Thursday, March 1, 2012

EPCOT - Behind the Seeds

Our fun day in the parks continued with EPCOT. This was the first ever time that we park-hopped and it worked out pretty well. We had a 3pm reservation for a tour experience for one of the boys' favorite rides - Living with the Land boat ride. The tour was called "Behind the Seeds." There were eighteen people total on our tour (nine kids and nine adults) and it was led by a lovely Disney intern named Cayla who happens to be an agriculture student from a college in Michigan. She walked us around for about an hour and fifteen minutes explaining the different techniques Disney uses to grow food.

Here we are in the first room where we learned about the good bugs like ladybugs that they use in place of pesticides. One kid per family received a vial of ladybugs that they would get to release at some point during the tour.

Some of the string growing techniques used - these are tomato plants. You can see the people on the ride in the boat behind our guide.


Pumpkins and wintermelon.

Inside the aquafarming building. Shrimp were in the tubes,
then we saw alligators and got to feed tilapia.

"Hidden" Mickeys are everywhere!

Banana trees. We learned that the branch which bears the stalk must be cut off afterwards - each branch only bears one stalk in its lifetime.

Coffee plants.

Talking about all kinds of different plants. The kids got to be a little more hands on here. Parker got to empty his ladybugs out on one of the plants in this area.

This was a super cool plant which curled up it's leaves when you touched it. Our guide shook the pot it was in and the whole thing curled up. Took it about 10 minutes for everything to unfurl back the way it was supposed to.

It was really cool to be able to go behind the scenes and find out more information about this beloved ride. Afterwards, we got in the line and rode the boat ride together as a family.

We cut across Future World after this and headed for a ride we have never done before - Mission Space. Wesley was finally tall enough to ride it, although JUST tall enough. The cast members measured him at three different points along the line to make sure. We did the Green side which means it was less intense motion. But it was still really awesome! Four people fit in a capsule for a ride to Mars. So Parker was the engineer, Wesley was the commander, Daddy was the pilot and Mommy was the navigator. Each person has a couple of "jobs" to do during flight and must push the buttons at the right time.

At the end of the ride was a play area for little kids and big kids alike. There was a playground area of tunnels and tubes, plus video games and a mission control simulator area.

Next up was another first for us - a visit to Club Cool. This is a side part in one of the restaurant buildings in Future World. It's sponsored by Coke and has free samples of drinks from around the world (just like the Coke Museum in Atlanta, GA). Everyone agreed that Beverly tastes awful and Krest and Kinley, the ginger ales, were our favorites.

We had some time before our dinner reservation so we hit three of the boys favorite rides/shows that ended up being walk-ons: Journey into Imagination with Figment, The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush. We have a cd of Disney park music that we've been listening to in the van recently; so the boys knew all the words to the songs and sang along loudly. Also, they rode on the Nemo ride in a clammobile all by themselves!

We had a 7:45pm dinner reservation at the Garden Grill - that's the revolving restaurant in the Land Pavilion with views of some of the scenes from the boat ride. It's a character meal featuring Farmer Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale.

The characters were super friendly! When they came around they would search the boys' lanyards to see if the boys had any pins representing that character. We saw each character 4 times in the course of our 1 hour dinner which we thought was great.

We had to google on our phones in order to be able to tell Chip and Dale apart. Dale has the red nose with two teeth; Chip has the black nose with 1 tooth in the middle. He was super excited because Parker's lanyard has the Chip and Dale characters all over it. And he was pleased that we knew his name!

Dinner is served! All you can eat served family style. We started with salad and bread for everyone and then moved on to the entrees. The grownups had tilapia with rice, roast beef and a corn and carrot mix, along with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce.

The boys' platter came with chicken, broccoli, sweet potato fries and baked macaroni and cheese for them to split. Theirs was all they could eat as well.


With Chip.

And on top of all that other food, we got dessert as well with our meal. The boys had something called "It's a Bug's Life" while the grownups had strawberry/rhubarb crisp with ice cream.

We got out of dinner about 8:45pm and headed straight over to the entrance to World Showcase for the grand finale to our day - the Illuminations Fireworks show. Daddy held Wesley up on a railing around one of the flower beds so he could see and Parker knelt on top of one of the trashcans.

You could see the countries outlined in lights from across the lake.

After Illuminations we hightailed it back to the front of the park and walked over to the bus area to catch a ride back to Hollywood Studios and our van. Once in the van, Wesley didn't make it off of Disney property before he was sound asleep! It was an extremely full and long day but an awesome one filled with all kinds of new experiences and great memories.

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