Travel Diaries: Orlando 2014 - Disney's EPCOT12/17/2014 03:44:00 AM
After so long, I've finally mustered the strength to publish the continuation of my long-buried travel diaries. Pardon my laziness to edit 200+ photos but my EPCOT trip was as tiring to edit as it was personally experiencing it all back then. I know these were taken last July after my graduation, but gosh, just remembering everything made me as tired as I was when I was there, lol! Forgive me if this post is more photo-filled than important info-filled. It's been so long already and my brain can only recall so much. I do hope you'd still enjoy looking at the stuff I saw when I was last there as much as I was enjoying taking photos of everything that caught my eye during my little adventure. All I can say is that, EPCOT really does stay true to its name. May it be really called the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, or Every Person Comes Out Tired, lol~
As soon as we went inside, my family grabbed a couple of maps and plotted all our plans according to our pre-scheduled fast passes. It was scorching hot and I'm positive I got a bit tan from this experience while going from one side of the park to the other. When we went through the Spaceship Earth (the giant sphere greeting you when you enter the park, you can't miss it), I saw Pluto having a photo-op and I dragged my family with me to fall in line. #sorrynotsorry Pluto's always gonna be my favorite Disney character as he was the first Disney figure I grew to love since I was a baby, haha!
We took some photos in front of some rides nearby the entrance (the east and west wings as I'd like to call them) while we were walking by in case it'd rain later that day when we wanna ride some of them (which as expected, it did rain really hard, so yey for planning!) This place was considerably new for us since last time we visited the Disney parks was around 8 years ago and there was no Nemo-themed anything yet. Inside though, is a huge aquarium and kids rides that families can enjoy (or chill in from the headache-inducing heat).
Apparently these birds from Finding Nemo are so popular, they have more merchandise than the main characters of the movie, lol~! I can't argue with that though. They're my fave, hahaha!
We decided to venture towards the farthest part of the theme park first. EPCOT is so big, it's said to be more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom. I'm not surprised. EPCOT has 2 general areas: Future World (the front part of the park) and World Showcase (the back part of the park). When you cross the park, you'll get to see the rail road tracks of their express train where you can ride from the park to the hotel and vice versa. It's a perfect mode of transportation if you're staying in the Disney Hotel for sure.
There are other paths for you to use to get from one side of the park to the other. When I looked at the map, there are 3 pathways separated by a small body of water and beautiful plants that are parallel to each other that lead you from one end to the other. It's pretty cool.
Norway and China behind me
We picked a side and walked over to the World Showcase. And if you pick left like we did, your first stop is Mexico. We went inside this building immediately after taking photos to cool ourselves off from the insane summer heat.
It was pretty dark inside, although it was all still very pretty. Mexico has a lot of unique decors that are painted in colorful designs sporting different kinds of patterns and prints. The whole place was reminiscent of a small village at night.
You can dine here of course, near the aztec looking mountain and a volcano by the distance, lol.
Right after Mexico is Norway. And since Frozen was said to be set in Norway, they added a few Frozen-related things in the area. When you enter this place, you'll see a small exhibit showing Norway's culture.
As well as a few trivia and designs that paved way for Frozen to be developed.
After Norway comes China. Didn't really go around this area since it was basically an open space (and open space during summer is really not my thing). Although there's a Chinese restaurant here and a 1-hour show you can catch that sheds some light on the Chinese culture. Also, Mulan can be seen here for photo-ops!
Germany comes next, and it offers a resto and a beer place, as well as a few connecting shops.
I liked their plushies too! (obvs.)
I was surprised they were already selling Christmas stuff in the Germany store when it was just July @_@ Although I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the trimmings were.
They had a few christmas trees around the shop, each decked out in different themed trimmings. Made me wish I could buy some for our christmas tree (just didn't know how I'd be able to bring it home though, huhuhu).
In between Germany and Italy is this little village. Some of the trains weren't moving when we visited, though, except for one.
This kinda made me miss my boyfriend more since I imagined he'd want something like this for his lego collection some day. Hopefully we get to travel together in the future (when we have the means to do so).
