Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vacation, day 2. Epcot or bust?

One thing you will notice of this vacation is that we crammed a lot into our six days of vacation. Our first full day was an absolute success despite being rained out, so we expected no less on day two at Epcot. Oh, how things would be different. And for the record- I've been to Epcot before. Matt and I both remember it being pretty fun and Olivia is way into learning about different cultures and countries and I thought this would be perfect.

 My first clue that this was going to be a dud day was when Jackson asked why we were going golfing. Then when I explained that was not a giant golf ball, he declared, "Well, that's dumb." You know what? He's right. What the hell is that? What's its purpose?? Nobody knows. OK, sure- there is a Spaceship Earth ride in it that we rode and Jackson was really worried that we indeed, left Earth and were in space.

After our fake space adventure, we consulted the brochure and decided we'd be smart and get a Fast Pass for the ONE ride Jackson would fit on, the Test Track. It's basically an incredibly fast race car ride. We get the Fast Pass to come back at 3. It is now 9:15 in the morning. No big deal. I figure worst case scenario, I can lord the ride over his head for good behavior like any responsible parent would. In the meantime, we decided we're going to the area of the park that has country stuff and we were going to get every imaginable character experience we could.

Fun fact. The park opens at 9. It's beastly hot out so we go in search of water. Would you believe me if I told you the nation area doesn't open to 11? Not even street vendors selling water at ungodly prices? You'd laugh at that but oh was it true. Also notable was the fact that there was literally nobody there. Like, nobody. I told Matt it was really creepy to walk around a theme park and not see another person around.

We consulted with our trusty brochure and see Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, was to be out signing books and taking pictures at like 11. So we get in line and suddenly all the other 20 people in the park are in line with us.
 Olivia was SUPER excited to meet Belle because she really loves that movie and the only thing she managed to ask was where Beast was. Apparently, it takes him a long time to brush his fur, and that cracked Jackson up. I was a little disappointed- where the mother eff is her big dress? Nobody cares about your servant's outfit honey- we waited for the big dress. Obviously.

So after that, we find water and patiently wait for Matt to throw down another $10 on two bottles because why not? (Fun fact- over the course of two days? We spent approximately $200 in bottled water alone. Not joking.)
 My two kids at the beginning stage of dehydration two hours into our day.

Once we got water, we moved the 5 feet to get in line for Alice in Wonderland. Who, as it turns out, is really fucking amazing and hilarious. The girl playing her? NAILED IT. She sounds like Alice, she looks like Alice, she comes off as mentally deficient like Alice, basically she was great.
 Olivia was a little disgusted when Alice told her that she never changes her clothes. She doesn't like to. Jackson commented that she didn't really smell, so she must change sometime.

So another disappointment? The country areas? Kind of suck. Maybe we went on a down day, but there were no street performers, nothing fun happening, it was basically just walking through it.
 And then forced photos of the kids pretending to be active tourists.
 Until Olivia said we can pretend she's a "world model" like on TV.
 Jackson refused to be outdone.

We walked over to the United States exhibit and decide it's the safest place to eat lunch because my kids are picky eaters and we all know I won't eat things I can't pronounce. So we spend another $75 on cafeteria food at dirty tables. Oh, and we got to sit next to a garbage can. You can imagine what that's like in 105 degree weather.

After lunch, we decide to tell the other countries to fuck off because I couldn't imagine they'd be any better than the first 5 we saw. On the way back to where rides are, stealthy Matt spots Pluto and promptly drags the children across the sidewalk.
 And Jackson thought this was kind of bad ass.

But then!

We saw a "surprise mob" of characters and saw everyone:
 Surprisingly, Jackson LOVED Donald Duck. Like, clung to him for dear life.
 Olivia liked this guy and I know he is from Jungle Book but I can't remember his name.
 Max, Goofy's nephew, had nobody in his line. But we like the Goofy Christmas movie so Olivia was excited about him.
 Jackson also loved Mr. Smee. Olivia was a little creeped out his feet were so big.

After this, Olivia told me she heard someone say Princess Jasmin was here so like good parents, we walk all the way back to mother fucking Morocco, wait in like for a full hour in legit sun. Like, no shade. None. At all. When I tell you that my bra had pooling sweat in it? Not an exaggeration.

