it's standing room only once more. At least this time the Random Cheerleader Zombies were relatively few in number and not causing too much trouble. 

The previous night we made the mistake of disembarking our bus at the Martinique stop because our rooms were in the Martinique section of the Caribbean Beach Resort. This time we were smart and exited at Old Port Royale instead. 

And wandered about as we wondered where our room was. Our room was in building 25. We found building 26, then 24, then 26 again. After much painful weary wondering about, we finally found our building and eventually found our room. It took two nights of trial and error but we finally figured out how to get back to our room. 

Ah, the joys of being on vacation.

Hey there! The blog goes live with another post at 5 PM Eastern Time in the United States as we look at Wonder Woman's employment status. Answer: not good. 

And we're back live with another post 12 hours after that as my family's adventures continue in the Friggin' Happiest Friggin' Place On Friggin' Earth with Part Four of Disney Daze.

Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

This is a panoramic shot taken by Randie of the World Showcase lagoon shoreline. 

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