An Amazing Day at EPCOT!

Saturday morning comes earlier than any of us would have probably liked. Goofball me had made breakfast Advanced Dining Reservations for our first two days in the parks. Yesterday was 8:05am at Hollywood and Vine at DHS, today would be 8:15am at Akershus in the Norway pavilion at EPCOT.

The only plus was that we had everything laid out the night before so we woke at 7am and got dressed, got meds into Roxy and PumpkinGirl, grabbed our gear and headed out the door. We rolled out and around the corner past the main lobby entrance and after a quick detour in the gift shop to scope out CM’s pins we were at the bus stop. A bus came pretty quickly and by 7:49am we were rolling out of POP

I love this sign for TOT they have up, especially at night

The ride to EPCOT is just slightly longer than going to DHS, so by 7:57am we were heading through the gates

The sun was just starting to peek over the top of Spaceship Earth

It is a bit of a walk from the bus drop off so it was already 8:07 by the time we hit the gates

Gate check-in was no waiting so we buzzed through it. Our schedule was tight but I still took a minute to snap pics of the topiaries as we went by

This Stitch would show up again later in our trip thanks to Bean ;-]

Have to take the obligatory shot of Spaceship Earth in all its glory

The water was very serene

But the part I thought was cool was that it looked like we basically had the park to ourselves!

I was so excited I had picked up the pace with PumpkinGirl in tow and then realized I had left Bean and Roxy behind

I stopped and looked around. MouseGears – no waiting!

I love this fountain

More open spaces!

Hi Mickey! Hi Minnie!

The sun was still very low in the sky as we passed under the monorail track

As we came up to the Christmas tree at the entrance to World Showcase we saw signs of life in the form of a boy lagging behind his family

He saw us and scooted back to his fam and we trailed them as we turned the corner to the left in the WS arc

America and Italy looked very tranquil across the lagoon

The whole lagoon looked quite nice

After shooting that I looked at my watch and realized there was no more time for quiet reflection – it was now 8:15am. Onward!

Hola Mexico!

Norway sighted!

We came around the corner and were greeted by warm sunshine just cresting the castle and just the one family in front of us at check-in.

Akershus!

This was our family’s first time dining here so despite the hustle and the early hour we were pretty jazzed to see what it was all about

A Royal Proclamation!

Malestrom was still asleep with the rest of World Showcase

Our names were called and we headed through the doors. The first thing we saw was a cool tapestry and a storybook with the classic “Once upon a time”

Around the corner was a very cool chest – I wonder what was inside?

Empty Akershus anyone?

Our photo princess was Belle. Does anyone know if this rotates or is she the official greeter of Akershus?

She was very nice but almost a little too “on” for that early in the morning – lol

We were seated in the tower room in the corner, which I liked. It stayed quieter than the main dining area as the place filled up.

Our serving girl was nice but a little unfocused. I honestly think she may have had a big Saturday night and was paying the price now. She took our drink order and we went up and hit the buffet. The food was pretty good and I even tried some of the regional cuisine. It was interesting eating fish for breakfast.

Once we were seated and getting into our meal the princesses started making their rounds. We seated the girls on the outside with Roxy and I next to the windows so they could have easy interaction with the royals. All of the princesses were very nice to Bean but it became immediately apparent that this morning’s interactions were going to be all about our PumpkinGirl.

Why was this you ask? Well if you have been following our merry tale you’ll remember that Kyra caught laryngitis from her cold and couldn’t really speak at all. So when she had interactions with Cast Members or characters, she would show them the luggage tag we had converted into a note that she wore on her wrist that said “Sorry, I lost my voice πŸ™‚ “

Our first princess was Aurora and upon reading the note she immediately got contemplative and remembered that her fellow princess Ariel had her voice stolen by the evil Ursula!

You can see how PumpkinGirl was beaming from the attention

They talked for a little bit more and then it was time for the pose

Our next princess was Snow White and we got the traditional “oh my!” from her and she too spoke about her friend Ariel and her dealings with Ursula!

She was very concerned that Ursula may be out making mischief again

She did take time to interact with Bean too

And photo time

Our last princess was …

… you guessed it …

…Ariel!!!

