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Old 11 Jun 16, 10:10 PM  
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The "Years in the Making" Trip - Day 3 - EPCOT, Akershus, monorail riding and B&C

So the delay in posting this day has been entirely down to the photos. Somehow we ended up with well over 300 from this day alone, including the PhotoPass pictures. Obviously feeling a bit snap happy today! Although in my defence we had a character breakfast, met characters at the Character Spot and met Tinkerbell - so that’s a lot of photos right there! They’ve taken a bit of time to edit down, but I’m afraid there are still well over 100 in this post! We've come a long way from the days of film cameras when you wouldn't shoot 300 in a whole holiday!

So we were up at 6 am today - all back to normal for Thomas then! We had Lucky Charms and donuts (on holiday, remember!) for breakfast and it felt like we had a slowish start to the day. We still made it to Epcot for EMH though, and it seemed we actually parked closer than the so called “Preferred Parking”. Get there early and save yourselves 15 bucks! We headed in to the park and, yes you guessed it, I was “randomly selected” again. Now three out of three!

We stopped for some Photopass pictures and a bit of arty party snapping, and then headed straight on to Spaceship Earth as this was a walk on.

Thomas seemed to enjoy this, although we did have a brief stoppage just as we started to go backwards, which unnerved him a bit. I had a total fail on the taking the photos bit (I still don’t really understand what I was supposed to do, but maybe our vehicle wasn’t working properly, as everyone else seems to think it was obvious!) so we ended up with headless people at the end. Ian, who rode separately, had more success.

We then had a wander around a very quiet Future World, taking the opportunity to get some pictures with the Nemo figures and a few rousing rounds of “Mine! Mine! Mine!"

Next headed in to The Land with the intention of doing Living With the Land. It was at this point that Thomas decided to have a freak out about it being scary. He was getting really worked up about whether it had any drops or was dark. We reassured him that there were no drops and it wouldn’t be dark because it was just a gentle boat ride through a greenhouse. (Cue another parenting fail. It does, of course, have some dark bits - not really dark but dark enough to freak Thomas out. In my defence, please remember how long it is since our last visit. It’s not like it was something I was going to remember and Living With the Land is not the kind of ride you watch the YouTube video of before you go now, is it? Is there even a YouTube video of it. Ah, daft question! There is always a YouTube video!) Anyway, there was no queue at all so I persuaded Thomas to ask the CM at the ride entrance whether it was scary. He seemed somewhat reassured by his answer that it wasn’t scary at all. We were also given the most pointless red card queue timer thing ever as we literally took it from this guy, walked three paces - the queue was not even set up - and handed it to the other guy. But on reflection, maybe he was trying to help persuade Thomas to get on the ride!

So on we went and despite the fact that we had “lied” to him about the dark bits, he actually really enjoyed this ride. Particularly seeing the fish, for some reason.

We had a little walk around the rest of Future World, but didn’t elect to do any more rides as we had Fastpasses for The Seas, character Spot and TestTrack for later in the day. So we headed to Norway via Mexico (try explaining that geographical anomaly to a four year old!) for our breakfast reservation at Akershus.

We all really enjoyed this one. The food was really good - so much so that we had to ask for extra plates (there is a cold buffet and then hot food served family style). Thomas came over all coy and cute with the Princesses. I think he was a bit overwhelmed with them being “real”. (Totally believed in the magic. So, so cute.) He even joined in with the parade around the restaurant with Aurora, even though he was the only boy to do so. I couldn’t help but think most of the other boys felt they were just there with their sisters and seemed reluctant to join in. I’m so pleased we didn’t shy away from the Princesses just because he is a boy. He absolutely loved meeting them (and Akershus is a great way to meet several all at once without the expense and production line of CRT) and I think it is a shame that society seems to pressurise girls to like Princesses and boys to be, or at least feign, disinterest.

