I have been reading so many guest responses to the whole FastPass+ system. I have to admit I was not a fan at first, but there are times that I like the ease of use over my disappointment in not getting the FP+’s that I want to get. Today I think we will just go to Epcot and see what is available to the guest who does not have a MagicBand or may not want to use FP+. I think this is the park where it may not matter as much. I am purposely entering the park around 1PM also.
The parking lot relays a typical crowd level is inside, of course I don’t know how many are here that are taking the Disney transportation system to get here. There have been storm clouds gathering all day, but so far, no rain. As we enter the touchpoints I see a sign promoting the Sounds Like Summer Concert series with tonight’s band, “Don’t Look Back”-a Boston Tribute Band will be performing three shows this evening.
I will never get “used to” entering Epcot and approaching Spaceship Earth. Have you noticed how breezy it is when you are walking under it? Today it is windy here. The FP+ line is extended for quite a distance as there are still two large tour groups waiting to enter through it. The standby line is very short. So for this attraction, I would opt for Standby at the moment. Of course the real test of time lies at the “merge” point where Cast Members choose how many of each line will progress from that point and who will wait a few moments. The wait time at the Standby line says 20 minutes. Not bad.
Remember there are a number of opportunities at Epcot that don’t require a FastPass. If you come to Spaceship Earth and the lines is just beyond what you want to do, enter the pavilion from the “Project Tomorrow” side entrance and enjoy some of the games available in this area. Body Builder-doctors tools of the future using your genetic code, Innervision-predicting the future of medicine, Super Driver-future of cars, and Power City-megacities of the future are the names of these Siemen’s sponsored explorations.
How about checking out innoventions? Turning toward the left side we enter innoventions and there is a sign posted on the door that it will be closing at 7PM. There are very few guests are in here, so we can experience everything in here, no line, no FP+ needed. “Stormstruck” is an experience where severe weather is replicated for the purpose of studying how to build better homes, businesses and how to keep families safe in extreme weather events. This was very interesting to several age groups. Kids watch the replicator as it uses different storms to show how buildings are torn apart and they watch the stuff blowing off and away. Some of us parents watched to see what the results would be on our roof style, or siding, that suggested some changes when that new roof needs put on next year. Some of the older ones could relate to storms they have gone through and how the building they were in was either destroyed, or survived. I give this one a high rating, the information you receive is directly related to you and your family’s safety. The kids can take part in a hands-on activity about checking to see if they are “storm ready”. This is good for everyone, not just the kids.
Next up is “Habit Heroes”, presented by Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Florida Blue where we can join in a group experience that requires moderate physical exertion and learn how to contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
Are you ready for a ride? Let’s check out “Sum of all Thrills” presented by Raytheon. It is described as:”a highly turbulent simulator-type thrill ride that is capable of sharp drops, sudden turns, and upside-down maneuvers.” Here we can design our ride experience. You must be at least 48” tall and persons between 48” and 54” may only design and ride versions that do not go upside-down. There is a sample of the seats here to see if your body shape and size will fit in the restraint system. First, we have a short wait before entering the Briefing Room. Here a CM explains the process of designing the ride, safety warnings, etc. and I have to make one note about this room. It is extremely warm in there. Uncomfortably warm. We are then released to go to the computers to design our ride in the Design Lab. I like that there is an emergency button so if you are getting sick you can stop your ride if you need to. It is very lifelike in the motions of riding a coaster, but your head is enclosed in a dark space.
Next up, there is no waiting to explore the “Vision House” presented by Green Builder Media. Learn about “green” products for your home.
Moving on we come to the “Test the Limits Lab” presented by Underwriter’s Laboratory. This is a lot of fun with lots of noise involved so kids especially enjoy it. Watch doors slamming, go to the Torture Lab, the Shatter Lab, and on as you see and test yourself how UL puts products through grueling testing procedures before they are approved for use.
