Monday, December 4, 2017

Disney 2016, Day 7 – Amer-ica: Naps with Peaceful Dreams

November 10, 2016

After spending over three quarters of a full solar day in a park, there was obviously no way we would make the Eight AM opening of EPCOT Extra Magic Hours…

Veronica had some sort of pants related emergency that morning, postponing our arrival to Eight-Thirty.

The line of Soarin’ Around the World had already built up…we think.  The wait time seemed to bounce around like a yo-yo most of the morning. It would drop when we had no chance of reaching it and climb when we had a clear shot to the Land Pavilion.  Sometimes, I think the Disney World app messes with me.

The group fragmented almost immediately. Grandma took Morgan over to Imagination, and Rosa hit the Big Ball. Unfortunately for her spine, the Big Ball hit her back. The Omnimover concept provides excessively smooth rides in normal operation.  It almost never runs in normal operation though. Since its one continuous track of cars, any delays in boarding causes the entire ride to stop and start with a level of jerkiness honed to perfection in Eighties mechanical technology.

The rest of us went for a first ride on Test Track.  As much as I had planned to maintain my lifelong protest of the removal of World of Motion and Magnetic Levitation Man, I didn’t want to miss sharing my daughter’s love of thrill rides with her.

The limited number of those kinds of rides in EPCOT (as it should be, said the old crusty Disney fan) meant we all took the single rider line option. Waiting a little over five minutes instead of a half hour was worth not sharing a car.

Everyone had a good time, and many of us had vehicle designs that got the high scores among the strangers we travelled with.

Anabelle loved both the design aspect, and racing through the twists and turns.

Yeah, I guess the interactivity was nice, and I could make a superhero themed commercial for my car at the end as a Magnetic Levitation Man tribute.

But the “thrill” part itself of the ride was kind of short, and a simulation of driving too fast, instead of the more extreme motions in almost every other ride. 

I still say it’s a poor substitute for the sustained animatronic driven comedy and education of World of Motion.
(Because I am a crusty old Disney fan.)

We all met up at the Inside Out section of the character spot.  This was due to the fact that even seasoned Where Will We Go Next Guys get tired.  I misunderstood everyone saying they would have rather seen the Emotions than Baymax the other day as “we need to see the Emotions.”

Its possible time may have been better served playing the odds on the insane variability of the Soarin’ line.  Then again, it was one of the better  experiences once we got there, since they were above and beyond the normally perfect standards of Disney Characters.

Sadness desperately needed a hug the whole time, often separating herself from the group to sulk.  Kim couldn’t resist and gave her a big one before we left. Anabelle was very proud of getting her to laugh a little by wiggling her glasses when Sadness pointed out they both wore them.

Joy spent extended playtime with each kid.  She mimed our trip down in an airplane, Elsa singing "Let it Go" when she saw the girl’s Frozen shirts and Belle reading as a way of recognizing Anabelle’s dress.

The kids all came away from the meeting full of excitement and fun, making the time worthwhile after all.


With the new Frozen ride open, we could have started the planned EPCOT Death March right away, because Aurora and Veronica had those matching Anna and Elsa shirts to commemorate it.  However, first we needed to go on the Figment ride again because…YAY!

Following a bit of confusion afterwards in the photo area (because it’s us) we set out on the day’s main quest.

The Food and Wine Festival drunken mob was far less mobby on a weekday, allowing easy passage to Mexico.

Another trip with the Three Caballeros was inevitable.  Ole’!

Over in Norway, the line to see Anna and Elsa was much longer than it had been Saturday, cementing our evidence that the actual Drunken Mob has no interest in real Disney things and the festival should be moved elsewhere.  Anabelle took the pictures she drew them to the handler and asked to have them passed along instead of waiting to see them again. Sorry Elsa, your popularity based reign of conquest is over.

The Frozen ride was amazingly impressive, utilizing the Maelstrom’s “Backwards in a Boat” to add to the wow factor of the “Let it Go” part.  I’m not entirely sold on animatronics with video faces.  It’s either the wave of the future, or will end up looking as dated as old CGI cartoons do now.

