|Day 9, Monday, January 7, 2002
This was a day we spent entirely at Epcot.
We had a kind of a late start. We needed to stop by the front desk to pick up yesterdayís packages, and that slowed us down more. It was close to 10:30 by the time we made it to the park.
It was very warm in the morning, and we hardly needed out coats. But, by the end of the day, it was completely freezing.
As soon as we got there, I ran Fast Pass on Test Track, while Debbie and Nick went on Space Ship Earth. I meant to catch them before they went into the ride, but the line was too fast. I ended up doing SE by myself. I had a near perfect ride. We did stop once near where the Japanese girl is networking to the American boy. I still love this ride, it is inspiring and uplifting.
We easily hooked up in the global village. We then went for a brief time into Innovations. We sent some postcards from IBM. We also saw some neat tech under a little display case at IBM. There was a cool little 1 GByte drive on what looks like a flashcard (these have started to show up in stores now). There was also a little tiny camera, and a USB flash card on a key chain. Overall, though, the software demos at IBM were so-so. It does look like they have changed the Planet Rider to some kind of race, but we didnít get a chance to try it.
|The Sega Dreamcast stuff has now been replaced by Disney Interactive
games. We did see a couple of Mac titles here, but neither Debbie
nor Nick were interested enough to stand and play. Debbie wanted
to try the Coral Reef for lunch (with no PSís).
We had no trouble getting into the Coral Reef. The lunch was very nice. I had a very good cream of lobster soup, garlic shrimp and crab. It looked small when they brought it out, but was actually a very good portion. We also had very nice service. So, the food and service were both very good, but I donít think I got any really great film or pictures. A very nice experience, overall. This is one of the few places that I think is as good or better for lunch than it is for supper. Usually, supper is more, but the portions, selections, and entertainment are better. But, Iíd rather be at the Coral Reef for lunch.
We were not at a window, but had a booth across the aisle from one. We had a nice, pleasant view, but both cameras struggled. The Sony did a little better than the Kodak, but only when it was shooting video, the stills didnít do that well. I did get to grab some stills from the video tape later.
There is a short Quicktime of our view on our videos page. It came out pretty good, Quicktime resolution notwithstanding.
We tried the land, and got some interesting photos inside the pavilion. But, while waiting in line for the ride, our Fast Pass time (the end of our window) came up on Test Track. I guess that line was longer than it looked. Debbie decided she would rather go ahead and do the land ride, but Nick and I wanted to do Test Track. We left Debbie in the Land queue, while Nick and I ran for Test Track.
|This was probably a good decision, because this was the best Test Track
ride we had in quite a while. Everything worked, even the screens
in the car. I like the status screens very much, I think that they
add a lot to the high tech feeling of the ride. I do have to say
that the thermal imager at the end was not working, but everything else
After Test Track, we went up to Innovations to meet Debbie, as we had arranged. Nick played Toon Tag about six times. The second host was a very amusing young man, who really interacted with the kids. The host did mention that this game would soon be on the net, and Nick told him they have been saying that for three years. It was a nice little rest, watching Nick play, and I think we got a couple of fair pictures. I made sure that the pictures we got were when Nick was stuck playing as Minnie.
We didnít do the cars or the tech house, or even Motorola's little communication film. We did stop for a while, though, to look at some of Motorola's communication toys. This is one of those places where itís hard to have a future looking display, as the field is moving so fast that the future is here before you can see it.
We went through the preview display for Mission Space (here at Innoventions). There are some cool little displays here, like a scale that gives your weight on the moon, an ďastronaut training stationĒ (interactive kiosk with space oriented questions), and some great little posters on the history of the space program. I enjoyed this whole little preview a lot, but Debbie and Nick didnít seem as thrilled.
|We sent some video mail from the mission space preview area.
What was really funny is that the CM running the v-mail thing was the same
CM that had been hosting Nickís Toon Tag game. He was again very
amusing, and even popped his head into our video!
I liked playing with the 100 Years of Magic kiosks in Innovations, which were oriented towards Epcot. They are backed by a wall full of inventions and innovations that Walt developed. A big part of Waltís success comes back to his creativity and innovation. To me, that is part of the American dream.
