Monday, March 7, 2011

August 2010 Walt Disney World Trip Report - Day 3

Day 3 - Pixie Dust at Epcot

After the room-shuffling of the previous morning, it was nice to be able to just wake up, have some breakfast and get ready for Rope Drop at Epcot.

Staying in a DVC studio means having a kitchenette, which includes a medium-sized refrigerator, microwave, toaster and coffee maker (picture courtesy of

We use the Disney Dining Plan for lunch and dinner, and prepare a light breakfast in the room – usually bagels or english muffins, cereal, some fruit, that kind of thing. What’s unique about having breakfast at Animal Kingdom Lodge is doing so overlooking the savanna.

Apparently they take the giraffes inside in the early morning to check on them, figuring that most people are leaving for the parks at that time. But we usually had something to look at while we ate…

After breakfast we left for Epcot. Again we used the “unattended turnstile with a green arrow” strategy of getting right up front. And we were rewarded this time by a Cast Member who came through the turnstiles to hand out some Mickey-head “pixie dust” to the kids in front.

As they counted down to opening the turnstiles, DD got ready and then threw the pixie dust into the air and in we went, making our way for the rope, which was set up (as usual) in front of the fountains.

The rope drop show at Epcot, which we’ve seen many times, includes the Fab Five, and usually some other helpers like Chip & Dale, who come up to the rope to shake hands with the people waiting. They don’t linger, so if you’re not right on the rope, you kind of miss out on the impromptu interaction. Luckily, we got a prime spot.

Shortly after DW took this picture, the crowd started building behind us. While we were waiting, a woman in a Test Track uniform came up to us and started chatting. She admired DD’s homemade Kim Possible shirt…

…and then asked me if it was just the three of today. After I said, “yes,” she asked if we would like to be their Family of the Day and help open the park. We were shocked (and said “yes,” of course)!

Our plan for this trip was to try to be Family of the Day at Magic Kingdom, which is a real long shot, so being Family of the Day at Epcot was never on our radar screen.

After she let us under the rope, she had the three of us pose in front of the fountain for some pictures. It was nice that they had PhotoPass photographers taking pictures so we could enjoy the moment.

After the Fab Five finished greeting the folks at the rope, they came over and greeted us with hugs and handshakes, and posed for a group shot.

After that they pulled up the Test Track car and had us climb inside.

They explained that we would be leading the crowd to Test Track and would get to ride it first, before anyone else was allowed in. She also said there were a few other surprises planned for us.

We could hear the rope drop countdown behind us as we pulled away and drove to Test Track.

We walked straight through the pre-show and got right onto the ride. As we came back around to the unloading zone, the first people were coming out of the pre-show and getting ready to board. The operator asked us if we wanted to ride again, so of course we said, “yes!”

After the ride we were told we could have a free printed copy of our Test Track ride, which was a great surprise! But we weren’t done yet… they walked us over to Mission:Space, and brought us upstairs into the private HP lounge. It’s a quiet lounge with couches, a wet bar, cable TV some video games and an attendant. HP employees can arrange to use it when they’re visiting Epcot – it’s part of what HP gets by sponsoring Mission: Space.

After 10-15 minutes in the HP lounge to cool off and enjoy a cold beverage, we got a behind-the-scenes tour of Mission: Space – no pictures allowed. We got to see the actual control room for the ride, where they monitor the equipment to make sure everything is working properly. They also brought us into the fake NASA control room where they let DD play with the various switches and knobs, which don’t really do anything (picture courtesy of

 After that we rode Mission: Space (the green version), and that was the end of our “Family of the Day” experience. They gave us two passes for a “Priority Entrance to One Attraction,” since it was after 10:00 am now, and we missed out on the early FastPass return times.

We used one at the Character Spot – because even though we had the great group picture with the Fab Five, we didn’t have the chance to get their autographs (we saved the second one for a souvenir).

Next we got FPs for Soarin, which were only 40 minutes out because crowds were so light. While we waited for our FP window, we went over to catch the next Turtle Talk with Crush show. On the way we rode the Living Seas with Nemo, and got DDs picture in Bruce’s mouth…

When the show was over, it was time to use our FPs for Soarin. After that it was getting to be lunch time. On our way to World Showcase we grabbed a FP for the Kim Possible mission we wanted to do after lunch. We had 12:10 ADRs at Teppan Edo, a real favorite and probably DD’s favorite of all WDW restaurants. We took the boat across the lagoon (DW and DD rode outside while I tried to absorb whatever air conditioning was inside).

 As always, Teppan Edo was great food and great entertainment. We enjoyed talking a little with the other people at our table.

After lunch DD helped Kim and Ron save the world…

And then we left Epcot to head back to Animal Kingdom Lodge for some swimming and rest. We had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney, which is one of the best Counter Service credit values to be had. Then back to the room for bed, and to get ready for tomorrow’s day at Hollywood Studios.

Coming next, catching up with Cousin Joey.

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