We could not wait to get to Epcot on this vacation. With updates to Soarin’, the Festival of the Arts and MacKenzie’s first time being 40inches (giving her so many attractions to enjoy) we were itching to make our way to this park. We were supposed to come to Epcot at the beginning of our trip but made some last minute adjustments when we realized Disney on Broadway, a part of Festival of the Arts, was only Friday-Monday. A reminder to check information a month before your trip. So Friday was our day to explore Epcot.
Park open was 9am, we had a breakfast reservation at Akershush Royal Banquet Hall in Norway at 8:15am. So we were down at the bus stop at 7:30am. Staying at Wilderness Lodge, the Epcot bus is shared with Fort Wilderness. Our bus had to stop there before making its way to the park. We spent at least 15 minutes at their bus stop as two scooters had to get on the bus. We got to Epcot at 8am. A half hour to get to the park from our resort. An unexpected long trip. As long as this took, I had a great conversation with fellow Wilderness Lodge guests from Philadelphia. Their son was so chatty and couldn’t wait to tell me all about the favourite parts of his vacation. The Dad was extremely helpful in telling me about how he plans for their vacations, giving me ideas for the blog. We did make it to our reservation by 8:20 but we pretty much ran through the park to get there in time. A word of wisdom, restaurants are very accommodating. If you find yourself near your dining experience a half hour before, try to check in and they may be able to seat you. Show up late and they will make sure you get to dine there. It’s not a situation where you miss your seating time you miss your meal all together.
This was our first time eating at this character dining experience and were very impressed. It’s a beautiful venue, and the food was delicious. The kids got to meet five princesses: Belle, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Ariel and Snow White. The kids got to promenade with them throughout the restaurant. Lincoln holding Snow White’s hand and MacKenzie a basket full of flowers.
By the time we were done eating, the park had opened. We made our way immediately to the meet and greet with Anna and Elsa. Both kids were speechless. Even though Frozen was released five years ago, these characters are still near and dear to their hearts. Both Anna and Elsa spent lots of time talking to the kids and signing their autograph books. MacKenzie was wearing an Elsa shirt for the occasion.
After the meet and greet was over we were ready to return to Future World. The rest of World Showcase doesn’t open until 11am so we weren’t able to check off any of the things we wanted to get done on our World Showcase list until later. We wanted to start with Soarin’ because it is still the most popular attraction at Epcot and knew the lines were only going to get bigger as the day went on. We made sure to get a rider switch pass so I could get on Soarin’ later in the day because Lincoln is still too little to go on this ride. He and I went to check out the DVC member lounge while MacKenzie and Jeff rode on Soarin’. I love having a place to sit amid the busyness of the parks. Grabbing a cool drink or a coffee.
Journey into Imagination with Figment was next up. This is an attraction that always has a short wait time. The ride is constantly moving so the line moves very quickly. It’s a fun, cooky and educational ride for every member of the family. Plus, it has an interactive play area after the ride is over. Giving the young ones a couple places to experience all they learned on the ride. Next up was the Finding Nemo ride. It had been a while since I had been on this one. I knew it was comparable to Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid but I was very underwhelmed with the story of this one. No introduction really. Just right into trying to find Nemo. I would almost consider this one a skip if you find yourself cramped for time.
We had our FastPass reservation coming up for Frozen Ever After, with about an hour to kill I figured we’d have time to ride Spaceship Earth. We just barely did. The line said 50 minutes but our meet and greet that morning had said 45 minutes and we hadn’t waited any longer than 20. So I figured this would be the same. We waited every bit of that 50 minutes and like typical Spaceship Earth the ride stopped a least once while we were on it. I found myself incredibly stressed about making it to our FastPass reservation. Hearing how magical MacKenzie found this ride finally made me move back into the moment. Into the present. As we were “returning to earth” MacKenzie says “were we really in space?” Oh the innocence.
We motored over to Norway for our FastPass reservation and as we were about to board our boat Lincoln had to pee!!! Oh no! The cast members were so kind. MacKenzie and I simply waited at the front while Jeff went off with Lincoln. They returned moments later through the attraction exit. He made it with no accident. Never a dull moment. This ride was amazing. Friends, I cried more on this ride then I did during the Happily Ever After Fireworks. The animatronics are incredible. You make your way into Elsa’s castle as she’s singing let it go. It does not get better than this. Loved every minute of it.
We managed to fit in a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour featuring The Three Caballeros before enjoying a snack credit lunch. I grabbed some delicious tacos from one of the Festival of the Arts kiosks while the kids enjoyed some muffins from a Joffrey’s cart. While sitting on a bench a the Showcase Plaza, I ate up my delicious food while looking at the view around us. World Showcase, what a sight.
Next up was a visit to Test Track for me while Jeff walked the kids around for some naps. Test Track does have a single rider line but I wanted to get a rider switch pass so Jeff and MacKenzie could come back and ride it later. So I waited 50 minutes to ride on Test Track. Let me tell you friends, waiting in line by yourself while the rest of your family is out in the park is not my idea of a good time. But it did give the kids a chance to nap and Jeff a chance to eat up many snacks from the Festival of the Arts kiosks.
Mission Space with M was next up on the itinerary, where there was no line up! Poor thing was still too little to reach the buttons but she enjoyed it none the less. Upon exiting we came across a great play area, with climbing equipment for younger kids and video games for older ones. A great place to come on a rainy day or to escape the excessive heat. Me and the kids hung out here while Jeff went on MissionSpace. The two of them had a blast.
Jeff and MacKenzie fit in their ride on Test Track before we went to meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. I found more than ever that the characters are really taking their time with the guests. Allowing memories to be made that will last a life time. Whether it’s a comment on the clothing their wearing or doing something silly while writing in their autograph book. These moments take time from your attraction filled park day but they remind why you’re here in the first place.
Our day was quickly turning to evening so we made our way around World Showcase to the American Pavilion to take in Disney on Broadway. The theatre was packed. We sat and enjoyed as Kevin Massey and Kara Lindsay performed some of our favourite tunes from Tarzan, Newsies and Frozen. It was the perfect combination for our family. We love musical theatre. Listening to show tunes in the car, around the house and while out for runs. Sharing this passion of ours on our Disney vacation was extra special.
It was onto a quick service supper at Liberty Inn before completing our walk around World Showcase. We were planning on staying until Illuminations but after MacKenzie joined me on Soarin’, Lincoln asked to go home. We couldn’t deny our sweet little boy such an innocent and honest request. We made one last stop at Mouse Gear to grab some Goofy snacks and then proceeded to the bus stop.
Epcot did not disappoint. It was me disappointing myself on this park day. I found we waited far too long in lines for attractions, when that time could have been spent enjoying some of the performances as part of Festival of the Arts. Lincoln was also too young to participate in many of the attractions, unlike our days at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom where many of the attractions are geared for every height. Out of all of our park days, I felt this day was the most disorganized, which I hate. The busyness of the park was not what I had hoped it would be. I’m sure the festival has increased the number of people entering the park, which is great for Epcot, less great for me. I hope you can take some lessons from our experience and apply it to your own plans. Happy Planning, Friends.