Saturday, September 1, 2012

Walt Disney World's 40th continued

    Ever take a red eye flight? It can be quite exhausting if, like me, you can't sleep on planes! Although I can't sleep, Eric seems to have no problem knocking out on a flight. I will say that it definitely saves time. Leaving home at 7 AM to arrive at 7 PM is just crazy! With the red eye we arrive just before 7 AM and BAM! We are in Florida!! (or as Eric and I like to "sing song" the state's name, "Floridaaaaaaaa!")

    Being tired we make it to the hotel via Disney's Magical Express. You are whisked away to your resort on a Disney themed shuttle (included in hotel price). The crew picks up your luggage from the airport and delivers it to your room. It's like a limo, but not a limo!

    Even though we are pretty tired we knew exactly what we wanted to do. Our plan for day one is to visit Blizzard Beach. It's a water park with a unique story. There was an out of the ordinary snow storm right in the middle of Florida! A gator decided to open a ski resort for all to enjoy. But, it turns out it's too hot in Florida and the water started to melt. Well, now what's left is the melting water and the pools of water. There's even a huge lazy river! (which is what we had our eyes on)

Summit Plummet
Lazy River

    This snow blanketed water park is home to one of the scariest water slides I've ever ridden. SUMMIT PLUMMET! It is a 12 story drop straight down to the pool. Eric was very jazzed at the idea of facing one of the great fears in Central Florida! I was slowly walking behind him but had no intention to chicken out. The park has a ski lift that takes you up the side of the mountain. Very cool idea!!

    When you sit at the top of that slide it's like looking at all your fears and doubts about the world and saying, "Yes. You may take over." The queue was very short. We watched the few ahead of us take the plunge and immediately my instinct is to not do this. Eric was not bothered but was maybe a tad nervous. Even though I had nerves I had to do this. Eric went over before I could blink and the attendant looked at me. "Cross your arms, push yourself, then cross your hands."
    The rush you feel as you "fall" is exhilarating! You leave the slide for just a moment. It was so quick that I don't even remember if I made as much as a peep. I was already at the bottom and could see Eric flashing a smile at me. I told him, "I think I'm good. I did it and I'm good".

The gator got a little carried away!

The Gator that started it all!

    We spent the rest of our time there relaxing (sleeping), enjoying the wave pool, splashing down the various slides, and taking lots of pictures. With a camera in my hand I am unstoppable! We found the theme displayed in cheeky vignettes throughout the park. It was a little sad but funny to take photos along side the melting snowman family. Aww, they're dying.

    After this visit we have seen both of Disney's World's waterparks. I have to say that as an adult, Typhoon Lagoon is the better park. The uniqueness of the themes are both great, but Typhoon Lagoon is a little more relaxed. One even has that "I'm stuck on a tropical island" sensation (although fast food is present). If all you readers out there have a chance, visit both.

    Although we had some good times at Blizzard Beach it was time to move on. Eric and I both agreed that since Extra Magic Hours were taking place at our favorite park, we had to go! We hit the room for a quick refresh and were out the door to resort shuttles that would take us to EPCOT.

    Some friends think we are a little nutty for not renting a car. But why rent a car when Magical Express is your to/from airport transportation and the resort has shuttles? I think they don't like to wait. But I don't want to drive. I do that enough while I live my everyday life. In this trip report you'll see how we conquer the WDW transportation system.

    Getting to EPCOT always brings about excitement in Eric and myself. This is the park that we can just sit and watch stuff happen. We know we've made it to the park when we hear the entrance area music. I have read on other trip reports and also heard from friends that the EPCOT area music is special to them. It's just so 1980s/electronic retro.

    It was late afternoon/early evening now and the park icon, Spaceship Earth, stands out amongst anything else. To those who haven't visited, Spaceship Earth is that "golf ball looking thing". (at least that's what I knew it as when I was younger) The structure houses a favorite attraction of ours called by the same name, Spaceship Earth. It's an omnimover/conveyor type attraction where you travel through the ages of communication. It's what our good friend Karla once called "Epcot's Thesis Statement".

    I think Eric and I are lucky in that we share a lot of favorite attractions. We both also keep a very open mind about what our schedule is to be. Since Spaceship Earth is literally at the park entry we queued up for it. It's narrated by Dame Judi Dench and we have a blast imitating the narration afterward. Yes, we are dorks but we love each other! The wait for this attraction always is shorter than it looks. And most times, like in this case, it's merely a walk up the ramp.

    One could easily spend three consecutive days at EPCOT as they see all the offerings. On this night our goals are summed up by the phrase "Do whatever sounds good". During Extra Magic hours only hotel guests can experience attractions, so the lines are short. While the park was still open to all guests, we decide to try the Mexico Pavillion's new Taquila bar La Cava del Tequila. The menu is pretty vast and has a few drinks I wasn't too sure about, like the Jalapeño Margarita. Eric ordered the Midnight Blue margarita mixed with Agave Tequila, lime juice, Curaçao with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim. I ordered the Pineapple Margarita comprised of also Agave Tequila, ginger liqueur, pineapple nectar, lime juice, agave nectar, served on the rocks. You can see both drinks here. They gave us a little bit of a buzz.

    Hey look at that! We both just got a text message! Our friends Daniel and Josh just happened to be at EPCOT as well and thought we should meet up. They were on the far end so we said we'd meet after the pyrotechnic show ILLUMINATIONS.

    Meanwhile, we sat within the Mexico pyramid, sipping our adult beverages, and gaze across the plaza. This pyramid has that similar trick Pirates of the Carribean uses. When you enter the pyramid it appears as though you are outside, during the twilight hours, in a plaza. From there stores, eateries,     the new bar, and a boat ride branch off. Eric and I glance at each other and say, "Here we are. We made it." Moments like this are perfect and I'll always remember them. There is plenty more to see, but we are very thankful we could make another trip.

School Bread!!!

    On our way to stake out a spot for the pyro show we notice we have time for a snack. And, not just any snack but a pastry! We head over to the next World Showcase Pavillion, Norway. The bakery there has a great little pastry called School Bread. I haven't researched as to where the name comes from but it's excellent! The donut type pastry is covered in coconut shavings, and has a custard at the core. We visited so many times before our friend Miley discovered it. How could we not know??? My point? If you find yourself at EPCOT, try this little treat and you'll love it.

    With most things we love, Eric and I both LOVE the pyro show called Illuminations. It always happens at park closing and blows my mind. This show doesn't make Disney references as you would find at Disneyland or during World of Color. This show is about everyone and how we all live on this Earth. Sounds so cheesy right!! (well its not) If nothing else, the pyro is excellent! Guests can watch from all around the huge lagoon that sits at the center of World Showcase. Referring back to our friend Karla, she aptly called this show "EPCOT's Conclusion". It ties everything you saw during your EPCOT experience together.
Show Finale

    After the show ended we found our pals Josh and Daniel. They had been there a few days before us and also were looking forward to the Magic Kingdom's 40th Anniversary. They told us a few stories from their trip and the four of us ran around the park. They too can appreciate the downright goodness of the park and also when to poke fun. Like the Judi Dench narration, you must make fun of it and love it simultaneously.

    As you may have guessed, there's so much to do at EPCOT that we couldn't possibly visit all attractions. As the trip progresses, we'll visit again. After we closed down the park, "tired" was an understatement. We had been awake too long and our next day would take us "into" the movies!

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