Disney Recap: Day Three

April 10, 2009
Da boyz.

Da boyz.

On Monday morning we slept in a little as we had the previous day (One of the first rules of this vacation was: we are not in a rush to go anywhere, since we are here all week. No alarms!). We got started in the late morning to head to Epcot Center… we would take the boat from our lodge to Magic Kingdom, and then catch the monorail down to the park with the giant golf ball.

I had a minor crisis when I realized as we were halfway across the lake that I had left my “key to the world card” back in the room… I would not be able to get in to the park without it, so I decided to head back myself and sweet talk the people at the front desk into getting me a new key card while Glenn and the boys went on ahead. I would meet them at Epcot as soon as I could get caught up. I had little trouble getting a new key card, and so I took a bus straight from the hotel to Epcot in an effort to save a little time. It worked out well… and in the meantime, the boys got to ride up in the front of the monorail with the conductor! All three Doolittle men were sporting a pair of “wings” on their person when I met up with them a little later, courtesy of the monorail engineer.

The boys and Glenn had time to ride one ride, Spaceship Earth, before I met up with them at the park… then we all headed over to see about getting a fast pass to ride “Soarin” which is the new highly-touted ride this year that takes you on a simulated hang gliding ride over California. We fought our way through thick crowds to get passes that told us to come back about five hours later, so we had time to kill.

Ride Review: Test Track. We went to the opposite side of the park and found “Test Track” which is one of the more popular rides. This ride is supposed to be like riding in a race car during road testing… We loved it! The ride subjects you to everything from rocky roads to rapid braking to hot and cold temperatures and eventually some very high speeds on some steeply banked turns outside. We never did get a fast pass for this ride, but instead got in the “single rider” line which moved fairly quickly. My guess is we waited 20 minutes or less… and even though they warn you that your party will definitely be split up if you ride as “single riders,”  people with kids need not worry much… the ride (as many others) lets you out at the end right into the middle of a gift shop. Just tell your family to meet in the shop and you won’t need to worry about lost kids.

Right next door we discovered “Mission: Space” which is another greatly hyped ride. The ride is a simulation-type experience where you feel like you are taking off in a rocket ship and landing on Mars. It offers two options — green (less intense) and orange (more intense), and comes with plenty of warnings about motion sickness and pregnant women and boy-oh-boy you’d better have some sort of notarized letter from your doctor before they let you get on this thing. No, really… not that bad. But they did make much about the motion sickness, with warnings about how much spinning is involved in the “orange” version of the ride. We opted for green, simply because I couldn’t get a very straight answer about how much spinning is involved in orange… and one thing I have lost in my old age is my ability to tolerate too much spinning at amusement parks. This troubles me greatly, since the Scrambler was one of my all time favorite rides, and now I can’t ride it without at least getting a headache, and now I will stop rambling because I have taken you off on a tangent when all you really wanted to know was IS MISSION SPACE ANY GOOD?  The answer to that is: yeah, it was OK.  Here’s one thing: when you get ready for the ride, they do the whole 5-minute film “prep” beforehand where you find out a little about what is to come, and the very cool and astronaut-y Gary Sinise is the guy who gives you the low down on the ride! So, that alone is pretty great as far as I’m concerned, even if it’s just a film of Gary Sinise and not the real Gary Sinise… and who knows how long ago that footage was filmed? But I digress. The ride was good, you are subjected to a fair number of G-forces, and you get to push a button or two during the takeoff and/or landing sequence, that make you feel very important. The kids rode it again later, on the “more intense” version, and claimed it wasn’t all that intense. Although, I think Brent might have been a little green in the gills right afterward.

Still having to kill time before our appointment with “Soarin’,” Glenn and I decided to take a walk through the World Showcase while the boys stayed to repeat rides on Test Track and Mission Space. The World Showcase is pretty much all about eating, shopping, and the occasional parade or street performance of some sort. I ate a bratwurst with sauerkraut over in “Germany.”  Later as we passed through “England,” we caught a band called “The British” who were playing Beatles’ tunes (and were dressed as the Fab Four). They were pretty good! Glenn got some of their act on video.

We reconnected with the boys and then saw a great street show by the Epcot Jammin’ Gardeners. I know. You see, we were visiting right during some huge National Garden Festival or something like that, so there were plants and plant-related things everywhere. And then there were these guys, the Jammin’ Gardeners, who beat on metal garbage cans and other garden tools and accessories and sang or rapped along with the beat they created. As I type the description, I think that it sounds pretty awful… but they were great! Glenn also caught their act on video, and I took several snapshots.

IBM has an exhibit in the “Innoventions” hall, where people get to pose for a few digital images and then have those images placed into a real video game. We all did it and then got to play our personalized games (with us as the main characters on the screen) right on the spot. We also had links emailed to us so that we can play the games at home now. Kind of funny.

Right before our “Soarin'” time slot was upon us, we hopped on “the Seas with Nemo and Friends” which was a laid back little tour through a “sea” of monitors and 3D animation, all while seated in a huge clam shell. It was a nice little moment of air conditioned relaxation if nothing else, and the ride let out in the midst of several real live aquariums that we enjoyed looking at.

At last! it was time to use our fast passes. “Soarin'” is so new and popular that even with Fast Passes, we still had to wait a little bit to get through and get on the actual ride. Once inside, the riders are seated in these large mechanical hang gliders — each seating about 6 people – and when the show starts all the hang gliders are raised up so that every person is smack dab in front of a HUGE Imax-type screen, watching footage that really does make you feel as though you are flying. The film images — together with some fans that created a nice breeze, and a little movement from the mechanical gliders themselves — actually make you feel the need to raise your feet up at certain points to avoid hitting them on something that you are “flying” over.  Very nice. The movie reminded me a bit of the flagship movie, “To Fly!,” at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

By the time we were done soaring, we were tired. We headed back on the monorail with the intention of going right back to the lodge (it was 6:30 or so by then), but once we got to Magic Kingdom we decided to stay there to eat supper and ride a few more rides that evening.

We decided that we had to ride “It’s a Small World” since it’s such a classic Disney ride. It really is a happy little ride, even if the idea of hearing THAT SONG again, in any language, makes my ears bleed. The song! The song! It will be burned into my memory forever. Thank you, Mickey.

The boys rode a couple other rides (with and without us) as the park was starting to shut down, and soon we were completely exhausted and took the boat back over to the Wildnerness Lodge for the night. It was a vey long day!


One comment

  1. Sounds like a great trip! I want the link to your video game. 🙂

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