The title to this post might be a little misleading; this was not the first time that Dan or I had ever been to EPCOT, but it was the first time together, and the first time on this trip. Time permitting, EPCOT is not a one visit per vacation kind of place. Not only is it massive, but it's the type of park made for strolling, and enjoying at a more leisurely pace than perhaps, Magic Kingdom. We picked EPCOT to follow our massive Universal day, precisely for its laid-back vibe.
Just look, cute topiary when you enter the park.
The first stop, always, is Spaceship Earth. The park was still fairly busy with holiday crowds, so we made sure to get a Fast Pass for Spaceship Earth and breezed right on inside.
One of Spaceship Earth's highlights, is the end, where you can create "your future" by answering a series of questions based on your likes, such as "wind or solar" or "city or country". When you exit the attraction, sometimes you can catch your picture on the wall. Here we are, in our future, floating in space. Dan's wearing green and I'm in orange, we are wearing the other person's favorite color.
Next we visited Figment at the Imagination Institute for the Journey Into Imagination attraction. No Fast Pass needed, the queue move fast here.
I love Figment! He's mischievous and silly. I still have a small Figment stuffed animal from my first trip to Walt Disney World, when I was thirteen.
There are several, creativity testing games in the Imagination Institute. I thought that when we brought the kids to EPCOT the following summer, that they would enjoy this more than we did. I can verify that we enjoyed hopping on squares that make noises, as much as the kids do.
After all of that expended energy, we needed a nap...on to Ellen's Universe of Energy.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Ellen's Universe of Energy, but sitting in the dark, in a slow moving vehicle always seems to induce a nap. For better or worse, this classic attraction will soon be no more. I'll miss Ellen and Stupid Judy.
Bouncing back to high energy, we used another Fast Pass for Mission Space, an attraction that was new to Dan. It's exciting to watch someone experience a new attraction. I probably get more excited about it than they do. We went hard core and did the orange training, which is the intense, "you might need the barf bag" ( they really do have barf bags on the ride) version. There is a less intense version for people that get motion sickness, but want to experience the story part of the attraction. I can just barely handle the intense version, but I always feel slightly queasy for a few hours afterwards. Dan loved it.
Back to low energy, we walked over to The Land pavilion and rode Living with the Land, a leisurely boat ride that teaches about agricultural techniques. At the risk of sounding dorky, this has long been one of my favorite EPCOT attractions. I love the education aspect and it's just really cool to float through a greenhouse and see unusual produce. On a previous trip, I took the, Behind the Seeds Tour, which is a guided walk into the green house for a closer look. It's so cool, inexpensive, and totally worth doing!
When we excited the pavilion, the sun was setting, and we took these pictures of the fountains. So pretty.
And back to high energy with Test Track. Test Track is arguably the best attraction at EPCOT and usually has a long queue, so we used our last Fast Pass of the evening. I was surprised by some of the changes that had been made to the attraction. First, a design studio has been added to the queue. In the Chevrolet Design Studio, you can create a virtual car, which is then tested on performance against other car designs during the ride. It's a lot of fun. We knew that Felix, my car-crazy stepson, would go nuts over this during our upcoming summer vacation. He loved it, as did his older sister. The actual attraction had some changes too. They had made it look more sleek and futuristic, which honestly, was a bit uninspired. I miss the cow.
In our marriage, we have a little game we play, where Dan wants a new car and I say no. Right now, he is keen for a truck, so we had to spend a good chunk of time checking out the Chevy trucks, while Dan explained why we need one. I think he will wear me down eventually, Dan is good at playing the long game!
Dan left all of the dining planning in my hands. I was in heaven. I also had an eye towards hitting restaurants that I knew wouldn't be on the agenda on our summer trip with the kids. Dan looked longingly towards the Yorkshire County Fish and Chips in the UK Pavilion, as we kept walking toward Morocco.
I had dined at the Marrakesh Restaurant once, many years ago, and I had a positive experience. Although many of the restaurants in the World Showcase are very good, coming from Los Angeles, nothing seems too exotic or special. The Marrakesh Restaurant is probably the most unique, although I'm sure a similar menu could be found at several restaurants in Los Angeles. We have recently moved to Portland, Oregon, which although is much smaller than LA, it is considered a "foodie" city, and I'm also sure that any type of cuisine offered in the World Showcase, could be found here. The world is rapidly becoming more and more accessible.
That said, we dinned at the Restaurant Marrakesh and ordered a dinner sampler meal called, Marrakesh Feast, washing it down with a pitcher of sangria. I really enjoyed the Beef Brewat Roll; cinnamon and beef are a surprisingly delicious combination.
As we walked back through the World Showcase, we stopped in the UK Pavilion and marveled at the insane prices for UK products. Similar to our local English market, the export prices are outrageous. If you have a lot to buy, it would practically be cheaper to fly to Europe and stock up at Tesco. We got a kick out of the Union Jack cardigan and Downton Abbey themed jewelry. Oh, and Excalibur, you gotta have a sword to be a proper UK Pavilion.
Spaceship Earth looks so pretty at night. See you for round two in a few days EPCOT!