Friday, January 7, 2011

Day Two ~ Epcot #1

We were up bright and early again on Monday morning to make our first of two trips to Epcot. This would be a bit shorter day, but we wanted to get there early because all the Fast Pass tickets for Soarin' go pretty quick and the girls REALLY wanted me to ride this one. I'd been hearing for months about how I was going to go hang gliding over California and they were excited beyond words that the day was finally here. (You have to realize that I am very afraid of heights and also sometimes have trouble with rides where you are watching a screen moving when you aren't...they REALLY wanted to see my reaction.) We got to the park at sunrise and were prepared to stand for about an hour waiting for rope drop. Here is the sight that greeted us as we walked toward "Spaceship Earth".

Chris, Candy, Peyton, Sydney and Madison lead the way!

Reflected sunrise!

We went through the entrance and made it to the waiting area. There were several cast members gathered together talking when we walked up. One of the men came over the the people waiting and told us he had a wonderful surprise for us. They were going to go ahead and open up Sorin' early for those of us brave enough to get there in the 32 degree weather! They had us get in a line and walked us to the ride. AN HOUR EARLY!! How awesome was that? We walked right up and were one of the first groups to ride, with almost no waiting!

Some of the signage.

The rides almost always release you into a themed shop. Here we found another Hidden Mickey.

Rick and I decided that we would let Chris and Candy ride the ride with the girls while we waited with Peyton. They hardly ever get to ride a ride together that Peyton can't ride, doing the parent swap instead, we wanted to give them the opportunity whenever we could. We walked over to the cafeteria area and got some coffee and I got a cinnamon roll to share with Peyton. Well, Rick and I walked ~ Peyton "ice skated" over. The cast members there were laughing and laughing at him (of course he was oblivious as he practiced his jumping turns.) We enjoyed our breakfast while the others rode the ride.
After Soarin' we walked over to Finding Nemo. Everyone knew this was one of Peyton's favorite rides and one that we could all enjoy together. The girls were also looking forward to talking to Crush again!

The kids at the "Kodak photo spot".

"Mine - Mine - Mine"

This has been a favorite saying of ours since the movie came fun to hear these fellows saying it!
There is an amazing aquarium as you come out of the ride where you can look at some beautiful aquatic life. We enjoyed walking around looking at the various water animals while we waited for the "Talking with Crush" show.

Kinda scary don'tcha think?
If this guy were pink it would be just like the one on the ride!

Chris and Maddie having a little fun!

Peyton's turn...he wasn't real sure about all those teeth!

I think Sydney was just being a good sport!

Maddie waiting in line.

Love that look!
Another Hidden Mickey.

Our next stop was at the Test Track ride. This would definitely become a favorite for EVERYONE! Chris had gotten us fast passes for this one while we were riding Soarin' so we didn't have to wait very long in line. We did enjoy the theming as always.

Test dummy.

Hidden Mickey on the workbench.

This became one of our favorite memories to discuss during the trip.
SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven't ridden this, and don't want to know anything that happens, skip this part!
While we were on the ride I was in the car with Candy and Sydney who had both ridden before and got irritated because the Mickey ears I had purchased kept turning themselves on. I bent down to get them while the car was slowing down getting ready for another "test" and lost focus on the ride...I actually was going to show Sydney how cool they looked flashing the colors inside the bag in the dark. Just as I glanced up the headlights of a huge eighteen wheeler came on HEADED RIGHT AT US!!! I didn't think about being on a ride, I just reacted ~ screamed and like to have come out of my seat. Candy and Sydney were laughing so hard. The picture they took just shows me laughing and grabbing at my heart. It was a great memory maker though!

The Epcot Tree all decorated up.

Goofy topiary.

Donald topiary.

We made our way over to the World Showcase side of EPCOT so we could eat lunch at the Restrant Marrakesh. Candy had made the reservations for us there which included our reserved seating for the Candlelight Processional that evening.

Our hostess warming her hands...I told you it was cold!

Peyton was a favorite of our wonderful waiter! He let him wear his Fez and tried to teach him the "sign".

At the entrance.

After we ate we wandered around this part of the park while we waited for the Candlelight processional (we had first seating reservations). We enjoyed some of the storytellers nearby.

In "Japan".

Continuing the story.

The drummers.

Peyton LOVED the drummers and tried to drum along with them!

The tree in "America".

In "Germany" they had a beautiful train set up that you could watch.

The scene from the bridge.

The castle and one of the train cars.

One of the Christmas Traditions we learned about here was the Pickle Ornament.

The sign reads: Pickle ornaments were considered a special decoration by many families in Germany where the fir tree was decorated on Christmas Eve. It was always the last ornament to be hung on teh Christmas tree, with the parents hiding it in the green boughs among the other ornaments. When the children were allowed to view the tree they would begin gleefully searching for the Pickle ornament. The children knew that whoever first found the special ornament would receive an extra little gift left by St. Nicholas for the most observant child.
From here we went back outside and did some people watching and waited for the Candlelight Processional, a special holiday event held nightly. The event retells the story of Christmas with a special celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50 piece ochestra and a mass choir. Our show was narrated by Edward James Olmos.
At the end of the show one of the last numbers sung by the choir is the Hallelujah Chorus. This is when Rick and I learned that this is one of Peyton's favorite songs. We learned this when he began singing "HALLALULA, HALLALULA" at the top of his lungs along with the choir. Everyone got such a kick out of his enthusiasm and joy in the moment~
We went on home after this ... oohing and ahhing at the nightime lights around the park.
Next: Animal Kingdom

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