Continuing from Part 1.
If you’re planning to do Soarin’, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space first thing in the morning, you’ll want to budget 60 to 75 minutes. Soarin’ takes about 20 minutes. Walking to Sum of All Thrills is going to take about 10 minutes and then experiencing the attraction takes about 15 minutes. Then a two minute walk to Mission: Space and about 20 minutes there.
The wait at Character Spot is up to 50 minutes at 10:13am.
More people than you’d ordinarily see waiting for Circle of Life. This is basically the definition of an “anytime” attraction. And by “anytime,” I mean any time other than the morning.
It’s 10:18am and Soarin’ FASTPASS is already out to 1:50pm with a 50 minute posted wait.
We’ve got a bit of a line here for Living with the Land. You may notice that the line occasionally spills out of the queue and into the Sunshine Seasons seating area. But you’ll also notice that there’s plenty of queue in front of us off to the right there. The “problem” is that the cast members often don’t open up additional lanes in the queue until it’s “too late,” which is what we’re seeing here. I ended up waiting about 15 minutes. The posted wait was 5 minutes, causing even more people to get in line.
Test Track’s closure has had a measurable impact on Epcot’s other attractions. I don’t know what unit of measurement we’re using, but I’m going to put it at a 2.7. The 2,000 people that would ordinarily be waiting for Test Track right now have to do something else. It’s put pressure on Spaceship Earth and Living with the Land in particular. Above is people exiting from Circle of Life, which is right next to Living with the Land. With more people watching Circle of Life, lines at nearby Living with the Land have also been longer.
If you have the displeasure of “following” this website, then you would know that I’ve been trying to get a decent picture of these stupid birds. Why? I don’t know.
I don’t think it’s going to happen.
As pretty as ever.
Keep an eye on your souls though. We’re a little close.
How much tequila is in one of these things? Do I just shake it? Which one has the Cuervo Reserva De La Familia in it?
The plants that spell out Epcot have moved to the back of the greenhouse. ALERT THE PRESS.
Not exactly what I was “going for,” but it looks kind of neat. About what you can expect from your 50mm F1.8 “toy lens.”
Back to Soarin’ at 10:53am, the posted wait is up to 70 minutes and FASTPASS is out to 3:20pm. We can use our FASTPASS in seven minutes.
The line for Living with the Land is seemingly longer. With summer crowds and Test Track’s closure, it would be prudent to avoid Living with the Land between 10:30am and 2pm when crowds are heaviest. A return after 5pm will result in a much shorter wait. And as mentioned in Part 1, Living with the Land continues to operate through 10pm. There’s virtually no one riding after 9pm.
Not “hectic” looking from up here, but both Soarin’ and Living with the Land are busy.
One seemingly unaffected attraction in Journey into Imagination with Figment..
Probably the equipment they use to keep Splash Mountain online.
You don’t want to be here when this queue is full.
Well, maybe it is affected. It looks like more than eight people are in line.
Probably the best effect on the whole attraction. Now you see it.
Now you don’t. No one probably notices.
We’ll skip it.
So I was thinking how funny it would be if Disney had decided to keep Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and decided to retheme this attraction to Michael Jackson instead. I can imagine a lot of people screaming, “NOOOOOOOO!” when they came upon this door. Inappropriate, I know.
Figment is fun because there’s rarely an appreciable wait of any kind.
Feel free to use this one the next time you want to use that popcorn eating .gif on DISboards.com.
A few more:
Pretty decent pictures with a $100 lens. It may help that it’s attached to a $3,500 camera. This is the lens. If you’re looking to add a lens to complement your kit lens, you may want to consider it. It’s much sharper and faster than the kit lens. The only thing I would say about it is that chances are your dSLR uses a “crop sensor.” All of the Canon Rebel cameras use one of these, so you’re actually getting an “effective focal length” of 80mm (50mm multiplied by the 1.6 crop factor). I mention this because the 50mm lens was often “too zoomed in” when I used it on my old Rebel. It’s fine outdoors when you can back up, but it didn’t work particularly well inside or in situations where you can’t really move, like parades.
As far as I know, this is it as far as Captain EO merchandise. I’ve never seen anything else as far as I can member. The standard, obscene price point of $6.95.
Figment’s popularity isn’t helped by the fact that it’s in sort of an obscure location. You could argue that it’s obscure because nobody comes over here and I can’t really argue with that.
Flynn and Rapunzel meeting at Epcot! Does this mean they’re going to greet here together on a permanent basis?!!! Stop. No it doesn’t and it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll see them here. They’re just practicing. I should have taken a wider shot to show where this is in context. Next time. We’re near the bathrooms across from the Land Pavilion. That’s the walkway to the Land Pavilion in the background. There are a few other character testing/training areas that are common. One is the International Gateway, where characters often meet. Once you come across the bridge to France (from United Kingdom), you’d take a right down toward the International Gateway entrance/exit. That’s where Merida(s) was first spotted.
