Archive for June, 2007

Disney World: Day 1 – Epcot Center

| June 30, 2007 6:00 pm

It’s been a while since we’ve gone on a decent vacation. Between work, kids school, family events and other activities, we’ve found it impossible to get away for more than a weekend trip getaway here and there. We finally bit the bullet and decided to head out to Disney World this fourth of July Holiday.

We headed out on Saturday and our primary concern was the heavy rainstorms predicted for our four day stay at Disney World.  We flew out in the morning and arrived around noon at Orlando International Airport.   I was extremely pleased with Disney’s luggage pickup and delivery service.   Disney essentially grabs your luggage for you and delivers it to your room.  No need to wait at baggage claim!

We didn’t rent a car for this trip since we knew we could get free transfers to and from the airport through Disney.  We checked in rather quickly and were on our way within minutes!   The bus ride from the airport to our hotel took approximately 30 minutes.   The only complaint we had is that the bus makes a stop or two before getting you to your hotel.  Our bus stopped first at the Polynesian Hotel then took us to our hotel, the Grand Floridian.


We weren’t sure how much money we were going to end up paying for this trip.  Since we booked at the last minute, we simply booked an Expedia package that included Air & Hotel at the Floridian.  The cost for the trip so far had been $3500 but when we checked in, we realized the price tag would be much higher.   First, the hotel asked if we wanted to leave a credit card for “incidentals.”  Disney offers a credit card like card which serves as your room key, park entrance, and “charge” card.  We agreed to a revolving line and the clerk quickly authorized $1500!

We didn’t think anything of it but by the end of the trip, we’d use a little over $1500 in Disney charges during our stay.

After getting settled, we decided to head out to our first park, Epcot Center.   The kids were excited about riding the monorail so we headed upstairs to board the magnetic train.


I had visited Disney World as a kid about 20 years ago and at the time, there were only two parks: Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center.  Back then, Epcot had cheesy animatronics talking about the “world of tomorrow”  and it hasn’t really changed much in those twenty years.

There were some new rides which were fun, Mission to Mars was Bart’s favorite as we rode that twice and wanted to go back for more but  we had to meet up with Marge & Lisa who were enjoying some of the kiddie activities.


The new entertainment attractions basically centered around popular movies like Nemo (see pictures below) and perhaps that’s my primary complaint with Epcot and Disney, the “creativity” factor has gone away and has been replaced with “consumerism popularity” and “merchandising” far too much.

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The rides that did have some creativity were all booked solid.  We desperately wanted to get on Soarin but there was a 90 minute wait time.  Epcot (and the other parks) have “Fast Pass” access which allow you to get a ticket for faster entry but this ride wasn’t issuing any more Fast Passes so we were bummed.


We ate our first meal in “Canada” at Epcot center.  We were so tired and hungry from our travel and first park visit that we simply decided to stop at the closest restaurant which happened to be a Canada themed restaurant.   I had New York Strip steak and Marge had some pork chops, the food was quite good but as soon as we got the tab, we realized the $1500 authorization would be “eaten” up rather quickly.  Our tab for dinner for two was $80!  We had spent another $10 buying chicken nuggets for the kids at a kiosk a few minutes earlier so the entire cost of the food for a half day was almost $100!

After a few hours, we decided to head back to get some rest.