Day 5 – TL, Epcot, DHS

We were up bright and early this morning, because Typhoon Lagoon happened to have an extra magic hour morning. I don’t remember if I mentioned this yet or not, but there were a lot of non-Disney buses doing the normal Disney Transportation routes this week. I don’t know if it was a factor of the crowds, or if a bunch of the Disney buses were out of commission, or what. But regardless, on this particular morning, it was a non-Disney bus that picked us up for TL. And the driver, unfortunately, did not know what he was doing.

We got to the TL parking lot, and the driver missed the turn to the drop off areas. So he had to circle around the parking lot. Then he missed the particular drop-off area he was supposed to use and tried to stop directly in front of the entrance. The Disney CM working there told him he can’t do that, and has to stop at one of the stops. So instead of just pulling ahead to the next stop, he circled the entire parking lot *again*, and eventually dropped us off at the farthest stop from the entrance. In all, we spent about 10-12 minutes just driving around the TL parking lot.

We get into the park, and I have Amanda go up to that little viewing platform with the telescope, to look at the Miss Tilly and the surf pool. Her eyes bugged. I’d shown her the place on Google Maps, showed her YouTube videos of the surf pool, etc. But nothing compares with actually *seeing* those giant 6 foot waves in person.

We got ourselves a large locker and put all our stuff in it. Then first stop was to Crush and Gusher. Amanda’s only previous experience with a water-coaster is at Six Flags New England. I rode that one once and have no desire to do so again – the uphill segments are via conveyor belt, which causes you to jerk to a stop and jerk to a start while you’re on the ride. So Amanda was really very impressed with Crush & Gusher, as it’s the force of the water that propels you uphill instead. We did all three tracks on Crush & Gusher, all with no waits longer than 2 or 3 groups in front of us.

We next went over to Shark Reef, and again had no wait. There were only two other people who were there with us. Amanda shot like a bullet from one end to the other, despite my repeated attempts to tell her to slow down and enjoy it. Apparently she didn’t much like the cold water and therefore didn’t particularly like the attraction. Sigh. It’s actually one of my favorites at the park. We also happened to run into a Photopass photographer as he was getting ready for the day, and he took a couple pictures of us at the giant shark jaw.

We wanted to head into the surf pool next, but rather than walk, we decided to take the lazy river as a means of transportation. Again, Amanda’s only point of reference is Six Flags, so I tried not to laugh at her incredulity that “we can just take one of the tubes??” Hehehe.

Once we reached the our exit, we headed into the Surf pool. It was probably only about 9:30 or 10am by this point, and the pool was not at all crowded. Amanda was shocked by the waves, again. We had a lot of fun in there, riding the waves, ducking the waves, trying to jump over the waves, etc. We swam out toward the deeper end very briefly, but pretty quickly decided that wasn’t the best plan.

Somewhere around 11, we headed back out to get lunch. On the way, we got our picture taken by a PhotoPass photographer in the pool. I was hoping to get one with the wave crashing right behind us. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to check our photos before we left the park that day, and I didn’t find out until we got home that the photographer missed the shot. Apparently the wave knocked her back before she could snap it, and the only thing in the pic is the top of my head. 🙁

Lunch was at Leaning Palms, and was not bad, just not good either. I’ve never been overly fond of the counter service food at the water parks. But at least there were no birds dive bombing us for fries this time around, as so often happens at the water parks. I kinda wonder why that is. Did Disney somehow manage to purge the park? Were we just eating too early? Weird.

After lunch, we went to put our stuff back in the locker, but then after we did, we saw Stitch available for pictures. I waited in the line while Amanda went back to the locker to get her camera. The Brazilian Tour Groups were here too, and were just as annoying as in the theme parks. In this case, there’s a group of four girls in front of us. When it’s their turn, they each go up one at a time, and get pictures with all four of their cameras for each one. Okay, that’s fine, I guess. But then after the fourth one, they have to do a picture with all four of them. Then they have to do a picture with just these two, then just those two, etc etc. They really overstayed their welcome at the meet-and-greet. Grrr. We, on the other hand, got up there, got one Photopass pic, and one pic with Amanda’s camera, and that was it. 🙂

After Amanda put her camera back in the locker, we went over to the body slides near Shark Reef. We did the straight down slide once, and the curving slides once. There was still very little line, which surprised me. I figured with this heat, the water parks would be very crowded. But it really wasn’t at all.

We again took the lazy river back to the surf pool. Okay, *now* the pool was crowded. I mean, not as bad as that picture of the Japanese water park that was all over the Internet a few weeks ago, but crowded enough that you really couldn’t help bumping into people when the wave came. Doesn’t matter, it was still a lot of fun. I did notice that while the tip board advertised the surf vs bobbing waves would be on a 90/30 schedule, it was actually on a 30/30 schedule for some reason.

We stayed in the wave pool for just about 2 hours, actually. It was just that much fun. If I ever move to Florida, I’m pretty likely to go to Typhoon Lagoon just about every day after work, and just hang out in that pool for an hour or so. At any rate, we decided that we’d had our fill of the water park. I asked Amanda if she wanted to try out the tube slides on the other side of the park, but she declined. Okay. So we got dried off and headed out of the park. For the first time in my memory, we had virtually no wait for the bus back to Pop Century. This has generally been the place where I’ve had the worst bus service, sometimes waiting as long as 45 minutes. But this time? I think it came maybe 60-90 seconds after I sat down.

We got back to Pop Century and showered and changed. I asked Amanda what she wanted to do with the rest of the evening. She said she wanted to do Spaceship Earth and Kim Possible again. So, to Epcot we went.

