Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
We landed in ORL and were on our way by 10:45 from the airport. We stopped by Firehouse Subs for lunch by the Florida Mall on Orange Blossom Trail. Firehouse is one of my wife's favorites so the vacation was already a great one for her. :) We got checked into our condo by noon and then went to the store for breakfast, drinks, and snack supplies for our 10 day visit. After putting the groceries away and unpacking we had a chance to finally relax by the pool. We decided to visit the Polynesian Resort for dinner, see review below. We got back to the condo and got everyone in bed. Epcot awaited in the morning!
Excellent subs and sandwhiches. Better than a Quiznos or Subway in my opinion. It's a chain based in Florida that has grown significantly in the last 10 years. Their sandwhiches are hot and very tasty. Always a great experience. We have eaten at FH locations in Myrtle Beach, Pensacola, Orlando, and Chatanooga and all have delivered. 9/10 for a sandwhich place.
Kona (Polynesian Resort)
O'Hana was booked solid so we put our name in at Kona and were seated within 20-30 mins. We browsed the gift shop while waiting so the time past quickly. Our family enjoyed the restaurant very much. I had the Shrimp and Coconut Curry Soup, Pot Stickers, and a Kona salad. We almost went back several times on the trip but kept wanting to try other things. But will definitely make this a destination on each trip. 9/10
DAY 2 - Sunday (5/30)
We had only spent one day at Epcot in 2009 and missed so much so I was excited to spend two days on this visit and see more of the park. Our plan for this day was to do the left side of the park from front to back, starting with Future World and Test Track on back to the American Adventure. It did not disappoint. Thankfully the park was not packed at all even for a weekend day. On to the comments!
We entered the park at 9:10 and headed straight to Test Track, it already had a 35 min wait so we grabbed Fast Passes and headed to Mission Space which only had a 5 minute wait for the Green Mission. We came back after riding Mission Space and walked right up to the pre-show in the FP line. It was my wife's first time riding it and the second for me and the kids. It's a neat ride and my kids found it interesting. I was bored with it until the end which is a lot of fun. My wife hates coasters so I wasn't sure how she would feel about the end. She took it like a trooper. 7.5/10
While we waited for our TT FP we rode Mission Space. We had never rode the ride and wanted to all stick together so we all went Green as the Orange would have been too much for my wife and my youngest daughter wouldn't have been tall enough. It only had a 5 minute wait which turned out to be more like 10 minutes but it went quick anyway. My kids loved it which was enough for me. I want to try the Orange Mission at some point but didn't get to this trip. Still I can see why people enjoy the ride, I'll give it an 8/10 until I get to experience Orange for myself.
Ellen's Energy Adventure
This ride was a nice break from the heat but that's about it. I found the ride's engineering and how it manuevered the three large vehicles from three across to a single line and back again more interesting than the show itself. But I am glad we got to ride it. My goal was to be able to say I had ridden everything there as there was so much we missed in 2009. 6/10
We stopped in Innoventions and let the kids play a little. But we barely scraped the surface. Reminded me a lot of the hands on exhibits at Indy's Children's Museum. The kids enjoyed it but there was a lot we didn't get to do. Not enough experience to score this exhibit/attraction.
Grand Fiesta Tour/Mexico
Donald Duck and anything Mexican appeals to me so I enjoyed this ride last year. I know it's simple but it's relaxing and enjoyable. I'll give it a 7/10 just because of it's simplicity but it's a must for us. The kids also stopped and made some fiesta masks at one of the workshops. Last year there was a Mariachi band playing there but not this time.
We weren't able to ride this last year so we queued up for a 20 min wait. This is one of the strangest rides I've experienced at Disney World. Almost seemed pointless. It lacked a story, cohesion, and any value from an entertainment or educational perspective. The after-ride movie wasn't showing either so we left this area a bit confused. It's off the list for future visits for now. 4/10
Reflections of China
We hadn't gotten to see this show in 2009 so we walked in and found we were first in line for the next show. While we waited a lady came out and played several Chinese songs on a stringed instrument. It was very beautiful and relaxing. By the time she was done, a decent crowd had gathered but there was still plenty of room in the theater and we got great seats. I have friends who live in China and while I know life in China is a little different than what they showed in the video, I thought it was well done, showed some very nice footage of China's beautiful countryside, mountains, and cities. 7/10 only because there was nothing that made me want to go back and see it right away. I could go a few visits before needing to see it again.
This is a must see for me on every visit. I don't think anything has captured our wide and varied history so well in such a short presentation. The detail, animatronics, story telling, and presentation are great. 9/10
Impressions de France
Somehow we got tied up in some conversation and walked right through France and missed the entrance for this. We were through the World Showcase by the time I realized it. We sadly didn't make it back. Looks like there is still a few things to do at Epcot for us next time that will be new.
We had been on a whirl-wind through the park and everyone was ready to move on from the World Showcase so by unamious vote, this show was passed but we unfortunately did not make it back on our second day. This one is still on the to-do list for next time.
Since our goal was to see as much of the park as possible we grabbed lunch at a walk-up. The Disney walk-up restaurants never cease to amaze me. Yes, they are expensice for what you get but the food is seldomly ever bad. Our salads were fresh, the burgers tasty, and the fries were delicious. My son even went as far as saying it was the best burger he ever had. But then again he is 10 and said that about every burger he ate that week. LOL 8/10
It was on the way home and close to the condo. It's Outback, 7/10.
Days 3 & 4 coming soon!
Yeah, you need to try the Orange Mission. Its quite unique from anything else you experienced, but as far as I know, is the basic same plot of the Green Mission.
Its too bad you missed O Canada or Impressions, but China, by far, is my favorite.
Malestrom is supposed to talk about the more thrilling side of Norway. The trolls used to scare me silly when I was younger. I guess its classic EPCOT cheese!
Why did you go to Outback? One rule that I like to follow when down there is not to go to any chains that I can go to at home. Its too bad you didn't eat more at EPCOT, which, in my opinion, has the best overall food of any theme park.
As for eating at Epcot, I agree that their dining options are probably the best of any of the parks. Unfortunately they were either more money than we wanted to spend on those days (we already had some other options planned for later in the week) or offered items too unique and different for my family's taste. I am up for anything but the rest of them are pretty picky.
Outback was chosen because it literally is on the corner down the street from where we stayed. :P
Did you make time to ride Sum of All Thrills or go on at least one Kim Possible adventure?
And, for future reference, when you are at Epcot, EAT EAT EAT!!! That amazing park is all about the food!
Can't wait for more!
Did you happen to see the new Pizza place in Italy? I haven't really heard much about it!
But yeah, EPCOT food is on the pricier side which is a good ad for the meal plan (I know you couldn't).
I promise to budget in more Epcot dining next time! :)
I didn't see the new Italian place, Italy was packed for some dancing show so we skipped it. You couldn't even get in the plaza.
We wanted to do both Kim Possible and Sum of All Thrills and moved them from the first day to our second day but never got back around to them. I'll explain that one in the day 5 & 6 report. It was for a good reason. :)
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort