Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our 2013 Disney World Trip, Day 1

We are back from our trip to Disney World.  The trip was awesome but it has taken me a couple of days to recover.  It is a 9 hour drive and it seems like much longer on the way home.  I am happy to be home but I am sad our trip is over.

We had sunny or partly cloudy warm weather every day.  In fact, it was a little too warm for me.  To combat the heat we went to the parks after lunch and stayed late into the night.  We participated in the MagicBand Fastpass + test program.  I knew the rides that typically have longer wait times and those were the ones I scheduled for fastpasses (up to 3/day).  This program worked out better for us since we like to go to the parks later in the day.  Normally by the time we get to the park, the fastpasses for the popular rides already distributed.  I also enjoyed the ease of using the band for all purchases during our trip.  I didn't have to hunt for the Disney card, credit card or cash during checkout.  I could tap my wrist band to the scanner, enter my code and pay for my purchase.
On day one we went to Epcot.  We had an early dinner reserved at Via Napoli Ristorante.  I had made reservations through the program mentioned earlier.  There was a long line waiting in the heat to be seated and it was not moving.  Reservations are definitely a must.  We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.  It was one of the better dining experiences we have had at Disney.  I thought the decor was beautiful and I loved the chandelier at the lobby.  I ordered the brick oven pizza.  It is one of their specialties.

The annual Food and Wine Festival was occurring where each country has booths setup where they sell and promote their specialities.  Normally Epcot is my favorite park next to Magic Kingdom but this year it was too crowded.  It was shoulder to shoulder crowds through the countries.  Combine that with excessive alcohol consumption from the festival compacted by the heat and it made for a miserable experience.  The place smelled of vomit and alcohol.  It made us all nauseated.  We have been going to Disney this time of year for the past 6 years and it has never been this crowded or unruly at the festival.  We rode a couple more rides on this side of the park and moved on to the other side AWAY from the festival.  

A quick stop in China.  We normally watch them perform but we missed it this year.

We rode the Norway Viking ride.  This is a boat ride with a twist where you go backwards.  It is surprisingly a fun ride.  We had a fastpass and it was needed.

This ride is tucked away inside the pyramid in Mexico.  It is a boat ride through an eye pleasing colorful display of Donald Duck and his friends.   This is one you do not need to miss.  No fastpass is usually needed.  We waited 10 minutes.

As we walked from the countries back to the other side we noticed this huge vat of cranberries.  It was interesting to say the least.

Soarin is located inside The Land.  Inside is a cafe, restaurant, movie, boat ride (Living with the Land) and Soarin.  We had a fastpass for Soarin and it was needed.  It had a 90 minute wait time when we arrived.  Even with our fastpass we waited 15 minutes.  This ride is awesome.  It simulates flying and smells wonderful when you fly over the orange fields.  We all ride it and love it.  We tried to ride Living with the Land but it was not running.

Nemo and Friends is another fun ride.  No fastpass was needed here.   We walked right on.

I love the way Disney decorates for Halloween.  This is one of the reasons we go this time of year.  All of the Halloween decorations are too cute.

Last year Test Track was shut down for remodeling.  This year we were able to ride the new and improved version.  All I can say is WOW.  Oh and we want the Corvette at the end.  It even matches Joel's shoes.  We had fastpasses and they were needed.  We waited 15 minutes with our passes.

The first year we went to Epcot we missed Spaceship Earth.  It is the ride inside the huge golf ball.  It is possible to walk right by if you are not looking but you can not skip it.  It is a slow inclining car that twists up through the inside of the ball and then back down.  It tells the story of our technological/industrial evolution.  At the end it asks you questions and places you in the story about the future.  This is Jake's favorite ride at Epcot.  No fastpass is usually needed.  We walked right on.

When you exit the ride, you will see this large globe.  Stop and observe because your picture will appear jumping from your home location as you can see below.  It is really neat.

We had only one day planned at Epcot and we packed it full.  We stayed until the park closed.  It was much nicer once the sun went down and the temperature dropped.  To finish the night off we stopped at the Electric Umbrella Cafe for a late night snack before heading back to the room.  Day one of our Disney World trip is now a part of history.  :(