Continued from Part 1.
So today’s (yesterday’s) big news was the (temporary?) closing of Habit Heroes, which I reviewed poorly here. This “attraction” has (had?) a number of problems. Most notably, the instructions were confusing to the point where it wasn’t at all clear what people were supposed to be doing during each activity. The overall premise of the exhibit is (was?) debatable. The sense was that Disney/Blue Cross Blue Shield were vilifying what they identified as “bad habits” like over eating, watching too much television, and being lazy. While I suppose we could agree that over eating is bad, the fact of the matter is that something like childhood obesity is much more complicated than simply putting down the cupcake and going for a walk. Considering the backlash from the First Lady’s fight on obesity (taking that cupcake out of my mouth is socialism), it isn’t much of a surprise that an amusement park attraction based on telling people that their lifestyle sucks wasn’t met with smiles and pixie dust.
But online is where things get really kooky. This is a screen grab from Disney’s Habit Heroes (now offline) website where we have even more “villains” than the three featured in the attraction. This is “Insecura,” who is “lacking self esteem.” As if lacking self-esteem is a bad habit that can be corrected by slapping yourself with a rubber band every time you have a negative thought. Pretty bizarre stuff. We’ll see if Disney can rework this thing, but it seems pretty broken.
Over to Mission: Space, which really is a superbly themed attraction. Unfortunately, Disney might as well have just burned the 100 million that it cost to build it because it’s less popular than most of Magic Kingdom’s original attractions. That’s half as much as the entire Wizarding World of Harry Potter cost Universal. Granted, two thirds of Wizarding World was already built, but still.
This is all inside the queue.
The control room staffed by real life humans. The total wait/ride time was 24 minutes. You’ve got the main queue, then the preshow video, then more waiting outside the simulator. Even with FASTPASS, you’ll need to budget about 20 minutes.
So it’s 10:52am. We met Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto at the Character Spot. Collected FASTPASSes (for 10:30am) and then rode Soarin’. Rode Sum of All Thrills and Mission: Space Orange Team. Collected FASTPASSes for Test Track (for 12:30pm). Ideally, you would also be able to sneak in a ride on Test Track by now, but I wasted a bit of time taking pictures and the overall crowd level is well above average. Had I hurried to Soarin’ and then Test Track, I probably could have also ridden Test Track before moving on to Sum of All Thrills and Mission: Space.
How many Disney suits does it take to tell one gardener how to rake dirt? Eight.
Another look at the flower installation from the Odyssey Bridge.
The Flower and Garden Festival doesn’t adversely affect crowds to the extent of the Food and Wine Festival. We’ll see a few more people on the weekends, but nothing to concern yourself about.
These floating planters would make for an entertaining game of hop scotch. If this was the Food and Wine Festival, we would certainly see some people trying around 8pm on a Friday or Saturday.
The Flower and Garden Festival Garages/Stores are set up around the World Showcase.
Headed up to World Showcase around 11:10am.
Headed up to Norway.
One of the simpler Pavilions with the quick service to our left, the restaurant on our right, and Maelstrom up ahead. There’s also a large store up on the left and the Stave Church directly to our left.
No appreciable wait at 11:15am.
Popping into Kringla Bakeri og Kafe. Here’s what’s available. Unfortunately, someone had just come by to “wash” the glass so we have some water obscuring the view:
They could work on the presentation of that vegetable souffle.
More power to anyone that orders that Salmon and Egg Sandwich.
Since I have taste buds, I opted for a personal favorite, the Ham and Apple Sandwich. And the Rullekake because it’s fun to mispronounce. I had been trying to give up non-kosher food for Lent, but we’ll make an exception this one time for the sake of bloggability. And you never know, it could well be kosher ham. Ignorance is bliss. The sandwich is somewhat basic in that it’s mostly cheese. The “twist” is the apple chutney, which provides a sweet complement to an otherwise ordinary sandwich. Kringla toasts all of their sandwiches fresh after you order, so you’ll always come away with a hot, crisply toasted meal. The sandwich is highly recommended and a steal at $6.99. Cut it in half and you have two hearty snacks. The rullekake wasn’t particularly special in my opinion. Everything here is more than just fine, but the rullekake didn’t strike me as anything particularly special.
