We shift our focus back to Epcot after taking a good look at the other Parks.
Virtually all of Epcot’s current construction projects are taking place outside areas currently accessible to guests.
Back here to the left behind what once was Ellen’s Energy Adventure and the Wonders of Life Pavilion, we’re expecting Disney to construct a new 11-story building that will house the Guardians of the Galaxy ride.
Disney describes the ride as a “one-of-a-kind family attraction [that] will be one of the world’s longest enclosed roller coasters.” They go on to promise “a new innovative ride system that’s guaranteed to ‘wow’ guests”. It’s hard to imagine anything quite as nail-biting as that final round of Jeopardy from Ellen’s Energy Adventure, but we’ll see sometime in 2021.
Speaking of drawn out, unexciting happenings, there’s quite a bit of work going on at the old Wonders of Life Pavilion.
“Rumors” continue to swirl about what it might be.
NEW RIDES? NEW SHOWS?? NEW RESTAURANTS??? My hunch is an even more permanent Festival space. The Flower and Garden Festival is currently operating without a Festival Center, but that was never a key part of the festivities. In fact, over the last several years, what was the Festival Center was only open for a handful of hours on weekends and few people bothered trotting over here to the nothingness that was a couple of seminars on soil quality and another opportunity to pay $12 for a glass of Key Lime Sparking Wine. But the Festival Center is a key component of the Fall Festival and the only other space that could house all of the events is the World Showplace building where Party for the Senses takes place.
Of course, Future World East is also in need of an attraction without a height requirement, considering the other two things currently over here are Mission: SPACE and Test Track. And no matter how “family-friendly” Guardians of the Galaxy is, any ride inside of a 100+ foot tall show building is going to come with a height requirement that’s probably the same as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. We’ll see what comes of it.
There are two things in Innoventions East designed specifically for kids. I hesitate to use the word “attractions,” but “distractions” might fit.
“The SpectacuLAB presented by Murata” is one such distraction.
Five shows are typically scheduled daily with a pre-show outside the theater that begins 15 minutes before the scheduled start.
There is no real hurry to arrive early – the kids sit up front and the adults file into the various rows.
We don’t enjoy any sort of stadium seating here – the rows are all the same height, which can make seeing the show difficult for anyone further back than the first row.
But you may not care enough to want to see and some of the “action” is broadcast above. Disney describes it as an opportunity to “step inside the SpectacuLAB at Innoventions to experience a funny and fascinating show that celebrates basic scientific principles!” The emphasis is theirs. The key word is “basic.” But the kids may enjoy it as they have plenty of opportunities to participate. The show is about 25 minutes long, relatively comfortable, and air-conditioned. You could do worse.
I personally prefer Colortopia, which takes about the same amount of time and is potentially a little more interesting and a little more interactive for the adults. Couples and those with older children can safely skip both.
BREAKING: This display at MouseGear is different.
The Siemens sponsorship at Spaceship Earth came to an end in September of last year, but the signage only recently came down.
Wait times at Spaceship Earth remain incredibly rough in the FastPass+ era. Here’s the chart for the last six weeks:
The trends are similar to what we saw at Animal Kingdom with higher wait times towards the beginning of February and lower wait times at the end of the month heading into March. We’re under two weeks away from Easter and the last two days have seen some of the lowest wait times of the month – 20% lower than the average for the entire period. Presidents Day still sees the highest wait times of the last six weeks.
But the advice remains the same – most people want to bypass Spaceship Earth first thing and head to a higher priority like Test Track, Frozen, or Soarin’.
Use FastPass+ in the afternoon or visit as late in the day as possible.
If you’re taking a break or otherwise arriving in the evening for dinner, IllumiNations, or what have you, then riding in standby around 6pm is typically doable.
But if you’re leaving before IllumiNations, you’ll virtually never see an actual wait of more than five minutes after 8pm.
A few shots at 85mm:
Without the sponsorship, little should change at the attraction, though the names of the various activities in the Project Tomorrow area at the exit have been changed to more generic titles.
There’s not a whole lot to discuss on the menu front. Lucky you.
The website has suffered through a couple of lackluster meals at Sunshine Seasons over the last couple of years.
Part of that is probably because I gravitate to newer items. I know the Rotisserie Chicken is good, so there’s no reason to try that. Likewise, the Pork Loin is just about as good as you can do for quick service and is an above average deal on the Disney Dining Plan at $14.
Above is the menu as it was presented the last time I ordered the Salmon dish.
It was a strange offering – each component tasted good, but the quinoa and taboulleh underneath were ice cold, making for a strange mouthfeel with the salmon that quickly cooled off on top of it.
Here’s the current $13 “Salmon with Cheesy Grits and Andouille-Corn Succotash – Oak-grilled Salmon with Cheesy Grits and Andouille-Corn Succotash.”
And it was fantastic – the salmon was hot, flaky, and well-seasoned. The grits stood up nicely with a comforting creamy cheesiness underneath the pepper-and-onion-heavy succotash, which added a little bit of a spicy quality to it along with the salty sausage. The garlic pesto sauce helped mellow the spice out and made for a surprisingly complex dish. It was a big portion too – you can see the salmon filet sticking out the back. 10/10.
The salads are very good bets too – even the typically-boring Caesar is elevated by the Oak-fired Chicken that spins inside the rotisserie just behind where the salads are prepared.
The Power Salad is even more interesting and my recommendation, though the Tuna is very good too.
The Stir Fried Shrimp dish is new.
This is the previous version. It was filling, but the flavor was a generic, lingering spice more than anything.
Here’s the current “Stir Fried Shrimp with Celery, Peppers, Water Chestnuts, and Cashews.”
I like this one a lot – there’s a ton of shrimp – maybe 20 in all. They, along with the crunchy vegetables, are coated in a slightly sweet, flavorful sauce with a little bit of ginger, sesame, and pepper. You have your choice of side – jasmine rice, vegetable fried rice, or lo mein noodles. I went with the noodles, which add quite a bit of heft to the dish along with a strong punch of soy. The fried rice is very good too.
Vegan Korma is a good choice if you’re heading in that direction.
This Turtle Brownie was out of this world – incredibly dense and chocolaty with a thick layer of caramel and topped with large pecan pieces. So good and so rich and so sweet and so sticky. Definitely consider sharing. It’s big.
A quick ride on Living with the Land while we’re here:
We’ll take a closer look at wait times and theme park touring strategy in some posts coming out later this week.
For now, a few more pictures of Flower and Garden stuff around Future World all shot at exactly 85mm. They’re not all good:
We’ll continue with Epcot, perhaps with a brief intermission.