When: Saturday November 30, 2013
Where: Epcot Orlando, Florida
Thanksgiving week I traveled to Florida to visit with my parents, my brother and my nieces. We had a very nice Thanksgiving meal and enjoyed the warm weather.
We finished our trip with a visit to Epcot on Saturday.
Here is a link to the Epcot website if you want to plan a trip:
There is an app you can download with a map and wait times for park attractions:
My brother used hotel points to get us our rooms at the Dolphin Hotel. When we arrived we wanted to get rooms closer together. We arrived late and this proved difficult for the staff so we received a free upgrade instead! We were assigned the two floor Presidential Suite with an adjoining room. My brother and I each had our own king size room, the girls slept in a room with two double beds plus we had a kitchen, dining room, living room (with a baby grand),an office and a balcony with a gorgeous view. Too bad we were in the room for a short time.
After enjoying breakfast in our suite we got our Epcot tickets in the hotel lobby. We wanted to get the park at 9:00 AM when it opened. Another perk of staying at the Dolphin is the ability to get some fast passes right as you enter the park. We got fast passes for Soarin, Turtle Time with Crush, and Spaceship Earth. You enter the park with your card and a finger print.
With FASTPASS, you can cut your time spent standing in line and do more with your day.
To Use FASTPASS Service:
- Look for the “FASTPASS Distribution” sign near the entrance of an attraction.
- Check the return time displayed on the sign.
This time indicates when you should return to enjoy the attraction using your FASTPASS ticket.
For attractions, the return time is a 1-hour window (e.g., 1:10 PM to 2:10 PM), and you can show up anytime between then. For shows, your return time will be for a specific performance.
Our first stop was our favorite attraction: Test Track
Stroll into a gleaming, state-of-the-art facility and cruise past eye-opening exhibits illustrating the forward-thinking innovation and technology of Chevrolet. Steer your way inside the Chevrolet Design Center and—working at an illuminated station—design your own virtual custom concept vehicle based on the following test criteria:
- Capability (handling)
- Responsiveness (maneuverability)
- Efficiency (fuel-saving and environmentally friendly)
- Power (speed)
Add some finishing touches to your design before boarding a special “SIM Car” and taking off on a fun-filled driving evaluation.
The Test Drive
Discover how your custom concept vehicle performs thanks to easy-to-read visual charts as you rev through rough terrain and surprise obstacles along the winding Test Track circuit. Fly through straight-aways, maneuver switchbacks through inclement weather, hug curves banked at 50-degree angles and scale hills that are up to 3-stories high!
At almost a mile long, with peak speeds of 65 mph, Test Track Presented by Chevrolet is a thrilling ride you’ll want to take again and again!
We did want to ride it again so we got fast passes to come back later!
Here were the cars we designed:
After Test track we went to Innovations East:
Innovations East and West:
Dave and Isabella went on this ride, they enjoyed creating their own roller coaster ride:
- The Sum of All Thrills™ – presented by Raytheon
Use your math, science and engineering know-how to design your very own thrill ride—how mild or wild is up to you! Determine height and velocity using an interactive touch screen while adding features like hill climbs, dive rolls and corkscrews. Then hop aboard a 4D robotic simulator to experience the ride you’ve just created, complete with the realism of high-definition video, audio and motion.
Molly and I decided to pass on a crazy roller coaster ride and instead became Habit Heroes:
- Habit Heroes – presented by Florida Blue and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Ready, set, go—the time to turn into a Habit Hero is now! Team up with Quench, Dynamo and Fuel for a series of interactive adventures and transform the world into happier, healthier place for us all. Try to “Master the Moves”, then “Team Up” to “Save the World” and learn about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
We had a blast being active and literally blasting away bad habits. We were commissioned as habit heroes promoting activity and vegetables and fruits.
Later in the day we all participated in this exhibit (our team was victorious plus we learned about fire hazards):
- Where’s the Fire? – presented by Liberty Mutual® Insurance
First, find the fire hazards in “the most dangerous house in America.” Then get your picture taken with a 30-foot fire truck. Become a Fire Chief by excelling at the Burning Questions kiosk before exploring the Play It Safe maze in this fun exhibit promoting fire safety.
We visited our first scheduled fast pass:
Travel back to the dawn of recorded history, when early man painted his thoughts on cave walls, the Egyptians invented papyrus and the Phoenicians devised the alphabet. See ideas spread like wildfire with the invention of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, Greek systems of mathematics and the inspiring works of the masters of the Renaissance. The wheels of time turn ever faster as we progress to the modern age of media communications, from newspapers announcing the end of the Civil War to the televised broadcast of the moon landing and beyond.
Our next stop was Starbucks for a snack.
Two things spotted at Starbucks: Mickey cupcake and an interesting outfit.
After Starbucks we needed to pick up some pins. Here is the scoop on pins: first you buy a lanyard to hold the pins, then you buy your pins, lastly you can trade pins with employees.
After accessorizing with pins we visited Nemo and friends and Crush:
Board a “clamobile” and descend below the waves into a “Big Blue World” where Nemo and his friends flit through brightly colored coral reefs and gently swaying sea anemones. Swim with Mr. Ray and his school and see ultra-cool, ultraviolet “jellies.”
Your underwater adventure climaxes when the Finding Nemo characters join real, live sea creatures in the massive 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium they call home.
Got a burning question for Crush? This intimate 15-minute conversation is your chance to ask him! Using his high-tech “hydrophone,” Crush can communicate directly with little dudes and dudettes about literally anything that’s on their minds.
Our last scheduled fast pass was for another favorite ride:
Feel like you’re flying—and even smell what you’re seeing as you skim rolling waves, powdery ski slopes, majestic redwood forests, fragrant orange groves and familiar landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge.
We had lunch at Sunshine Seasons: Choose from stations featuring Asian fare, gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads, and wood-fired entrées. Try the ginger Mongolian beef or the grilled salmon.
I had mushroom soup and a beet salad.
The Circle of Life and Living with the Land are near our lunch spot, we decided to visit:
Many of your favorite foodstuffs—chocolate, coffee, vanilla, tomatoes and rice, to name a few—grow on trees, vines and now even in soil-less environments. See firsthand how Disney’s horticulturalists are using innovative growing techniques and cross-breeding high-yield crops with the goal of sustaining our growing global population
See specimens of produce from around the world, some modified to jaw-dropping effect, in the pavilion’s 4 greenhouses. Live eels, tilapia, catfish, freshwater shrimp and American alligators are also on display as you travel though the fish farm.
You can even taste the fruits of this labor for yourself by dining at Sunshine Seasons or the Garden Grill Restaurant in The Land Pavilion, both of which serve produce and seafood fresh from the farm.
After Living with the Land we went to Innovations again and then did some accessories shopping. The girls and I wanted some ears, Molly also wanted some hands. Here we are with our new accessories:
After shopping we visited another favorite:
We loved seeing Ellen guide us on an energy adventure!
Time was flying but we managed to visit one more attraction before our Test Track fast pass time:
Climb aboard your carriage and get ready for surprises galore as you travel through Dr. Channing’s sensory labs. Little ones will love learning and laughing about the 5 senses—sound, sight, smell, touch and taste—on this madcap musical trip with Figment.
We had a great day and we might have stayed for the fireworks show if not for the early flight scheduled for the next day.
Here is a group shot:
Molly and Isabella’s clothing was purchased at a local Vero Beach store, Twirl Kids boutique.
Here we are showing off our footwear choices: