Category: Epcot


Test Track: New and Improved!!

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Meet Lola. (Yes, I named the car.) Lola is the prototype car that my sisters and I designed when we went to the newly reimagined Test Track in Epcot. Basically, you design a car then ride it around the track to “test” it for things like speed and turning power and all sorts of other things, the names of a which elude me at the moment.

I had heard a lot about this ride before I went on it, and I was curious to see how it would work. Well, it starts when they give you a plain white plastic card, about the size of a credit card. Maybe a little bigger. Anyway, you get in line and are filtered in large groups into a kind of computer room with a ton of big touchscreen computers. You’ll tap your white card to a sensor on a machine. It will then allow you to begin designing your car. You can pick between engines, tire sizes, colors, all kinds of things. My parents designed this one:

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After you finish that, you’ll join another line, still clutching that white card lest your beautiful car design be lost, and wait a few minutes to get to the ride vehicles. Then tap your white card to another kiosk, climb into a car, and begin the ride. There are still lots of great thrills, but the difference is that your car’s rating for each test is put up on a screen for you to see after each segment.

I was hoping that Disney would somehow make the ride car look like the car you made (maybe through the magic of projection, or better yet, pixie dust?), but I guess that was a teensy bit unrealistic. Anyway, the cars are really just plain black vehicles.

Lola did Pretty well in everything except speed, because someone (Chrissy, I’m looking at you) insisted on making it solar powered. Oh well, it was a win in my book.

P.S. They have some pretty cool displays in the first queue, including different cars and this engine, which according to my dad is “like artwork”.

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Have you ever named a car or other inanimate object, just out of sheer awesomeness?

The Adventures of Captain EO

In a little corner of Epcot, forgotten by all except dedicated Michael Jackson fans, hard core Disney explorers, and people like me who wandered in by accident, there lies a small (in Disney terms, anyway) building which houses a nice 4-D theater. Inside, you’ll find a show you probably have never heard of: Captain EO. It is from a while ago (obviously, since Michael Jackson isn’t exactly making music videos anymore…), and it is a little blurry, but not terrible.

Now. I kind of like the show, but I feel like I should warn those of who definitely won’t like it. (Look at me, acting like this blog is all reputable…) Basically what it is is a musical, 4D show where Michael Jackson, as the “notorious” (if you say so… I’d never heard of him before, personally) Captain EO, saves an alien planet through the magic of music. Or something. Anyway, that’s what I got out of it.

The Pros: There are some funny parts, most of them involving Captain EO’s mismatched crew of strange aliens. Also, if you like Michael Jackson, you’ll like this. Most of the sets are amazingly detailed, for those who care about that sort of thing.

The Cons: if you cannot stand Michael Jackson, DO NOT SEE THIS VIDEO. Apart from that, the outfits are really a bit… spangly. Sparkly. Overdone, especially towards the end. Also, the music is… Interesting. And the dancing, to put it I bluntly, is quite spastic-looking. And can you say OVERACTING?!

Also, I guess it bears mentioning that it begins with a clip a a spaceship blowing up an asteroid in a charmingly Star Wars-esque way. This greatly upset the little toddler behind us, so… um… depending on a child’s usual reaction to exploding space objects, they may not enjoy the beginning.

Despite having no particular opinion about Michael Jackson, I enjoy the show. Plus, it’s convenient for people like my sister Chrissy who are looking for any excuse to avoid The Figment Ride.

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I don’t have any pictures of Captain EO, so here’s one of a restroom sign. Can anyone guess where in Disney it is?

I’ve been attempting to write more restaurant posts lately (as opposed to RIDES RIDES RIDES) so this week I’ll share one of my all time favorite Disney restaurants! As a Chinese food place, Nine Dragons Restaurant (located in Epcot’s China Pavilion) doesn’t have quite the same hype as a lot of other restaurants in Disney. I like it because it’s a really terrific place to take a break from the exciting-ness and hectic-ness of a Disney vacation. Also, their egg rolls are TO DIE FOR.
The decor is composed of some of the most amazing glass artwork I’ve ever seen. There are glass dragons everywhere (and if I could get away with it, I would totally take one home to decorate my room with. Just kidding. Or am I??).

It’s a nice place for kids, although my little sisters don’t like Chinese food (apparently), so we always stop at America first to get them cheeseburgers (we get them to go and then we all eat together in China). The staff is always really friendly and have never yet commented on the very obviously smuggled burgers.

So, hit the Nine Dragons for lunch or dinner to recharge (it’s a sit down restaurant) before your next adventure. You should probably get reservations, but they often accept walk-ins. So go to China in Epcot’s World Showcase!! (And get the EGG ROLLS!)

Living With the Land

Inside the fish farms

Inside the fish farms

Living With the Land is located near Soarin’ in “The Land” building (there’s also a Sea building). This ride features a boat ride through Disney’s greenhouses. You learn about innovative processes for growing food that are being pioneered.

There are no drops and the boats move quite slowly, so anyone should be able to ride. It’s wheelchair accessible,

Living with the Land

Living with the Land

too, although those in scooters will have to transfer to conventional wheelchairs. Other than a brief period in which the lights are dimmed, and a simulated thunder crack or two, it is fine for most children.

Inside the Greenhouses

Inside the Greenhouses

The only qualms you may have about bringing the kids on Living With the Land is whether they will be sufficiently entertained. There isn’t much action in this ride – no pirates or cursed mummies here. Most of the ride is composed of a trip through varied ecosystems, including a desert and a rain forest, a tour of the greenhouses, and a look inside Disney’s fish farm. It is very interesting, but smaller, more hyper children may find it difficult to sit still through the entire thing.

I stumbled across this masterpiece while walking in the gardens in Epcot.  It advertizes the new movie “Brave.”

 

Soarin’

This picture was also taken at 10:30 am, and the fast pass return time was already at 3:55 to 4:55! That means that you would have to wait untill 3:55 to come back and use your fast passes!

Soarin’ is my family’s favorite ride in Epcot.  It’s located in West Future World, in an indoor attraction area called ‘The Land’.   When you enter, you buckle yourself into a seat, which then lift off the ground towards a gigantic movie screen.  Like a motion simulator, the chairs then glide you through a series of beautiful scenes created by amazing 4-D.   Soarin’ features a host of Californian scenes, including Belle’s castle in Disneyland, an orange grove, breathtaking ocean views, and more.  This ride is perfect for anyone who enjoys sightseeing, adventure, and the wind in their face.  However, if you are afraid of heights, this may not be the ride for you.  Infants should not ride this ride, but most children love it.  Even my 4-year-old cousin enjoyed this ride.

This picture was taken at 10:30 in the morning and the lines were already two hours long.

Spaceship Earth

This is a fantastic ride for all ages.  It never goes too fast, and features a fun interactive activity at the end.  This ride does go through periods of near total darkness when the area is lit only by “star” lights.  The cars also rotate backwards and go downhill moderately steeply, though not fast enough to cause alarm to children.  It is located inside the iconic giant sphere in East Future World.   The lines are rarely very long and move fairly quickly.   I do not recommend taking children under three years of age on this ride, but you should use the official requirements and your own discretion to make decisions on this topic.  Have fun!

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