Several of the Flower and Garden topiaries are already up. Here in China we have a panda scene.
Last week we saw Mulan further up near the Temple of Heaven because the Dragon Acrobats had their stage set up down here. Since they aren’t performing, Mulan is back meeting guests down here.
She looks a little more Asian down here, almost giving me a run for my money.
The Flower and Garden Festival looks to be bigger and better than ever. Disney is readying a ton of scenes.
Looking ahead to Italy from Germany. Despite wait times hitting the triple digits at Soarin’ and Test Track, there are few people all the way up here around noon.
Up at the Bier Stand.
We still have the Radeberger Pilsner and Altenmunster Oktoberfest. With Radeberger taking over beer duty here, I don’t think we’re going to see a return of the Spaten brews any time soon. The Pilsner is pretty common in grocery stores with pricing around $8 for a six-pack. I haven’t seen the Altenmunster though, so I would personally be looking in that direction.
Looking ahead, the temporary Italian quick service kiosk is to the left during the Tutto Italia refurbishment. They are really going to town on Tutto. It’s going to look and feel entirely different when it comes out of refurbishment (it looks like).
This Snow White scene across from the train set in Germany is new right?
A popular photo spot no doubt:
Certainly a fun addition.
Lady and the Tramp in Italy.
Up through the United States and on to Japan.
Every day beauty in Japan.
Popping into the Mitsukoshi Department Store real quick like:
Pick A Pearl continues to be a popular activity. If you get here this early, you’ll have the area to yourself as well, which is quite a bit different from the experience later in the afternoon. You can bring your own pearl setting to save on much of the cost as well. Try eBay.
Another option is the Japanese Name Tag Engraving:
Or you could just buy the gift box. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything at Walt Disney World that cheap before. Pounce!
Speaking of pouncing, who isn’t in the market for a solar powered cat? I mean really.
Solar Power must be very “in” these days. These things bobble their heads with the power of the sun.
A $19 owl bowl perhaps?
This is negative-one-percent of the available merchandise in here.
The current lunch special at Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion.
Preparing a major scene for the Flower and Garden Festival. Looking forward to it.
Just the usual flowers in the France Pavilion at the moment.
Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing.
Work going on over at the International Gateway.
A royal topiary.
Me and Cinderella.
These are on either side of the bridge over to France.
The Life Cycle of Butterflies.
Which has apparently come to an end. Speaking of butterflies, you’ll want to head to the Butterfly House as early in the Festival as possible. Let’s just say it’s populated much better in March.
Another look at Christopher Robin’s room, which is the new home of the Winnie the Pooh Meet and Greet.
An example of Disney “plusing” something that didn’t necessarily need work.
It’s so weird that Canadians want to show it off. That said, I do have a Yugoslavia shirt that I treasure.
More readying for the Flower and Garden Festival.
I’m not sure if I can.
More popup stores at the base of World Showcase moving into Canada.
Disney is piecing back together several of the playground areas for kids.
I’m not above pushing my child off one of these things if I think it will get me closer to that Grand Floridian upgrade.
Another look at the scope of this spread.
And in the opposite direction. While the Flower and Garden Festival might not reach out and grab you like the Food and Wine Festival does, the changes to the Park really add another dimension to the experience. It’s a beautiful time to be in Epcot.
A closer look at the construction of the Butterfly House, which is situated near Innoventions West. For this year’s Flower and Garden Festival Guide Map, check this PDF.
Wait times at 12:20pm:
Compared to the non-recommended Tuesday:
Mission Space: 45 minutes with FASTPASS at 1:20pm.
Test Track: 140 minutes with FASTPASS at 6:30pm.
Epcot Character Spot: 60 minutes.
Soarin’: 120 minutes with FASTPASSes gone.
Somehow we missed this from Magic Kingdom’s 40th Anniversary merchandise celebration.
It’s $150.00. Maybe that’s why.
Poor Stitch. Even with the heavy crowds and long waits at the popular Future World attractions, we still have just one group waiting.
This coming week should see significantly lower crowds as we have a bit of a lull before Spring Break Season begins.