Anyway, it was now time for our Seas with Nemo and Friends Fastpass. This is a great little ride, and I genuinely think the Nemo theming has added something to this pavilion. We rode the three of us together and, despite the dark, Thomas really enjoyed it. He also had a whale of a time (see what I did there) looking at the fish, manatees and dolphins afterwards.

We also went to have a turn climbing inside Bruce. Now, this is an area that I think needs some better organisation. I’ve read a number of trip reports before where people have complained about unruly groups pushing them aside. Today we not only had people coming in from the exit side and totally ignoring the fact that there was a queue and then a kid of about four or five who just appeared and climbed up in to the mouth whilst other people were having their photo taken. He just sat there refusing to move, which was really awkward for the people who were there who obviously didn’t want to manhandle someone else’s kid out of the way but also obviously did not want him in their photo. it took an absolute age for the parent to appear ho then asked the others to move out of the way so they could take the kid’s picture. Unbelievable! Anyway, we eventually had our turn. Sadly we didn’t get the greatest photo, but Thomas did actually find it really funny to be inside Bruce’s mouth.

Continued below...
The "Years in the Making" Trip Report - Apr/May 2016 - unfinished, but hopefully soon!
Our Japan Adventures in the Have Child, Will Still Travel... to Japan! Trip Report - In Progress!
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Old 11 Jun 16, 10:11 PM  
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... continued from above

We made a stop to collect some more pressed pennies and then headed out for our Fastpass at the Character Spot. We didn’t have to wait too long here, although Mickey did go off to get a piece of cheese, Goofy went to meet Max and Minnie had to check on the cheesecake she was making. It was a very swift turnaround though! We also ended up behind one of those families that wants to pose for every combination of picture possible, even when their toddler was screaming her head off that she didn’t want to be anywhere near Goofy!

Mickey immediately pointed out that Thomas had his hands all over his T-shirt, which he seemed to find really funny. Fortunately it didn’t seem to occur to Thomas to question why Mickey wasn’t talking today when he had done two days ago in the Magic Kingdom. He’s such an observant, questioning kid that I was a bit worried about this. I needn’t have been as he was just totally lost in the magic.

Goofy had a picture of a monorail behind him and, being the train obsessed child that he is, Thomas immediately pointed it out. Goofy the pointed out the rocket he also had and proceeded to get Thomas to “fly” around with him.

Thomas was very, very excited to meet Minnie Mouse. This was the start of a proper crush and he was slightly starstruck. As she signed his autograph book though he suddenly began pointing out that she was on the front cover and also pointing out all of the other characters. I think he was just about to start going through the signatures he had already collected, and not wanting to be one of “those” families we did have to gently persuade him away.

Next up was a ride on the monorail. Thomas had been incredibly patient about the lack of trains so far. The Magic Kingdom railroad was still down and as we’d gone to the MK by bus, we hadn’t yet ridden the monorail. It was something he’d been obsessed with before we went, watching endless YouTube videos of people riding it. We left the stroller in a stroller park and Epcot and headed to the TTC. The Express Monorail was down for testing (as it was for the middle part of the day off most of the time we were there - I think it is something to do with automation) but it was no problem as we wanted to ride the Resort monorail anyway. Tomas insisted that he get his own camera out and took endless pictures of the monorails keeping up commentary about which colours he had seen and exactly how monorails work. He found going through the Contemporary perhaps the most exciting thing he’s experienced so far. Once back at the TTC, we jumped back on the Epcot monorail.

Heading back in to Epcot, I wasn’t randomly selected for the first time so far! We had a fasts for TestTrack which we were now well in to. I’d got Fastpasses for all of us as I’d really thought Thomas would enjoy this one. However at the moment we arrived and he heard the cars whooshing overhead he stopped in his tracks and was completely and totally petrified. This wasn’t just being a bit unsure of something. He was so obviously scared witless that were going to make him go on it, to the point of saying that he would stand there on his own. No hint of a parenting fail from me this time. I knew he wasn’t going on and it would have been genuinely cruel to even try to persuade him. We didn’t have a lot of time left in our window and I didn’t think we’d have time for two of us to ride and then swap. We could probably have done a child swap, but I’m not sure we’d have got Thomas near enough the entrance for that. Luckily my mum really wasn’t bothered in the slightest about going on, so decided that she would stay with Thomas whilst the three of us rode.