Either way, the ride was fantastic.  Not “wait two hours or more without a FastPass” fantastic, but still really good.

Crazy Hungry was starting to hit, and the threat of Raving Lunaticness could have been in the future.  Luckily, group logic figured out that “wander around World Showcase and eat counter service when we feel like it” was a far worse idea than “split up, everyone eat what they want, and meet back together.”

Half the group moved forwards to China, where Grandma found the sweet and sour chicken she loved at Nine Dragons that vanished off the menu had resurfaced as Orange Chicken in the Counter Service place.

True old timey Disney fans could follow that last sentence. The rest of you, don’t worry about it and move along.

Rosa, Anabelle and I took Aurora with us back to Mexico, where having a Spanish speaking family helped dealing with the Cast Members authentically themed to their World Showcase country.

At lunch we had a genetic repeat of the time my Dad ate all of Grandma’s butter pecan ice cream (which he didn’t like) before realizing their orders were switched.  Anabelle ate half of my chicken tacos while I was running around grabbing condiments and napkins without realizing her beef tacos were in front of my place.

We met back up with the rest of the gang in China, and poked around the series of my favorite EPCOT stores.  We also learned China does have a bathroom!  YAY!  (It’s in the Counter Service Place and not on the map, for those who have potty emergencies at the same frequency we do.)

The guide said Mulan was there, and it was wrong. Foo!

I’ve always found the 360° China movie really cool, and I admit to using a little Where Will We Go Next Guy pushiness to get the more reluctant members of the group into the building with the theater.

But that’s where Mulan’s meet and greet had moved to!  YAY! Go Me!

Anabelle gave her the drawing she made, and everyone had fun with the “princess” who really needs to be back in her armor to capture how awesome she was in the film.

And the movie was awesome too. YAY!

The kids beat on some drums passing “Africa,” and we waved to the lizards around the tiny German town, but there wasn’t much else to hold us in those locations.
In contrast, Italy had the juggler performing, as well as the statue free raised center circle that Anabelle is contractually obligated to dance upon.

Two orders of business were needed as soon as we reached the American center of World Showcase. The first was a mass rest room stop. The second was tormenting the local mallard ducks, mostly by the youngest members of our merry crew.

On all previous trips, I had tried to convince my immediate family to try the American Adventure show, due to it having awesome animatronics and educational content.  The live a capella pre show was pretty impressive on its own as well.

This time I had an entirely different motive.  I think Rosa was thinking about previous trips and ended up the only one who made it through most of the whole show.  I can’t confirm this, since my eyes were closed nearly for the entirety of the performance.

My goal for the viewing this time, following the marathon previous day, was to get everyone into padded seats in an air conditioned room.  Anabelle and I conked out leaning on each other sometime around the Civil War; the rest of the gang had equal staying power.

Restored and refreshed a bit, we skipped over Japan and Morocco to catch the only remaining Belle in her blue reading dress on property.  Anabelle not only had her picture for her, but was also celebrating her last young enough to be in costumes visit by wearing a matching blue dress Rosa made, accessorized with a newly acquired Belle Mickey-Ears headband.


Since we were in France, and Aurora was had been rudely removed from the two places we had expected to see her, we caught her at her French gazebo.  The Princess was late.  Our Aurora suggested it was because she was afraid of Anabelle, who was undergoing Food Network obsession levels of excitement over the crepe she was eating, while mispronouncing it “crep-ay.” 

Aurora converted it to a rhyming dance:

“Crep-ay! Jete’! Pliet!”
*falls over with a thud*

Princess Aurora finally appeared, in her pink dress of course.  The girls suggested other options which she agreed sounded like good ideas.

Anabelle’s picture had the Briar Rose dress, which Aurora said she liked.
Or even better:
Aurora passed on her suggestion of Green- To honor the only fairy smart enough to avoid both the argument and tipping off Maleficent the day before their plan succeeded.

Anabelle went first this time, to give the family named after her movie:
Veronica ROSE
Time to impress her.
Which they did.  

Rosa liked the crepe, sending me back on line to get her one, while Anabelle and she peeked next door in Morocco.  There they learned the male downsizing of EPCOT had reached insane proportions.

