I’m going to divide this by park, since I think that’s the easiest way to do it. We mostly did one park a day, which means that I can record this pretty much in order!
So we arrived in rainy Florida around 5pm on Wednesday, and by the time we found Disney’s Magical Express, rode to the hotel, and got checked in (you can check-in online before you arrive so you have express check-in), it was 6:30pm or so. We knew we were close to Epcot, so Matt whipped out the GPS on his phone and decided to lead us there with his map.
Except pretty much right away, we all had reservations about whether this was the right way to go…the lack of sidewalks convinced me that we should turn back, but, um, some other member of the family insisted we keep heading the direction we were going. We walked pretty far, down this huge hill with buses flying past us, and blessedly, a Disney security guard pulled up and asked where we were headed. I blurted out that my husband was using his GPS to get us to Epcot, and the security guy immediately said, “You can’t use your GPS at Disney.” (I wonder how many times he’s had to say this!) He directed us through another hotel property to the correct path to Epcot, which, unsurprisingly, was paved and lovely.
So we started our trip with an adventure, to say the least…one that left most of us frustrated and much hungrier than when we’d left the Boardwalk.
But finally, we arrived at Epcot, and immediately sought out food. Pretzels and hot dogs for the boys, and a stop at the quick-serve restaurant at Mexico for Matt and me. It was super-busy, so we ended up standing and holding our tray of tacos and guacamole and chips, but it was delicious! Probably my favorite quick-serve meal of the whole trip.
We settled in after that to wait for the Illuminations light show to begin, and I got out the glow sticks I’d brought for the boys, which kept all of us entertained for a while until showtime (see pictures below!).
The show was, of course, amazing…Disney really doesn’t waste its time on things that are less-than-stellar. It was such a great way to kick off our trip! Just for fun, we took the ferry back to our hotel after the show, getting a good night’s rest before our day ahead at Epcot.
We decided to start our first full day at Disney with what will be known in Diehl family history as “The Bird Breakfast.” I’m not sure if I’ve made it clear on my blog (I know I have on Facebook) that I despise birds. As my friend Hannah said recently, they have no redeeming qualities (other than chicken being tasty). So imagine how disgusted I was when we sat down outside the Boardwalk Bakery with our breakfast and like 5 ducks and 10 or so little birds flocked around us. The kids were all the way up on their chairs, trying to get away, and repeatedly shooing the birds off the table and chairs. Needless to say, we decided to walk and eat the remainder of our food. Ick.
At Epcot, we got to try out our FastPass skills by immediately heading to Soarin’. While waiting for Soarin’, we rode Living with the Land (interesting, but nothing too exciting), Spaceship Earth (the ride inside the iconic Epcot ball – everyone loved this), and then the older kids and Matt did Mission:Space on the green level because the wait was so short.
Then it was finally time to ride Soarin’, which was awesome…I would have ridden this over and over again, and I’m really not into rides at all. In fact, we FastPassed it immediately after we got off the ride, but our scheduled return time was around 8pm (this was at 11am), and unfortunately, the heavy afternoon rain sent us home before we got a chance to ride it again.
But let me back up to right after Soarin’ because a lot happened before the rainout!
We rode the Finding Nemo ride, which was cute, and Jack Henry really enjoyed it. By then it was lunchtime…and we decided we’d head over to the other side of the park to the American food quick-serve restaurant for the boys, and Matt and I could get something more interesting to eat.
Well. The walk was long. Kids were hungry. And Bennett turned into a bear. I know he just needed food, but it was UG-LY. So I ended up taking the kids to get their burgers and I opted to eat a salad there with them, while Matt went and procured Moroccan food for himself.
Bennett morphed back into a human after getting lunch, and just in the nick of time: not long after we finished eating, a parade of characters came by, headed for a nearby pavilion for pictures and autographs. We literally just joined the parade to follow them, and were able to get pictures/autographs with Goofy, Pluto, Mr. Smee (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates), Donald Duck, and Mickey and Minnie…and this was all within about 15 minutes’ time, which is practically unheard of for these characters! 15 minutes was all that they were there, too…it was just perfect timing for us.
We finished up touring the World Showcase area in the rain, and headed up to let the bigger boys and Matt ride Mission:Space on the more challenging orange level while JH and I rode Spaceship Earth again (his choice, since waiting for Soarin’ in the regular line wasn’t an option).
By the time we were finished with that, the rain was too heavy to want to be out in it anymore, so we headed back to the hotel to shower up and go to Downtown Disney for the night, which will get its own post later.
There were things at Epcot that I would have liked to have done, and that we would have done, with more time. But I pretty quickly came to terms with the fact that we couldn’t do it all, and we’d just have to be ok with that!
Here’s the picture gallery for Epcot…