Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Florida Sunshine & Sweet A/C

The great thing about a kitchenette in you villa:  breakfast.  Tuesday morning--and every morning there-after--we ate breakfast at "home."  It helped to reduce the morning stress load a bit, allowing for a more relaxed getting-ready time.  On the other hand, because we weren't scheduled to be out of the room on those mornings we were usually later to the day's park than desired.

On this morning we hopped the monorail at the hotel and rode to the "bus terminal and ticketing center" where we climbed off, went down the steep ramp, around to the other side, back up another steep ramp, and waited for the monorail to Epcot.

Pulling into the Epcot station, Bug got an up-close view of the giant silver golf-ball that is Spaceship Earth.  His response, "Big ball!  It's really heavy," had us laughing.

The first thing we did, after getting our bearings. was head straight to Soarin' for a Fastpass.  I went inside, while everyone else waited outside.  It was crazy inside the Land Pavillion:  I had to walk down a ramp around the perimeter, then down steps (or an escalator), then throughout the center of the building just to get to the Fastpass line.  I probably waited ten minutes in a line that looked much shorter than it really was, but came out with return times of 1:30 - 2:30.  Not bad.

It was maybe around 10 in the morning and already in the upper 80's, promising to be a HOT day.  I remember thinking, Thank goodness we're in Epcot with ill the air-conditioned buildings.  Everyone was chitin water as we headed next door to check out The Seas with Nemo and Friends.

Tom and I delighted in the seagulls out front.  They were from the movie Finding Nemo, and true to their characters as they stood on the rocks and cawed, "Mine. Mine. Mine."  It was a great intro into the building that houses a 5.7 million gallon salt water aquarium environment.  Walking into the building took you under the sea.

The ride had no wait, and gave more under water details, such as walking under a fishing boat like the one Nemo dares to approach in the movie.  We climbed into "clamobiles" and started our journey through an animated undersea world.  At the end the animated sea creatures "swam" with the live fish and dolphins in the large tank.  It was really cool to see the combination.  Truly a great work of imagineering.

Afterward, we went to visit Bruce in his shipwreck playground.  Then we saw ginormous manatees. They swam into the viewing area right after we walked up.  I've never seen them in person and was shocked at their size.

Bug & Daddy on
Journey into Imagination with Figment

On to the Imagination! Pavillion and the Journey into Imagination with Figment.  I LOVE Figment!  I just had to say that.  The adorable purple dragon gives lots of laughs as his trouble making escapades wreak havoc through the professor's "tour."  Afterward, we walked through a fun learn-n-play area called ImageWorks where we played with motion and sound, and I even created my own "Figment."  (He was green, and I named him Boober.)  This was the only part of ImageWorks that Bug actually liked.

Bug making his Figment
Creating "Boober"

Jumping water
Reverse waterfall
We watched the jumping water and reverse waterfall for a a few minutes, I inwardly lamenting the fact that nobody else showed any interest in seeing Captain E.O.  Then we headed for the World Showcase for lunch.

Above the reverse waterfall

Grandpop & Bug
with new umbrella
Happy, Doc, Grumpy & Snow White
We made it as far as Italy, pausing to snap pictures of topiaries in the form os beloved Disney characters and a beautiful little train garden.  We bought a panda umbrella for Bug to shade him from the beating sun.

Train garden
Lunch was the best pizza I have ever had grace my tastebuds.  The men had pepperoni.  Mom and I shared a white pizza with some special cheese, artichokes, and--the creme dela creme--white truffle oil.  Everything is better with white truffle oil.  It was all served by an authentic italian waiter.  I could barely understand him through the thick timbre of his accent.

We went no farther into the World Showcase because it was so dreadfully hot, and we were tired.  Besides, we had a Fastpass to claim.

Tom took Bug into Innoventions while the rest of us went to Sorain'.  We were early, so we hung around the gift shop for a while, Tommy admiring the pins.  I was captivated by tiny plants encapsulated in glass and growing in some sort of clear gel.  The labels said they were grown from samples taken from plants grown in Living with the Land.  (Another attraction I wanted to see but missed.  There's just not enough time for everything.)