When we stepped back outside, it was very cold. Nick still wanted to eat some ice cream, but Debbie was threatening to go back to the room. We went into Mouse Works, with the idea of finding some big coats, but there were no large sizes. I did offer her my coat, but she declined.
We did have the serendipity to find the little Pooh china figurines in Mouse Works that Debbie had been looking for all week. I also picked up a nice Villainís mouse pad.
We then headed over to World Showcase. Nick was determined to do another mask, which he remembered doing from two years ago. Itís a good excuse to stop in every country in the World Showcase.
|I tried to take some photos all around our trek, but it got dark about
the time we reached Japan. We did hang out a little while inside
the pyramid in Mexico, partly because it was nice and warm in there.
It was very cold outside, even worse than the other day when we were outside.
We didn't spend much time in Norway on this little quest, just enough time to get a stamp on the mask, and a brief look around. We spent a bit of time in China, looking at the interesting Mongolian artifacts that were in the museum display.
After China, we rushed over to Germany. It was getting even colder, and started to get dark. But, we made the best of it, and enjoyed the architecture of the German pavilion, snapping some outside pictures. We also enjoyed the sounds of the German music, and the smell of the sauerkraut.
It was on to Italy, which was especially fun, because last time they had barriers up in front of the facades for a refurb. So, we really liked seeing the marble and the Italian architecture again, before we went on to America.
I am sorry we didnít get to see the American Adventures show this trip. But, we ended up in the gift shop in the American pavilion. This is where the Kidcot station was. There were really some nice American flag items in here. We got some red, white, and blue mouse ear antenna balls. We found some nice ďAmerican DreamĒ t-shirts.
|By Japan, it was solidly dark. Again, Nick got his Kidcot stamp,
while we soaked up the atmosphere. I continued to try to take some
shots into the night, but their quality would be dubious.
Debbie and Nick actually did Morocco quickly without me. I was having some trouble with one of my equipment straps. We met up again in the French pavilion.
The French pavilion is really pretty at night, the way they have the lights arranged, and the lit fountain. I tried some photos, which came out OK, if not great.
As we were crossing the bridge to the UK pavilion, it was bitterly cold. We sat in a shop in the UK, while Nick did Kidcot. It ws warm and comfortable, and we sat there for a while after he was done. Finally, we pushed ourselves out into the cold again, and went down and did Kidcot in Canada, which was his last pavilion. We walked around the Canadian shops a little bit, enjoying the Canadian feeling here.
We finally gave up due to the cold, and went to the Rose and Crown almost 40 minutes before our PS.
We had a little bit of a wait for our table. But, we took the ďnewĒ pager over to one of the UK shops (they said it would work anywhere within the UK pavilion). This way, we kept out of the cold, looked around in the shop a little bit, and played with the pager.
|This little palm top, which was running some kind of pocket PC OS,
was kind of fun to play with. Nick and I decided that the MS OS was
why it was so slow to respond. It seriously did have a fun little
application about the UK pavilion running on it. This thing beat
the old buzzer hands down. It gives you something to do while waiting,
and gives a little extra information the UK pavilion.
We had a great meal at the Rose and Crown. There was a bit of a draft from the door next to us, but it was perfect otherwise. We sat inside. We shared a terrific mushroom appetizer. I had the fish and chips, and Debbie the prime rib. Everything was wonderful. But, the best of the best was the lemon desert which I had.
The last time we were at the Rose And Crown was the only bad night we have ever had there. This one more than made up for it. The food and service were all splendid. We always eat at the Rose and Crown once per trip, and I canít wait to go back again.
After dinner, we had a very good spot for Illuminations. On the advice of a CM in the Rose and Crown, we went down to a little patio just to the side of the Rose and Crown. It is actually past their outside eating area. There was some tables and chairs there, but we had standing room only. Regardless, the view and sound were wonderful here. The view was almost unrestricted, both overhead and of the lagoon. It even beats the dining patio at the Rose and Crown, since we got a great view of the sky.
Illuminations is an uplifting, wonderful, optimistic show. After everything that has happened to us lately, it leaves you feeling good.
I sent some e-mail from the room late at night, well Debbie and Nick were sleeping. I got a good fast connection (well, fast for a dial up line) at 40K. This dial-up e-mail works great, and itís nice to stay in touch. I even sent a couple of pictures off to our friends.
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