Parks, resorts, dining, attractions, vacations

Day 5, EPCOT

We're at the EPCOT turnstiles when they open, and manage to be in the second 

pulled Laurie out of line and asked her if we'd like to do a test run of a 
Kim Possible adventure they're trialing.  Knowing that Lisi is a fan, it 
sounds perfect, can't wait to see what it's about.  As we load the Soarin' 
ride, she's right on the bubble as to whether she needs to use the center 
strap or not.  I figure she'll want to be the 'big girl' and not use it, but 
she immediately puts it through and brightly says "Might as well, just in 
case."  A huge grin comes out as we fly through the clouds.  She spots some 
birds we hadn't seen before, and we see for the first time the guys doing 
the Australian rappel.  Her hands are quite relaxed in her lap until we get 
out over the fishing boat off the coast, when she grabs the arm rests for 
the rest of the ride.  After the ride, she declares it "amazing that we were 
just sitting in one place the whole time!"

We get over to Test Track, and she hasn't ridden this before, so she's 
secretly quite apprehensive.  This becomes apparent when we get into the 
queue and she blurts out "This isn't the Single Riders line, is it?"  Big 
grins throughout the ride though, and as we are going through the high-speed 
section outside she laughingly screams "Grandma, I'm going to need your 
brush!!"  Our only 5-year-old who has even looked at the cars in the exit 
area was Gavin, who just HAD to get his picture taken driving the Hummer. 
But Elysia is even shopping here.  So far, she's picked out the concept car, 
a rust-colored Chevy Avalanche ($37,000 pickup truck), and a $32,000 Buick 
Lucerne.  Man, is she going to be disappointed down the road when her first 
car is a 12-year-old Cavalier.

Wait.  Elysia isn't the only one dreaming here.  Laurie has picked out a 
sweet little metallic blue Pontiac Solstice two-seater.  I think she'd buy 
it on the spot, if her 'test drive' hadn't shown she's too short to see out 
the windshield.

[Random observation -- As we're taking an ice cream break outside 
Innoventions, it occurs to me that 10-year-olds wear considerably less of 
their food than 5-year-olds.]  Now we do something that's a first for all 
three of us, Mission: SPACE.  Laurie and I never quite managed to make 
ourselves try this, but since they split it up into a wilder side and a 
milder side, we thought we'd give it a shot and we like it.  It's a lot like 
Star Tours.

It's time to begin our Kim Possible adventure, which begins with a brief 
survey and some paperwork upstairs at the Canada pavilion.  And a temporary 
$300 deposit on our credit card to cover the special cell phone, our 
'communicator.'  It will give her video instructions, ask her multiple 
choice questions regarding her results on the tasks, and automatically 
signal her when we're in proximity to our next location.  As we get our 
mission instructions and leave with our communicator, Elysia looks up with a 
big grin and says "This is gonna be fun!"

Our first instruction is to go to the United Kingdom and talk to the toy 
soldier.  "What should I say?"  Well, let's go see what we see.  As we get 
up to the UK, Laurie and I have to make a pit stop, and Lisi is quite 
indignant.  "Hey, I'm kind of on a mission here."  Well even Kim Possible 
has to pee, sheesh!

The toy soldier tells us there's a clue in the red phone booth.  (It would 
have been cooler if he'd called it a telephone box, but I bet not many 
American Kims would have a 'clue' what that is.)  After we've entered the 
secret code, a golf ball comes out, which we have to take back inside the 
Sportsman's Shoppe to run through the golf ball analyzer.  After 
verification that our ball is "authentic," the analyzer tells us we have to 
find a shield some where in the shop with two golf clubs on it.  We press a 
button and the shield flips around, revealing a four-symbol code we have to 
remember.  After entering the code, we get instructions to find the tea 
caddy clerk at Twining's and say "Danger is my cup of tea!"  He hands Lisi a 
pack of Indian Spiced Chai Tea.  Her communicator instructs her to enter the 
name of the tea and hold the package against the communicator so it can 
analyze it.  It checks out, and we're told to search for a butterfly in a 
box in the garden.  The butterfly has a rose on the back of one wing and a 
crown on the back of the other, so we're guessing we need to go to the Rose 
& Crown pub.  When we get in front of the pub, the communicator activates 
and sends us to a window next to #3 Regency Street.  Mission complete, head 
to France.

