Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Disney Day 3: Epcot

On the third day of our Disney vacation (Saturday), we decided to skip the alarm clock and just wake up whenever. We had that day earmarked for Epcot, and we weren't in any real rush. Of course, we do have a toddler, so we're not exactly talking about a noon sleep-in, here. We were still up and at 'em and en route to the park roughly around park opening time.

Oh hey, in case I forget to mention it, the weather was disgusting. Again.

More rain! More cold! More gray skies!

First things first, we decided to knock out some more character meet-and-greets. So, upon entering the park we went straight to the Epcot Character Spot where we got to meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy with no wait. Seriously, no wait at all. We knew it wouldn't be bad when we rolled up and there were only three strollers parked out front! Ha! With no crowd, the characters all spent a great amount of time with Ellie - Minnie, in particular. She loved Ellie and Ellie loved her. They spent a good bit of time playing, being silly, dancing and hugging. We could hardly pull Ellie away.

Kisses for Mickey!

Family with Mickey

Dancing with Goofy


Silly Minnie wanted to wear Ellie's hat!


As we left the Character Spot, we also ran into Chip and Dale.

Ellie and the chipmunks

From there we decided to hit a ride: Spaceship Earth, which I thought was neat.

At the beginning of the ride, they take your picture to incorporate into a little "movie" at the end. Please pardon Eric's apparently Goofy ears and my Ellie-face growth on my right cheek.

Then it was over to use our FastPass+ selections for the Finding Nemo ride and Turtle Talk with Crush. I especially enjoyed the Turtle Talk, in which Crush from Finding Nemo answers audience questions. He's animated, but actually carries on an ad lib conversation. It was really cool and he was funny, though Ellie got pretty wiggly by the end.

Ellie and Eric are off to find Nemo!

Crush! Duuuuude!

After that, we debated what to do. I really wanted to walk around and see all the countries, but we knew we were fast approaching lunch/nap time and weren't sure we'd have enough time to make it all the way around the lake. (We wanted to make sure to get a jump start on the lunch/nap process, because we had to be back at the park for an early dinner reservation that evening.) The weather was getting nastier (yay, heavy rain!), but we weren't sure we were quite ready to pack it in. We ended up walking over to Norway, where Anna and Elsa (the princesses from Frozen) were doing meet-and-greets. We had no real expectations of seeing them, as we had heard the lines were always super long, but we thought, hey. Maybe the rain scared people off? But no. No, it did not. When we showed up, the line was over three hours long. In the rain. No, thanks! We'll happily just snap pictures from afar through the open doorway and count our blessings that our kid is still too young to really care, thanks very much.

Sneaking a peek at the Frozen princesses

With that, we left the park for the morning. We decided to stop at Downtown Disney for lunch on our way back to the resort, which ended up turning into a comedy of errors: trouble finding any lunch options for Ellie (ultimately we just fed her back at the hotel room), miscommunication over snack choices, Ellie meltdowns, pouring rain, a big cup of pop spilled all over my arm. It was definitely the low point of the trip, but ultimately we ended up back at our hotel with (sub-par) lunch for Eric and me, which we ate while Ellie enjoyed room-made food as she watched a little TV. Then, nap time.

Poor Ellie had some trouble falling asleep, much to our dismay. She ultimately did doze off right as we were about to give up hope and get her up to just go back to the park early. So, we let her snooze a bit before waking her and getting her dressed. Better she slept somewhat, I suppose, but she had to still be tired. But, we had dinner with the princesses to get to!

When we arrived back at the park, we had a brief respite from the constant rain...

Look, ma! No umbrellas!

...but it didn't last long. We had enough time before our reservation for a quick meet-and-greet with Donald Duck in Mexico, but as we waited in line, the rain picked up again and they ushered us all inside. Donald was very sweet with Ellie, though - mimicking her "sleeping" and acting totally beside himself when she gave him a kiss.

Shhhh, Ellie and Donald are sleeping!

Kisses from Ellie!

He's totally enamored with Ellie, but can you blame him?

