Our Week In Disney World – Part 9 – Around the World (and Into Space) in One Day
On Wednesday, May 13th, we had a dinner reservation at the Coral Reef restaurant in Epcot, so we decided to spend the entire day there. First, we stopped for breakfast at Pop Century’s restaurant. The boys loved devouring Mickey Mouse waffles. Then it was on the bus to head on over.
As we approached, the kids loved seeing the “giant ball” (aka Spaceship Earth). We entered the park and made our way over to Soarin’. We quickly “Fast Passed” this to come back to it and then went to “The Seas.” Here we saw (what else) “The Seas with Nemo and Friends.” This ride sees you through a condensed version of Finding Nemo (well, a new story, not a retelling of the movie). The gimmick is that the ocean life (except for the main characters) are real. You ride through a real (giant) aquarium with real fish. Projected “inside” these tanks are Dory, Marlin and others. The only downside is that it’s so dark, no photos of mine came out at all. Oh well.
After Nemo, we wandered around looking at fish and manatees before going to see Turtle Time with Crush. This was quite fun as Crush comes out on screen and interacts with the audience – and by The Audience, I mean mostly the kids. They even seat the kids up front for maximum interaction. In a cute quirk, Crush will call on “the youngling with the red shell” if the child has a red shirt on. Since this is a question and answer session (driven by questions the kids have), the show changes every time. Some of the kids in our group had trouble getting their questions out. (They seemed so sure until they got the microphone.) Crush took it all in stride though. He’s really good with kids. I guess when you’re 150 years young you develop some patience.
Leaving Crush behind, we saw Bruce and some of his fellow sharks. NHL, JSL and I got gobbled up by Bruce, but we somehow managed to make it out alive.
After this, we left “The Seas” and traveled into our imaginations. By this, I mean the Imaginations ride featuring Figment. Figment is a favorite of B’s so she was eager to show it to the kids. They liked this ride and some of the interactive exhibits there were at the end.
Now it was time to use our Fast Pass. NHL came on this ride with me. It was simply amazing. First, you walk through an “airport waiting area” to take a “flight” to California. I joked with NHL that we were back in the airport now and leaving Disney World. I don’t believe he quite believed me.
Once you board your “plane”, you buckle up and take off for a flight through the skies – quite literally. Your seat rises in the air. In front of you is a giant screen that takes up just about your entire field of vision. Add the fact that your seat can tilt with the movement of your flight and that air is blown at you and the realism is amazing. During some downward dips, I found myself automatically lifting my feet up so they wouldn’t get wet in the ocean below. I did have a little problem with vertigo in the beginning, but that quickly passed.
After we landed back at Disney World, NHL and I disembarked and met back up with JSL and B hungry for more. Well, maybe just hungry. It was nearing lunch time. So we decided to walk from Orlando, Florida to this nice little place in Moracco. On our way, we passed through Canada, the UK, and France. It was quite the scenic route that had many interesting topiaries. (The Flower and Garden Festival was in Epcot at the time.)
Finally, we arrived at the Tangierine Cafe. The food there was great, but the baklava was outstanding. Unfortunately, soon after this, B realized that some problems she was having could be traced to times she had eaten walnuts. This means she can’t enjoy the baklava there should we decide to go back. Oh well, more for me. (Yes, I know she’d just get another dessert, but I can dream double baklava dreams, can’t I?)
Leaving Morocco, we decided not to return immediately to Orlando. Instead we took a leisurely stroll through Japan, America, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico (in that order… I think our world map was a bit screwy). More topiaries were spotted on this journey as well.
In Norway, we went on the Maelstrom ride which the boys liked, but JSL was getting tired. At the end of the ride, there was an optional movie to watch, but we decided to skip it. JSL had fallen asleep. When we got to Mexico, JSL was still asleep as we met up and had our picture taken with Donald Duck in a Sombrero.
Finally, we made it back to Orlando. Around the world in 2 hours! That’s got to be some kind of record, right? Anyway, we headed on over to Test Track, but decided to Fast Pass it. Instead, NHL and I went on Mission Space. We had quite the thrilling adventure in space, though we opted to join the Green Team (that’s the less realistic simulation which doesn’t spin). NHL enjoyed being part of the four person team and liked that he had a specific job to do which would help ensure the success of the mission. After we got off the ride, B took NHL on it again. Thank you Child Swap! We spent a little time looking through the shop at the end of Mission Space. I even let NHL try on a “NASA hat”, but didn’t let him buy it.
Then we went on Universe of Energy where Ellen DeGeneres is assisted by Bill Nye in learning about the importance of Energy. This ride was doing well, until it broke down. I guess Universe of Energy needed some more energy. We had to stay in place for awhile until we could be “rescued” by some Disney employees. We weren’t in any danger, but we were a few feet off the ground and someone could have been hurt if they simply tried to jump down.
After walking through Innoventions, we arrived at Spaceship Earth. I took my seat next to NHL and he really enjoyed seeing the evolution of technology throughout the centuries. When we got to the end of the ride, we got to fill out a little survey to see what our future might look like. We both laughed at the result (NHL biking while I gardened) and I just regret that I didn’t take a video of it. (Next time!)
Leaving Spaceship Earth behind, NHL, B and I went on Test Track. (B’s parents watched JSL.) As we walked past some crash test dummies, we saw one diagram on the wall that caught our eyes. It was the diagram of a 5 year old boy crash test dummy. NHL was a 5 year old boy (though no dummy) so I took his photo next to it. Next, we went get employed as living, breathing crash test dummies as they put a car through its paces. Heating, cooling (which in the 90+ heat I wouldn’t have minded staying under longer), bumps, brakes. Finally, we went speeding towards a barrier. Just as we were about to crash, the barrier opened and we spend around a track outside at nearly 65mph. NHL really enjoyed this ride. (He’s quite the little thrill seeker. Certainly doesn’t get it from me!)
Now it was time to eat again so we went to the Coral Reef Restaurant. You actually dine under the sea here. One wall is a giant tank showing sea life swimming by (and the occasional diver). I had a wonderful mushroom lasagna, B had NY steak strip and NHL had pizza, although JSL ate most of his. For dessert, NHL had an ice cream sundae, B had creme brulee and I had a delicious chocolate lava cake.
On my plate was a Mickey-shaped sugar candy which JSL wanted. Deciding to try it first before JSL took a bite, I bit into it. Or should I say I tried to bite into it. It was quite hard. I tried biting, sucking on it (thinking it’d soften in my mouth) and even breaking it, but it was just too hard. I could tell it was sugar and not plastic (or some other inedible substance), but it was made in such a way that it was impossible to consume.
After we finished with our meal, B and NHL went with B’s parents on Soarin’. I took JSL for a walk and wound up by the fountains near Imaginations. JSL loved seeing the water spraying uphill and jumping around. It was quite a blast simply seeing him enjoying himself so much.
Eventually, we met back up with the others and made our way to Epcot’s lake to get a good spot for the Illuminations fireworks show. This is quite an impressive display of aerial (and sea-based) pyrotechnics. Unfortunately, JSL and NHL were both quite tired and barely remained awake till the end. We had to constantly wake them up so they wouldn’t miss anything. The minute the show was done with, they were too. We wheeled the sleeping kids back to the bus and took them back to the hotel room for a much earned rest.