It’s been a while since we’ve visited Epcot. The good news is that it’s still there and not a whole lot has changed. SURPRISE!
A blurry look at the current state of the Test Track “RENEWAL.” It’s much too early to say whether or not it’s going to open “on time,” which would be December 1st, 2012 as it stands. Since most of it is indoors, it seems like they should be able to “put the pedal to the metal” as they say. It’s more difficult to do that when a lot of the refurbishment/work is outdoors.
It’s 9:10am, so Epcot has been open for about 25 minutes with the turnstiles opening at 8:45am.
Even now, you’ve got a lot of people lined up to the left and virtually no one at these four turnstiles off to the right.
Flower mashup just inside the entrance and as the foreground to your Spaceship Earth shot. No one else has ever held their hands up as if they were gripping the “big golf ball.” You’re the first person with that idea. For sure.
Biggest mob I’ve ever seen for Stitch. Come back after 1:15pm and there won’t be anybody in line.
A small tour group heading into Spaceship Earth at 9:13am. At least they’re making mistakes.
Hadn’t noticed this before as part of the Innoventions West exhibit.
A 30 minute posted wait already for Character Spot with no option to FASTPASS it. Since it operates until 10pm at the moment with Test Track closed, you want to head here first thing in the morning or after 9pm when lines will be short again. Since you get to Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto in their classic attire all in one swoop, even a 50 minute wait (a rationalized 10 minutes per character), isn’t that bad. But we don’t want to wait more than 10 minutes or so if we don’t have to.
Heading up to the Land Pavilion, it isn’t looking too bad.
I made it to Soarin’ at 9:23am and FASTPASS is already out to 11am with the standby wait posted at 30 minutes. In order to stay ahead of the crowd and “get back on track,” it would be prudent to collect FASTPASSes, skip the standby line, and continue to Sum of All Thrills and Mission: Space. The 11am return time is convenient because we can return for lunch, Soarin’, and Living with the Land before continuing up to World Showcase or other “anytime” attractions.
Living with the Land isn’t offering FASTPASS, which is going to benefit us later because we won’t have a bunch of people with FASTPASSes going in front of us. We don’t want to do Living with the Land now because waits won’t be that bad later in the day. Note that the Land Pavilion also stays open until 10pm. More information on what that looks like here. You could very easily head back to the Land Pavilion after IllumiNations to ride Living with the Land in the dark (fun!) and then pop over for another ride on Soarin’.
Not as crazy at this time of day as we’ve seen it. It’s going to be pretty nuts when we return at 10:30am though, which is why we’re in a hurry to get over to Sum of All Thrills. You’ll see why in a minute.
Too many arrows? People often wonder where Sum of All Thrills is located. It’s located in Innoventions East. As you walk into Epcot, it’s actually the Innoventions building on the left, which you would normally associate with “West.” However, Epcot is “backwards” in that West is on the right and East is on the left. So Innoventions East is sandwiched in between Guest Relations and Electric Umbrella Quick Service.
That might be better. I usually go through the “Enter Here” entrance. I’m not sure why. Probably because I want to take a picture of Test Track. There won’t be a huge difference in walking times between the two. The “And Here” entrance is probably slightly quicker.
We’ll head inside this Innoventions entrance located to the left of Electric Umbrella.
Just inside the entrance, you’ll see Storm Struck, the 3D storm simulator. It’s kind of fun. Basically, you sit in a small theater and watch a storm unfold on screen. Afterwards, you make some decisions along with everyone else in the audience about how to better protect your house from a storm. Then the results are shared and the answers are explained with a second storm simulation.
Continuing on the path, this is the exit to Storm Struck on our left and Sum of All Thrills is right in front of us. That’s actually one of the simulators in sight now.
So this is why we were in a hurry to get over here. As we’ve seen in the past, the wait is often 15 to 25 minutes within about ten minutes of when this picture was taken (at 9:31am). With two people in line, you’ll be in and out in around 15 minutes.
The extremely unpopular Vision House. I’ve “literally” never seen anyone in line. It may even be closed for that matter. No one knows or cares.
And you’ll see the Test Limits Lab…
Before exiting in front of a closed Test Track.
From the Test Track entrance, you’ll see Test Limit Labs on the left and Vision House on the right.
And here we are at Sum of All Thrills. It really isn’t difficult to find and any of the 10 cast members you run into will be able to help you.
This picture was taken at 12:51pm and shows the full queue. 60 minutes is probably a little over exaggerated, but with the slow loading, you’re looking at a considerable wait.
About 20 minutes at Storm Struck.
And no one at Vision House.
Sum of All Thrills and Storm Struck are really the only two Innoventions attractions where you’ll find appreciable waits. Elsewhere, nothing should be more than five or ten minutes. Storm Struck is worth a 10 minute wait, but most people will want to spend their time elsewhere if the wait is 20 or more.
Back to the morning. You’ll always see the Orange wait time being longer because Disney doesn’t want to push people toward riding it because the wait is shorter than Green. Remember that any of the centrifuges can be set to either Green or Orange. You could basically walk on either until around 10:30am when wait times increase.
