Since it was Saturday, we planned on doing more activities in the front half of the park. Despite what the predicted crowd levels were, we figured the World Showcase would be busy with all the foodies and winos.
We left our room by 8:15, had breakfast in the lounge (I think I had quinoa with blueberries), and arrived at Epcot by 8:45. Nothing like a few early morning bus stop shots!
Once the park was opened, it was announced that Test Track was down. Go figure, a GM sponsored attraction that breaks down often... Anyway, so that kind of threw a kink in our plans. Instead of heading to Soarin' like the rest of the park attendees, we decided to amble. Seriously, I don't get the appeal with Soarin'. Maybe I'm dulled to the whole Imax thing since I saw tons of Imax films as a kid. It's just not that interesting to get seatbelted into a theatre seat and dangle above an Imax screen and have the occasional scent blasted out at you. People LOVE it. I did it once back in 2005, when it was new. I also did the Disneyland one last year. They aren't different. It's not the best film either, you flash from scene to scene, with barely any transition. I will never understand the appeal for people to wait over an hour to see it. It's good to do it once, but again and again??
We took a few shots at the fountain, then Tamara spotted two security guards. Once they saw she was going to photograph them, they had to pose.
As we walked towards the Land, we passed by the Character Spot.
Goofy came running to the window and gestured to us. We decided we might as well check out the characters. Here we are with Mickey and Pluto.
There was hardly any line, so we got a bunch of photos with the "fab five". We headed over to do Journey into Imagination- a ride that never has a wait. This fun sign is located just after the ride. I love the gradient of coloured lights and the fun font!
Next up, we headed to the Seas with Nemo. It's a clam style ride, you actually sit in a clam as you go through some ocean scenes. After the ride, we wandered through the various sea exhibits. It's such a relaxing atmosphere, definitely a nice place to unwind...
Or get eaten by a shark. Last time, I had quite the photo with Bruce, so I had to do something similar! I remembered that I had gotten my clothes dirty when I tried to pose, but I certainly didn't recall how high up the mouth is. It's like they don't want you climbing inside and hanging out of his mouth! I actually ended up bruising my ribs a bit from doing this. I had a redder bruise right by my sternum, and another bruise, fang shaped a little lower!
Here's the one from 2005. My pose was a little bit better last time.
Once we were done there, we headed to Living with Land. We had the whole row to ourselves, and were recipients of the oh so exciting time card, our first one so far! Here are some of the Season themed balloons inside the area.
After that we checked the time board. Test Track was back up with quite a wait, so we got a FP then went to Mission Space (green). We did the original version back in 2005, when there was no tamer option available. There is quite a difference between the two versions. I wouldn't do the orange version again, but the green version is just so tame. The queue has some fun space theming though!
We still had time before our 11:30 lunch reservation, so we checked out the Food and Wine Festival center. There was a lot of the same kinds of merchandise available. One of the only things that caught my eye was a recipe book that contained a lot of the booths' recipes. However, I was not about to pay $40 US for it. Oh well!
We walked slowly to Coral Reef, got there for opening, and were seated on the 2nd level. I think the 2nd level might have better viewing than the 1st. You have the chance to see all the windows into the aquarium, versus just one big window right next to your table. The service here was actually too fast. Go figure, I snapped a few photos of some of the lights there!
I had the Seared Rainbow Trout with Warm Salad of White Beans, Arugula, Tomatoes, Crispy Bacon, Aged Balsamic Vinegar, and Brown Butter.
Tamara had the Lobster Ravioli with Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, and Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.
After lunch, we decided to venture into the World Showcase. It was scarily busy. I couldn't believe the line ups for the food and wine booths! At this point, I was keeping my fingers crossed that it was simply the "weekend effect"- aka higher local attendance. We made it as far as the Canada pavilion (the first one on the right), so we checked out O Canada. It's definitely better than it was, but it's still disappointing that to have certain parts of the country even mentioned, those places need to pay a ridiculous sum of money. We walked right past Le Cellier. I only even took a photo of it, in honour of a coworker, Joel, who used to work there. He gave me a hard time about not making reservations there.
It was still too early for our Test Track FP return, so we checked out a few stores.
The FP line up for Test Track still took 10 minutes, and we got to be cardholders again, yippy. While on the ride, there's a photo opportunity right before the barrier test. I couldn't remember exactly where it takes the picture. Tamara and I had planned to look freaked out about the upcoming impact. I was way too late and ended up not even looking forward for the photo. Oops! I loved the lighting just after you get off the ride!
At this point, we were getting pretty tired of the crowds at Epcot, so we made our way to the International Gateway to catch a boat over to Hollywood Studios. Here's a glimpse of what we got to walk through, and that's not even the worst part!
We happened to see Mary Poppins without a line in U.K, so we grabbed a quick photo.
I also managed to take a few other photos of the area, while trying to avoid people. It's sometimes easier than one would think to avoid including people in the foreground.
Unfortunately we arrived at the Studios just in time for the 3:00 parade. So we couldn't really fully enter the park to get to the rides. So we watched the parade, and saw this awesome character from Monsters Inc.We checked out the Tower of Tower, got a drop sequence that had us looking out the window 4 times, then took a few photos.We were there for maybe an hour, then we caught a boat back to the Yacht and Beach Club to check out Beaches and Cream. I had no idea where it was located. Luckily Tamara had been there before and remembered, vaguely, where it was. I was a bit tired and sore at this point, and didn't have much faith in her sense of direction, but we made it there in good time. There weren't even any wrong turns along the way! We both ordered burgers with a side of fruit (instead of fries). We ordered a side of onion rings. Now, I was kind of used to the Disney pricing at this point, so for $5.99 I didn't expect that many onion rings. It was a huge plate with SO many on it, monstrous, really. You can't go to Beaches and Cream without ordering ice cream, so we had to leave some room for that. We split the Milky Way, which was really good. We really did eat way too much though.
The original plan was to walk around the Boardwalk area, but at this point, were both just ready to fall over and sleep. I took a few photos as we headed to the boat stop.
We took a boat back to the Studios and caught a bus there. We just missed one, but there was another in about 15 minutes.
We got back to our room around 6:30, sat for a bit, then went to the hot tub. After we headed to the gift shop and bought a few souvenirs. Next we headed to the lounge for tea and a few sweets, then came back to the room for a bit of evening balcony sitting. Apparently we could not only hear some of the fireworks shows, but see parts of them too. We received our invitation for the next morning's Sunrise Safari and called it a reasonably early night.