Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 3: What's New, Buckaroo?

Hey Folks-

Sorry it's taken so long to get this update out. My interwebs have been acting up, as has my laptop. Basically, I know that's a lot of excuses, but they're all totally valid and true and real. In fact, my laptop upon which I am currently writing this blog is so besieged by viruses that it's almost audibly weeping at me.

In any case, here I am, about to discuss Day 3 of my Disney adventure, which was now almost a full month ago. In fact, I arrived in Disney exactly 4 weeks ago today. That's too long to write 3 blogs.

On Day 3, I decided to spend the day at Epcot (with my mystery guest). Now...when I say that I spent the whole day there, I mean... I spent the WHOLE day there. I was there for 12 hours, which is really about as long as one can be at any given park. It was awesome as always. In any case, as with every day at Disney, there was a theme for this day.

The theme for Day 3, my day at Epcot, was "What's New?". I've counted Epcot as my favorite park for a while now, and I've experienced almost all of it. Oddly, though I managed to experience several new things at Epcot this time around... or at least new to me.

I shall talk about those "New" things....
The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends
For some reason, I rarely visit The Living Seas exhibit. I don't know why, exactly, as I've always been fascinated by the sea and it's creatures and whatnot. I think that once Soarin' opened at The Land, making my way over to Future World East has been all about that and Journey into Imagination. I also usually skip Honey I Shrunk the Audience... In any case, I think that The Living Seas has been awesomely improved by adding the Finding Nemo characters. The "Shell" cars are very similar to the Haunted Mansion ride vehicles, and they gradually take you downward into the aquarium "proper". As they take you past characters being projected very realistically onto the actual aquarium glass, they play music from the Nemo stage show from Animal Kingdom. I'm going to give it a 7 out of 10. Up from a 5.5 out of 10. (please keep in mind that this is all on a Disney-only scale. It's unfair to compare Disney attractions to non-Disney attractions. )

Spaceship Earth's Refurb
I visited Disney in late 2005 and in anticipation I did blogs listing my top 35 favorite things at Disney World. I am nearly certain Spaceship Earth was in my top 10. In any case, I love this ride. There's that moment toward the top where the ride vehicle rotates and the Earth is revealed and the music swells... it literally made me emotional every time. Now... in February of 07, they closed Spaceship Earth down for months to redo the interior and add some new features. And guess what? No more big crescendo moment. I was very disappointed in that. That said, there were some cool new additions. They do this thing where they ask you where you're from and you enter it right into the ride vehicle. At the end of the ride, they show you WITH YOUR PICTURE zooming into the location you say you're from. It's pretty cool. I also liked some of the new animatronics. (Though they did remove the repeating chariot horse). All in all, I liked the changes, except I miss the old music and old ending. I'll give it an 8 out of 10, down from a 9.5 out of 10.

Mission Space
Now... I'd been to Disney 4 times since Mission Space had opened, and I'd never been on it. Either out of fear (the first 2 times) or the fear of my companions (the last 2 times). In any case, I was determined to ride it this time, and while I did the "Mild" option, I still totally dug it. It was a lot of fun, and pretty intense. I loved Gary Sinise's part as the mission commander. I loved the effects. It's hard to explain, in a way, because it sort of gives you this feeling of you being in control of the simulator in a very clever way. Also, I can't imagine what they do for the Intense version of the ride, because that shit was already pretty rough. In any case I'd recommend the mild version for pretty much anyone. I didn't even feel dizzy when I got off, which I had prepared myself for. 9 out of 10.

Gran Fiesta Tour (fka El Rio del Tiempo )
So I totally loved what I dubbed The Mexico Boat, and that hasn't changed at all. In fact, I think of all of the refurbs, this one was the best. Mostly because the spirit of the ride itself didn't change at all, and all of the additions only served to enhance the parts that had sort of fallen into datedness. I loved the addition of the characters and the Donald Duck plot they added to it as well. Funny, and appropriate to the Mexico theme. 9 out of 10. Formerly a generous 7 of out 10.

In addition to the new rides, I also dined at 2 restaurants in World Showcase that I'd never tried before.

Germany (Biergarten)
This was a buffet/Smorgasbord that I really enjoyed. The diners eat at large communal tables that I think are really cool to associate with the other diners. It's neat to chat up some strangers while great polka music is played live by a pretty awesome band. I'd give it a 7 out of 10 in the World Showcase Restaurant Survey. (I'm gonna do a while one soon.)

Morocco (Marrakesh)
The food here is awesome.... as long as you like Middle Eastern food, which I do. The atmosphere is really hectic, because it was totally packed, and the servers move like lightning. Also...belly dancers. This was the meal where I most wished I still had a full stomach. I rate it an 8.5 out of 10.

All in all, it was a great day. We had a great time, and perhaps best of all, I got a new Beefy Muchacho picture. It's not a trip to Disney without one.

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