Looking Back: Disney Trip 2011 {EPCOT}

I thought while planning for our DW 2014 trip, I would take a stroll down memory lane. I cannot believe how little all of our children are!!!

Here is a repost from September 2011 from my old blog:

**Editor’s Note: I am going back to document our Fall 2011 Trip to Disney World. I also posted Day 1 at the MK.**

On Sunday, September 18, we visited EPCOT.
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We had another very important reservation, and we planned it for a late breakfast on this day as well. For our family, this worked out well because we had time to ride a few rides before the crowds were heavier (though we didn’t encounter too much in that regard in mid-September) and we were inside during a part of the day that was hotter than earlier morning.

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EPCOT has always been our favorite. I don’t know if we love the larger size (thus it rarely feels crowded) or if we like the learning part of it (though our children don’t seem to mind this part) or just the nostalgia of it (I think this is it for me). They still have it set up like the future will really be this way, and many of the narrations refer to a time that used to be in the future but is here and now (and we’re riding around like George Jetson LOL!). We headed for fast passes at Soarin’ (well the Prez did) and then we headed over to Test Track.

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This was hands down the most favorite ride of our entire party. Everyone likes it a lot and more than a few of us love it. We rode it three times that day as the lines were not long and/or we had fast passes. GM has pulled out all of the stops at Test Track and after you exit, you can take a seat in any number of GM vehicles. As one might imagine, our crew loved this part especially Li’l Dude who may just end up being a mechanic or working with vehicles in some capacity. He LOVES crawling up under the car with The Prez with a wrench in hand (and yes, we look three times or more when leaving in a vehicle on a weekend and all of the children aren’t in the car just to be sure b/c we have found him *tinkering* under vehicles more than once).

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Can’t say enough about fast passes—USE THEM! (A note on fast passes: get one for each member of your party. The machines don’t know your heights, so bigger people may get to ride a roller coaster twice in a row with their younger siblings’ fast pass for say the Rockin’ Roller Coaster!)

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After riding Test Track and Soarin’, we decided to spend some time taking in Nemo and Friends (love it!) and walking around the aquariums. We could have spent more time there, but we also had some that very important meal reservation!

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After Nemo, we headed to Akershus in Norway for our next meal with the Princesses. I have to say this meal gets the best reviews and it was good, but there was just something special about dining in the Castle. We unlike many of the reviewers did not feel rushed in the Castle and actually felt the princesses spent more time at your table in the Castle than at Akershus.

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Both had good food and the meal was not the main point, but they were fine and our Princess enjoyed every minute! The fruit at Akershus was grand, and the boys enjoyed the buffet aspect of it (the Castle is “all-you-can-eat” and they did bring plenty but the boys liked choosing what they wanted at the Buffet which was plentiful).

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When you enter into Akershus, you see Belle right away. I have to say this was my least favorite of all the Princesses we met. If you think (like me) the look on her face looks like she wants to be somewhere else … well I think she did.

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She just wasn’t in character and was not interacting at all. She was the only one we encountered like this, but I will say Li’l Miss picked up on it for sure. I didn’t say anything, but Li’l Miss said something like “she wasn’t very friendly.” OOPS! After we went inside, the other Princesses were really great and Aurora had us all cracking up as she was ribbing Mo and Larry who were playing right along!

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**Note to self: bring rings or other little giftie to hand princesses if you want extra time with them.**

Cinderella was really sweet and especially beautiful!

**This next photo still cracks me up! This little boy would NOT stop interrupting as Cinderella was visiting tables. Can we say RUDE parents for not wrangling him? But ahem … Cinderella was really getting annoyed and rightly so as this meal was NOT cheap and we all came for the princesses NOT the food … but she NEVER lost her smile (however she did a good sideways LOOK even with a smile). I noticed a manager looking lady finally escorted him by the hand back to his table clear across the restaurant and talked to his parents quite a bit (but really why did they not keep him at their table???).**
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Let’s try that again Cinderella said!
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And the other Princesses with our Princess!
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We were right next door to the China Pavilion and though it wasn’t on the “plan”, we decided to go ahead and take it in.

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We spent some time outside and then walked all through the inside. It amazes me they have a whole museum in there of artifacts that are THOUSANDS of years old!

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*Mo spotted this little frog in on a lily pad!*

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Also, they have a miniature version of the Terra Cotta Warriors that is amazing, though I’ve never seen the real deal. We also watched the movie and saw places we have visited in China. It was a highlight of our day as well!

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Our four youngest (at the time) also loved participating in the activities at each of the country pavilions. The best part of partaking in this is that you can really talk to and interact with the people who work on in the pavilions. They are all from the countries of the respective pavilions, and they love to answer questions. Our children loved asking them questions too!

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At this point, we headed back across the park for some fun and regrouping before taking in Soarin’ and Living with the Land in the Land Pavilion. (No pictures for some reason at these rides, but they are crowd favorites for us. I will give another tip: Do ride Living with the Land before late in the day, so you can see the actual workers in the labs. We rode it later and that was a mistake, because the workers had already left for the day.)

We always visit the FREE Coke Refreshment Station (Free after all) and while the older boys hung out in there with the Prez (again, no pics), me and the littles got in line to meet the Mouse himself along with his friends. Mo and Larry would later regret passing on this character opportunity. (Another tip: if you don’t mind meeting the Mouse outside the MK, this IS the place to meet him and his friends. This took us about half an hour but then it was done! You are not rushed and did I mention it is INDOORS and there is AC 🙂 )

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*Someone is not so sure about this big dog. :)*

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“Is this duck for real?”

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As much as I love the fireworks at EPCOT, I was outvoted. And I vowed this trip would be about schedules to a point but also filled with time for spontaneity.

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On this day, the group decided by a vast majority to leave the park late afternoon and spend the late afternoon/evening at the campground pool. We stayed until it closed and then some of our group saw some of the nightly campfire movie.

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On day 3, we visited the Studios.

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