The entrance to World Showplace is another. This is in between the Canada and United Kingdom Pavilions on the right side as you walk toward the UK. We’ll check out another one a little later.
Brave Highland Games is over, causing the playground and games to be covered up with Christmas Trees.
More walls up on the right along the walk to Canada.
This is why the website advocates visiting World Showcase as close to 11am as possible. It’s 11:25am and few people are around.
Let’s learn about other cultures by perpetuating stereotypes! What does that Mouse Ears hat have on it? Hockey sticks, a beaver, “lumberjack plaid,” and then it’s topped with another hat? Yo dawg, I heard you like hats!
They made poor Goofy Canadian. Poor guy’s always getting cheated.
It would be convenient to have a dog with a whiskey barrel around its neck.
Does it come with the horse?
These shirts are everywhere.
I want one with this logo.
Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure has replaced Kim Possible. Agent P has a better story, but it’s basically the same idea as Kim. Some of the effects are the same, but there are also a lot of new effects too. We’ll take a closer look at it next time. I will say that it’s a great way to get kids into exploring World Showcase.
The sign up locations in World Showcase are the same. From what I understand, they give you the phone immediately, rather than needing to return later.
The main location in Future World just before you arrive at the bridge over to World Showcase. I forgot to mention in Part 1 that you can no longer sign up for the World Showcase Adventure in either Innoventions building.
Marie, or “The Cat” as she’s usually referred, has no wait. Disney would want me to tell you that Aristocats is coming out on Special Edition Blu-ray on August 21st.
The Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion is expected to close soon. It should reopen in December as a much larger establishment.
Moving through Morocco.
The line for Aladdin and Jasmine is full of more people than we’ve seen otherwise in the entirety of World Showcase. Assuming you want to meet Belle and Aladdin/Jasmine, I’d walk straight to France at 11am when she begins meeting and then wait for Aladdin/Jasmine right after. You’ll probably have some time to take pictures in a mostly empty World Showcase before you need to get in line for Aladdin/Jasmine, who start appearing at 11:45am.
We’ll grab lunch at Katsura Grill (Yakitori House) in the Japan Pavilion. I’ve been trying to get my head around “post processing” images with Adobe Lightroom.
The truth of the matter is that there isn’t a camera in the world that will output a picture like the one above this one. Immediately above is actually what the picture looks like straight out of the camera. If you ever see a photo and think, “Wow, that’s a great photo,” chances are that it’s been highly “post processed” using Photoshop, Lightroom, and the like.
Another example here with the Pagoda.
And straight out of the camera. You can try out Adobe Lightroom for free through Adobe at this link. It ordinarily runs $149.99. You can get it for $79.99 with the student/teacher discount. I learned how to use it using tutorial videos from Lynda.com and KelbyTraining.com. No affiliate links. It’ll probably take you five or so hours to really get a handle on it, but I’ll guarantee you that it will make vast improvements to your “photographs.” Chances are with your current camera, you can “create” pictures that are much better than what you have now. And the nice thing is you can go back and tinker with past photographs.
I’m not saying these are perfect or anything as I’m learning too.
But we’re talking about some pretty serious improvements.
The in-camera HDR mode gave me this. Yuck.
And not every change has to be earth shattering. Here, the sky is blown out.
Better, though a little tilt-y.
Anyway, back to Katsura Grill, Japan’s principal quick service establishment. Menu:
I don’t care much for the teriyaki here. The sauce is too sweet, the chicken is low quality, and the beef is fatty. In my opinion. I know people like it, but I’m never quite sure why.
The #14 Spicy Roll and Tsukemen Combo – $12.99. I’m a big sucker for combos.
Tsukemen – Mixed Greens, Ramen Noodles, and Shredded Crab Stick. As far as I know, this is the full size portion. You’ve got a couple slices of cucumber on top in addition to the other advertised items. Underneath is a thin soy sauce of sorts. I didn’t even realize it was there until I ate about half of it. Anyway, this was pretty good. There isn’t a whole lot to it – lettuce and ramen noodles. Both are served cold. I would guess the crab is fake. At the $6.95 price point I don’t think it’s worth the price, but it’s a nice accompaniment to the sushi. Since the sushi ordinarily runs $9, I rationalized this was an additional $4. It’s worth that.
And the Spicy Roll since we’ve been on a sort of sushi binge as of late. This is the same sushi that you’ll find prepackaged virtually everywhere on property, including the resort quick service locations, Sunshine Seasons, and wherever else. It’s probably similar quality to your local grocery store, which makes it “less good” than the Kona Cafe Sushi Bar and (obviously) California Grill. I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it, but it’s perfectly decent. Not particularly imaginative, but the goal is obviously to appeal to the masses. Overall, this wasn’t a bad meal whatsoever at the $13 price point. That’s $3 or so more than you’d probably pay elsewhere, but it’s seemingly healthy and uses high quality, fresh ingredients.
