Orlando, Florida (Part Two)

We spent our second day exploring Epcot in Disney World.  The weather was significantly better than the day before and we took full advantage of it. Once again, we chose not to adhere to the advice to arrive early and instead had a leisurely breakfast at the house.  We got to Epcot before noon, excited to explore.

Orlando, Florida Epcot | www.adventuresquared.com

We immediately started looking for rides and attractions; the following is what we personally got to experience:

  • Soarin’ This may be one of the coolest rides around.  There is a movie playing that your seat moves along with in a flying motion all while you can smell the scenery in the film.  The smell part is what made me love this ride so much.
  • Test Track We rode this one multiple times.  You get to design your car and then take a super fast lap on the track.  This was one of the most fun rides we came across.
  • Mission: Space If this ride is really an indicator of what it is like to go to space, I am not sure I’d want to.  There are two versions you can pick for this ride; intense (orange) or less intense (green).  We tried both and they were worlds apart.  If you have small kids I would steer clear of the orange side because when they say intense, they mean it.  The motion sickness was real.  Having said that, the kids loved the green version and asked to ride it again.
  • Living With The Land We took this gentle boat ride with no expectations, but we were blown away in the end.  We saw all manner of things being grown and learned a lot all while getting a break from walking.  It wasn’t overly crowded and ended up being one of our favorite things in the park.
  • Circle of Life This is another attraction we found by chance and enjoyed.  It is a movie about animals so if you like that kind of thing, this is for you.

We ate an expensive lunch in the France part of Epcot where we learned that all of the staff within that restaurant were French!  My mind was temporarily blown at this nugget of information; I thought that was a neat touch.  The food was good but not worth the money and we found that to be true of most of the places within the park.  Granted, we did not eat at any of the places I had on my list so it could be chalked up to poor planning on my part.  We ended our day with a delicious hot chocolate as we left the park.

Orlando, Florida Epcot | www.adventuresquared.com

The next day we went to the mall in Orlando with two missions in mind: 1. Find a reasonably priced princess dress and 2. Get Carly’s ears pierced.  We found a Belle dress that looked every bit as good as the ones in the parks but for about half the price.  We also got her ears pierced at the Piercing Pagoda and they did a wonderful job.  We have not had any issues with her ear piercings at all.  After wearing stick on earrings for months, she was so happy to have real earrings.

Orlando, Florida Ears Pierced | www.adventuresquared.com

After the mall we headed to Sea World.  We arrived there later in the day and it was hot, hot, hot.  The only thing we managed to do was walk around, eat, and catch the main show.  We sat in the dry area because we are boring.  The orca’s and the show were amazing!

Orlando, Florida Sea World | www.adventuresquared.comOrlando, Florida Sea World | www.adventuresquared.com

Stay tuned for Part Three!!


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Orlando, Florida (Part One)

My entire childhood was spent dreaming of one day going to see Disney World.  I got close when my family took a vacation to Orlando when I was in high school, but unfortunately we were strapped for time and couldn’t fit it in.  Once I had children, I knew that one day I would make it happen.  That day came and we made it a trip for the whole family- we even took the in-laws!

Getting there was smooth sailing; a short plane ride away.  Once we touched down, we rented a car and set off to find the house we would be staying in for the next few days.  We decided for our first trip we would stay off of Disney property for a couple of reasons:

  1.  We had 6 people in our group and Disney was expensive in the rooms that could accommodate that number of people.
  2.  We wanted to do other things besides just Disney World and felt that staying outside of the park would ensure that we wouldn’t be sucked into the bubble that is Disney.
  3.  For a fraction of the price, we found a 3-Bedroom home with a pool, game tables, and an arcade machine for our use.

Next time we visit Disney World/Orlando area we will stay on Disney property so we can see which method we prefer.

We spent the rest of our arrival day settling in.  The next morning we fixed breakfast at the house (another perk of staying off property) and made our way to Disney World.

Orlando, Florida Entrance to Disney World | www.adventuresquared.com

We broke all of the “rules” that people will advise you of such as getting there when the parks open….oops.  It ended up being fine because we are not the typical “cram as much in as possible” people.  We chose to visit the Magic Kingdom the first day.  Despite not having fast passes we were able to ride quite a few things.  I should mention that we went at one of the least busy times of the year so this may be why.  Some of the rides still had wait times of 2.5 hours.  You can bet we skipped those!  Here is what we rode and what we thought:

  • Astro Orbiter It was cold and lightly raining when we stumbled upon this ride.  The elevator ride to the top offered us a reprieve from the elements which was appreciated.  Once we got in the rockets the rain had stopped so we were able to enjoy the ride.  None of us wanted to do it again though because it really was just flying in a circle.  Nothing special here folks- though the younger kids (mine were 5) will probably enjoy it.
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin This was an indoor ride that we enjoyed.  It was fun because you would score points for things you shot with your laser gun.  I can’t remember who won but we did have fun!
  • Space Mountain This was one of the rides I was looking most forward to.  It had been on my wish list since I was a kid. Maybe that is why I was so underwhelmed.  We waited longer for this ride than any other.  It started off very neat with the electric blue lights in the tunnel and from there it just got boring.  The ride goes downward in a spiral motion in complete darkness and then it is over.
  • Stitch’s Great Escape If you have young kids, avoid this!  We went into it thinking it would be something for the kids.  In reality it was creepy and scary for the kids.  They cried through the entire thing- from his evil laugh, to the flashing lights, and the blackout while Stitch flutters behind your head like a mad scientist.  To top it off, it wasn’t even fun for the adults.  Just forego this ride.
  • Tomorrowland Speedway This ride made us laugh.  Imagine a 6’3, 230 lb. man in a tiny car puttering around a track at, maybe, 3 mph.  I thought it would never end.

While the rides left a lot to be desired, we did enjoy the other parts of Magic Kingdom.  We took pictures in front of Cinderella’s castle, admired the “town”, and even came out of it all with some funny stories.  My husband and I got schooled by our kindergarten aged son about the differences between Goofy and Pluto (we got them confused) and our 5 yr old daughter informed us while debating over princess dress that she “does not like cheap stuff”.

The end of our day was the most special because we happened to be in the right place at the right time by complete accident.  We were headed out of the park when we noticed a crowd forming in front of Cinderella’s castle.  We were delighted when we found out that Anna and Elsa from Frozen would be making an appearance at the castle.  We had no idea what we were about to witness.  Elsa iced over the castle and it was impressive.

Orlando, Florida Cinderella's Castle in Disney World | www.adventuresquared.com

Orlando, Florida Cinderella's Castle in Disney World | www.adventuresquared.com

All of us considered that to be one of the highlights of the trip.  We went back to the house that night excited for what the next day would bring.

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