Lisi gets a phone call from her mom, and is quite excitedly telling her 
about the mission.  "And right now, I'm going over to France . Yeah!! . I'm 
at Magic Kingdom . I mean Epcot . No . Yeah . Yup! . I have a cell phone . 
No, I'm talking to you on Grandma's cell phone, the fake cell phone is the 
secret communicator for our spy mission . I have to go, I have to finish my 
mission."  Once we get into France, we're sent to the cinema to find a 
gargoyle.  Next stop are some statues in Souvenirs de France.  Now we have 
to find the Procrastinator Ray, and the first step is finding some books in 
the window at Plue et Palette.  A clue there leads us to an antique camera 
by the lagoon that we can look through to see the top of the Eiffel Tower. 
This is serious stuff though, so before leaving the bookstore, she rereads 
the clue twice to make sure we know exactly what it is we have to do.

As soon as we approach the camera, our comm tells us to push a button on the 
gray suitcase before looking in the camera, and we see the Procrastinator 
Ray.  (And also get our picture taken from the top of the tower!)  Next stop 
is the Parfumerie, but the sun is killing me at this point, so I'm enjoying 
the shade while the girl spies hunt for L'Eau du Lait.  They spend quite a 
time looking for it and finally do, but it's not an easy task at all.  And 
then they're right back with me, looking for a certain bench by a certain 
post in front of the French restaurant.  When she gets in the right spot, 
her comm sends her to La Casserole and she says "I remember seeing that, I 
know right where it is!!  Follow me."  We get back in front of that shop and 
are instructed to make our way to the Imagination Pavilion.

A cast member has to give us access to Dr. Drakken's secret lair upstairs. 
More forms await us there, and we enter our secret code and drop our 
communicator into a special tube in order to blow up some evil thing in the 
basement.  Then we have to hit a series of buttons until we can get five red 
X's and blow something else up to foil Dr. Drakken's evil plan.  Lisi's 
quite excited about getting her Kim Possible pin, one only given to those 
completing the mission.  (Fifty a day, and we're in week 3 of a five week 
trial, so sort of a limited edition at this point.)  [And unless they 
unloaded the leftovers, they might get even more valuable, since I don't 
believe this project panned out and was dropped.]

Since we still have Fast Passes for Soarin', we'll have lunch at the 
Sunshine Food Fair.  I still don't really like the food choices here, but 
Elysia remarks that they have a lot of very healthy things, and decides on 
two hard-boiled eggs for lunch.  And a ginormous piece of chocolate cake. 
Very pleasant conversation here, going over our mission and all our other 
activities, and in generally very good spirits on our next-to-the-last day. 
This time on Soarin', she's decided not to do the "smaller aviator" loop on 
the belt, but they make her use it.  But the earlier fear is gone, and she 
doesn't use the hand rails for the entire trip.  On our way out, we pick up 
another set of Fast Passes for tonight.

I thought we were going to Spaceship Earth now, but someone did mention 
Mouse Gears this morning, so that will be first.  Shopping is fun (for 
some), Spaceship Earth is fun, and we're headed back to the pool.  The girls 
want to swim in a different pool, so we get our mugs and head over to the 
flower pool.  Laurie spends about five minutes in the pool before finding a 
nice lounge chair, putting her feet up, and relaxing with a phone 
conversation with her friend Miss Charlotte.  Lisi spends about 45 minutes 
though, before we all head in for a short nap.

We're on our way back to Epcot now for dinner and more Soarin' and the sky 

Elysia is noticing the colored lights in the sidewalk entering the 
Innoventions Plaza.  Laurie tells her they look even cooler after dark, so 
she says "Well remind me to come back this way after dark then."  The 
standby line says 75 minutes and the cm in the Fast Pass line must have read 
the look on Lisi's face, saying "It's only going to be about 10 minutes from 
right here, I swear."  About two-thirds of the riders this time are newbies, 
so that always makes it even more fun.  As our trip ends and we descend back 
to the floor, Lisi is applauding along with most the rest of the travelers.

Our dinner in Italy is very tasty, very noisy, and not especially magic.  We 
hadn't eaten there before, and our assessment is that it's high price for 
medium experience.  One cool thing is that mid-meal, the entire serving 
staff comes out to the dining room and sings the Italian national anthem. 
They almost get a little bit rowdy, and I mention to the maitre'd who is 
standing next to us that if I didn't know better, I'd think they were 
football fans.  [This was shortly after Italy had beaten France in the World 
Cup.]  He bends down to me and quietly says "Don't talk to me about 
football, I'm from France."  After a half-hearted partial tour making masks 
at the KidStops, we decide to beat the crowd out of the park, passing the 
big ball as Illuminations is cranking up.  That gets us a bus to ourselves, 
and it's good to relax after a long day, looking ahead to the end of our 
trip tomorrow.
Don -

I love these reports!

Just wanted to tell you, I own "Laurie's car" - the blue metallic 
Solstice. It's a lot of fun... she should get one - it's worth sitting 
on phone books to see out of the windshield. :)

I only have one year of payments on my car so I may consider it. It is an 
awesome looking car.