She looked at PumpkinGirl’s note

And was off to the races about Ursula and that it wasnt worth whatever she promised our girl

Again, PumpkinGirl was completely beaming from the attention

She talked for a bit longer and then they had their posed shot

Overall it was an amazing morning with plenty of Disney Princess magic. The food was very filling and the coffee was strong. We finished up and decided our next move.

Since World Showcase itself wouldn’t open for a while we had the long trek back to Future World. We decided to give our tickets to Roxy so she could motor down to Soarin’ and pick up FastPasses for us. Meanwhile the girls and I would make our way to The Seas to ride Finding Nemo.

We headed out of Akershus and gave those tickets to Roxy to score the FastPasses. She was on her scooter and off like a flash. By 9:30am we were walking past Pluto, who I had missed on the way in

Within 5 minutes we were rolling into the Seas and saying hi to some old friends

Mine?

There was no line so the queue was a blur. I still like the shadows of the fish making shapes on the walls. The girls jumped into a shell and I jumped into another. Cute little ride as usual.

We headed outside and I took some pics of our other fishy friends while we waited for Roxy.

We then saw Roxy come out the exit and found that she had gone in looking for us and rode it herself. We all circled around and rode it a second time line wait was about a minute. We took a look at a couple of exhibits and then the girls said hello to Bruce

Couldnt see Bean very well the first time so we sent her back into the gaping maw – doesn’t she look excited πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

We left there and after a quick pit stop headed in to visit Figment and those silly scientists who think they know about our senses. Quick note, the bathrooms on the right hand side of Figments building are never crowded and stay pretty clean ;-]

The Honored Recipients

The ride was cool but I in truth I want the science stuff to go away and to be taken on a tour by the Dreamfinder!

We tinkered around in the gift shop for a bit and then started off for The Land as our Soarin FPs were drawing close. On our way the ladies were fascinated by this bird. He was just hanging around and every once in a while would dart his head down and scoop up a lizard. The lump about half way down on the second shot was probably the 3rd one we saw him eat

Very cool mosaic/art piece at the entrance to The Land taken by Bean

She also took a pic of the balloons that I always overlook at PumpkinGirls suggestion they are such sharp girls.

By the time we got downstairs we had about 10 minutes until our FPs time would start so we did some pin trading with CMs to kill time. Soon we were in the ride queue and Bean caught me with a candid shot

It was fun as usual; the mountains and the flight over the Magic Kingdom are still my favorites. When we came out it was a bit after noon and we were hungry.

We checked out Sunshine Seasons but Bean was tired and the ladies were sick so the cuisine there just didn’t hit the mark for them. I asked them what they were up for and they just wanted standard stuff so off to the Electric Umbrella we went!

After a filling lunch of burgers, nuggets, and a meatball sub for me we were up and took the long haul all the way across the walkway to MouseGears!

PumpkinGirl was looking for shiny stuff and Bean was tracking down every CM for their pin lanyards. We found out that they would be bringing out the pin board soon so we stuck around. I was actually looking around for the Indiana Jones hat I had missed out on at DHS. Roxy had snapped a pic of me wearing it at DHS, just pulled it from her phone.

Despite all of the hat offerings in that place there were no Indy hats. At least the pin board was fruitful for Bean. Her, Roxy, and I all traded pins which were mostly for her lanyard.

We caught up with PumpkinGirl and headed out the door that opens up on the plaza with a focus on getting back to World Showcase. Before we got back to our world tour we stopped off to watch a gospel group perform for a bit.

They were very good and very energetic. Then it was PhotoPass picture time again!

We headed down the causeway and Bean saw the stand for the Perry adventure and signed up. She decided on Norway so we headed left again. We came upon Mexico just as the Three Kings were telling their Christmas story

PumpkinGirl and Roxy stayed behind to hear the story while Bean got her mission to save Perry. They also saw Donald in his caballero outfit but the line was mega-long so they decided to take a pass on him since PumpkinGirl had her pic taken with him in 2008.

After saying farewell to Mexico, they then moved moved past Norway to China, where they ran into the Monkey King. He was quite the character and after performing stopped for some photos, which PumpkinGirl jumped at!

It was a fun interaction for herΒ πŸ˜€ They then rolled back to Norway and got in line for Malestrom.

