Finally, our last day at the parks. It’s been a pretty eventful week. A bit tiring, but definitely memorable. Today we had reservations at EPCOT early, 4:45, so we planned on spending the day there again. There was a lot at this park that we haven’t yet done. Also, mom and dad really like the world showcase, so there seemed plenty to do for the entire family.
We woke up late again today. It was a bit of a rough night with Quin. He had been very good all week up until, and for the most part including tonight. This time, though, he was up a little bit in the night, not awake, but fussing. It made it a bit difficult to get really good sleep. Ethan didn’t have any troubles, though, which was all that really mattered.
Since we got up later anyway, Ethan and I decided to go for a quick swim when there was nobody in the pool. We had some fun playing Marco-Polo and Leech, but also got to do some aerial stunts. Specifically, I threw Ethan in the air and he did flips. He was surprisingly good at them, so that was pretty enjoyable. Of course you can only do that if nobody else is in the pool with you, especially a life guard. This morning, all of those conditions were met.
After a quick serve breakfast, we caught the bus to EPCOT. Quin and I got to ride with a woman and her grandchild who were from Menominee Falls and Slinger respectively. They were very nice people. The grandmother was only 54 years old and was there with her daughter and granddaughter only. Grandpa had stayed home to run the family business that they had just sold the year prior. He had a two year contract to continue working there until he was going to retire at 55. They had a house in Arizona and one up by Wisconsin Rapids where they planned to spend their retirement. I envy them…
Epcot Take III – Ethan, Jenny, and Brandon
We got to EPCOT around 11:00 and decided to split up. Jenny, Ethan, and I were going to try to get on some rides in Futureworld while Grandma, Grandpa, and Quin were going to take in the World Showcase. After splitting up, I took all of our passes and Fast Passed Soarin'. Even though I was early, our Fast Pass tickets didn’t come due until after 3:00. No problem. We were planning on meeting mom and dad around 1:00, so we could all go and check it out. The bad part was that there were 2 hours until we could Fast Pass again.
Knowing that, we headed over to the other side of the park to see if we could get on Mission: Space or Test Track. The line for Mission: Space was only 20 minutes long, but Ethan didn’t really want to go on that. Instead, we got into line for Test Track, which was 60 minutes long, but we didn’t have anywhere to go anyway. GM sponsored this ride, and the line decorations were pretty neat. They had different stations that explained different stages of actual test tracks. They also had some literature of one of their actual test track centers in Michigan where they had over 100 miles of specifically designed roads in which to test their cars. While in line, we got to see how Disney measures the length of their lines. It appears to be an automated system. At the front of the line is a box. When that box beeps, an attendant goes over and grabs one of may red lanyards and scans it at the box. They then give this lanyard to the next person that gets into line. When that person gets to the front, another attendant takes the lanyard and scans it again, and viola, line time is determined. It is really very accurate.
The ride was very cool. Six of us got into a car that took us through several test courses. Of course they had the mandatory orientation video with a famous person giving the talk. I think this person was the guy from A Mighty Wind and Best in Show. Anyway, the different agility and brake tests were all fine, but the real fun started when they took us on the outdoor track and sped up to somewhere around 100 MPH. I’m just guessing on the time, I don’t really know how fast we were going, but it seemed very fast and was very fun.
After Test Track, our Fast Pass was available to use again, so we fast passed Mission: Space under the guise that there is a kids and and adult version of the ride, which there is. We had about 40 minutes to wait for that, so we tried to get on the Universe of Energy ride which was 40 minutes long and we walked right onto. After an 8 minute introductory video, they opened the doors to reveal an area with many church-pew looking benches. After getting about half way into that area, Ethan decided we weren’t going to go on that ride and tried to leave. After getting about half way out the exit, he decided we could go on it, and we went back in. Half-way in again, he decided finally that this wasn’t the ride for us, and we left for good. Oh well.
Instead, we spent some time in a playground and in the Walt Disney Flower and Garden Exhibit Pavilion, which had a bunch of flower and garden stuff. While there we saw a video that detailed the making of some of the various topiaries around the park. These things are amazingly detailed as you have seen in some of our pictures. All of the matter that goes into these topiaries is organic and they don’t use any paint as far as I can tell. It also underscored just how many people work for this company as there were dozens that worked on these topiaries alone, not to mention the greenhouse, modeling, and welding people that all coordinate to make these structures. These things are so complex that they have their own internal irrigation systems!