The pleasant surroundings. With the 90+ degree temperatures, outdoor seating isn’t particularly popular. There are a few tables inside, making it one of the few air-conditioned seating areas in World Showcase. At lunch (through 4pm), you can sit inside La Hacienda de San Angel if you order quick service from La Cantina over in Mexico. The United States Pavilion has a large, plush air-conditioned seating area. But that’s about it as far as enclosed areas. The United Kingdom is probably the hottest.
The Sake Bar across from the Mitsukoshi Department Store.
We tried the $2 “freezer pops” from this cart about a month ago. It’s also located on the ground level across from Mitsukoshi.
The new Funnel Cake menu at the United States kiosk. Gone is the Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake. Arrived is the Strawberry Funnel Cake. Pricing is otherwise the same.
We’re supposed to be offended that Disney is now offering these “generic brown napkins” instead of the white “Disney Parks” napkins. I’m not sure if it’s a permanent change. People tend to steal anything that says Disney on it and is otherwise “free.”
Continuing our walk on a recommended Thursday. It’s 12:13pm in July.
This is the other major “character training” area. It’s the walkway to the left of the United States Pavilion. That’s Liberty Tree Inn on our right.
We’ve got a Penguin, Chip, Dale, Winnie the Pooh, King Louie, Goofy, and Minnie Mouse out greeting. You could virtually walk up to any of them. I don’t think there’s any way to know whether characters will be appearing or which specific characters are appearing ahead of time.
Looks like they have availability at Tutto Italia. I’m surprised they didn’t enclose the outdoor seating area like they did over at Via Napoli. At Napoli, they can open or close the “terrace seating.”
Tutto Gusto is offering a free wine tasting on Mondays and Thursdays. You may recall that Epcot is recommended on virtually every Monday and Thursday because those days are the least crowded. It isn’t a coincidence that Mondays and Thursdays are the only days that the free wine tasting is offered. Stores and restaurants see a drop off on those days too.
A smaller crowd at 12:23p waiting for Snow White’s 12:30pm appearance. As usual, lines are much shorter before the characters actually appear. Visit http://kennythepirate.com/ for the most accurate character meet times.
FASTPASS is again being offered at Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion. The posted wait is 5 minutes.
Doing a Splash Mountain impersonation.
Walls up ay La Hacienda de San Angel. Protecting the tequila from me no doubt.
Inside the Mexico Pavilion, the wood carvers have moved further inside, opening up this area immediately inside. That’s the Kidcot station in the middle.
A new “La Vida Antigua” exhibit has opened in place of the wood carvers. This looks like the outfits most people wore to class when I was in college.
Modern Oaxacan woodwork.
And a few other things:
We’ll revisit for a more thorough look.
This is why I bought the new camera.
Unfortunately, it seems like the wood carving has taken a bit of a backseat.
Just three or so people in line for the Gran Fiesta Tour.
The backdrop to the vastly improved San Angel Inn.
It looks like they may not be seating parties right next to each other when the restaurant isn’t busy. You may remember my review where I mentioned that it was sort of odd that they would seat parties right next to each other (the tables are maybe six inches apart) when the restaurant is basically empty. It makes sense from a logistical standpoint, as the servers don’t have to walk around as much, but it doesn’t make for a particularly intimate meal.
Like most of the other Pavilions, Mexico sells alcohol. This 375ML bottle runs $15.95. At an area Total Wine store, a 750ML bottle would run you $14.95, so it’s about twice as expensive. Like any alcohol purchase, the bottle will be waiting for you at the exit.
One last look before heading out.
Looking down on Mexico, it still isn’t too busy at 12:38pm.
Looking across the Lagoon.
The world is ending.
One last look at World Showcase.
Wait times at 12:50pm:
Which is why we arrived early and took care of Soarin’, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space first thing.
Feeling hot, tired, and thirsty, I splurged on this Large Frozen Cappuccino at the Transportation and Ticket Center. There’s a stand that sells this and other items immediately to the left of the Resort Monorail entrance.
This sucker will run you $6.09, which is approaching crazy. But then a similar beverage would run $3 at McDonalds and lord knows how much at Starbucks. Being hot, tired, and thirsty, I momentarily forgot that it’s probably loaded with about 2,000 calories. But it tasted great and was cold. A lot of sugar, ice, and caffeine, which is just what I was looking for. You can get the small size as a snack on the Disney Dining Plan. I’ll take pictures of the menu next time.
We should see the August operating schedule update along with the February schedule tomorrow. Hopefully that will come with January’s Extra Magic Hours schedule.