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  • trip day 3 of 8
  • Monday, January 30, 2017
  • EPCOT
  • EPCOT Festival of the Arts
  • packed breakfast in room
  • Eating Around the World

This day’s plan revolved around the challenge of Eating Around the World. We would arrive at EPCOT’s front entrance for rope drop, spend the first two hours in Future World, and then begin a leisurely journey grazing around the world when World Showcase opened at 11:00.

We chose to skip the Universe of Energy because, while enjoyable, it’s simply too long for our tight Future World schedule and the boys were completely uninterested in The Seas during our last trip so there was no harm in skipping it entirely this time around. We always save Spaceship Earth for the end of the day, so this left just enough attractions to fill the first two hours of the day before heading to World Showcase.

order attraction
1 Test Track (twice!)
2 Mission: Space – green
3 Baymax Character Spot meeting
4 Living with the Land (FP+)
5 Soarin’ (FP+)
6 Canada pavilion
7 United Kingdom pavilion
8 France pavilion: Serveur Amusant and Impressions de France
9 Morocco pavilion
10 Friendship Boat back to Showcase Plaza for Agent P assignment
11 Festival of the Arts – color by number mural
12 Friendship Boat back to Morocco dock
13 Japan pavilion: Agent P Adventure
14 American pavilion
15 Italy pavilion
16 Germany pavilion
17 China pavilion: Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
18 Norway pavilion
19 Mexico pavilion: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
20 Club Cool
21 Soarin’ (FP+)
22 Spaceship Earth (FP+)

At rope drop, we headed straight to Test Track. We always rope drop Test Track because lines are long later in the day and FastPass redemptions bypass the vehicle design segment. Half the fun for the boys is designing the vehicles from scratch!

We were easily among the first riders of the day and walked straight through the queue to the test vehicle design room which wasn’t even full. In fact, we were the only four people in our six-seater test car for the ride!

The boys love Test Track and the posted wait time was only 5 minutes when we exited, so we got right back in line to ride again. This time, the design room and our vehicle were full, but we still walked away from the attraction with two rides under our belts no more than 25 minutes after park opening.

We skipped Mission: Space on the boys’ previous trips, so we rode with the Green Team. I have yet to try the orange side. I still remember reports from the days after the ride opened years ago when guests were getting sick so I’ve never wanted to chance it and not feel well for the rest of the day! This ride isn’t a favorite, but the boys had fun flipping all the switches and knobs in our spacecraft on our way to Mars.

We then headed over to the other side of Future World, stopping in the Character Spot where Gavin wanted to meet Baymax. Character meetings are rather rare for us, so this was a stand out activity. While Mickey and friends offer a FastPass at EPCOT’s Character Spot, Baymax does not so the 20-minute line was the longest we waited all day.

Next up was one of my favorite places in all of Disney World: The Land. This pavilion feels like a home within a home to me. There’s not a single EPCOT day that has passed without visiting The Land. On this morning, our first destination within The Land was Living With The Land. The stand-by line for this attraction is never outrageously long, but I had booked a FastPass anyway to avoid any chance of a line. The stand-by line was a 15-minute wait when we arrived, but we walked right onto the front row of the boat from the FastPass line.

I don’t remember ever riding in the front row, especially since the live in-boat narrators were cut, and will definitely wait for front row from now on, as silly as that might sound for something that’s not a thrill ride! We could see everything in the greenhouses so easily. The ride on this day just confirmed how much we love this relaxing, educational boat ride!

By the time we exited and walked over to the adjacent entrance to Soarin’, our next FastPass was already valid. I’d ridden Soarin’ since the “Around the World” movie change on the 4 Parks 1 Day trip , but this was the first ride for Jeff and the boys. We also got a prime center Concourse B seat. I’d been in a side section in November which causes the picture in some scenes to be greatly distorted, especially the Eiffel Tower and Matterhorn. The picture is flawless from the center so always wait for Concourse B if possible. This ride is always a favorite.

Afterward, we left The Land and Future World behind via the quiet sidewalk to Canada. We stopped in the Northwest Mercantile to purchase our ketchup chips to begin our Eating Around the World challenge. Our food selections and opinions were already blogged in a separate post and won’t be repeated here, so read about Eating Around the World for our full food reports from this day.

We didn’t stay in Canada long as our stomachs were begging for something more substantial and fish and chips were just ahead in the United Kingdom. We ate on a bench in the lovely park within the pavilion which was still mostly deserted at this early hour of the day. Such a lovely morning in London! We also attempted to find an Agent P World Showcase Adventure kiosk but were told it was removed from the pavilion and recruitments are made solely back on the Showcase Plaza bridge now. We made a mental note to take a Friendship boat back there when we reached the dock in Morocco.

Next, we were off to France where, as usual, we would stay for a while. We ate our crepes in our favorite French park along the International Gateway waterway. Then it was time for my favorite attraction at EPCOT: Impressions de France. Certain scenes in this movie are quite dated as the film is original to the park’s 1982 opening, but the stunning scenery and gorgeous impressionist music are timeless. I could sit in this theater all day along and watch this film on a loop!

Outside, we waited for Serveur Amusant’s next show. It seems this show is always underway, surrounded by a crowd every time we visit France, but this was the first time we stopped to watch with a clear view from the beginning and we loved it! The boys found it quite entertaining and were amazed by the chair balancing acrobatics.

warning: France photospam ahead!

