Monday, May 04, 2009

Disney Vacation Day 1 - EPCOT

So we made our way to our hotel after the Budget Rent A Car debacle and after dropping off our luggage and a quick lunch we went to Disney's EPCOT.

Here's a view of Epcot from the window of our Hotel room:

We took the shuttle from the hotel and arrived at EPCOT. After the obligatory (and very cursory - I could have carried a lot of harmful items in undetected) bag search, we went to will call to pick up our tickets. Leah, being under 3, got in free and didn't need a ticket, but Abby proudly got her very own.

As a security feature of our own, we wrote, using a sharpie marker, my cell phone number on the upper right arm of each kid. That way if they got lost or separated, and obviously Leah at 2 has no idea what a phone number is, and I'd bet a 5 year old under stress wouldn't remember one either we could be reunited in short order. Luckily and through extreme attention and constant vigilance verging on the paranoiac, we never lost either kid throughout the trip. We did however receive tons of compliments from fellow Disney-goers (typically Great idea, I wish I'd thought of that) and even from Disney cast members who said they wished everyone did it as it would make reuniting a lost child with their parents a lot easier.

We didn't try to do everything as the day was getting short so we first went to the Disney character photostop, where the kids lined up to have their photos taken with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Daffy and Pluto. They loved it. On first seeing Mickey as they got to the front of the line, they both ran and gave mickey a hug. The Disney staff were well organized and the line moved smoothly, the photographer knew the best place for me to stand to take pictures and only after I was done did he take pictures (that I'm sure will be much, much better than mine - still to be looked at on the Disney photo website). The efficiency, friendliness, great service, and attention to detail of the Disney cast members was no accident and seen throughout our visit. Cast members were always helpful in answering questions, even with tons of people about and were always smiling and personable - which has to be hard dealing with tourists and kids day in and day out.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends Ride. You enter the line, get on a conveyor and walk into a clam shell that closes once you enter. You then go past holograms and the actual aquarium (with some actual divers inside). Lots of fun and the kids were enchanted and even a bit scared by the shark and anglerfish popping up.

One of the nice things about Disney is the incredible attention to detail.

On the way in to the Seas with Nemo ride I saw this on the wall (expand the photo and read the Tanks A Lot Diveshop sign) -- cute and the attention to detail to such small and incidental items like this were constants throughout all the theme parks:

Then we saw Turtle Talk with Crush - an animated California Surfin' Turtle that actually interacts with the kids- including repeating their names, seeing what clothes they are wearing and answering their questions. For the adults in the audience that was an incredible display of technology. The kids accepted it without a second thought.

After Turtle Talk we went to the United Kingdom exhibit and had Fish n Chips (really good fish n chips) for dinner. We then stayed and watched the fireworks display, which was incredible.

It was a very impressive firework, laser and music show.

Then began the EPCOT Death March (part one - we weren't done with EPCOT). Take two tired kids, one stroller and a long way to the exit of the park. In short order I was carrying one kid and Natasha was pushing the other in the stroller. A good way to work off the Fish n' Chips, and a forecast of our further park excursions. We got back to the shuttle bus pickup and after a while got on the bus got back to the hotel and promptly fell asleep to recharge for the next day.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Man, I remember that long trudge back to the monorail from the park. Sue had one kid and I had the other and we carried them both. Then the shuttle to the parking lot. Then the 45 minute drive back to the in-laws afterward. At least you were on-site!

It was a lot of fun to watch the kids enjoy the park though - especially the up close and personal time with the characters. Disney does it right.