May 1, 2008

Aaah, Home

Back home at Old Key West.

We stopped at the Hospitality House to pick up our packages from the previous day's shopping at MGM to find that only 2 of the 3 gifts were there. The one child who was eagerly awaiting the arrival of his X-wing was about to be horribly disappointed. CB was the bearer of the bad news and while FM#2 was crushed, in true Storm Trooper fashion, he would shake it off and forge ahead. Besides, there was swimming to be done!

We were starving. While everyone rested back in the room, CB and I went up to the Hospitality House to grab lunch at Good's To Go - OKW's counter-service restaurant.

While waiting, I overheard a lady asking whether certain items on the menu were included in the Dining Plan. There were a lot of people using Disney's Dining Plan during our visit. Disney had a promotional offer earlier in the year -- if you booked your September/October vacation by June, everyone in your party got free dining plans. That's free food, folks.

The dining plan includes one free full-service meal, one free counter-service meal, and one free snack. Did you notice all those free's? We would've loved to take advantage of this offer, but to book a vacation that far in advance is metaphysically impossible for us.

By the time lunch was over, FM#3 was asleep and MawMaw and I were close behind. The other two were jumping up and down to go swimming so CB suited up and took them. Bless that man's energy level - and his commitment to his children.

They had a great time! They said the slide was super fast!

When they returned we headed back to EPCOT...

...where we cashed in our Fast Passes for Soarin'. By now the wait time was about an hour and a half. The Fast Pass line was about 15-20 minutes.

I 'heart' Fast Pass.

Unfortunately, halfway through the line we discovered FM#3 was not tall enough to ride. CB elected to sit out this round and wait for us. This allowed us to experience the Child Swap feature.

With Child Swap, one adult can stay with the child while the rest of your party rides. When your party returns, you swap the child, take your Child Swap Pass, and go directly to the Fast Pass line. Yes, this still requires your party to wait in line twice, but the pay-off is that you get to use the Fast Pass line PLUS the Child Swap Pass allows you to take (I think) up to three additional people with you on the ride. So when we got off the ride, CB took the older boys with him and they got to ride again!

As for the ride itself, Soarin' is so peaceful and relaxing. You sit in what closely resembles a 7-seat hang glider. Your glider then takes off, and depending on which row you're in, rotates up several (many) feet off the ground and suspends you in front of a giant movie screen. (Leave your flip-flops on the floor. They're likely to drop off during the ride.)

The story is that you're hang gliding through various locations - white water rapids, Grand Canyon, ocean, golf course, orange groves. The glider, of course, tips and pitches to simulate the actual feeling of soaring. And it all comes complete with wind, smells, and epic Disney music.

MawMaw could've stayed on Soarin' for the rest of the trip.

We then made our way to Test Track where we used those Fast Passes CB picked up earlier in the day. FM#2 was apprehensive about this one because of the speed. I really don't understand his trepedation. He rides in the car with me, after all! But we managed to get him on and!

Late breaking news...Young red-headed boy says Test Track is "The most awesomest ride ever!" He liked it better than Mission: SPACE and Star Wars and the stunt shows.

CB liked it, too. I enjoyed it, too. There just seems to be a lot of time devoted to storytelling. Maybe I need to ride it a few more times to get a better perspective. Once our ride vehicle exited the building and began building up speed, it was terrific! Just not long enough.

In the showroom, we enjoyed the fancy GM cars and spent way too much time in the gift shop.

Exiting Test Track we were right next door to Mission: SPACE and FM#2 wanted to take MawMaw on it. She chickened out earlier in the day because she was afraid the ride would make her motion sick. After riding it ourselves, we assured her that wasn't the case. Of course, the repeated offers to exit the ride before it actually began did freak her out a bit..."Are you sure this doesn't spin around?"

Don't worry MawMaw. Just wait 'til we get to Magic Kingdom!

But she hung in there and had a ball! What a trooper! FM#2 thought it was pretty cool that she rode it, too.

It was becoming early evening and we were slowing down. The boys played in a car wash water spray outside Test Track then we made our way over to the Imagination pavilion hoping to enjoy it, but it was closed. However, the boys played in the jumping water.

And FM#3 made a friend.

Good night. Until tomorrow...

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