Day 7: Thrills, Chills and Spills in EPCOT

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Moving a group of people, including three scooters/wheelchairs, is never an easy task in Disney. Especially when it comes to starting the day.

The itinerary called for EPCOT. Uncle C was eager to see the rest of the countries (he still had Morrocco, Japan, France, England and Canada to see) and cuz wanted to collect on his ride bet (he rode Splash Mountain which means I had to ride Mission: Space). Knowing the busses only took 2 chairs each, I figured we'd have a better chance of getting to see and do all we wanted if we started as early as possible. Go in waves of bus and van if we had to. I told everyone the night before and the morning they awoke to be at the Springs bus stop at 8:30am.

I really should stop doing that. Tried it with my sister 2 years before. Tried it with GM and my cuz multiple times. It never works.

As usual, I got myself ready in time for a drink run to Artist's Palette, even volunteering to refill GM's cup at the same time, fully expecting my group would be diligently waiting for me at the bus stop by 8:30am. 8:45am, they still aren't there but the first EPCOT bus is. Shake my head, contemplate ditching them and going on ahead for a moment, decide it's not worth the "why did you leave us" debate later and go back to the room to get them. I am not in the best moods. Worsening when GM reveals one of the reasons they still aren't ready to leave is he can't find his dring mug.

"Uh hello? You gave it to me to refill your coffee."


"Forty minutes ago when I told you I'd meet you at the bus stop."

"I did?"

Mentally, I'm banging my head. "Don't you remember your instructions? Regular coffee, two creams, one Sweet-n-Low, stirred not shaken."

"No I didn't. You're making me late. When's the bus coming? why do you always have to make things so complicated?"

Meanwhile bus #2 drives right past our window. I see it and tell myself I could be on it instead of having this insane conversation. When will I ever learn?

Anyhoo, we end up splitting up. Aunt & Uncle C want to ride the bus so they go off with cuz and his scooter. GM and I hop in the van where Dave saves me from venting my frustration over the coffee fetching. Dave can give all the driving instructions while I cool down a bit. Besides my cell phone keeps buzzing that crazy toon from "Escape From Madagascar". It's our friend CM Linda. She's arrived with her family for the weekend. We're frantically trying to arrange a meet-n-greet that day since both our groups will be in EPCOT. Problem is she's not having an easier time getting her crowd moving than I am. She texts me that some are still sleeping. It's near 10am. I text her back, suggesting a bucket of cold water. She "LOLs" me.

Cuz makes a beeline for Mission:Space. Time to fulfill my end of that devil's bargain. GM has never ridden and due to his heart issues I threaten restraints if he even thinks about it. Or at least the more intense Orange Team. Still he wants to try it, so I direct him, Uncle and Aunt C to the less intense Green Team (checking once again with CMs to be certain it is just a flight simulator and not any vomit-death-inducing centrifuge). No, it seems GM will get the peaceful ride while cuz drags me onto the endurance test.

Now for my cuz Mission:Space is all an adrenaline rush with a lot of "Oooh, look at that!" and "Wow, here we go!" with "Isn't this so cool?"

For me, Mission:Space is: "Breathe in through the mouth, out through the nose, eyes straight ahead, breathe in through the mouth, out through the nose, please God let this end!" But I'm just glad Cuz didn't pick Tower of Terror. With my fear of heights and falling, that ride is "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAKE IT STOP!!!!!"

GM and his crew meet us outside to compare notes. He's not impressed. He says Star Tours is much more fun and maybe could he please try Orange Team next time. My head working on a minor headache I scream "Over my dead body!" GM backs off.

Next we try to go on Ellen's Energy Adventure but CMs are vetting people at the door. The ride is temporarily shut down. Darn, I was hoping for a little darkness to soothe this headache. Oh well.

After a bit of hemming and hawing, we decide to give Test Track a turn. I didn't plan it this way and probably should have thought better but my cuz is in exhuberance mode. All 5 of us end up going on the ride, in our own car, twice around the track. Cuz, GM and I have a blast. Aunt and Uncle C not so much. Now they're feeling a bit sick. Our day threatens to implode.