Even with our reservations, we had a little bit of time to wait (outside) at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. We huddled under our umbrella and kept Ellie calm by singing (much to our neighbors' dismay, I'm sure). Then finally, it was our turn!

Waiting in the rain

Time to eat!

First things first, when you enter the restaurant, you have your photo taken with Belle. They give you a nice big copy of this photo for free. Ellie was feeling shy, so we used the opportunity for a family photo.

Photo op!

Then, it's off to your seats. Unfortunately, our seats were kind of lousy - we were stuck at a table in a far corner, away from the main dining hall. So, when they did the little Princess Parade with all the princesses and children in attendance, we were kind of off the beaten path. Ellie and I still joined in, though!

You can see my white sweater and Ellie's red polka dot dress in front of Snow White! Ellie made it about halfway through the parade on her own before she got a little overwhelmed and asked to be carried.

Then it was time to eat. They had a buffet for salad/starters, and then you ordered your entree off the menu. Eric and I both had a salmon dish, which was quite tasty. We also ordered pizza (again) for Ellie.


As you eat, the princesses come around and say hello. This was slightly awkward because, well, we were eating. In particular, our toddler was eating pizza, which meant she was covered in sauce. There was no time for hand/face wiping for each princess, so she just had to be messy. Toddlers! Am I right?

Also, for the most part, Ellie was kind of weird about the whole thing. She would get really excited about each princess when she saw her at the next table, but as soon as said princess came over to us, Ellie would clam right up. The princesses were all very nice, however, and were very sweet to Ellie. They posed for pictures and signed our autograph mat.

"Hey, guys! Guys, look! Snow White is RIGHT OVER THERE! HOW COOL!"

"Sorry, don't know you, don't care. Keep it moving. I've got lots of work to do smearing pizza sauce all over myself."

"Wait, didn't I just meet you yesterday?"

More impressed by a bowl of strawberries than Ariel, apparently

Cinderella was lucky enough to receive an adoring gaze!

If we're being honest, her favorite part of the whole Storybook Princess Dining experience was probably the straw in her cup. TODDLERS.

At least she had fun?

After the princesses made their rounds, we were served a dessert platter and then wrapped things up.

If memory serves, this was a chocolate mousse cake, some sort of apple cake (tasty) and a rice pudding with strawberry sauce.

When we left, we noticed there was hardly any wait for the Maelstrom ride, so we decided to check that out. Ellie was excited to ride the boat before we got going, but then the ride itself was a bit scary for her. Oops.

"Ellie ride boat!"

Then, we went back to Mexico to ride the Donald Duck boat ride. Poor Ellie was starting to appear pretty tired.


Cuddling with her daddy on the Donald Duck ride

Ellie caught her second wind, however, when we decided to make a quick lap around the lake to check out all the countries. Eric and I enjoyed looking at all the different structures (although we didn't really have time to explore them), and tossed around the idea of ditching Ellie one of these days and going back just the two of us to really check it out (I'm quite intrigued by the "eat your way around the countries" idea).

The American Experience



As for Ellie, she had a blast running from country to country, although her favorite part by far was the polka music in Germany. The polka rhythm got her, you might say. She danced like it was all she was born to do. We polka-ed till we dropped, right there in the dark in front of Germany.


Dancing with Daddy

We briefly debated sticking around for the laser/fireworks show that evening, but we figured it would be too late for our sleepy kid. So, we stopped for a few more pictures but started to make our way out.


At the end of a fun day at Epcot!

Watching the dancing fountains


Happy girl!

And that was our day at Epcot! We stopped for our last quick-service meal back at the resort before heading back to the room and getting our tired little Minnie to bed. We needed to rest up for our last day at Magic Kingdom!

I think we thoroughly wore her out!

Up next: FINALLY a sunny day! Perfect weather for one more day at Magic Kingdom, including lunch with our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood!

And again: If you'd like to see more pictures from our day at Epcot, you can see them here.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I've always loved Epcot, such a blast :-)