Soarin' was awesome!  Other than the feet of people sitting in the row in front of us, this ride really made the effect of hang gliding feel real.  We felt the wind as we soared over the Golden Gate bridge, Napa Valley, and more.  At last we came gliding back to Walt Disney World over Main Street USA with its building lit up at night.  Then we soared into the night sky as Wishes was ending with the last firework so big it engulfed the sky, and its boom rocked us where we sat.  Awesome ride.  I highly recommend you give it a try.

It was back to the room for a nap afterward.  We did look at Test Track, but the line was ridiculous and the Fastpass return time was during our dinner time.  When we came back a little later to check the times again, Fastpass was sold out.  It was a shame because that was the one ride Tom was looking forward to.

Dinner was at The Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eyore.  This place is in the Magic Kingdom, so we walked from the hotel.  Of course, as we entered the park the Move It!  Shake It!  Celebrate It!  Street Party was in full swing.  Luckily it was just a bit farther up the road than we had to go, so we missed the craziness as we took our little side street.

We were seated pretty quickly, and hit the buffet before any characters made it to us.  Tommy's plate had a few grapes and a roll on it.  Not nearly enough food for a 13 yea old boy walking around Walt Disney World.  When we told him he had to eat more than that, he said he wasn't hungry.  A bit later he said he didn't feel good.  We got him to eat grapes and sip apple juice, but not much more.

On the other hand, Eyore was coming!  I love Eyore.  Bug wanted nothing to do with him, so I gave him a big hug, got his autograph, and posed for the camera.

Next was Tigger.  He's Dad's favorite, so Dad was the Bug holder for the Tigger pictures and autographs.  When he left, Tigger bounced away.

Piglet and Pooh came right behind each other, Piglet first.  At first, Bug was shy with Piglet, but the big pink softy had skills.  He was even able to take Bug's nuk out of his mouth and get huge, laughing smiles from him.  Pooh didn't have so much, but Piglet returned during Pooh's visit and we got more smiles.

Then we went back home because Tommy still wasn't feeling well.  Mom and I were convinced he was dehydrated, and we told him he had to drink.  It would make him feel better.  He did eat some grapes too, but because he wasn't feeling well, he didn't eat or drink enough to hold back the inevitable sickness that comes with being severely dehydrated.  He got sick.  Tom got him some Powerade and told him to keep sipping.

Because of all this, we didn't get back to Epcot like we wanted.  We were going to go for the Magic Hours only available to guests staying onsite.  After watching IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, Tom could ride Test Track and I could take Tommy on Mission: SPACE.  But alas, Epcot Magic hours would have to wait until Thursday.  (And, boy is THAT a story.)

So Tom and I watched Wishes with the music from the smokers' area at the main hotel while going to get Pepto, beer, and wine.  Then Mom and I took Bug down to see the pool.

Bay Lake Tower has a private pool, separate from the Contemporary's pool.  A key card is required to get in.  One side has a zero entry, meaning that it's like a beach and you walk in instead of using stairs.  Needless to say, Bug got soaked in his clothes.  He also soaked me and Grandmom, so I had Daddy bring down his swim diaper and trunks along with my swimsuit.  We all had a grand time.  It was the first time Daddy got to see Bug swim, and he was impressed.  Bug was also thrilled to show off his tricks to Daddy, and to swim with him since Daddy had worn his swim trunks, too.

Flowers at one pool in Epcot
We had an early night compared to the rest of the week, but we still had a good day.  Epcot was full of beautiful flowers, trees, and topiaries.  I missed visiting the Pixie Garden where Tinkerbell and her fairy friends frolicked (in topiary form) amongst the spring blooms and blossoms.  There was also an area dedicated to butterflies, but we only saw that in passing.
Floating flowers going into
World Showcase

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