Monday, September 15, 2008

Wonderful Time, The Sequel

Given the lack of lines at Animal Kingdom on Saturday, I had a nagging feeling that I might be missing out on some quality Soarin' time. For a ride that is essentially nothing more than an Imax/motion simulator with piped in scents, it's amazing that Soarin's wait times soar to two hours or more in the peak season. At those times, the Fastpasses disappear by 11 a.m. Thus I pretty much have to get my rides in large doses in the off-season, sort of like a squirrel gathering a supply of nuts for the winter. I fill my "Soarin' tank" when waits are minimal so I won't go through withdrawal from June through August.

Hubby had to work on Sunday, but when he was done we headed to Chevy's for a late lunch, followed by an evening at Epcot. We didn't get there till after 3 p.m., but we figured we might be lucky enough to cram in lots of quality ride time before the park closed at 9.

We could see that the crowd was fairly light as soon as we entered the gates. We hustled over to the Tip Board to get a handle on the current ride times. Soarin' was posted at 15 minutes! No way! I truly wanted to believe, but I noticed that everything else was walk-on except for Test Track, which was posted at 40. I suspected that the two had somehow been mixed up, since 40 mins. in the dead season isn't the norm for the giant slot car ride.

Still, we had to see for ourselves so we headed off for the Land Pavillion. There were still plenty of Fastpasses left for Soarin', so we grabbed one and checked out the standby line, which was posted at 25 minutes. Okay, a little more realistic, but I still thought it was a trick when I saw how far back the line density extended. Still, ever the optimists, hubby and I joined it. We waited...and waited...and waited...sure enough, it was a good 45 minutes before we boarded. Oh well, by the time we got off, it was time to get another Fastpass.

Since all the other rides were walk-on, we spent the evening bopping between Soarin' to use our Fastpases and get new ones and other rides to kill time between the Fastpasses. By 9 p.m. we had ridden Soarin' a whopping eight times, plus three spins on Test Track, one on the Land boat ride, one on Nemo, and two showings of Turtle Talk With Crush.

Normally Turtle Talk is one of my favorite Disney attractions. You literally talk to Crush, and he answers in context and also calls directly on various audience members. The kids all sit in the front of the theater and ask him questions...or in theory, that's what's supposed to happen. Unfortunately, at that showing all of the children must have been bussed in from the Cat's Got Your Tongue Group Home, as every one of them froze when Crush called on them. Mind you, there were told to raise their hands if they had a question, but each child froze like a deer in headlights when the Cast Member brought his microphone over.

Crush is quite the master of improv, but the poor turtle can't show his wit when he has no lines to work with. "Are you having a Dory moment?" only works the first time, but this entire group of kidlets was non-verbal in the Great Green One's presence.

Since there was no line, we decided to see it again. Surely the next group would give Crush something to work with. Nope! Once again, all the tots were dumbstruck. I've seen that happen before occasionally, but usually at least a couple of them will actually stutter out a question. Oh well, it must have been something in the air so we gave up and headed off to the Nemo ride.

I was amazed at how quickly the time rushed by as we carried out our marathon. Surprisingly the Soarin' standby line stayed at 40 to 45 minutes up until the very end, when the park was about to close. By then we had used up our Fastpasses, so we were very grateful for the drop as we hopped in for the last ride of the day.

By the time we were done, most of the Illuminations crowd had already disappeared out the gates. I couldn't believe that it had been less than six hours and we'd gotten eight rides on my favorite, plus a generous helping of other rides and shows as well. I know this won't last too much longer...the later September gets, the more the crowds grow. But heck, I'm sure gonna enjoy it while it lasts.

1 comment:

Juz said...

I love Epcot, sounds like you had a great time. Wouldn't it be great to have the whole place to yourslef for one day !!