We designed a pretty powerful car that was pretty crap on everything else. Unsurprisingly we were third or fourth in each test except the speed test, where we came top. We managed 201 overall, but the top score of the day was 231. Better luck next time!

We headed out to the bit where all the cars were and then outside to find Thomas and my mum. Now that he knew we weren’t going to try to make him go on, he was quite happy to come through the shop and then had a fantastic time playing in all the cars. Meanwhile our ride photo appeared in MDE but was this one of three randomers (who look like they had a great time!)

I headed back to the photo bit to see if we could sort it out and encountered a CM who was as unknowledable as he was unhelpful. I explained, in a pretty straightforward way that our ride photo had appeared but it wasn’t of us and was there any way to locate our actual photo to add to the account.

He looked at me as though I were a complete imbecile and told me that I could only view my photos on the website not the app. "You have to go to the WEBSITE” he emphasised. “The app doesn’t show pictures and is useless. You have to go to the WEBSITE I’m telling you”.

He then added that it takes about 48 hours for the photos to appear. I’ve since found out that viewing photos pictures on MDE is actually a more recent thing, but the training is a bit lacking if he didn’t know that! I said again that the problem wasn’t the photo not being there, but we had a photo that wasn’t us. I went to show him the picture and he cut across me saying “Don’t look at your phone” he said “I’ve told you it’s useless".
“But it shows the wrong photo” I said, trying hard to keep the exasperation from my voice.
"I’m just getting to that” he said. Except, he didn’t. He got a slip of paper out and started telling me all about which rides have photos and where to find the photos website.
In the end I shoved my phone under his nose and said “I have the photo. It is the wrong photo”
And he finally looked and said “Oh. How did you get that?”
“I don’t know, that is what I am asking you!”
He finally took me over to a computer and said “so when did you ride?” When I said we’d come off less than ten minutes ago (it would have been five had he not spent so long telling me how useless my phone was) and he looked surprised.
“How dod you have the photo already?”
“Erm, because that is how it works”.
I spotted the correct photo immediately and he added it to my account, with it popping up in MDE instantaneously. I managed to resist telling him that he might want to check his facts about the availability of Photop[ass pictures in MDE! After this encounter, despite the Magic Bands we started touching for our ride photos every ride.It resulted in a few duplicates, but at least I didn’t meet any more obstructive CMs!

(And yeah, it probably wasn’t worth the hassle just for a ride photo!)

We managed to buy Thomas a couple of gifts here without him seeing - a metal monorail sign and set of the Disney buses, including the “Sad Express” and Cruise Line buses that he also loved spotting. We didn’t want to spoil him with too many things when he was already experiencing so much (and getting overwhelmed by it) but it’s good that we’ve got a little stick of things to give him alter in the year and keep the magic alive.

We were heading towards the time for our Beaches and Cream ADR. We’d deliberatley had breakfast on the last side, and eaten plenty, and then skipped lunch to save room for ice cream. We were paying OOP for this one too, as we didn’t have enough TS credits and we only wanted ice cream. On the way out of International Gateway we spotted Tinkerbell doing a meet and greet with a pretty short line, so we joined. Thomas was a bit coy again, and I’ve forgotten the details of what she said to him, but she was a pretty good Tinkerbell and she got him giggling.

We found B&C with some difficulty and only had to wait a few minutes for our table. This was one of the few places that actually utilised pagers. We were seated in a booth. The atmosphere and theming in here is great. the menu was a little confusing though as things that I’d seen other people eating in trip reports didn’t seem to be listed, including the Mickey Pants sundae. I could see the dishes on the side though and when we asked our server he described it to us straight away. Ian and I ordered one to share. Mum and Dad not had Banana splits and we had a kid’s sundae for Thomas.