On to Morocco and sharing a delicious chicken platter, I began to reconsider our last FastPass as we rested at the outdoor cafe. One of our three initial FastPasses remained – a night time window for Spaceship Earth when such a FastPass would be unnecessary as the stand-by line would be a walk-on by then. I had scheduled it simply because there was no other attraction on our itinerary where a FastPass was offered or would be useful. However, the boys loved Soarin’ and wanted to ride again.

Back in November, I had been able to snag late-afternoon FastPasses for Soarin’ merely hours earlier that same day. However, on this day, we wouldn’t be able to schedule a fourth FastPass until we used our third remaining one which was currently scheduled for after dark when Soarin’ FastPasses would surely be gone for the day. So, I decided to change the time on that third FastPass from it’s scheduled 7:10 PM time window to the next available one at 12:45 PM. We would let the FastPass window lapse without riding the attraction as we were busy in the opposite end of the park. When the window closed several minutes after 1:45, the system acknowledged our three initial FastPasses for the day had all been redeemed so we were free to choose another.

Sure enough, FastPasses for Soarin’ were still available so we reserved a window when we’d be back in Future World later than evening. While Soarin’ FastPasses may be gone for the day by 1:45 on moderately crowded days and definitely on busy days, this is a great plan if you’re visiting EPCOT on a low crowd day and love Soarin’!

We finished our meal and perused the Gallery of Arts and History, a lovely and beautiful little Moroccan museum behind an unassuming wooden door that one wouldn’t necessarily think to open!

We hopped on a Friendship Boat back to Showcase Plaza to receive our Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure assignment from the Recruitment Center.

Before heading back across the lagoon, we contributed to a color by numbers mural for the ongoing Festival of the Arts. We were given one small tub of paint, a sponge brush, and instructions to color five squares with our assigned number. My was “Air Kiss” lavender with #9. Gavin had a brown named “Deep in the Woods.” Jeff had “Pretty as a Princess” pink which needed many high squares painted.

Back on a Friendship Boat to the Moroccan dock and into Japan to begin our mission which is discussed at length in our Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure post.

We continued on to the American Adventure but were running behind schedule due to underestimating the time needed to eat and the unplanned boat rides to the Agent P recruitment center. No one was terribly upset at the suggestion that we skip the Voices of Liberty and American Adventure show, two attractions that we never miss at EPCOT but didn’t feel necessary on this particular day.

Instead, we ate our artist palette cookie and stopped to take pictures at a Festival photo spot where we could become part of the famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River. There were several such photo spots available around World Showcase as part of the Festival of the Arts. PhotoPass photographers were available so we had some photos taken by the Disney photogs and the photographer used my camera to take several more. Never forget that every PhotoPass photographer will also take photos using your personal camera so PhotoPass purchases aren’t necessary!

We were soon on our way to Italy for a quick bite of gelato and then arrived in Germany for food and to browse the toy shop. The Germany pavilion is another where we never spend any time. It’s small and always overly crowded by the time we reach this location near the back of World Showcase so we don’t know much about it other than there are only restaurants and shops. For this reason, I’d hoped the boys would want to complete another Agent P adventure as it would have been our second choice, but I understood their reluctance to complete a second adventure and fully agreed we’ll have to visit Germany again on a future trip.

We stayed a bit longer in the next country on the tour – China. After eating our egg rolls and potstickers, we found a patch of concrete at the end of the red carpet in the courtyard for the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats show.

The boys still have no interest in Frozen Ever After and, of course, the stand-by line was too long for a quick walk-on, so we just ate our school bread in Norway and went inside the old stave church which has been turned into a small Frozen-esque museum, similar in concept to the museum we’d seen back in Morocco.

The final country was Mexico. We went inside for the Gran Fiesta boat ride and finished up our Eating Around the World challenge with empenadas outside at the Cantina de San Angel.

Norway isn’t completely Frozen-ified! Jasper and the gift shop troll!

After picking up a Festival gift in the Odyssey Center (for a certain Small World-loving mama!), we checked another new-to-us attraction off our list. For years, I’d seen the old Ice Station Cool in the distance near Test Track with its snowy exterior and ice crawler, and assumed that it was just some sort of misting area to cool off. To be honest, I didn’t even notice that it had changed into Club Cool since then! I never guessed that it’s actually a place to sample free sofas from around the world! We tried a few and Gavin’s favorite was Fanta Melon Frosty from Thailand. I preferred and my favorite was South Africa’s Bibo which is delightfully sweet without being too carbonated. We didn’t try Beverly. 🙂

Soon, our 6:55 Soarin’ FastPass time window was open and we glided across beautiful landscapes around the world for a second time.

Riding Spaceship Earth is the only way to end an EPCOT day! As expected, the stand-by line was a walk on so the FastPasses I’d secured right after tapping our MagicBands back at Soarin’ weren’t necessary. We walked right up to board our time machine vehicles for a journey through time.

We usually don’t stop for PhotoPass photos (I have a strange aversion to posed vacation photographs!) but several photographers were just waiting around with no lines as we exited. We stopped to take a few final photos of the gloriously colorful Spaceship Earth, so we posed for a rare family shot.

We were soon back in our room following our full EPCOT day, excited to introduce the boys to Animal Kingdom in the morning.