By the time we got to Italy, we were double-timing on the photo-taking since dark clouds started to roll by.
I think I could spend some time taking ootd shoots in Italy alone, lol!
When we got to The American Adventure (which is the midpoint of the whole World Showcase area), everyone was at a stop, so we also stopped walking. It took me a while to realize that everyone was at a stop because they had a small group of men playing wind and brass instruments to the US National Anthem. I didn't get to take a photo anymore since I felt it would be disrespectful to do so while it was going on. America also has a 1-hour show about the US history and culture, just like in China. And later that afternoon, they have a band playing at their small stage by the pond.
Japan came after America, but I'll save that for later.
Morocco was next, and I was pretty bummed I missed Aladdin and Jasmine's appearances when we passed by. We didn't stay in this area long either since we were rushing to finish everything before the rain poured. They do have a couple of restos here and shops too. If I remember correctly, there was a place where you can get kebabs, shawarma, etc. in this area.
Meeting people who chose the opposite direction we took.
France came after Morocco. This restaurant serves French food (according to the map) with escargot and everything (lol, apologies as escargot seems the be the only french food I know). I would love to know more French food please. Enlighten me if you know any other dishes.
We get to cross a small bridge in between France and UK where I saw a few small boats speeding through. Dad said they're prepping for the show that night through those boats.
UK is also a pretty place to take ootd shoots.
They even have those red phone booths.
Why hello there~ I only posed like this because the inside didn't really smell good.. And the door was incredibly heavy, it kept pushing me back inside the smelly phone booth! D:
Canada was the last stop for the World Showcase for us. It's also the first stop for those who went right instead of left at the front part of WS.
Like China, Canada also offers a show and a resto you can hang out in.
Okay, so Canada is also a great place to take ootd shoots, lol.
Which I sorta did. Although how I wished it wasn't drizzling when I had the chance to.
On me: Just G top and vest, Bayo sunnies, Next shorts, Adidas watch and shoes.
The phone booth in UK wasn't really working, but when I tried the one in Canada, it had a dial tone and a huge ass phone book (plus it was clean). "Hello, operator? Can you connect me to my boyfriend please?" lololol. A few fellow tourists also took photos like these after they saw me doing this, haha!
I loved seeing so many ducks near the water~!
There's a stall by the bridge in the middle of the park that was selling cute accessories and shoes. I so wanted those blue striped boat shoes!!! I can't...
By the time we got back to the other side of the park, it began pouring. So while looking for shelter, we decided to grab some lunch while we're at it over in the Fountain View. While munching on some pizza, chicken fingers and sloppy joe, it began raining so hard outside, even rain gear was futile. It was pouring like a fireman's hose wouldn't turn off! Everyone was scrambling for a place to stay for a while till the rain passed.
We went back to Finding Nemo after lunch and went around the area of the aquarium till we were sure the rain had stopped.
We caught the Lion King show inside the Land after that, which was mainly about global warming and how we can take part in making a better world (with the help of Simba, Timon and Pumba). It was really educational, perfect for all ages.
There were a few rides that were un-operational due to the lightning strikes when the rain passed by, so the lines began to grow and some rides were even cancelled. Fortunately, there was a huge electric board near this place where you can check the waiting time of each ride or if it's operational or not.
At around 4p.m. we walked to the Imagination area to catch one of our fast pass rides.
It was quite refreshing to watch this after the passing of the King of Pop. The vintage cinematography is also a breath of fresh air from all the intense CGI and animation we're provided with lately as well. This one's certainly something everyone should go and watch.