I’d say the Mickey Pants was a good size to share. I could have eaten a bit more, but I didn’t feel unsatisfied (and we did steal a bit more from my Mum). The banana splits were actually not that different in size, but as you can see, my Dad dd finish his, so they couldn’t really have shared. The total amount of ice cream we had probably wasn’t far off a Kitchen Sink, but it’s the whipped cream on that which really puts me off! There were three which came out whilst we were there one of which seems to be for a guy on his own. Well, the rest of his group all had their own ice creams anyway. Before we left we could see he was struggling. We headed outside and my Mum went in to the restroom along the corridor. Whilst we waiting outside, we saw the same guy rush out of B&C and sprint in to the restroom. I think he may have over done it a bit!

(Death by ice cream!)

We wandered along back to Epcot, stopping for a few photos on the way.

We went back in through the International Gateway (and normal service was resumed with my random selection for additional security). We wandered in to England, stopping for a look at the Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan topiaries. We also found a bored looking PP photographer so gave him something to do. Thomas and I went to get a Duffy bear at the Kidcot station and did a bit of colouring in.

We then headed back around the Mexico. Thomas seemed to love it in here, despite the dark, and was incredibly excited about the Three Cabelleros boat ride. We did have a brief moment when we came out where he ran off for the door but we actually didn’t see which way he went. Cue us all rushing out looking for him. He’d run down the slope at the side, and eventually located him in the stroller parking.

It was around 7pm by now and we were all flagging, so we headed back to OKW. We stopped to get a few more Photopass pictures on the way out. The sun was getting so much in Thomas's eyes and he was really screwing them up, so a lady ran over with her sunglasses and said "here, borrow these". It was a very sweet moment (just to add we did have sunglasses for him, he had just chosen not to wear them!)

We had a quiet evening with three portions of fries (snack credits) between us for “dinner” as we were still stuffed with ice cream and had a little fiddle of fasts plans for the next day, removing the 7DMT fasts that we had for Mum, and and Thomas whilst Ian and I rode Space Mountain. I hope someone picked those up and felt lucky!

Best of all, I actually fell asleep in bed tonight!
The "Years in the Making" Trip Report - Apr/May 2016 - unfinished, but hopefully soon!
Our Japan Adventures in the Have Child, Will Still Travel... to Japan! Trip Report - In Progress!
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Old 11 Jun 16, 11:17 PM  
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Oh fab, I check to see if you've got the next day up every night, love reading about your trip. Sounds like you had a fab day... can't think of a better way to go than death by icecream lol 😄😄. Loving the piccies xxx
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Old 11 Jun 16, 11:54 PM  
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Another super installment!
When Thomas is so adorable, how could you possibly resist having so many pieces - loved them all.
Was that the Mickey Pants dessert you ordered then? I seem to be confused between that and the Kitchen Sink.
Looking forward to the next installment 😀
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Old 12 Jun 16, 12:26 AM  
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Loving your report
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Old 12 Jun 16, 08:39 AM  
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Being a bit Goofy
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I love your beaches and cream pics! Lol 'death by icecream'! We shared the Mickey's pants and found it to be just the right size too. Thank you for another great day 😊
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Old 12 Jun 16, 08:42 AM  
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Another great day. We also got random photo on Test Track! I think it's from where you touch your band to the post just before you ride. That CM was...unusual...though, what a pain.

Laughed at the guy in B&C. I could never eat that much ice cream.

Looking forward to the next instalment.
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Old 12 Jun 16, 04:49 PM  
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Another fantastic fun filled day and I love all his photo's with the princesses - great to bring out on his 21st
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Old 12 Jun 16, 06:33 PM  
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I am loving the report, Thomas is such an adorable, happy little boy.
Those banana splits are huge, they look amazing.
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Old 12 Jun 16, 08:57 PM  
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Another fun filled day. A lot of great interactions with all the characters you met.
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