While all of that was going on I just tried to keep up with Bean while her phone ran her around the Norwegian Pavilion

When her clue took her close to the border between Mexico and Norway I gave Bean a heads-up that I was jumping over to the margarita booth no line! It was getting warm so the cool drink was nice. I snapped a quick pic of the mariachis while there

…and then went back to catch up with Bean. I got a bit worried that I lost her but then as I tried to call her I came around a corner and there she was. From the Perry quest one clue location that I noticed Bean didn’t get but a couple of boys on a mission did was this tombstone, which lights up with cool fiber optics when the phone triggers it

Bean finished up and we got a text from Roxy that they were almost to the front of the line for Malestrom. I sat down to finish my cool refreshing beverage while Bean convinced the FastPass CM to let her get through and caught up with the ladies just as they were getting ready to board.

When they came out we decided to backtrack to Mexico to ride the Three Caballeros. First we have the obligatory shot of the market square

Bean then took the camera, fascinated by the animal carvings they were pretty amazing

I wrangled her in and we got in the line to see Donald go on his adventure with his two feathered friends. The line wasn’t bad, 5 minutes tops. Bean still had possession of the camera and I told her to let it rip but that she needed a steady hand to shoot without the flash. As you will see she did another great job!

Nice balancing act Donald

Ouch!

I dont think I ever noticed the shrine to Donald before

We filed out of The Three Caballeros and on out of Mexico. The ladies asked which way we should go so I pulled out the events pamphlet and saw that the Norwegian Christmas Story had just started up.

We headed back that way and found a very fun and spirited production with a woman talking about the traditions without believing in the guy behind them (and her). He would freeze her with a “boop!” and mess with things and her until she finally saw him. It was a very fun performance.

While it was wrapping up I looked for more entertainment and found that the Chinese Acrobats were about to come out – yay for having stuff at each pavilion! We headed forward and low and behold, they were coming out just as we were coming up!

We literally fell in line behind them as they headed towards their performance area

They came in and immediately started with a flashy flag routine

Next was their first series of acrobatics!

PumpkinGirl recognized some of her old gymnastics moves

The girl in red on the bottom had some good strength and balance

The girl balancing on top wasn’t so bad either

Tada!

Next up was their juggler, he started with 3 ping pong balls on a table

I loved the way the rest of the troupe sat so proper and attentive, such artful poise

Now 4 balls

Now five!

Our juggle/bouncing performer had those balls flying!

He finished up to a good round of applause and the next performer came out. But he didn’t want to be out there by himself so he invited a member of the audience to assist him

First they had to stretch

Jump!

This guy was quite a ham

Shake that booty!

His bit is to get on a table with a can and a board

His faithful assistant was standing by

Up he goes – nice trick aye?

But wait, he’s not done! Here come the bowls

He balances one bowl on his head, then rolls back and forth and does a “pop” with the end of the board and up the bowl comes!

He’s got some great Chaplin-esque moves and expressions which keep us all laughing

He even broke the poise of some of his troupe with his antics

Now he’s up to 4 bowls!

Now he’s up to 6 bowls!!!

He stopped the act because we weren’t cheering/clapping enough for such an awesome feat – lol

Some rolling and a big “flip” and up they came!

Oh No! One came off the back!

Our intrepid acrobat tries 6 bowls again and this time it’s goooooooodddd!

And while still balancing the bowls he has his assistant add a cup to the mix

Up it comes

Score!

The whole group comes out for a pose with our guy up front

Take a bow!

Looking back at the activities I see that the Singing Ladies in Red are going to start soon in the Italy Pavilion. We stop off in the Africa booths to look for that Indiana Jones hat but again no luck. We skip past the Germany pavilion, seeing Snow White greeting a decent sized queue.

We rolled into the Italy pavilion and found the ladies in full swing!

They finished with a grand crescendo and then gathered to talk about their next endeavor

Time for a song!

Play that accordion!

Next was a contest – a contest to find a good man. The first lady looked for a good candidate

It was a tough decision for lady number two

And low and behold, I find myself one of the chosen!

Time to play dress-up

Time to pose

I was just happy I wasn’t stuck as the “reverse superman guy”

The ladies conspired some more

&and said we had to show some machismo so off I went!

I had an effect on the lady in red behind me, but I’m not sure it was a good one

She then gave me a stylin’ roman crown

We finished up our bit and the next was to do a human canvas. Both Bean and PumpkinGirl were called up for this one!

