Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Disney Day 4 - Epcot (part 1)

We started off day 4 with the princess storybook dining breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway in Epcot's World Showcase.  We were running late this day, so we literally ran all the way back to Norway to check in.  We passed several other families with little girls dressed in princess dresses headed to the same breakfast (the park doesn't open until 9, but our reservation was at 810...they let you in early if you have a dining reservation).  I'm sure those other families thought we were crazy running through the park with our 2 kids holding on for dear life in the double stroller.  But whatever.  I'm trying to get over that whole caring what other people think about me thing, so we'll just say I was embracing that. 

After we checked in, we had to wait several minutes before they were ready for us, so we took advantage of the mini waterfall for a photo opp...

Pretty soon after that we heard a male voice (with a Norwegian accent!) say, "Now calling the royal Brooks family..."  One fun fact about World Showcase in Epcot is that they have a program where they hire citizens from the different countries that make up World Showcase to come over to America for a year and work in their home country's portion of Epcot.  So all of the workers at the breakfast were really from Norway.  Our waitress didn't have an accent at all...I never would've known she wasn't American if she hadn't told us about the program...but a lot of the other staff definitely had accents.

Right when you walk in, you get into a line to have a picture with Belle, who talked so sweetly to Charlotte and Hunter about how much she loved books and reading.  Since she hosted the event, she wasn't involved in any of the other portions except for this greeting.  All of the character dinings take a picture like this before the meal, but they usually come around during the meal, show you the photo, and ask if you want to purchase it for like $30.  This was the only one we went to where the photo is part of the price of the meal...granted, it was also our most expensive character dining, so it all seems to even out in the end. 

We sat down and were served a platter of savory breakfast foods (meats, hashbrown casserole, eggs) and were told to go to the buffet for sweet treats (fruit, sweet breads, yogurt).  Here's our pretty princess waiting to meet the other princesses...
Charlotte was totally in her element at this breakfast!  It was her favorite of all the character dinings we did...and a close second favorite for me!

Pretty soon after we got our food, they announced that they were having a princess processional so all of the children should find the closest princess and line up with her.  Luckily, Cinderella (Char's favorite princess) was close by our table...


Charlotte is out of view (behind Cinderella) in most of this video, but wait for the end and you'll see such a precious moment between Char and Cinderella!
video

They had another processional later in the meal and Charlotte lined up with Sleeping Beauty. She said that was her favorite part (she got to be in front of the line that time...holding Sleeping Beauty's hand the whole time!).

After the processional, the princesses started to come by.  First we met Aurora/Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty...I never know which name to call her:)...


Then Snow White...

And Ariel (in human form)...

And finally, Cinderella...


Here are some pictures from the second princess processional that Charlotte got to lead...


Epcot is huge, y'all.  I think I read somewhere that it was double the size of Magic Kingdom (although it didn't feel like that to me), so we decided to tackle the front portion (Future World) in the morning and then head to the back portion (World Showcase) when we returned after naptime.

So after breakfast we all headed to Future World, and then split up so that James and Hunter could go to Soarin' and Charlotte and I could go to the character spot to meet Mickey and friends.  (Char didn't meet the height requirement for Soarin'.)  James called my cell after we had been in line for about 5 minutes and said that they just got fastpasses to Soarin' because the line was so long.  So we left to go meet the boys at Living with the Land.

Once we got to The Land Pavillion and parked our stroller, Charlotte started freaking out that she wasn't going to meet Minnie Mouse...not really sure what she thought we were doing when we left the line and walked all the way across Future World, but I'm thankful because it would've been much more stressful to deal with my limp, screaming 2 year old in the character meet line. 

She actually calmed down pretty quickly after I told her we were going to ride a ride with James and Hunter.  Now y'all, I really wouldn't recommend riding Living with the Land the next time you're in Epcot.  It was pretty boring for all of us.  You basically ride in a boat and move along through different tunnels and greenhouses holding plants and sealife.  Here are James and Hunter right after we boarded our boat...

And Charlotte and I in the greenhouse...

Next we headed to The Seas with Nemo and Friends...
It was kind of cute, but again, not that exciting.  You basically ride in those seashells and watch a story of Nemo and all of the other characters on the different screens that you move in front of.

It ends right by the entrance of Turtle Talk with Crush, which is an interactive movie-type show (kind of like Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor).  It was pretty entertaining, but when you walk in, they direct the kids to sit on the floor up front and the parents sit back behind on benches.  If you can get over the trauma of not being able to see if your kids are freaking out because they are afraid you have abandoned them, then I think you'll enjoy it.

Then we went back to Soarin' so James and Hunter could ride, and I picked up a rider swap pass so that as soon as the boys got out of the ride, Hunter and I could ride it again immediately.  This is another awesome, family-friendly service of Disney's where the parent that stays behind with the young child gets a pass so that she can ride it with the rest of the party  (once they are done riding the first time) while the other parent stays with the child.  Unfortunately, even though we had a fastpass it seemed to take about 15 minutes before Hunter and James came out of the ride, and I didn't want Charlotte to have to sit there any longer.  So I never ended up using the rider swap pass, but I still am a big fan of it!

So far I had not been impressed with Future World, and it was kind of putting me in a bad mood.  I know that's annoying, but I'm human...and I'd been spoiled by the magic of Disney giving me all I could dream of for 3 days now.  So, we stopped for some Mickey ice cream to cheer everyone (me) up...

After the much needed re-charge, we headed over to "the big ball"...

Inside "the big ball" we rode Spaceship Earth...

It was probably my favorite part of Future World, but I was having a really hard time reconciling it with Christianity, which, you know, is like the foundation of my life and purpose here so I wasn't a huge fan.

I had really wanted to do Club Cool in Future World, but James and I were just kind of over it by this point, so we went back to the hotel for naptime.

Stay tuned for part 2, World Showcase (which I loved, loved, loved!!)


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