Friday, April 21, 2017

Events: Disney World Vacation 2016 (Part 6)

epcot flower and garden festival 2016

A couple days ago I seized the opportunity to dive right back into my Disney World 2016 day to day write-ups which I never finished last year. Today I'm continuing on with our second to last day— PART 6! If you'd like to read up on our previous days, you can still check out PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4 and PART 5.

What's completely crazy (and totally non-intentional) is I just noticed that this day was EXACTLY a year ago TODAY! What a perfect time to be writing this throwback. [Thursday] April 21st 2016...let's get to it.

After sleeping in and getting a bit of a late start, this beautiful day began back in Epcot once again. We started things off by going on Spaceship Earth (where, growing up, I learned all I needed to know about history and communication ;). I think they were struggling with a few technical difficulties though...
spaceship earth

Like you know when you come around the corner at the end of the initial climb and you're in outer space looking at earth? With the music all majestic? Well it wasn't so epic this time around since the lights were on, ha! Below was our view:

spaceship earther lights on

Then when we watched "our future" video at the end, I was completely headless. Man I hope that's not a bad omen! Oh well.

Though I'm not a huge Big Hero 6 fan, I had to go check out the Baymax meet and greet area! This was actually a must see. The way he moved and interacted with guests was pretty hilarious. What a fantastic costume.

epcot baymax

We hung around and had fun looking at all the specialty plants and flowers that were there for the Flower and Garden Festival. If you pay attention and read some of the signs, it can even be pretty educational! 

By the way, our shirts for the day were our 2015 Disney Store Inside Out tees! You can view my full post on the Anger shirt HERE and Brita's Sadness shirt HERE.

Next stop: The Imagination Institute. I always have to visit my old buddy Figment. We go way back.

Sing it with me... 🎶Ima-gi-nation, Ima-gi-nation...🎶 

After the ride, we did some of the fun imagination activities like we usually do and browsed the gift shop. By the way, as I was going through my photos for this post, I had to do a double take on what we named the cartoon Figment we created, ha! I was like, wait—what did we name it?? Then I realized: "Dan-mint" (like Figment).

I always think about getting some of these little Toy Story Collector Pack blind bags, but can never justify the price.

This was our first time seeing the Disney·Pixar short film festival (which opened in December 2015). It was super fun (I loved it because it was mostly Pixar and two of my favorite shorts are featured), but I still miss the classic Honey I Shrunk the Audience show. Who here loved that one??

pixar short film festival epcot review

The three shorts in this attraction are Disney's Get a Horse, Pixar's La Luna and Pixar's For the Birds. Even though I've seen (and own) all the short films presented here, it's still a blast to see them on the big screen in 4D and with an audience. Yup, not only is it a 3D experience, but there are additional effects as well (seats rumble, water sprays, lighting changes, etc...). The effects are as basic as they come (and they're not often), but it was still enjoyable. I'd say Get a Horse had the most effects present. La Luna had some slight lighting effects. I don't believe For the Birds had any effects.

pixar short film festival epcot review

Here's the lobby and queue area where some of the films' concept art coats the walls. While you wait to be admitted to the theater, the video monitors show interviews with the filmmakers and some behind the scenes footage.

pixar short film festival epcot review

Next up I purchased my first four Finding Nemo Mystery Character Connection pins which had just been released that day! Since then I've added many to my full blog post HERE with still more to come.

finding nemo character connection pins 2016
finding nemo character connection pins 2016

Time for Mission Space! This one I always have to do alone, since it isn't Brita's cup of tee. 

wonderful world of space book disney
Wonderful World of Space book featuring Buzz Lightyear in Mission Space gift shop

In the early afternoon, we took the monorail back to the Polynesian (my childhood resort) which we always seem to visit often during the week if we're not staying there. It's also where we got engaged back in 2011, so we like to just walk around and reminisce.

All aboard! Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.

Oh my goodness. Now this is making me hungry. I had a fantastic lunch at Casey's Corner on Main Street which I can't wait to get again: the Barbecue Slaw Dog (hot dog topped with BBQ pulled pork and coleslaw). Take me back!!

Barbecue Slaw Dog casey's corner

 Good times in Fantasyland!