Just before we head out the door we see a cherry red Chevrolet electric car. Let’s head over to Universe of Energy. No FP+ needed here as it is a walk on. Mission Space has no line either. Which one do you want to ride? Intense or less intense? If you do not want to ride Mission Space you can still visit the Advanced Training Lab if you go to the left and enter through the gift shop, keep going and you will find the Lab. My favorite one in here is “Mission Space Race” where there is plenty of room for everyone to play. There are two teams up front with five team members, you can be one! The team members up front are responsible for taking the jewels, which are the ship “fixes”. The ship names are Orion and Triton. The consoles on the bottom are set up for one player to act as support for the team members making the fixes. You can choose which language you want, then the screen explains the part of the game that you will play. You will be putting the “fixes” for the ship together and then upload them to the ship diagram you see up above. Try to send as many fixes as you can to get your team’s ship out ahead. There are some additional computer-based games in here, and a tunnel playground for the kiddos to keep them happy.
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Test Track is down, not for weather, but for technical difficulties, so we can’t ride. If you find yourself here without a FP+ and it is open, consider going through the single rider line. Even though the ride is not running, we can enter to the right, into the gift shop. The gift shop has great car merchandise, hats, t-shirts, antenna toppers, car decals, license plate holders, etc. Go on through the gift shop into the new car showroom and take a look, and a seat if you like, inside these babies. There is a pretty cool race car game you can play in here also. You design a car, just like you do in Test Track, and then you can upload the info onto the game console, and your graphics car is now on a race track ready to compete. Check out the beautiful red Corvette!
Outside is a sign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup viewing area over at the Odyssey building. I want to head over to the other side of Future World. We can check out the Odyssey building a little later. Walking through Mouse Gear merchandise we can get air conditioning, and we can see if there is any new merchandise in here. Just inside is a large display of World Cup-inspired Disney merchandise. Coming out the other side the fountain catches my eye, and just through it I can see the sign for Club Cool sponsored by Coca-Cola. Club Cool is a must stop place for me. Have you tried it recently? There are flavors that have replaced the originals that were here, and unfortunately, Beverly is the one returning flavor. I like some of the new ones, but still miss a couple of the older ones. It is fun to come in and try the different soda flavors from around the world, complimentary of course. Whoa, this floor is sticky, but you can leave with a little sugar boost too.
I also take a moment to check the new Limited Edition pins here and today there is a 4th of July 2014 pin of Tinker Bell and a moving pinwheel. Let’s go take a look at the other side of innoventions. The first thing I see when coming through the door is a bright and shiny Fire truck, named the Liberty Flyer, sponsored by Liberty Mutual. This is part of the “Where’s the Fire?” experience.
“THINK”, an exhibit by IBM extends itself beyond Epcot by encouraging guest to download an app or scan the QR code on the wall, to have access to free experiences. Step inside for some fascinating graphics explaining the complicated world of technological science.
“The Great Piggy Bank Adventure!” presented by T. Rowe Price is a very kid friendly exhibit. These games are geared for children, with the help of their parents but there are also a lot of adults playing these games without children.
The large white circular building used to house a Segway exhibit, but it is no longer being used. It will probably look like this until another company decides to foot the bill for their own exhibit. On the wall opposite this you will find a bank of free video games based on Disney movies.
