Friday, April 21, 2017

Epcot, October 2016

If you've been following along on this trip, you know that we had briefly visited Epcot the evening before.  This in no way lessened how excited we were for this day.  I had preplanned this day to the max.  We had a breakfast reservation before the park opened at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, and 4 fastpasses between the three of us.  Since Littlecjc is too short to ride most of the rides here in the top tiers that need fastpasses, we were able to split up our fastpasses and take advantage of a rider swap pass for these attractions.  So, going into the day we all had fastpasses for Character Spot and Turtle Talk with Crush.  At one point, we all also had fastpasses for Frozen Ever After.  However, once we snagged the early breakfast next door at Akershus and Soarin reopened with Soarin Around the World, I dropped my Frozen pass to pick up a Soarin pass just to guarantee that we would get it all in.  Even with all this planning, we really changed this day up due to staying with our friends.

The park did not open until 9:00 this day, but we were outside of Epcot by 8:00 because we had breakfast reservations at 8:15 at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.  We love this restaurant.  If you've read my post from our June 2016 trip, you know that we had lunch here during our last trip.  Both meals were great, we've had great service (actually the same waiter both times), and the princesses were always present and fun to meet.   First, Belle, character #1 greeted us as we entered.

Once seated we were shown the buffet to take advantage of while we waited for our homestyle breakfast to be brought to our table.  I didn't get a picture of the buffet, but here is the breakfast that was delivered to our table.  PS. those cheesy potatoes were amazing.

 Within the time it took us to eat, we then were able to meet Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, and Snow White, characters #2, 3, 4, and 5.

We had hopes of being done with our breakfast by this time, so that we could get a jump start on the mad rush heading to Frozen Ever After when the park opened.  This worked out perfectly.  When we left the restaurant, we saw the rush coming and we joined right in with the front runners and were among the first riders of the day.  By 9:05, we were completing attraction #1, Frozen Ever After.

When we got off the ride, we went right next door to the new meet and greet area of the Arendelle royalty.  Already on character #6 and 7, we met Elsa and Anna.

By this point, we had met up with our friends and we all headed to The Land and straight to Soarin'.  Littlecjc is still too little for this attraction, so after walking to the Soarin' line and getting our rider's swap pass, Soarin' became attraction #2 for most of our party, while Littlecjc and I headed over to the empty Living with the Land, attraction #3.  

Even within the first hour of the park opening, Soarin' had a line, so Littlecjc and I knew that we had time to head upstairs and watch The Circle of Life, attraction #4.  

This video is one that we usually skip, but it was nice to have something to do while we waited for the rest of our party to finish riding Soarin'.  The timing worked out perfectly.  We met back up with our party as soon as the video was over.  We were fortunate enough to have another friend that lives in Gainesville drive down to join us all for the day.  So, we met up with them and took a little time to catch up.  While the guys were all talking, us ladies took the kids into the Character Spot to use our fastpasses and meet some characters.

This hour was all about the characters.  Moving through the character spot, we met Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie, characters #8, 9, and 10.  

After joining back up with the guys, we split up again.   Instead of using my fastpast, which only would have gotten me on Soarin, I took our two latecomers to Soarin', attraction #5, where we used the rider swap to use the fastpass entrance.  The rest of our party waited in line to see Baymax, character #11.

We of course all got together when we were done with our separate activities.  This was the first time for all of us to be in Epcot during the Food and Wine festival, and we were all ready to partake in that fun.  We snacked off and on all afternoon, never having an actual lunch or dinner.  Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures from this afternoon, since we spent a lot of time simply visiting with our friends and exploring the world showcase.

This hour started with our first samplings of food and beverages, and ended with another ride on Frozen Ever After, attraction #6 for those of our party that had this fastpass.

During these 3 hours, we enjoyed food and friends around the showcase, while Littlecjc took a great nap along the way.

By 4:00, we were meeting up again, this time over by Figment.  It was a random occurrence as far as I'm aware, but we noticed that Gaston was meeting off to the side of the building so we headed that way.  I know that character training happens frequently at Epcot (in the American pavilion), but I had never seen anyone here before, and he was all by himself (minus his escort of course.)  So, we finally met Gaston, character #12.

Since everyone started their day at different times, and those of us with kids made the dash to Frozen, we then headed back to the front of the park to get our iconic Epcot pictures.


At this point, we needed to ride Spaceship Earth, attraction #7, since my little one loves it. 

  As a bonus, the younger ones all loved playing the games at the exit.

After a while, we decided to head to the next space attraction.  The great thing about this ride is that there is an indoor play area for those that are too little to ride.  So everyone besides Littlecjc and one of our other friends rode Mission Space, attraction #8.  

After again playing the games at this ride exit, we moved on to Test Track.  Since Littlecjc was too little for this ride, we got a rider swap while a few went ahead and rode Test Track, attraction #9, through the single rider line.  

This is a best place to take advantage of the single rider line.  Because of the design of the cars, two rows of three seats, the single rider line actually moves pretty quickly.  So when the first group returned, three more of us went through the fastpass line using our rider swap making Test Track, attraction #10.  Check out this amazing car design.

By this time, we were ready for another lap around the world and more food.

Of course, no day at Epcot is complete without viewing Illuminations.  As always there is a mass exodus after any of the nighttime spectaculars, so we always take our time and usually take a walk through the shops.  I think all the kids were asleep by the time we made it to the front of the park.  I know Littlecjc was as she didn't make this picture.

Overall, this was a great day! We enjoyed our first Food and Wine festival and look forward to attending again.  We also enjoyed visiting with friends.  In total, we saw 12 characters and got in 10 attractions, 11 if you count Illuminations.

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