But here's my other rant? Remember how I'm like, one picture and done? Also applies to phone calls. DO NOT MAKE CHARACTERS CALL PEOPLE. Because it's really hard to restrain the urge to punch a person when you are in the happiest place on Earth. But no joke, one guy had Aladdin call his girlfriend, (which hello, douche- why not BRING her?!) and one guy had Aladdin and Jasmine record a happy birthday video on a phone.


I am not joking.

People are epic assholes.
 In other news, this Aladdin sounds EXACTLY like movie Aladdin. It's really weird. Olivia thought they were really great, wants pants like Jasmin, and Jackson wanted to ask where Abu the monkey was. I told him he was out stealing people's wallets and so Jackson was very concerned about mine for the rest of the day.
 After sweating like a pig in heat in Morocco, we decide to sit in the only shady spot in the park, near these weird fountains.
 Which is when we noticed the rain drops. Oh yes, it started to rain. And by "rain" I really mean down pour. Thank god Matt dried out our $40 ponchos from the day before and diligently packed them into his pants pockets (which turned out to be really heavy), because we ended up having to run into the bathrooms to put said ponchos on.
 But then we went into this interactive play area for kids to wait the rain out and yeah, it was kind of a dud. The kids didn't really get into it even with my best efforts at being overly enthusiastic. By the time we got out, it was only sprinkling, but our Fast Pass ticket for Test Track was up, so we went over.

And the ride is closed.

Never fear though, they said we could come back anytime before the park closed at 9 and get on. Oh, no big deal. So instead, we went over to The Seas and did a bunch of stuff in there.
 And put our ponchos back on because oh hey- it is now full fledged raining again. We ended up waiting another hour in different buildings and when it let up again, went back to Test Track.

Only to find it was permanently closed for the rest of the day.

When we told Jackson his response was, "Are you SERIOUS???" because this was the ONLY ride he could ride. I'm not counting the Spaceship Earth because that wasn't a ride. It was a bizarre train thing into a giant golf ball. You want to talk about disappointment? This was it.

Oh, and we watched the 1980's movie "Captain EO" with Michael Jackson. It was creepy. Mostly because this is clearly the forgotten park and you can tell no real effort or money has gone into making this park worthwhile for people to go to. You never hear anyone say, "Man- Epcot was a blast!!". You know why? Because it's not. It's a huge disappointment and at $371 or so for us to get in? Should have went to another park. Or Sea World. *sigh*
 But we did get to see Mickey Mouse again, so that was cool. And Jackson gave him a big hug and says, "Thanks for letting us come play here". Seriously? Can you just eat my kids? They are too effing cute. So, Epcot? Bust. Total bust. We never made it longer than 5 because I wasn't trying to hang out in the rain for 4 more hours to see their night time thing.


Let's talk about the hotel. So remember how I said it was a $30/night deal and it would either be the deal of a lifetime or the scariest three nights of our lives? Turns out it's in the middle. What it doesn't tell you is that it is a motel, in a kind of sketch neighborhood with scalpers all over the place so you just know people get ripped off daily. It's also the ghetto leg of a timeshare place in Orlando so they push the timeshare crap on you hardcore. The pool is filthy, there is no continental breakfast despite advertising it, and the Wi-fi? Non existent. And because my laptop has a dead battery and needs to be plugged in and the lobby outlets don't work, I have the option to use their computer.

For a $15 fee of course.
 Also, the bathroom? Holy fucking hell. First off, it had this vent. These vents freak me out because A) there is no air to it, it's not one of those that suck air out or anything, it's just a hole in a wall with a vent cover. B) we're on the bottom floor so where is that moisture going? Shudder. These are the vent holes you see on Dateline when they bust hotels for peeping on people.
 Second, the tub was terrible. Basically, the first night I was convinced there was no floor under neath it because the bottom of the tub was squishy. Like, I thought the tub might bust through. On the second night we noticed that the drain area actually has cracks. So water would go in the cracks and under the tub. Which is why it was like you were surfing in the tub, you were standing on a bubble of water under the tub. It was horrible. We called down to the desk and they said nothing they could do. Awesome.
Also on day two, after coming back from Epcot there appeared to be muddy claw marks on the tub.

I still don't know what that was, but you bet your ass I slept with my shoes on that final night.


