You have to be flexible when you vacation at Disney. If the weather report is calling for two days of great weather, you alter your schedule to make sure you have some pool time on those days. I would rather be at the parks during bad weather, then stuck at the resort with nothing to do.
This was the case for the next day of our trip. Originally we had planned for Saturday to be our day at the pool, kind of a “day off.” However, we ended up buying 6 day passes because it was only a few dollars more to do so. This meant we could split up one of our longer days into two shorter days. By doing so on Thursday, we were able to schedule in some pool time on what was supposed to be a gorgeous day!
We got up early (again!) and headed to EPCOT. On our trip last year, we didn’t do EPCOT with the kids, other than a quick walk through one night. Certainly it isn’t the most popular park for toddlers, but there are a handful or attractions geared for them and many interesting sights. We decided to focus on Future World for this 1/2 day at EPCOT.
You always need to have a golf ball shot.
And of course the family shot with the golf ball behind you. Actually, it’s called Spaceship Earth.
There were two characters waiting right inside the gate and we were able to walk right up to meet them. My kids have never seen Lilo and Stitch before this trip, but they still thought Stitch was pretty cool. Since coming home, we started watching it, but honestly I wasn’t too happy with it for my kids at this age. We also met Daisy Duck!
I want to take a minute to talk about Fast Passes. If you have been to Disney in recent years, you are probably familiar with this system, but I thought I’d explain how we used it just in case someone might be unaware of how it works. There can be really long lines for certain attractions at Disney. Generally in each park there are 3-4 attractions that can typically have a 1-2 hour wait during normal park attendance. In order to cut down wait time, Disney offers Fast Passes. Basically you decide which rides you really want to ride that offer Fast Passes. For example, in Magic Kingdom we really wanted to ride Peter Pan’s Magic Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Matt and I wanted to ride Space Mountain. The park brochures tell you which rides offer Fast Passes. By getting a Fast Pass for a ride, you are given a ticket which dictates a return time window when you can come back and enter a shorter, must faster line to ride. For example, your Fast Pass might say, 10:45-11:25. You can come back anytime after 10:45 (even past 11:25) and ride the ride by using the faster line. You can’t get another fast pass until after the previous fast pass start time has expired. Using the previous example, you couldn’t get another fast pass until after 10:45.
With our group, if there was a ride we wanted fast passes for, I would take our 9 tickets, go the fast pass distribution area (outside the rides that offer fast pass), stick our tickets in a machine, and collect our fast passes. This did take a little bit of time, but was SO worth it! Later in the week we would learn just how important Fast Pass can be if you want to ride Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios!
So, as we entered EPCOT, I knew I wanted to take the Grandparents on Soarin at some point that morning. I took all the adults’ tickets and headed to the Living with the Land Pavilion to get our fast passes. While I was gone, the family found the character meet and greet pavilion that EPCOT has. I came back to find that the kids had met Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy. This was a sacrifice people! I missed 90% of the meet and greet, but got our passes. Thank goodness for the grandmas taking pictures.
You’ll remember Allie’s infatuation with Pluto? Remember her Pluto 2nd birthday Party? The Pluto she sleeps with every night? This was her moment!
Cara just LOVES Minnie. She’s one of the only characters that Cara isn’t a little scared of!
While at Future World that morning we rode Spaceship Earth which the kids thought was amazing! That ride makes me laugh, one of the ones that just causes me to scratch my head and think, “Who came up with this idea?” It was even more amusing because Grandma Sandy and I accidentally selected Portuguese as the language for the 15 minute audio as we rode.
We rode on Journey Into Imagination with Figment and honestly this ride scared Allie more than any other. There were several loud, unexpected noises and it wasn’t her favorite. One of my best memories from the trip was Allie declaring on each ride either, “This scares me!” or “Oh, this is not scary! I not scared!” If she was scared, she would just snuggle up to whomever she was riding with. Quite precious.
Ahhh…the jumping water fountains. An EPCOT classic. The water jumps between these little round pods, and then jumps over from one section to another. I remember being amazed by this when I was little. My kids were too! Especially Brady who was determined to catch that water in his hat!
We went to the Living Seas and rode the Nemo ride for the first time. This ride had the longest cue line ever, but we walked right through it. I couldn’t help but think of how long that wait must be during busy season:(
After the ride, we tried to coax the kids to stick their heads into Bruce the Shark’s mouth. Grandma and I did, and then the boys reluctantly tried.
One of my favorite stops in Future World is the Land. I’m not sure why I love it so much, but I guess it is because I like that Living with the Land ride that takes you into the experimental greenhouses where Disney grows all sorts of interesting things. The food court there is also one of my favorites. We had lunch there that day and it was yummy! It was also time for us to use our Fast Passes to ride Soarin. Matt took his parents on first while mom and I waited with the kids, then we swapped.
Before we left EPCOT, we decided to stop for some ice cream. Miss Cara loved this idea because she ate all of hers and Allie’s. This is another area where I tried to save on cost. Instead of ordering each kid their own cone, I ordered one cone and asked for 4 dishes.
The kids were doing great in the first few days without having to take mid day naps. Allie would just doze off here and there if she needed it. Often if we were on a dark ride, we would notice that she would just fall asleep. Several times in the week the big kids would fall asleep in the stroller in the later afternoon. All they seemed to need was a 30-40 minute rest and they were good to go. Now, by 9pm most nights they were falling asleep on the bus ride to the resort! Allie did amazingly well despite missing her nap. She never got grouchy or had meltdowns…she kind of just went with the flow. She is such a good girl!
It was early afternoon and we were back at the resort. Matt’s two good friends from high school and their wives were going to come and visit us since they now live in Florida. Grandma Lynn and Grandpa Wes were also stopping by to say goodbye after spending their morning at a Magic Kingdom tour.
As we spent time with our guests, the kids couldn’t wait to get back to that Hippy Dippy Pool!
Matt’s friends were going to be joining us that evening, so we came up with a plan that didn’t require any park tickets. We took a bus to Magic Kingdom and from there took the monorail to the Polynesian Resort. Our plan was to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach. It was kind of a good idea. There was a lot of bird poop on the beach chairs and the kids were getting kind of grouchy. A few minutes into the show it hit me that we would be running into huge crowds afterward that would be leaving MK and trying to get back to their resort by bus. We decided to leave and take the boat across the lagoon back to Magic Kingdom and beat the crowds.
I think we beat a big part of the crowd, but there was still a very long line for a bus back to POP Century. Being one of the bigger resorts and the fact that it is more inexpensive than others, the lines for POP always seemed to be the longest. The Disney transportation system is really quite efficient. They have 350 buses running on Disney property every day. The line was long and we probably waited 20-30 minutes as we had to wait for 2 buses before us. But then, 2 empty buses pulled up and we were able to get on. That was the longest we waiting for the bus the entire week. The kids were all asleep on that ride home.
Tomorrow we would head to Animal Kingdom, the kids would take part in the Festival of the Lion King, and we would get caught in a rain storm!