At last, it was time for us to go into Mission: Space. At the beginning of the Fast Pass line, one of the “Cast” asked us if we wanted the Green or Orange experience. Green was for “babies,” he said, or orange for “big boys.” I said, “I think he can handle it,” referring to Ethan. He said it wasn’t Ethan he was worried about. An astute observation. Under the guise of color-blindness, I told him we would go on the orange, while still convincing Jenny and Ethan we were going on the beginners ride. When we finally got in, Jenny caught on to the fact that we were on the adult ride, but Ethan still didn’t know. It didn’t matter. He loved it. The ride itself was pretty amazing. They put you in this spaceship in astronaut couches. You are strapped in so that you can see a screen and some controls in front of you. On the screen they show a movie. It starts on the launch pad and simulates G-force for takeoff that was very realistic. As far as I could tell, they rotated the cabins and spun them to do the simulation. Very cool. This went on for another 5 minutes or so when we finally landed on Mars with a dramatic landing on the edge of a cliff. After getting off, I explained to Ethan that it was the adult ride. It turned out to be his favorite ride in any park! Jenny, on the other hand, was not so impressed.
We still had an hour or so before our Fast Pass for Soarin' came available. We had long since called mom and dad to coordinate a later meeting time, so we went to the Journey into Imagination with Figment. This was a pretty lame ride that had a dragon in it and was hosted by Eric Idle. Nothing too great here. Outside of this building were the dancing fountains that Ethan was so fond of, so we messed around there for awhile.
At last it was time for Soarin'. Jenny wasn’t feeling too well from Mission: Space, so Ethan and I went in alone. This time he wasn’t scared at all! Hopefully something on Mission: Space convinced him that these rides weren’t that scary. The ride itself was pretty cool. They put you in this seat with a harness and raised you up in front of this mammoth circular screen where they showed different aerial views of California. There was an ocean fly-by, a golf course, complete with a ball just narrowly missing us, a hang glider, climbers, etc. It all ended flying over Walt Disneyland in California during the fireworks. Pretty cool ride, but Jenny probably wouldn’t have liked it.
Now it was time to meet Grandpa and Grandma, so we headed over t our predesignated meeting spot, the pub in England.
Epcot Take III – Grandma, Grandpa, and Quin
Though details are sketchy on what Quin, Grandpa, and Grandma did for the 5 or so hours while we were separated, I do know they they had a good time doing what grandparents do with 6 week old (yes, he is 6 weeks old today!) grandchildren. They walked from country to country, sometimes taking in a show or 360 degree movie, sometimes just watching people, sometimes getting a beer from Germany (they have good beer). They seemed more relaxed than we did when we met up with them just before 4:00 in front of the pub in England. Off Kilter was playing on the border of Canada and England again, as we started our combined adventure for the evening.
Epcot Take III – Combined Adventures
After meeting in England, we grabbed a Bass from the pub and started walking the world. If you’ve never been to EPCOT, the world showcase is a small representation of many different countries throughout the world. Basically they have shopping, food, and maybe a ride at each of them. They are put together very well, even though they are pretty much aimed at shopping. We traveled the long way around which took us through France, Morocco, Japan, Italy, Germany (where we got more beer), Kenya, China, and finally Mexico where we were going to eat for the night.
Our dinner this evening was at the San Angeles Resaurante in Mexico, which was traditional Mexican food. The food itself wasn’t too bad if not a little too traditional for our tastes. We could have used a few more tortillas and rice and beans. The atmosphere was very cool, though. It was set at dusk near the Aztec Pyramids. Very cool.
We ended our stay at the park in a shop trying to find presents for all those that we hadn’t bought for yet. We got Jenny a shirt and Quin a stuffed Micky. Finally we boarded the bus and went back to our rooms where we could make final arrangements for the trip home tomorrow. On the way to the buses we spotted an apparently unused building. We walked over by it and found people guarding the doors. My dad asked what the buildings were, and was told that they were for conventions and meetings. Just like Disney. They have so many people that they can pay people to watch empty buildings!!!
At the hotel for our last night, Ethan wanted to go swimming one last time. He also wanted to show off his high flying acrobatics to Jenny, who I’m sure was quite as impressed as she sounded. After depositing him back in the room, I walked the property to get some essentials that we just couldn’t do without until the next night. I was struck at how nice this resort actually was and immediately regretted not having more opportunity to spend time here. There was a cheesy old guy band playing at the bar, kids were walking on the running path, a beach party was going on in the middle of the lake, it was a hopping place and looked very fun. Next time we’ll spend more time relaxing (yeah, right).
Knowing that we had to get up by 6:30 or earlier for our checkout and shuttle to the airport, we called it a night one last time in Walt Disney World.