The girls were getting set for their pose while another girl was brought up to join in

You can see the canvas to the right in this pic, the girls were two of the three dancing ladies

Before they were all in their pose I decided to switch to video mode on the camera and messed up the record/don’t record and ended up filming my feet for a few second and missing the girls completely – sorry kiddos! πŸ™ They were very good though, really brought the art to life πŸ™‚

It was just shy of 4pm and we had early dinner reses at Le Cellier for 4:15pm so we were off for a rapid tour of the right side of the World Showcase arc. As we came up on the American pavilion I saw that people were already lining up for the Candlelight Processional with Whoopi Goldberg doing the Story of Christmas.

We had decided to not do the dinner package/try to see the processional. We just didn’t want to spend that much time in a line. We did stop real quick to look at the American pavilion’s Christmas decorations

We zoomed past the other pavilions and made the entrance of Le Cellier right at 4pm

We checked in and were seated pretty quickly in the corner on the left in a booth. This was the girl’s first experience there so we tried not to make a big deal about it while making a big deal about it. Bean asked if it was expensive and I told her that the tip we were going to leave was more than the cost of our lunch at the Electric Umbrella ;D

Overall the girls liked the experience despite not having access to chicken nuggets or pizza. And we had a bonus in that we were seated next to a couple that were huge Stitch fans and had some cool Stitch merch.

Bean and I talked to them and found that the husband, who was in the Navy, would send his wife Stitch stuff all the time when he was traveling and it became a thing for them. They apparently have a whole room full of Stitch stuff. He gave me his e-mail address to see if there was anything they may want to sell. Still have to drop them a line.

When dinner was over we headed out and Bean saw a bunny and had to have a pic of it

It was around 6pm and the sun had just gone down and the lights were coming up

Not much going on down the side street in the UK pavilion

But around the corner we find the crowds and why they are there. Alice was just finishing up a meet and greet session and was heading out. I was lucky enough that she walked right past me

I love that I was able to catch her around all that activity – she looked like the calm center of a storm.

We moved up to the PhotoPass spot in front of the France pavilion for a nice family shot

I gave the camera to Bean and she wanted to get a pic of the topiary on the waterway and the waterway itself – the topiary is a bit hard to make out but still very pretty.

We breezed past France and Morocco as both girls had been chomping at the bit to explore the Japan pavilion. They are both heavily into Manga/Anime/Cosplay stuff. When we walked up the drummers were going at it

They finished up and Bean and I walked up the path behind the Yakitori House to hit the restrooms while Roxy and PumpkinGirl got spots for the Daruma Doll seller for her story of celebrating the New Year.

We came back down just as the seller came out. It was a fun and interesting story of using the dolls to come up with new year’s wishes and their fulfillment embodied in painting the face of the doll.

When the story was done PumpkinGirl went up for a pic with her

It was a beautiful night and the lagoon had quite the view looking back towards Future World

We then spent the next hour shopping. The girls of course picked up some stuff for themselves, but they also picked up some merch for both of their best friends. Mostly Anime stuff.

After over a solid hour of shopping Bean and I were tired and ready to go but PumpkinGirl was literally going isle by isle and if you’ve ever been in there it is several connected stores that go on forever.

Roxy volunteered to stay with PumpkinGirl and Bean and I headed out. I didn’t want to walk all the way to the front of the park, then all the way to the POP bus stop (farthest one out there) so I suggested that we take a boat ride. Bean and I walked back past Morocco, France, and took the left turn after the bridge and right before UK and found a launch getting ready to depart.

We took the quick tour of the resorts (sorry no pics, we were on an inside isle and there was just no way to get good pics) and headed on to DHS. From there it was a relatively quick walk to the POP bus stop and back to the resort. We saw ye ole POP sign at about 8:10pm

I was pretty tired but we had been promising Bean she could swim and she still had just enough energy to do so. So I texted Roxy that we were going to be down at the pool. We swam in the bowling pin pool for about 30 minutes and then headed back to the room.

When we got back there the ladies had just arrived and PumpkinGirl was grabbing a shower. We did the shower rotation thing and I got out the next day’s mad money out of the safe and we refilled our lanyards. Tomorrow was going to be our AK day followed by Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – a big adventure indeed!

What would tomorrow bring? I can guarantee you I wasn’t ready for the way things went! Tune in next time to see what misadventures are in store for us!