Only Jasmine was at the meeting place inside lamp store, Aladdin, (the guy the movie was named after) was sent packing.

It’s amazing the quality of cool things that narrow minded Marketing has destroyed.

The exhaustion of the week was really starting to set in, and aside from the depressing peek, we didn’t back track into Morocco or Japan. 

It was about this point in the EPCOT Death March that, as a keenly observant Where Will We Go Next Guy, I realized we may have broken Uncle Dave.  He had faced some severe stresses at work and in general before we headed down, and was much less used to the insane pace of a McGinley Disney Vacation than those of us raised with that questionable mentality.

I hope he got some rest once he got home.

With no main attraction in England, we split up through the shops, occasionally popping outside to another gazebo, this one housing the British groups cover band.  Anabelle and Morgan teamed up on a memory game in the toy shop while I took in the sights of swords, Doctor Who and Monty Python memorabilia.


Rosa’s back was still causing her problems, likely due to the quarry of kidney stones we later learned she was growing.  She went on ahead to watch the Holiday performances being filmed in front of Mission Space instead of parking on the hard wooden bench to wait for the Martin Short 360° Canada film.

The kids (and me) all had a good laugh and we crossed back into Future World, while I made a note to introduce my child to Ed Grimly on YouTube, don’t you know.

We caught up with Rosa to go on Mission Space.  She had a David Letterman brush with fame, when Julianne Hough and several cast members from Descendants passed right by her.  She also saw a boy band perform, I don’t remember the name, but Anabelle told me (and anyone else coming close to the stage) that they sucked, so I won’t sweat the details.

The ride was a hoot, because it always is.  Rosa stayed to watch more performances while we met Grandma and Morgan, who Figmented again, to take a fun filled Big Ball trip and salute classic EPCOT once more.

We had a FastPass for the character spot, figuring on a high speed howdy on the way to dinner.  For reasons I have zero explanation for, instead of never having any line (like in our previous visit) the same group of Mickey and Friends always had an ENORMOUS line. 

We wisely decided not to waste a half hour on the FastPass line to see mostly the same group we were about to eat with at the always Wonder-full-you-up Garden Grill.

Dale came first.


A fault in my Where Will We Go Nexting based on much lower crowds was not nearly enough Chipmunk time.  I found out when we got home that Rosa was the only one who saw them together while she was on one of her thrill ride avoidance missions.

During the photo ninjaing, kids were diving under the table at this entertaining behavior inspiring locale.

Chip was just as much of a fluffy party and kept the good times going with extended hugs.

Morgan’s near continuous explosions of happiness kicked into high gear when Pluto arrived.


Nothing like stuffing your face and playing with energetic beloved characters to refuel after a long day.

Morgan led the happiness charge with Mickey as well, jumping up and down in place like a kangaroo with a sugar rush.  Mickey had to stagger his approach for fear of knocking him down.

The Chipmunks came by again for extra hugs, because the Garden Grill is awesome!


Towards the end of the meal, Anabelle went for a bathroom break and heard the classic “Listen to the Land” song played instrumentally in the ladies room, leading to an impromptu tap dance. She told Kim as they crossed paths on her return, leading her Aunt to sprint into the rest room singing along.

Again, Disney Magic hits anywhere.

We didn’t get a third time with Jenell, but were served by the equally awesome “Disney Bill.”

He made sure no one touched the piles of berries and cream Grandma had accumulated in her area as the desserts came through.  He also explained why the fish was replaced with sausage and peppers.

It was a love it or hate it dish.  Many people, (like me, I informed him in full puppyface) would eat nothing but the fish, but many guests wouldn’t touch it at all.

Completely packed to the gills with food and fun, we navigated one more sea of humanity back to the bus stop, stopping only to play in a newly discovered set of floor lights for me to forget and almost delete the photos of.

Kim’s whole family went into comas on the way home. 

Another guest and I practiced “Bus Castling” to switch places standing in the aisle and be next to our child’s respective seats.

After two of the longest and most crowded days in my personal Disney history, naturally we embarked on the shortest night’s sleep in our Disney history.

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