I GOT TO TAKE A PHOTO WITH DUFFY!! OMGOMGOMG My family and I were planning on looking for him as soon as we got to the park, but for whatever reason they had, he wasn't present at his spot near the World Showcase when we went there earlier, huhuhu. Thank God he was back at his spot later that afternoon after the rain! Duffy can only be seen in EPCOT. He stays under a gazebo near the left side of the area near one of the stores in the front part of WS because, well, Duffy's a true traveler~
After all the excitement from meeting Duffy (lol, I'm such a kid), we headed back to get to our second fast pass of the day, Mission Space. There are 2 groups in this ride where you can pick when you enter. The Green group is for those who aren't a huge fan of adrenaline and can't handle the intense joyrides like roller coasters and the like but would still want to undergo some form of astronaut training. The Orange groups is for those who are epic-ly fearless and love a good adrenaline rush who don't mind going through similar experiences astronauts face in real training facilities. Silly ol' me went with my brother (albeit his prodding and begging) to the Orange group while my parents faced the mild ride of the Green group. I knew I should've switched to the Green Group, but nooooo. My brother had a latch on my arm the whole time, my heart was pounding so hard I thought I'd die of high blood pressure or something.
The ride was IN-SANE. I was anxious the whole time! The worst part was, they said "whatever you do, DON'T close your eyes during the ride. Just look straight at your monitor and no where else or you'll suffer from nausea and vertigo more." Who won't panic after that, right?? LOL. I don't know how many Hail Marys I prayed the whole time I was in that ride... But I was so glad once it was over. I'm not much of a fan of roller coasters since I usually get anxious when I ride (which I assume could lead to high blood pressure and eventually a stroke or a heart attack which I'm also not a huge fan of). The only thing I was thankful for for riding this insane and intense ride was that now I know I am not built for any more adrenaline-filled rides in the future. I may be a wimp, but at least I'm an honest wimp, lol. You can just imagine my huge Mission Space flashback when I was watching Interstellar in the theaters. A-ha-ha-ha-ha....
They had really cute space-themed toys in the gift shop though!
Even the space-themed Duffy costumes are sold here (hello Star Wars).
We didn't get to check this place out anymore when we got out from Mission Space though. I just took a photo of it. Probably next time we can see what this is all about.
MORE BUNNIES. I loved seeing them hop around the grassy areas of the park in the late afternoon~
If you love adrenaline, you'd definitely love this ride. Test Track lets you design your ride and your course and how fast you wanna go. It's THE place everyone visits when they're in EPCOT. Based on the shrieks and screams of the riders, it's one hell of a ride.
If you're not a fan of walking around the World Showcase area yourself, you can always wait for their water transpo. They have 2 ports, in the left and the right side of the front of the WS area. One docks at Morocco and back, while the other one docks at Germany and back. There's one boat every 15 mins, and it takes you less than 5 mins to get to the other side.
We took the boat ride to get to Morocco then walked to Japan while we were killing some time.
Japan has a lot to offer. Probably has the most to offer actually. They have the biggest shopping area and offer a lot of food as well. They even have a takoyaki stand here!
What's Japan without Hello Kitty?
Monchichi! I used to watch that on tv when I was a kid along with Bubu Chacha. Childhood cartoons are the best!
Rilakkuma! Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori!
I really wished they had Samsung phone cases too ;___;
Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails! Too bad Robotnic and Knuckles weren't there.
One Piece and Shingeki no Kyojin
Sailor Moon!! Although Sailor Venus is my bias 5ever~
The wonderful world of Domo-kun, lol. Even the guy at the background looks happy, hahahah jk.
Batman Domo-kun. Godzilla Domo-kun.
I wanted to take this one home with me.
The feeling I had seeing so many merch here that I also see on Line Play...
Pikachu... You got thinner.
The last time I was here, I remember I saw all the Eeveelutions. And the Legendary Dogs and Birds. It's amazing how Pokemon has evolved (no pun intended) in the past few years.
Gundam, Super Mario, Hatsune Miku and a lot of sentai figurines, gosh, Japan. So much in your culture alone!
LaQ! OJT days, lol.
A section for Studio Ghibli alone, le sigh~ <3 p="">
Naruto and Final Fantasy. Need I say more?
Sailor Moon and Rilakkuma again. I'd love love to take home that Sailor Venus tho.
HUHUHU SHINZI KATOH CASES. I WANT THEM ALL.
