Sunday, September 21, 2008

Soarin' and Soarin' and Soarin' Some More

As the off-season continues, hubby and I continue to take advantage of it. After all, what's the good of living in Celebration if you can't make good use of your Disney World proximity?

We achieved the pinnacle yesterday when, through a judicious combination of Fastpasses and the standby line, we managed to ride Soarin' an amazing 13 times. We slipped in Spaceship Earth, Nemo, Turtle Talk, and two or three rounds on Test Track, but Soarin' was our main focus. The others were simply filler between Fastpass times when standby got too long.

We hadn't actually planned a marathon. Our original idea was to head out to Epcot just after rope drop, grab a few Soarin's till the line got too long and the Fastpasses got to far apart, then have a nice lunch and head home. What we didn't realize was that the line wasn't going to get unreasonable until the evening and that the Fastpass times would move slowly enough for us to use and abuse them for most of the day.

When we got there, the Soarin' line was an unheard of 15-20 minutes. I generally won't do it if it's any longer than that. It's not just the wait; I hate hate hate the interactive games on the wall screens. The line is already wide enough for an entire football team to pass through side-by-side, which is a major enabler for line jumpers. Add in the games and the jumping gets worse as people slip ahead under the guise of "playing" or "moving in front of the screen." Sprinkle a generous helping of people flailing madly (that's how you play...for example, one of the games is to pop ballons or blobs of some sort, and you have to act out the motions), and you've got a recipe for disaster. I don't like being bumped into by inattentive strangers who can't stand for more than 5 minutes without some sort of stimulation. Thankfully the screens are absent from the Fastpass line.

But on this day we were only subjected to the game two or three times out of all our standby rounds. We never waited longer than 35 minutes in standby, and of course Fastpass went much faster. What had started out as a few rides on Soarin' turned into a vendetta to beat our previous record of eight rides. Once we had reached that, with the line still reasonable and Fastpasses still in good supply, the object became cramming in as many rides as we could.

The other lines were minimal too. We didn't wait at all for Spaceship Earth and maybe only five minutes for Nemo. We did the single riders line at Test Track, which is usually short to non-existent anyway except for the busiest times. We had to wait 10 minutes for Turtle Talk, but that was because we got there just after a show had begun. I love Turtle Talk because you actually get to talk to Crush, and he answers and makes comments about the audience. It's a wonderful blend of on-the-fly animation and improv.

The kids sit on the floor in front, and Crush calls on them to ask him questions. Last time we were at Epcot, it was apparently field trip day from the School for Kids With Paralyzed Vocal Cords because every time a child was chosen, they immediately froze up. Mind you, they are supposed to raise their "flipper" if they have a question, but apparently they were mini sheeple in kid would raise theirs and the rest would spontaneously follow for no good reason.

On that day, we went to another show figuring it would have to be better...surely we'd just hit on a dud. But no, it was the same story the next time. I'd never seen it fall so flat. Poor Crush does the best he can, but he had to have something to work with. By the third or fourth kid going, "Uh.....uh...." it gets old to say, "Having a Dory moment?"

Fortunately this time both Crush and the kids were in good form. My favorite line came when a kid mentioned Nemo. Crush said, "Yeah, he got lost one time. It took an hour and 33 minutes to find him!"

Before we knew it, it was dinnertime. The Soarin' line had finally shot up to an hour, and although we hoped it might drop we weren't holding our breath. I think everyone who wasn't staying for Illuminations was grabbing a last hang glider trip. We hoped to get one more Fastpass, although we knew that was rather greedy. Since we wouldn't be able to get one till 6:40, we decided to see if Garden Grill could take us as a walk-up.

I thought I was probably crazy to hope, since GG is a character meal and I think the free dining promotion is going on. Lo and behold, they were able to take us! I think we should have bought a lottery ticket on the way home because it was definitely our lucky day. Actually, I think we lucked out because we were a party of two, and GG mostly gets bigger family groups. We were seated in the two chairs on the end of what appeared to be a long booth to accommodate large parties...there was a big family at one end and us at the other.

Even though we were just two adults, the characters spent plenty of good interaction time with us. I was wearing my monorail hat, and Pluto thought it was a riot. He stole it and donned it himself! We didn't have a camera so hubby snapped a quick photo with his cell phone. Here it's not too good, but it was one of those times when we just had to make do:

Sadly, by the time we were eligible for another Fastpass they had all run out. The line was an hour, and it was already 7:30, so we reluctantly decided to call it a night. I would have liked to reach 15, especially since it's almost the end of the dead season but oh well...lucky 13 sure isn't bad. Maybe it's even a good thing because that will give me something to aim for when dead season rolls around again next year.

1 comment:

Juz said...

I love Soarin', not a fan though when I am on the bottom row. I know it shouldnt bother me but the view of the feet really does get to me....Still think a hanging curtain to cover the feet would work a treat.

I cant believe what a great day you had, the problem is now you have a number that will need beating at some point..