Unknown said...

wow...I spent almost a week with a friend and a 2 yr old at Epcot in December and loved it. We went on the 3-4 rides we could go on (nemo, spaceship earth, the one in the cafe) like 100 times and had a great time. I loved it. I HATED magic kingdom since it was INSANELY expensive.
We just went in March to Universal, and the first day there was no line (ran to HP world), second time we went to the other side and waited like 30 minutes for the Despicable Me right, and nothing else. The third day, my hubby was super sick and we ended up paying for parking and just walking around the park once and going to the airport, where he slept on the floor all day. I did NOT want to spend a fortune on Disney, so we didn't go there at all.
Anywho...I hated magic kingdom when I went (once...) it was so damn crowded. I hate crowds. Obviously I'm not meant for Orlando.

Ruth said...

Holy crap, that's a lot of money!
I have never been to FL. My sister lived there for a little while when she went to travel school and it rained twice a day the whole time she was there.

middle child said...

Yikes! I'd better get my ass back into blog land. A new house. A dog and a trip to Disney!?
Um. I think it's time for you to rest, don't you?

Gulfport said...

We have always had amazing times at Disney. It does take planning ahead. It's hard to go to a park with so much to offer and play things by ear. There are lots of scheduled events in the world showcase area if you check out the times guides at the front of the park. And a tip about water... You can get free cups of ice water at all the quick service restaurants or bring a water bottle and ask them to fill it up. And we usually bring a couple waters in our backpacks also. Sounds like you might choose not to go back, but I'd you do I hope your next trip is more magical. Sounds like the kids had lots of fun meeting the characters though!

Scarlett Ashley said...

I'm confused. Why was Test Track the only ride your son would "fit on?" The height requirement is 40" and that is the highest for any ride in the park. There are actually no rides he is too short for in Epcot.

Also I'm not sure how you paid $10 for 2 bottles of water...did you mean 4 bottles? Bottled Water in Epcot is $2.50 (unless you get the SmartWater, but even that is $3.50).

Natalie Ivonvana said...

I feel that a little more planning a knowledge could've made your trip more fun. Such as knowing water is free if you go to a counter service restaurant, or that there are great interactive and kid friendly rides all around the park. I hope that if you do ever go back, its much less *insert every explicit word here* and more magic.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

They are still showing that Micheal Jackson movie? OMG! They were showing that when I worked there in 1986!

Shannon @ Bungalow960 said...

I went to Sea World in Orlando and got splashed by Shamu. I thought that was great until I realized I smelled like horrible fish.

Shannon @ Bungalow960 said...

I went to Sea World in Orlando and got splashed by Shamu. I thought that was great until I realized I smelled like horrible fish.

Unknown said...

You do know there are other rides at Epcot besides Test Track and Spaceship Earth, right? There's a ride in Norway called Maelstrom. A ride in Mexico (boat ride with Donald Duck, can't think of the name.) There's a Figment ride. And a Nemo ride. And a ride called Living with the Land.

UniversalNOW said...

I want you to know that your experience at Epcot was real. I'm not surprised that you over exaggerated in some points, but this park is in real trouble. For someone who knows little (very little) about Disney and their Parks, this article doesn't sound like you're complaining *too* bad.

Stacey said...

It sounds like your trip to Epcot was a bust due to your complete lack of planning. If you had done any research you would have known that World Showcase does not open until 11am EVERY DAY !!! I have no idea how you spent $10 on 2 bottles of water given that Dasani costs $3.00 per bottle throughout the resort (BTW.... most people just buy one bottle and refill it by getting a free cup of ice water available at every counter service restaurant at every Disney park with no food purchase necessary) !! Epcot has more than just one ride your son could have gone on. The "kid play area", as you called it, that you ducked into when it started to rain is actually the exit to Journey into Imagination. There is also a ride in Norway called Maelstrom. Nemo is considered a ride as well as Spaceship Earth. Soarin' also has a 40 inch height limit and your kids would have loved it !! There is also this fun program called KidCot. Your kids could have colored in a Perry The Platypus and taken it to all of the Kidcot stations throughout World Showcase and gotten a stamp from each country and some countries would have written your child's name in their language. My son has his name written on a Kidcot Perry in Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. This also FREE to everyone visiting Epcot. There is a really cool display in China and an Anime exhibit in Japan and informational as well as entertaining movies in many of the countries. You sure did miss a lot of fantastic opportunities to have a great time with your kids as well as educate them in a fun way about other cultures!!