More Samsung cases please -.-
So much cuteness!!
ALICE IN WONDERLAND + JAPANESE ARTISTS = MORE GOODIES PLEASE <333 p="">3>
I can't even imagine how I'll survive going to Japan for real... I'd be broke but happy for sure, lololol.
Kimonos and Yukatas are also for sale.
Rurouni Kenshin feels.
This was the time I learned that the big bow at the back of the kimono is actually a detachable accessory and not really the bow of the kimono's sash. You learn something every day~
Japanese snacks! Candy sushi, heehee~
At this point, I heard 2 girls murmur behind me "She's good" while I was taking this photo. And deep down inside, I was actually really flattered, haha! If you're one of my readers, I'd love to hear from you! And thank you so much for the compliment, lol!
I just realized I saw a lot of cats and owls in this store. Is that a Japanese thing I'm missing?
That sushi tray tho..
I wish I had school again. I'd love to eat out of these cute bentos!
Training chopsticks! I regret not buying a set for my mom. Then again, she's proud to not know how to use chopsticks, hahahaha! The Rilakkuma training chopsticks was too kawaii though.
Son Goku is that you? Oh, and Naruto headbands too.
After going through Japan's gift shop, we went on the boat ride again to get back to the front of the WS. We walked back to Future World to get to Soarin' (our last fast pass of the day). They made this ride sound so intense because they give the same precautions for those adrenaline-filled rides. It was one of the funnest rides in EPCOT imo. Not like a rollercoaster ride, but more of a scenic show that makes you feel like you're flying through America.
Unfortunately, when we got out of Soarin', it started to rain again. We were lucky enough to get to watch the epic Fireworks show in the World Showcase area (that people really stay for). But with the rain pouring, I couldn't take any photos of it or my camera will get wet :( I'm sorry. Hopefully I get to catch it again someday! Or better yet, you yourself will get to experience it someday.
After the fireworks show, we walked into the Mouse Gear (the biggest gift shop in EPCOT) just to pass the time and let the crowd of people lessen when we go home. This place really holds a LOT of merchandise. I can practically have a house with anything Disney in it!
More Duffy costumes! This place is the next best place you can find Duffy costumes aside from Hollywood Studios.
Oh there you are Perry.
Junior Mike and Sully jackets!
My fave shirt of them all! Too bad they're only for kids (like 10 and below).
Really cool watches and bags for the kids.
There you have it! Phew! That was a lot. I love visiting EPCOT, and I'd love to visit it again soon (preferably not during summer though, the weather and crowd are so unpredictable and extreme for my taste). My tips for those who want to visit and experience EPCOT:
1) Be ready to walk. It's built in a way that people have no choice but to walk from one destination to another. Wearing the right kind of footwear and clothes is recommended. Bring water for yourself as park goods tend to be overpriced as expected. There are fountains around for you to rehydrate yourself and refill your bottles anyways so that can save you a couple bucks for souvenirs instead.
2) Come early. Like park opening early. There are a lot of wonderful places and events that you can miss due to time constraint if you don't come early. Walking alone from one place to another takes up so much time alone.
3) Plan your trip beforehand. You waste a lot of time figuring out where to go and what to do as rides don't start as soon as you please. Rides have schedules and waiting times as well. So if you wanna get on a popular ride, make sure to plan ahead.
4) Rain in the summer is inevitable. This is why I prefer traveling during spring since there're less people and you don't waste time staying in a covered area while waiting for the rain to stop. Bring some raincoats (umbrellas are too bulky and won't save you from the summer rains) if you don't mind walking under rain.
5) Stay till closing time. EPCOT has a wonderful fireworks show that is really much-awaited by parkgoers. It's worth the wait and stay.
That's basically my EPCOT experience! I hope you enjoyed as much as I did reminiscing through all the photos I took and shared. If you've gone to Disney World, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences as well! I'll be updating my travel diaries till the end of the year (if I can), or till early January (if it doesn't reach till the end of the year) so I hope y'all watch out for them. Till my next post!