FASTPASS return is almost always 40 minutes out, making it easy to collect one and then hit Ellen’s Energy Adventure if the posted wait is 20+ minutes.
The unpopular FASTPASS machines.
Better. Someone apparently stole the “G,” which is rude.
Because I’m a huge jerk, I tweeted “Deep thoughts bro” with a picture of this quote. Someone tweeted back that she died a horrible death. I looked it up on Wikipedia, the purveyor of truth, and apparently she did indeed die during her mission. There are exactly one million terrible jokes I could make about that and because I’m a nice person I won’t make any of them.
All of these quotes are terrible. Really, “The sky is no limit?” Really, it is. And really, anything about three feet above me is out of reach unless I’m going to go to the garage and get the ladder or something. But I’d give up long before that. Just don’t put anything that high up. Silly.
Disney really knows how to pick its sponsors. Kodak? Hewlett Packard? LOL! HP might be the only thing in this world that has less money than the United States government. A saying in my household when you screw up is, “You Apotheker’d that.” Leo Apotheker oversaw a 30 billion dollar loss in market capitalization (stock drop around 40%) over his 11 months as CEO and was paid 26.16 million dollars to do so. For once that isn’t a made up decimal point.
Judge me by my generic sunglasses, do you? We’re inside the Mission: Space “gift shop” that you’ll pass through after riding.
We’ll head into the “Advanced Training Lab.” It’s the area you’ll walk through as you exit Mission: Space and it’s also accessible through the gift shop.
Like Spaceship Earth, there are a variety of “interactive” games to play in here.
I’ll have to get back to you on whether or not this is fun. I’ve never played and the cast member working it was a huge jerk at the time of this picture.
Maybe you can tell us.
Similar to being able to send your video home at Spaceship Earth, you can make a video postcard.
At least it doesn’t run on webOS.
In English: “Touch here.” In French: “Touch-ay ee-cee.” In German: “BITUHHH AIIIRRRRR BERERRRRREN.”
Choose from a variety of options.
Fit your face into the spaceman suit using the arrows. If nothing initially appears on screen, just hit an arrow.
Record your seven second video.
You can email it to a friend. Since I don’t have any, I cried a little bit and entered my own email.
And yourself. You can watch mine here. Apparently there’s no audio. I say, “I hope I don’t fall down these precarious looking stairs.” Still a better space movie than John Carter.
At Expedition Mars, you can play a (not) riveting game from the late ’90s.
Everything’s better with a joystick and jetpack though.
It’s sort of fun. For four minutes you’ll run around Mars trying to save people. Most people spend about two minutes doing so and then leave.
Space Base is apparently closed. It’s a playground designed for 2-12 year olds. Theoretically, it’s a good choice for youngsters too short or scared to ride Mission: Space.
The “Test Track All-Stars” remain hugely popular. LOL. This is near the end of their set, so either no one is interested or everyone has given up. This is apparently a safe distance to enjoy them at.
Apparently it is because they accosted the only person watching them immediately after the show. I thought about saving him…but we have things to do and I just saved like four people playing that Mission: Space game. My work here is done.
A tour group that looked to have exactly one chaperone heading to Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
Occasionally I’ll get an email asking if I’ll walk their tour group around. My canned response is, “Does it matter that I’m an unreliable alcoholic that hates people?” The usual answer is, “Not at all.”
Mouse Gear merchandise:
Newish shirts and a hat I think.
Disney is coming out with these air fresheners next month that smell like turkey legs, Mickey waffles, candy apples, and whatnot. The website will be doing a thorough review of the turkey leg, which is basically what my apartment smells like anyway. Another anyway, I’m all for $5.95 air fresheners in a land of $7 magnets and $9 keychains. Reeeeediculous.
Longpants seem to be flying off the shelves. Maybe they are “cut to length” or something.
I’m not sure “Disney Heroes” is what I would call all of these characters. Maybe we’re becoming more tolerant of bad guys?
Toy Story merchandise is more featured than usual.
A smaller version of the strawberry-scented bear.
Mom, my debit card won’t fit in the slot!
How’d you like to be making this pose 24/7? Sign me up.
Oh my goshhhhhhhhhh. A strawberry-scented-Lotso-keychain!!!!! I wish it was socially acceptable for me to carry one!!
He’s only $1 more than the magnet. Take him hommmmmeeeee.
The claw chooses who will go and who will stay.
BULLSEYE PILLOW PAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In other news, Phineas and Ferb merchandise.
I think they mean Perry.
GET AWAY FROM THE VINYLMATION YOU ARE HOGGING IT.
Merida invasion. Thank goodness it didn’t bomb.
Mix and match 4 glasses for $40. I think they are $11.95 or $12.95 individually.
The kitchen stuff we took a better look at over at the Emporium has a large presence here as well.
Next we’ll visit Living with the Land to try and get a picture of those !@#$ing parrots, hit World Showcase, have lunch at Yakitori House, and hit up Mexico.