When we got to Epcot, the line for SSE looked a little ridiculous, so we went over to Ellen’s Energy Adventure first. You may recall I’d previously said that Amanda was a fan of Bill Nye, so she really enjoyed this. I enjoyed the ability to sit in the air conditioning for 40 minutes. 😛

Okay, *now* we went back over to Spaceship Earth, with maybe a 10 or 15 minute wait. I still didn’t feel any particular need to explore the video games at the post-show. However, we did take the time to send ourselves a postcard of our future.

Next up we decided to go see Figment in the Imagination Pavilion. Amanda agreed with my assessment – cute and a fun diversion, but not really special or memorable. The post-show here has GOT to go. It is so embarrassingly outdated. I mean, oh look – DIGITAL CAMERAS!?! WOOOOOOW. Oy.

We made our way into the World Showcase, and got our Kim Possible assignment. This time, we were in Japan. Again, I don’t want to spoil any of the effects for anyone, but they were really cool. One odd thing I noticed is that there were other people playing the Kim Possible game at the same time – but they were interacting with different things than we did. I asked a CM about it, if there were more than one mission per pavilion. She said that the mission was the same, but that some of the clues were different. So you could theoretically do the same mission twice, but have different effects. That’s pretty cool and adds an extra level of repeatability. Another weird thing was that the end of the mission didn’t have us deliver the Kimmunicator back to a Cast Member. Instead it directed us to a drop box and had us plunk it in there. Weird/cool.

Getting close to dinner time, so we left via the International Gateway and went over to the Beach Club. I wanted to visit the gift shop there, so I could buy a Limited Edition pin I’d read about on the Disney Pin Blog about a week or two earlier, as a gift for Ange, whose birthday was a week after we got back. I found the pin as soon as we got to the shop, which made me happy. I also had Amanda take a picture of me wearing Mouse Ears, as I’d promised someone on another forum that I would.

Now over to Beaches and Cream, and only about a 5 minute wait before we were seated at the counter. I love this place, and generally try to eat here once per WDW trip. I think both the burgers and the ice cream are delicious, and I’ve always had outstandingly happy and friendly servers. This time was no exception. And because I know you’ll ask, no, we did not get a kitchen sink. Amanda did get a sundae of some sort, but I was quite full from my burger and onion rings.

It was an Extra Magic Hour evening for Hollywood Studios, so we decided to take the Friendship boat from the Beach Club to there. We had no real agenda, especially as we’d be back here tomorrow morning anyway. So it didn’t concern us that the waits for RnRC, ToT, and TSMM were all well over an hour. Instead we went to Great Movie Ride. The entrance had been moved to the right-hand side of the Chinese Theater instead of the front – is that new, or is it done only for EMHs or something? Of all the movies in the GMR, Amanda had seen exactly two – Wizard of Oz and Sorcerer’s Apprentice. She hasn’t even seen Indiana Jones. SIGH. But she was completely taken by surprise when our host was held up at gunpoint and our vehicle commandeered. Hehe. I love taking newbies on this one. 🙂

Next we went over to the Streets of America to head to Muppetvision. This area was DEAD. There was NO ONE here. Maybe, *maybe* two other people on New York Street. It was very very surreal. Almost felt like we weren’t supposed to be there. In any event, we got to Muppetvision, and yes, I told her to find the Key under the matt. This was my first time seeing it since they upgraded the film to be digital. It looks absolutely beautiful. Crystal clear. My only question – when Fozzie sprays his water flower and says he’s going to “shower us”, is there supposed to be a water effect there? If so, I’ve never – not once – seen it working. I’ve been there so many times that it seems to me that can’t be a coincidence. Do they just not turn it on here? Very weird.

On the way out of Muppetvision, we walked toward TSMM just to see what the wait time was. 80 minutes. Yeah no. I’ll be back in less than 12 hours. I can wait. I did, however, get a very pleasant surprise: One Man’s Dream was open, despite it not being listed as an EMH attraction on the Times Guide. That made me happy. I took Amanda through it and tried to tell all the stories and point out all the details I could. It’s too much to take in, in just one walk-through. I did get her to give that shocked face when we got to the model of Sleeping Beauty castle, and I asked if she remembered that famous photo of Walt walking through the gate, and then told her to kneel down and look through. 🙂 I think she was a little overwhelmed. And what’s more is that she didn’t realize there was a film at the end. Upon hearing that, she took to referring to the film as the actual attraction, and the walkthrough exhibits as the queue. That … somewhat annoyed me, and I corrected her a little insistingly that the walkthrough is just the first half of the attraction, and the film is the second half. Neither is more important than the other.

We’ve had a very full day, so it was time to head out of the park. Before we did, we stopped at Guest Services to add another day to Amanda’s ticket, as we hadn’t originally planned on doing a theme park today. No issues here, and I love the idea of only paying $3 for an entire extra day in the parks. (Btw, has anyone noticed that after the recent price hike, each day after Day Four is now $5 rather than $3?)

Now back out of the park, and over to the bus stops. Maybe a five minute wait at most. Amanda noted with some irony that we’ve now taken a bus from DHS to Pop Century twice, but have yet to take a bus from Pop Century to DHS. And for that matter, we have yet to take a bus from Epcot to Pop Century. Hoo-rah for Park Hopping. 🙂

Back to the hotel. Very long day. 3 parks, lots of attractions, lots of fun. But very, very tired.

The Good: Spending hours in the Surf Pool
The Bad: The nonsense with the non-Disney bus in the morning
The Magical: Taking Amanda through One Man’s Dream

Thanks for reading. We’re more than half-way done, I swear. 🙂

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