One of my goals for this trip was lots and lots of EPCOT time. Payton isn’t the biggest amusement park fan but loves the World Showcase section of EPCOT so I promised her we’d have lots of time for that. Blake is obsessed with the other half of EPCOT, Future World. After a rocky intro to EPCOT when we came mostly for dinner, I was hoping this day would go more smoothly.
And it did.
Our day began with Payton and I waking up around 6:45 a.m. to meet our taxi at 7:15. We needed to be at EPCOT by 7:30 to begin a tour that I was so excited about: a Segway tour of the World Showcase. You have to be 16 to do this tour so when we were making plans for this trip, I was so excited that Payton would finally be old enough. We arrived at the early entry gates and saw many little girls dressed up in their princess costumes waiting to get in for a princess breakfast. We were allowed in before them and made our way to a guest relations desk where we were given some info and told to head to the Innoventions West building where we’d be doing our training to ride Segways.
This tour just had Payton, me and one tall dude. We all watched a safety video and then got on our helmets and hopped on Segways to practice on an indoor course.
I should tell you that prior to this tour, Payton and I had very different feelings about it. I was super excited because I’d been on a Segway for a 4 hour tour in Austin, Texas, once and had a great time. Payton was anxious because she wasn’t sure she could stay balanced and Payton has a tendency to be anxious about anything new.
Funny how things change.
While practicing on our Segways, we had to navigate around cones, go up hills, down hills, practice stopping, etc. For some reason, I was getting really anxious about parts of this and when you’re on a Segway and get nervous, things don’t go as well as if you’d just stayed calm. So in those moments of “omg, I don’t know if I can stop,” guess what? You don’t stop. MUST. STAY. CALM.
So Payton breezed through this part and her fears of not being able to stay balanced were gone so anxiety was not in her way anymore. It was in mine, however.
We finally exited the building after our practice and we were off to tour the World Showcase. As we all traveled like ducks in a row, I was getting scared anytime we’d pick up speed. The handles would pull back toward me and I’d have to slow down. The instructor had me be the last in line since I wasn’t going as fast as the others. I’m still not really sure why my Segway did this when we went faster but it only added to my anxiety.
As we traveled through the World Showcase, we went in and out of all of the pavilions, swerving around columns and navigating on narrow pathways while our tour guide told us bits of trivia about each pavilion. We’d stop for a photo or some water and the whole time I was thinking: I can’t wait until this is over.
I had wanted to have fun on this tour and totally expected to but for some reason, my confidence was gone and I just couldn’t wait to be done. Payton was having a lot of fun and that mattered more to me.
You will recall that the beginning of this day involved Payton and me being the first people in the park so when our Segway tour began, our only obstacles were buildings. Now that we were ending our tour and heading back to where we started, we had new obstacles: other people.
EPCOT was now open and there were people walking around as people do in amusement parks and many of them stopped to watch the Segways because they were curious and probably a little jealous. Visitors to EPCOT will often walk 8 miles in a day so being able to navigate on a Segway probably sounded suh-weet to them. As our tour guides handed out business cards to the curious onlookers, we made our way back inside where we started our tour and I didn’t even run into any people along the way!
After receiving our Segway tour pin, Payton and I were off to try to find the rest of the group (Andy, Blake and all of Dan and Katrina’s family) who had already entered the park and started riding rides. We met up with them in The Seas after Payton and I rode the ride to get inside and then my fam saw a Turtle Talk with Crush show. We love the technology and humor of this show but this was our least favorite time seeing it. Actor just didn’t do a great job interacting with the crowd or making jokes.
At this point, we went over to ride Mission: SPACE and Test Track. We grabbed FASTPASSes for Test Track to use later and then split up to ride the two different versions of Mission: Space. Katrina sat out the whole ride with William (she got motion sick on it during her last trip). Payton and Blake came with me to do the mild version (I like the other version but wanted to try this one plus the kids wanted to do this so I wanted to go with them). Everybody else went for the full strength version.
As the kids and I boarded our ride and the doors closed, Blake began to cry. I’m not really sure why but I think he was not sure what to expect and with the doors closed, it was just the three of us and he felt safe crying. I knew he’d eventually be OK and as the ride began and we all had to focus on our “jobs” he did fine.
Afterward, we waited for the others in the exit area where Katrina and William had been. It felt like we were here for ages but it might have only been 15 minutes. I believe the consensus from the people who rode the full strength version of the ride was that it seemed toned down from what it used to be.
It was time to start thinking about lunch so we walked to The Land pavilion, home of one of the most popular rides – Soarin’. We were headed to eat lunch at Sunshine Seasons and then we would ride Soarin’ afterward. Sunshine Seasons is food court style with lots of different food options but was one of the most frustrating and disappointing meals of the week. It was very, very busy so every line for food was long and it was very difficult to find a place to sit.
After we finally did get a table and finish eating, it was time to use some FASTPASSes to ride Soarin’. While Payton and I were on our Segway tour, the rest of the group had ridden Soarin’ and picked up some FASTPASSes afterward. Now it was time for Payton and I to ride as well as anybody else who wanted to re-ride it. That ended up being everybody except Katrina, Joey and William.
We rode Soarin’ (loved it as always though we wish they’d splash some water on you during the water scene) and came out expecting to see Katrina where we left her but she wasn’t there (people who successfully herd cats should give the Dan and Katrina family a try. They were hard to keep track of!). After several minutes spent looking and waiting, my fam decided we’d head out to use our Test Track FASTPASSes.
And then it was World Showcase time. We boarded a boat at a Friendship dock with our destination goal being Japan. I had hoped to see Miyuki the candy maker today but her schedule had changed and she wasn’t there. We used a snack credit to stay cool with some Kaki Gori (flavored snow cone with interesting flavors like honeydew. I got rainbow to try them all.).
Blake was doing the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure which is basically an old style flip phone where you read messages and have to find things in various countries of the World Showcase. He chose to do Germany so we were off to explore Germany. We got into a good flow – Blake would do Kim Possible missions, Payton would explore shops and get stamps in her passport and then Andy and I would either join them or take a few minutes to sit and relax.
World Showcase is HOT in the afternoon so that was our biggest challenge. We had various methods to keep ourselves cool including a spray bottle fan thingie, Frogg Togg Chilly Pads and cold drinks. We navigated through a few countries and finally by around 8 p.m., we decided to head out. Payton and I had been at the parks for over 12 hours and although we were all still in great moods and having fun, it was time to rest.
We headed to our bus stop and back to the hotel. It had been a good day. Our next day would be a much-needed day to sleep in and spend time out of the parks. It’s ironic that this day out of the parks was the one that caused some of us to get a very bad case of motion sickness.