Wednesday, November 25, 2009

day 3: epcot

on friday, we headed out to epcot for the day. since we already had a couple of rides out of the way, we figured we'd have enough time in the park that day to do both future world and the world showcase.

epcot has been my favorite park for a while. when i was a kid, i loved the living seas area (honestly, sea world was an even bigger deal for me--and discovery cove is worth a whole 'nother blog post--but the living seas took a close 2nd) and as i got older, the world showcase allowed me to live out my dreams of traveling around the world.

so we knew epcot would be a big deal for it's technical side, too--we immediately hit up test track, where you ride through various test environments for cars, including a 65 mph stretch--

and mission space, where we took the more intense orange route and experienced what it might feel like to blast off to space.
of course, i had to see the updated "the seas" exhibit with nemo and friends.
and nemo was easy to spot immediately!
but of course, i found the dolphin exhibit right away and was there for their morning presentation. it was cool to see the research and training they're doing by teaching the dolphins to associate certain rhythms of sounds with objects and teaching them to repeat the rhythms when the objects are presented to them.
the idea is that the dolphins will be able to perform the rhythms and request the objects for them to play with. i could have watched them forever, but we had to make the next showing of...

"turtle talk with crush!"

and if i could give my personal recommendation for any show/attraction you can't miss, it would be this one. i was completely floored by the technology that they were using here to have crush talk to, interact with, and joke around with the audience.
the CG animation was spot on--immediate movement in the mouth for talking, facial expressions, floating around or flipping over in the water. and the guy doing the voice--he was just funny! very quick witted and could easily fit in an ocean-themed pun or two. so impressed with this--please don't miss it!

we finished out our trip with the universe of energy--i'll say here, it's missable. we had time, so we chose to do the 45 minute show. and ellen degeneres was hosting it along with bill nye the science guy, so i thought it would be amusing. but it wasn't 45 minutes worth.
so then we started our tour around the world showcase. or as i like to think of it, the ultimate photography voyage. we had lunch in mexico...
where i heard a woman say in spanish to her family that they shouldn't eat there, the food wasn't that good. she was right. (i used to be conversational in spanish and still understand a good deal of it.) skip the mexican food at the cantina.

then on to norway...
there is apparently a decent ride about vikings or norse gods here, but it said you might get wet so we passed on it.
next stop was china, where we watched the 360 degree movie about china. beautiful country, and we enjoyed the young acrobats who were performing as we left.
then over to germany...
and then italy. venice was my favorite city in italy, and it makes sense to use those landmarks since venice is right on the water. it was pretty awesome with the christmas decorations up, too.
then to japan, where we listened to the ceremonial drums being played...
and then over to the american adventure. and i'll be honest here--that show is so schmaltzy, it's almost embarrassing. justin fell asleep halfway through it, and based on what he saw while he was awake, he agreed. the hall of presidents that we saw the next day was a lot better and would have been just as effective there.
on to morocco, whose architecture and decor is right up my alley. i love the ornate details and was tempted by the henna designs they were doing right by the water.

and the mosaics? beautiful...we continued on to france, where we grabbed a pastry at the local patisserie and watched a 360 video on rural france. (and i couldn't understand what the guy said to introduce the movie, even in english.)
across the bridge was england, where we also saw the popular irish pub and heard strains of the beatles coming from one of the late afternoon shows...
and finally, canada. their movie was hosted by martin short and was way cooler than the american video. and who doesn't love martin short?
the architecture and gardens here were modeled after those in victoria, british columbia, and the butchart gardens (also somewhere we've visited.)
as evening started to fall, we took the opportunity to capture some of these places all lit up for the night, slowly making our way back to our late dinner reservations...

ask me how long it took to capture this without any shake. just ask.
(ended up using a trashcan as a tripod after trying for about 10 minutes or so.)

our dinner reservations were for the coral reef, the restaurant inside the seas exhibit. we were lucky enough to get a table right next to the tanks, and it was so cool to watch divers swim by as we ate our delicious dinner. a little odd, perhaps, to watch fish as you're eating fish, but i didn't see any salmon in the tank, so i figured it was okay.
believe it or not, we made it out right at 9 and headed home. this was the beginning of the "busy" time--probably one of the first rides where we had standing room only on the bus back to the hotel. just preparing us for the beginning of the holiday weekend and a full park on saturday.

tomorrow--magic kingdom!

pictures here