Our resort actually gave us a couple free fast passes to be used wherever we wanted at any time! We used them on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which we had only done once before late at night.

Space Mountain. Our favorite Magic Kingdom "mountain" coaster. What's yours?

Call us crazy, but we then headed back to Epcot AGAIN. I know...we were totally sporadic and all over the place this day! Epcot, Polynesian, Magic Kingdom and then back to Epcot. I guess we really take advantage of our park hopper tickets. 


Some stunning Pixar Finding Nemo and Up prints in the Art of Disney store.

the art of disney epcot finding nemo print
the art of disney epcot up print

Here's a cool little tip that Brita discovered: Go to Club Cool and get a little cup of free soda—specifically the raspberry Sparletta (South Africa) flavor. Then go next door to Starbucks and pour a little bit of half and half in. Voilà! Instant "Italian" (in this case South African) cream soda shot.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends was next and we spent a heck of a lot of time time there checking out the aquariums, games, fun facts, Bruce's Sub House play area, gift shop and the always hilarious Turtle Talk with Crush!

We LOVED seeing the adorable manatees being fed.

 Found her.

seas with nemo and friends gift shop 2016
turtle talk with crush

Spotted this The Incredibles Edna Mode women's tee at Mouse Gears featuring one of our most quoted quotes: "I never look back darling, it distracts from the now." I totally wanted Brita to get this one.

disney world edna mode shirt

Right outside Mouse Gears were the classic topiaries of Lightning McQueen and Mater! I've seen them there every time we go during the Flower and Garden Festival, but I couldn't walk through without visiting them again. I'm so excited that they added Cruz Ramirez this year! Looking forward to seeing that one in person.

epcot cars topiary lightning mcqueen mater
epcot cars topiary lightning mcqueen mater

We then walked around the entire World Showcase once again! It never gets old. Always something new to see or explore. 

Brita and I love catching the Chinese acrobats whenever we get the chance. So incredibly impressive.

I remember having the hardest time finding the Woody topiary. I had seen pictures of it, but I wasn't sure where in Epcot he was! I think I ended up finally asking a cast member and they let us know he was in the "America" area. It makes sense we couldn't find him...we actually never go in that country since, well, we live in it!

epcot woody topiary

While we were there, we taste tested the variety of BBQ sauces they have there at "The Smokehouse." YUM! The sweet sauce was our favorite one.

We finished our tour around the world that night with France by exploring their gift shops and bakery.

epcot bakery

As planned, (hence our Inside Out shirts) we finally went to visit Sadness and Joy in Riley's Headquarters! The line took quite the while (I wanna say a good 45 minutes or longer), but it was worth it. The set, and even the line queue, was amazing there and the characters were really fun to interact with. You feel like you've stepped right into the movie!

The details were plentiful. The memory spheres were actually there on the shelves and really lit up, the images changed within Riley's view screen, the sorting fans twirled, the control panel was there and even the Headquarters sofa! I'd go as far to say it was the best themed meet and greet area I've ever gone to in Disney World.

epcot inside out joy and sadness
epcot inside out joy and sadness
epcot inside out joy and sadness epcot inside out joy and sadness

We rushed over to our dining reservation at the Coral Reef restaurant and made it JUST in time. Dinner was utterly dislish.

coral reef restaurant epcot

I got the Oven-roasted Chicken Breast (with Creamy Polenta Cake, Pearl Onions, Swiss Chard with Bacon and Mushrooms— $24.00) and Brita kept it simple with the Creamy Lobster Soup (made with Tarragon and Brandy—$9.00). I would absolutely recommend either of these dishes if you're heading there.

Oven-roasted Chicken Breast coral reef epcot & creamy lobster soup

For dessert we got the Turtle Cheesecake (with Caramel, Chantilly Cream and Hazelnut Praline—$8.00). It was so tasty and even came out shaped like an actual turtle. I mean, come on. Perfect way to end the night.

coral reef restaurant epcot turtle cheesecake

By the time we got out of Coral Reef, it was late and the park had pretty much been emptied out. I can just picture the quiet surroundings, peaceful warm air and the distant Epcot nighttime theme music as I type this. Can't you just picture it now? Pure Disney magic.

Visit right here soon for my final write-up on this epic week. Stay tuned! 

epcot spaceship earth night

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