Moving out toward the other Future World pavilions it is clear that no water is in any of the water features on this side. This is probably due to a water main break that occurred at the end of the Flower and Garden Festival, causing a sink hole to form and the problem has continued to grow. Not the sinkhole, just the problem. Word is that major electrical work has to be redone for parts of Future World as a result of this. As we approach The Seas with Nemo & Friends, I can again see a long line on the FP+ entrance and only a few people straggling in through Standby. Let’s go see how it works out for us without a FP+ today. We have a lot of snaking around a long queue, but absolutely no waiting. I walked right onto the shell vehicle. This ride may be fun for children, but I am not impressed with it. Turtle Talk with Crush is very entertaining as you never know what kids are going to say. The FP+ for this attraction gets you in the front rows, nearer the front where the children sit so if you have little ones you want to keep an eye on, you might want to get a FP+ for this. There are many, many, large aquariums and windows to view whets inside. There is a manatee tank where you can watch the manatee under the water, as well as one above the tank where you can see them on the surface. It is easier to understand how they were sometimes mistaken as mermaids after seeing them here. The other large tanks have several hundred varieties of fish, coral, sharks, rays, dolphins, and there is a diving tank that you can watch the process as it fills, and then as it is emptied and decompresses with a diver inside. You can sometimes see divers inside the large tanks too. If you would like to be one of those divers, that is an experience you can purchase here. There is a section called Bruce’s Sub House that is a play area for kids and they can have their photo taken inside Bruce’s shark teeth. Kids love this part! There is a restaurant in this pavilion called The Coral Reef and it has views of the large tanks.
The next Future World pavilion is The Land. Inside The Land are several attractions and a restaurant offering a Character experience called The Garden Grill. There is a wonderful food court in here called Sunshine Seasons Restaurant and it is the best food court anywhere on Walt Disney World resort property. The Garden Grill offers a unique experience as part of it is a rotating booth level that gives you a glimpse of what you see on Living with the Land boat ride and also the rest of the pavilion. Soarin’ is the big draw as far as attractions here. It is usually the first FP+ to be filled up. The wait time right now is 70 minutes. Keep in mind that there is an interactive game that can be played by everyone in line who wants to play it that you should experience sometime. Soarin’ is a fun attraction where you board ride vehicles that are like giant “hang gliders” and you soar over sights in California. The ride will be getting a makeover to include visions from central Florida, Walt Disney World, and famous sights around the globe. Living with the Land is a boat ride that takes you through the story of land, showing us how farming has progressed and the solutions that has brought to eradicate hunger in some areas of the world and ends in a greenhouse full of hydroponic and Aquaponic solutions. If you would like to know more about this special greenhouse and how it works you can take a tour called Behind the Seeds. Sign up for this tour is next to the Soarin’ entrance. I have done this tour before and it is very interesting. Circle of Life is the other attraction here where the characters from The Lion King bring a message about protecting the environment. Even if you aren’t hungry when you come in here, go look at the food at Sunshine Seasons, it is the best!
One last pavilion in Future World is Journey into Imagination. As you can see from the photos below, it is not busy. It rarely is. This is a pavilion that was slated to close until FP+ turned it into a selection and brought some life back into it. I am not going to lie, I am not a fan of Figment, nor this pavilion. The best thing about it is it’s cool design and the water areas. Today there is no water so the water fall that always “falls” up is not here to impress us. When you enter you are immediately boarding a ride that tells you the story of Figment, the purple dragon, so you would at least know where this character came from if you go on the ride. At the end are some games that children enjoy. There is a theater that shows Captain EO starring Michael Jackson. There is no one in line right now.
We were able to complete that circuit in just a few hours, and the only challenges we had as far as getting in an attraction was Soarin’ having a 70 minute wait, which is not that bad considering it is Soarin’, and Test Track. It did open later in the evening though. You would want to arrive just after lunch to hope to have the same success. That gives the people that arrived early in the day time to experience everything and then move on to World Showcase. There was plenty of time for us to move on to see much of World Showcase and enjoy a meal there prior to illumiNations and park close.
I want to show you how large this thing that started as a small water main break has turned into. Check the photos out below. I have to tell you I went as far as Canada because today is Canada Day and they are celebrating here in World Showcase. When visiting the Canada pavilion there were Canadian flags decorating every view. One very proud Canadian Cast Member was even wearing them taped to his sunglasses! I also saw a guest wearing a Canada flag over her shoulders. There were several guests dressed in all red, or red and white today.
There are many special activities planned at the American Adventure this weekend for celebration of Independence Day, will you be there?