Making the most of Orlando (Part 2)

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And I'm off in the Monorail once again, heading to Epcot Centre. I'm completely 'rigting beddonnerd' but all I am looking for, out of every window, is that Big Epcot Ball. Too much of exciting! And then there it was! Oh my goodness... So much bigger and more beautiful than I ever imagined. I had to pinch myself again. Good thing I don't bruise easily coz I'd be looking like I was in a wreck on an interstate right now. I am going to digress quickly... A fender bender on the freeway in South Africa is a wreck on the Interstate here. See... Everything is bigger here, even exaggeration.

Back to Epcot! Closer and Closer. I took progressive pics of the ball until I was directly underneath it. This is only the front entrance to Epcot Centre. This is also the first ride I went on Spaceship Earth. I think it is narrated by Dame Judy Dench and it takes you on a tour of earth (basically winding all the way up the inside of the ball) and people and communication methods and technological changes through the ages and ends up in space where it feels like you are floating backwards towards earth. Just brilliant. Already I am having a far bigger connection with Epcot than I did with the Magic Kingdom. Probably because I only waited 5 minutes to go on this journey. I then got to send a postcard from space to my email address.

Then I went to The Seas where I boarded a clam and went in search of Nemo. That was great and also only a 5 minute wait. From there I went into The Land and here I was hoping to do the Soaring ride. It's supposedly like taking a hang glider ride over California. That would've been great but all the Fast Passes had been issued for the day and the Standby was 185 mins. I think not! I briefly went through the Innoventions auditorium where I met Figment and created my own Figment which I named Blubber. It was all about how the senses enhance the Figment of your imagination. Very clever especially for kids.

Then it was time to explore all the countries which is one hellavu walk. If I recall, the countries they have re-created are Canada, Britain, Paris, Germany, Italy, Norway, China, Japan, Morocco, Mexico, USA (obviously) - the buildings, history, music, gift shops and food of each specific country is present at their respective areas. So clever. And incidentally, most of the crowds could be found in Germany, at the Oktoberfest.

A couple of things that were so evident at this park is the number of people with electric strollers and wheelchairs and the majority of them only have one thing in common - they are so fat that they would not be able to walk from one side of a 4 x 6 foot room to the other. I happened to mention this to the guy working at the 'electric chair' restaurant who agreed with me. Funny about that! The other thing is restrooms. They are immaculate and are at every turn and they have vending machines in each one with tampons, sanitary pads, condoms, diapers and wipes in them. These automatic flushing toilets are still something that frighten the crap outta me - good place to have this happen though!

Right, next stop was astronaut training school at the ISTC. I was going to realize my dream of visiting space even if it wasn't Cape Canaveral, I was just as excited. I had to choose whether I wanted intense (orange) or not so intense (green) training. DUH! Orange!! Ok - granted, here the wait was 45 minutes. But every step I took closer to the front was like "one small step for mankind". Fast forward 45 minutes and we entered the astronaut briefing room and we were told our mission - to land safely on Mars. This whole training is given by Gary Sinise and honestly, it was so life-like. We were warned on several occasions that this intense training is not for the faint-hearted and right up to the point where you are strapped tightly into a capsule (I took an extra breath in and pushed the metal harness even closer to me. My boobs would now be mistaken for shoulder blades.) I had been given the job of Navigator. My job was to ensure a safe landing on Mars and back on earth again. No pressure! There were 5 of us in a capsule together. Each with their own job. Final preps were then conducted and the countdown began. You are now literally upside down and looking at the launching scaffold. Then it's smoke and rumbling and you have lift off. The pressure drops in the capsule and it feels like you are traveling at the speed of light. You know when your cheeks are covering your ears and you have this painful grin on your face? I swear they G- force that thing. And then when you reach outer space you float so peacefully, until obviously you unexpectedly face a rock storm which you have to steer out of. And then when you get to Mars, I, as the Navigator, am instructed to push this button and that button and obviously I stuffed the landing up royally and the 5 of us were now careening through a canyon and snow and then we came to a stop in a wall of snow, which started cracking and the vessel was teetering over the edge of the steepest cliff. Gary Sinise simply says: "do not move a muscle" as we dangle there. And that was it. End of ride - mission accomplished. We had passed. Holy crap! That was so exhilarating. The whole ride must've lasted only about 5 minutes. But it honestly felt like it was 45 minutes - especially since I had cocked the landing up!! Brilliant! I went to the restroom after that just to check if my pants were clean and whether my face had returned to normal. All was good. If my feet weren't so sore, I would honestly have gone and stood for another 45 minutes to do it again.

It was starting to get dark outside and I had read in my Epcot map that there's an engineering ride design you can do in the other Innoventions centre. So I headed there. Another long wait! Eventually we also entered a briefing room and then we were given this machine where you could design your own roller coaster. Seriously!! It's called the Sum of All Thrills. It's all about energy and mathematics and all that stuff I don't understand but did I create the most thrilling roller coaster ride with flips and twists and turns. You are given an engineering card and you swipe this card in the machine and your ride is saved. You then get taken to a capsule which is on the end of this big mechanical arm. Your card is swiped and your ride is loaded and you are strapped and buckled in. And then in the screen in front of you appears your design. And you are then taken on this roller coaster. Un-frikken-believable! I should've been an engineer. This capsule swings and flips and turns and dives exactly as you designed. Of course I had chosen maximum speed and maximum velocity. I walked out of that ride looking at everyone who was going to follow in my design prowess and had to have admired my bravery with this "HAH - Beat That!!" look on my face.

Shit my feet were sore and there were also a lot of crying children around. The adults were fine - but that's coz they were driving in the buggies... It was pitch dark and I had an hour to wait for my shuttle bus. So I treated myself to a double scoop of ice cream with hot fudge sauce and I sat and watched the water show, for about 45 minutes. It was amazing. Then I headed back to the bus but stopping briefly to take some final night time shots of the big ball. Epcot Centre was what made up for the shitty day I had before and Epcot Centre made me want to bring my daughter back to Orlando with me next time. She would've been so proud of her mom!

I was booked in at the Holiday Inn at Lake Buena Vista which offers free shuttle to the various Disney resorts and parks. It has less stars than the Crowne Plaza yet the people are friendly, the amenities are brilliant, the rooms are plush. I really need to look into this star allocation thing.

I do have blisters for heels now. Not much I can do about that other than walk on my hands. I tucked myself into bed with the pillow labelled as 'soft' and I drifted off and relived my fabulous fun day. I think I also dreamt that I was presented with a lifetime achievement award for my contributions to engineering and space navigation...

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Meg on

So happy you got to experience Epcot - Of all the parks, it was my favourite.

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