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Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, April 5, 2013

We were up and out to get to Epcot for its 9am opening today. The weather was overcast but looking more promising than yesterday.

As soon as we got out of the car we were met with crowds though. Until now we had been so lucky and harldly queued at all. Today though just going through the ticket barrier was packed with people and when we headed to the first ride (Test Track) we were in a sea of people. We had deliberately not told Duncan too much about the ride as he has generally enjoyed rides if he doesnt get too worried beforehand. Test track enables you to design our own car from the paint effect to the type of engine it contains. Then in cars of up to six people you get to test it out and find out how efficient/powerful etc it is.

The ride itself is in little cars which skid and accelerate round a track - Duncan enjoyed it till it got to the outdoor section where it goes REALLY fast and round corners. Matt was videoing us and you hear Duncan scream "I am never doing this again!!!!!!!!!!!!!" He was really unnerved by it and we decided perhaps taking him on the space simulator straight after (Mission Space) would not be a bad move. So instead, he and I went to get fastpasses for "Soarin" (which at 10am were already coming at 2.15-3.15 and we later saw ALL fastpasses had gone before 1.00) We waited for the others to come and meet us and while we waited, Duncan did his first couple of pin trades.

On good advice we had bought lanyards and a set of pins for the children but we had been too busy for me to get them together. However yesterday they children had been given 5 pins from the jumbo "ebay pack" we had bought  and worn their lanyards for the first time. They had only traded with each other though and despite it being totally random which child got which pin from my bag, they were each starting to be concerned that "everyone else" in the family had better pins. Duncan LOVED swapping with a cast member to get rid of a couple of his "girlie" pins and when the others met up with us we then had to wait for them to do the same!

We then went to watch Captain EO (which is a 3D space adventure thing which is a bit nohing-y till the hero (Michael Jackson) starts singing and dancing. I believe this attraction was removed and then brought back after his death. Scott was really impressed with his singing and dancing and was telling Duncan all about him.

Then we went on "Journey into Imagination with Figment" which is another odd attraction - you go on little slow moving cars round a series of scenes which tell you a little about the 5 senses all narrated by Eric Idle. At the end there were some interactive things though where the children could conduct the music by moving their arms around, design a dragon and play a pattern memory game (a bit like "Simon" for those old enough to remember) Nan - you may have received some emails with some strange dragons in them as we were able to email a copy!

The children were hungry by now (well it was about 10.30!) so we stopped to eat some of our lunch and I bought some pretzels for us all to share - one savoury with cheese dip and one cinnamon and sugar. They all enjoyed them apart from Duncan.

Then we headed off to "the Land" where we went on Living with the Land (a calm boat ride which tells you all about Disney's research to help the environment by finding different ways of growing crops and using natural methods instead of chemicals). It took us through the  Disney equivelant of the Eden project with lots of strange plants and th chance for the children to see how things like bananas, pineapples and cocoa grow. It was a nice little ride and I think they all enjoyed it.

Then into Circle of Life - another Epcot environmental educational tale - all about how we all have to help save the environment. There were some lovely wildlife shots but other than that not a lot to recommend it (I was beginning to mark Epcot on my "least favourite park" planner - can you tell?!)

The children had their photos taken with Chip N Dale (the queues were too big to do the other characters - and we had met them at breakfast anyway) then on to Club Cool where they got the chance to try coca cola as it is sold in different countries round the world. Some were a hit with the children - Lara liked the orangey flavoured one - but they didn't like "Beverley" which is infamously terrible tasting.

Everyone was starting to flag and the park was ridiculously crowded so we decided to find the "build your own roller coaster" and go on that, use our Soarin Fast Passes and go home.

Duncan was too short for the "build you own" so he and I sat out - Lara was too short for loops so she and Marr just built one with lots of drops - and Scott and Gareth built a really fast one.  Unlike the similar attraction at Disney Quest, in this on you sit in a capsule on a robotic arm which does really turn you over for the loops.

On then to Soarin which Duncan was nervous about before we went - especially when we told him it DOES lift you off the ground a little. But we all thought it was a wonderful ride (which is a shame as thete are SUCH queues for it - I was hoping we might not want to go on it again!!) It takes you up in the air swooping over pine forests and oceans. Once he got over the initial shock Duncan thought it was wonderful and possibly his best ride overall so far.

As always we were then tempted to go on a couple more rides "look there's only a 5 minute wait" but managed to restrain ourselves with a couple of photopass photos instead and some pictures of the amazing "flower and garden festival" creations around - there are bushes in the shape of all kinds of Disney characters.

We got home at 4pm with enough time for everyone to chill out in the pool before a proper family dinner (obviously in our case that means a variety of meals. Scott and Matt had a frozen chicken Alfredo. Gareth, Lara and Duncan had chicken nuggets and chips and I had pasta alfredo. Matt and I had some asparagus with ours. Then ice cream for pud - again a mix of banana split, vanilla and neopolitan with chocolate sauce.

Everyone had a play - on the air hockey, the computers, the ipod and the new "Jake and the Neverland Pirates set" that Duncan had bought and then to bed early.


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