GM and I squabble a bit over who's team leader. Uncle C is anxious to get in the countries. It's just past noon. The sun is blazing hot and I know there's precious little shade and AC over there. The thermometer is reaching 95 degrees today. I really think we should head over to FutureWorld East and catch some of the indoor attractions. I suggest we go for lunch in Sunshine Seasons instead. Cool off a bit and decompress.

Before we can settle our debate, two things happen to intervene. First, it starts raining which chases my uncle inside. Second, cuz loses his sunglasses which requires us to make an emergency trek back into Test Track looking for them. by the time the rain stops and cuz & I return with his sunglasses, GM has convinced Aunt & Uncle C to take a break in Seasons.

It's lunchtime so crowded but it turns out to be a good move. We all get our choice of foods, a table in the corner and an hour or so to just relax in some AC. CM Linda trades texts with me. She managed to get her group out of bed and to EPCOT. They were already in the countries. In Canada. Great, just when I have my group settled again in FutureWorld, my friends are in the countries. I text her back a suggestion we meet in Morocco. But then Aunt C requests an ice cream, and I have to text again that my group isn't ready to move. Perhaps we can merge our two groups in time for fireworks?

Aunt and Uncle C have recovered from them thrill ride experience quite nicely. They share a Frozen Mickey popsicle.

Then I hear a voice behind me. "All I need to do is look for the hat."

Turn and it's CM Linda! She got my last text, saw how her group was dragging her away, grabbed her husband Mark and made a beeline over to meet us. She couldn't let the day or trip go by without at least saying hi to Grandpa Mohawk and his posse.

I'm so glad she did that as it'll turn out we'd never get our groups together again. She has 10 people with her and they keep doing loops around the countries. By the time we make it to Canada a half hour later, they are long gone.

Our trek around the world started at 3pm, an hour earlier than I'd like. The sun is still hot, but we stop at the indoor movies to cool off.

Canada is impressive.

England has the neatest tea shops and gardens.

Aunt & Uncle C declare France the best movie of them all. (I think they like the classical music best. Me, I'm a Martin Short fan. he makes the Canada movie.)

They aren't into all the Food & Wine sampling like GM and I. Shame, because that's one of the best reasons to go in October. But we still manage to sneak a few snacks while Uncle C is busy taking pictures. Grandpa Mohawk has time to meet a few more fans also in the spirit of F&W.

Cuz joins me in trying escargot from France. (I've never had it before so I can finally say I've tried it. They served it in a small brioche which means pastry with garlic and butter sauce. It would be fine except for the texture. A bit too stringy for my taste.) Cuz loves 'em so I give him my leftovers. I have a Grande Marnier orange slushee. That's to my taste. GM and the others stop at the bakery and get a few sweets.

Next stop is Morocco where GM and I snack while cuz takes his dad on a photo tour of the place. Cuz loves Morocco.

Then on to Japan where we take them on a tour of the water gardens. Again Uncle C loves snapping his photos. The Tin Toy exhibit is no longer there which throws us off a bit. We end up losing each other then meeting up again in American Pavilion. The rock band is playing again outside and Uncle C has been chased indoors to escape the music. Our last stop of the night is the American Adventure 7:30pm show.

Unfortunately the Rotunda is closed for a wedding reception so we can't show them inside. Instead, CMs take us up through the elevator where we get just a peak down below (it's a heckuva party going on) and then into the theatre. GM and I love this show, finding it the most inspirational onsite. Uncle and Aunt C still love France better.

When the show is finished, it's time to find a fireworks spot. I don't want to get caught dozens of people back this time so lead the group over to the wheelchair spot by Germany. We have time for bathroom breaks and a few snack runs. Aunt C is German so she takes a liking to the snacks from that kiosk. I'm partial to the schnitzel as well.

We've waited for our fireworks spot for about an hour. The group realizes why I sent them over so early as soon as the show starts. when the globe glides across the lake amidst all those water works and laser lights, Aunt C asks if this part is special for the weekend. I tell her they have it every night. She never saw it the first time. She realizes just what affect all those people in front of her the first night was. I point out the distant Magic Kingdom fireworks to her as well. This is the view I had wanted her to see.

We take our time walking out, letting the crowd depart. On the way out, they ask me what the plan is for tomorrow. Magic Kingdom, but not with such an early start. (In my mind I'm going over the missteps of the day and altering my plans for tomorrow. Commando park touring must be done in a different manner with these guys.)