Disney World day 1 – EPCOT

Yesterday I was giving my mom a trip report complete with over 600 photos, and she asked me where I got my love of Disney Parks. That made me stop and think…where did I get it? I don’t remember much of my first trip when I was five, but maybe that was the foundation.

Note: I don’t earn commission from any links in this post, but I hope they will be helpful to my readers.

Anyway, my two oldest girls also got the love of Disney, and we had such a great time on our girls trip this past week!

Day one of our vacation found us waking up at 6:00 AM to shower and go. We had arrived at 12:45 AM from a late evening flight, so we were dragging from the beginning. But it’s Disney, right? So it’s going to be fun no matter what!

The Magical Express was a magical experience. (Magical to me has a lot to do with how long I wait in line.) We followed the signs at the airport and there was nobody in line, so we walked straight onto the bus. It only took about 40 minutes from the airport to our Disney’s All Star Music Resort!

The Resort had giant representations of different things having to do with Music. We stayed in the Country Music section.

The Calypso section was also super cute.

We are that crazy family who sits outside the Park for an hour in order to be first in line for rope drop. We had decided from the beginning to get on the first bus each day going to our chosen park, even if it was way before opening time, and we made it! There was only one other family in line for that first bus to EPCOT.

Hint: The Disney app will show you when the next bus is scheduled throughout the day, but if you are the early bird, you don’t always get a notification until 3 minutes before the first bus pulls in. We found that the first buses to all parks arrived at about 7:15 every day for a regular 9:00 AM park opening.

Our bus pulled out at 7:20 and it took 20 minutes for the ride to EPCOT. There was a long line already, and we wondered how we could be so far back in line after leaving so early, but after asking a cast member, we discovered that line was for the early character breakfast. Very few people were there for regular park admission when we arrived, so we scored first in line at one of the entrance queues.

By 8:20 the crowds were growing behind us. The Park finally opened at 8:40 and we speed-walked to the rope strung across the walkway just past Spaceship Earth.

We waited there for a few minutes, and were treated to a fun performance by the JAMMitors. We decided that every Park should have entertainment at Rope Drop!

Finally the rope dropped and we made a beeline for Test Track.

EPCOT is the only park at Disneyworld that still lets guests make their way to rides on their own at rope drop. All other parks have cast members who walk you to your chosen ride. Some kids adults ran (which the cast members made us pinky swear not to do) and got there before us, but we were still in the first room to build our cars. We were off Test Track by 9:10, and on our way to Frozen Ever After.

Frozen was so cute!! We had done Norway’s Maelstrom (predecessor of Frozen Ever After) back in 2000, which was a lot of fun, but this ride was even better! And we only stood in line for 12 minutes. Afterwards we stopped at the Kringla Bakery to grab a bite. Kimberlee was starving so she chose a sandwich, which was delicious. Kelley and I both got a pretzel twist pastry; I got almond, and she got chocolate. I wasn’t that impressed. It had good flavor, but it was kind of dry. Next time I’ll try the school bread instead!

Our first FastPass+ was Soarin’ at 9:55, so we headed there next, eating our food as we walked. As soon as we scanned our magicbands, Kelley hopped on My Disney Experience to see if we could modify our afternoon Mission Space FastPass+ that we got 60 days ago to 10:15 AM. It only took 4 tries!

Hint: When modifying a FastPass+, keep trying until you get what you want! New times come up regularly.

We did Journey into imagination with Figment, then Mission Space Orange with our newly modified 10:15 FastPass+. The Orange mission had some G-force, but it wasn’t too much to handle, and didn’t spin at all. Spaceship Earth with our 11:15 FastPass+ was next before we headed into World Showcase. It was only 11:30 and we had already conquered much of Future World!

World showcase is a feast for the eyes, with all of the architecture from the different countries. It doesn’t open until 11:00, but still…not very crowded at 11:45. Just how we like it!

We strolled past Canada and United Kingdom and stopped in France for lunch at the Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. We chose the ham and cheese croissant and both the chocolate mousse and Napolean for dessert. They were all delicious!

We took our food out in the hot sun and sat on the ground to eat because we wanted to watch a street show at noon called Serveur Amusant. It was an amusing balancing act with chairs piled high on top of each other.

By the time the short show was finished, we were sweating. It was a treat to watch Impressions de France in the air conditioned theater with soft seats.

Update: Impressions de France is currently only shown in the evening. Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long is shown in the same theater during the day.

Next, we wandered around the Morocco Pavilion and looked at all of the exotic merchandise.

Matsuriza, the synchronized drum show in Japan, was already in progress by the time we got there, so we watched the end. They are a very talented group!

We passed the United States Pavilion when the American Adventure show was already in progress, and the next one didn’t start for over an hour.

Hint: prioritize which shows you definitely want to see, and keep an eye on the clock. World Showcase is too big to hop back and forth all day trying to make it to all of the shows.

In Italy we watched a mime juggler named Sergio. He had the audience help him out by throwing balls to him. It was amazing how much audience participation he got without speaking!

We tried a chocolate caramel cookie in Germany, and again, I thought it was dry. Maybe Europeans cook their sweets more than I do?

At this point, it was time for our Test Track FastPass+ that we had booked as soon as we tapped into Spaceship Earth in the morning. It was a bit out of our way, but the heat of the day was a killer, and we wanted the air conditioning. After we tapped into Test Track, we noticed an immediate FastPass to meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy, so we snagged it. It was cool in there too.

A funny thing happened as we exited the Character Spot. I had my phone plugged in to my portable charger, and the cord was hanging out of my waist pack a little. As I passed by a Disney Cast Member, the cord got tangled on one of her trading pins and jerked it off. I scrambled to help her pick it up, and as I handed it back to her, she said, “This pin obviously wants to be with you today. Please take it!” Just another reason to love Disney!

While we were so close, we hit the Seas with Nemo and Friends, which had no wait, and then saw Turtle Talk with Crush. I really like Turtle Talk, and how Crush interacts with the audience. We also spent some time at the aquarium. Disney/Pixar cartoon shorts was next, because it closes at 6:00, and we were headed back to World Showcase.

The Three Caballeros beckoned us into the Grand Fiesta Tour boat ride in Mexico.

Next we visited the China pavilion. We watched Reflections of China, which is a beautiful show in circlevision, then ate dinner at the Lotus Blossom Cafe. All three dishes we tried were delicious, but we forgot to take a photo! We were waiting for the acrobat show to start, but we didn’t realize that it takes place indoors. Finally we figured it out, and watched the second half.

We had snagged a FastPass+ for Illuminations, so we couldn’t get any more FastPasses. Frozen had a 40 minute wait, so we decided to do Test Track one more time via the single rider line. It took about 20 minutes to get through.

Hint: Both the Stand-by and FastPass+ queues give you 3 minutes to design your vehicle, and you can choose lots of options. This photo was from the FastPass+ queue. The single rider queue gives you less than a minute, and you only get to choose a couple of options.

The wait for Mission Space was short, so we hopped over there to try Mission Space Green. It was nice, but not a fun as the Orange with the G-force.

By this time, our feet were sore from walking so much, and we really wanted to sit down and wait for Illuminations, but the FastPass+ viewing area wasn’t open yet. We had enough time to choose one more thing, so we got in line to take a quick photo with Joy and Sadness. It ended up taking longer than we had planned, but they were cute!

There was a line for the FastPass+ viewing area when we got there, but we still managed to snag a good spot at the railing. Too bad Illuminations is closing, but I have no doubt that the next show will be even better!

Are you planning a trip to Epcot? What do you have on your itinerary?