I don't know where you live, but Summer is the rainy season in Florida. It is miserably hot in the morning and rains every afternoon almost every day beginning the middle of May until Mid September. Again, poor planning on your part. Test Track was most likely closed due to safety issues. Due to the fact that part of the ride is outside, all theme parks have a policy to shut down exterior rides when there is lightning within a 10 mile radius. Going to Sea World, or any other theme park in Orlando, wouldn't have stopped you from being hot in the morning or getting rained on in the afternoon and having rides close.

I hope you take advantage of the many theme park blogs and websites so you can have a better time on your next family vacation.

P.S. Most Disney fans LOVE Belle in her blue dress just as much as her yellow one !!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacey said...

Just an FYI... Universal raised the cost of their ticket prices recently, making them the most expensive theme park in Orlando. Disney shortly followed suit and now the Magic Kingdom is the most expensive ticket. Going to Universal will no linger save you the coast of going to Disney and they will most likely raise their ticket price again with the completion of the Harry Potter expansion, which will require a 2 park ticket to experience!!

Dr. Nigel Channing said...

Oh gosh, there's a few inaccuracies in your replies, Gulfport & Stacey...

- The "Times Guide" sheets are available almost EVERYWHERE in each theme park. Just about every food & merchandise shop and carts have them readily available. If you find yourself knee-deep in one of the parks, just ask a Cast Member for the times guide and they can whip one out in seconds. There is no need to be in any Disney theme park without knowing about the amazing entertainment that's available on & off all day in various corners.

- "Magic Kingdom" tickets are the same price as for all of the Disney theme parks. They do not charge more or less for any of their 4 theme parks.

As far as the blog author not going back -- good. That's less people in the parks for when I'm there. :-)

Unknown said...

Just wanted to drop by and let you know that your blog posts about Disney have gone viral on Twitter... and not in a good way. You may want to consider making your vacation posts private for a few weeks.

Unknown said...

FYI... your blog posts about Disney have gone viral on Twitter for all the wrong reasons. You may want to make your vacation posts private for a few weeks.

Stephanie Combs said...

I originally wasn't going to comment but as a past cast member of the Walt Disney World company for 6 years, I feel like I need to.

First off, I feel as if this trip would have been better for you if you had actually done some research about central Florida. I am not sure where you are from but it rains in Florida a lot in the summer time. Sometimes the sun can be out and it can be raining. Its just how it goes in the summer time. If would have some research you would have known this so you would have expected all the rain and hot weather.

Now when it comes to Epcot itself, if you would have done just some a little bit of research you would have seen how world showcase does not open till 11am every day and the height requirements. What confuses me is how you think Test Track was the only ride your son would fit on. There's a ride in Norway, Mexico, The Seas (Nemo), Mission Space (they have a intense version for adults and a basic experience for kdis), Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Soarin, The Land, Captain EO and Journey Into Imagination. Call me crazy but when adding all that up, that's more than one ride.

And how in God's name could you spend over 200 dollars in water? You bought 66 bottles of water over two days? A little extreme. Again, if you did some proper research you would have known that all quick service places will give you a cup of ice cold water if you ask. Also, you can get just a cup of ice and that melts into water. Shocking, I know. There also water fountains all over the park and guess what its free!!! Crazy right?

Also, you speak of the hot weather almost the entire time and yet you expect Belle to be in her big yellow dress? Please. If you actually go to the Magic Kingdom, Belle is indoors there and has on her yellow dress. Just so you know, guests love meeting Belle in multiple outfits because shes the one princess who has 2 dresses.

I'm sorry this trip wasn't everything you wanted it to be but please do not make all these comments about the parks and the rides because 1. it could ruin someone else's trip, 2. it could have been better if YOU had planned better and 3. Be thankful you could even afford to come here because there are tons of people who will NEVER get to go to any Disney park.

I hope your next trip is better and use your resources!!

Steff said...

The part about Alice's mental capacity cracked me up! haha

Well that sucks Epcot was such a bust!

Steff said...

The part about Alice's mental capacity cracked me up! haha

Well that sucks Epcot was such a bust!

Julie H said...

Love the "you went viral and not in a good way" WTG lol.

It's amazing how you have to "research" your vacation spot that cost an arm and a leg. Too bad they don't use some of the money you pay to get in to have some signs pointing to free water and such.