After spending something like 14 hours at the Magic Kingdom on Sunday, we weren't sure what Monday would hold. We were sort of playing each day "by ear" and waiting to see what the weather would do. Our friends' middle son came down with a painful ear infection (as opposed to the infections that feel good, I guess) and needed to see a doctor right away on Monday morning. Not that we were happy he had an infection, but this gave the rest of us a chance to sleep in a little. We came up with a plan to have an early lunch at the resort and then head to Epcot for the afternoon/evening.
I loved Epcot. The first thing I noticed was: they sell beer there (no alcohol is sold at the Magic Kingdom). I didn't buy anything to drink at Epcot, but wondered if this is why adults seem to love Epcot more than kids do. Speaking of what Disney sells and where, did you know that Disney does not sell gum at any of its properties? I'm assuming it's because they don't want you leaving wads of chewed-up Trident all over their shit. It's probably for the best.
Epcot doesn't have as many rides as the other parks, but there was plenty to do. Our daughter particularly enjoyed an attraction called "Turtle Talk with Crush" where the turtle from "Finding Nemo" talks to the audience (he's a cartoon, though - not live action). I was really impressed with a lot of the special effects at Disney. We rode a Finding Nemo ride where they project Nemo and his friends into a live aquarium (so that the cartoon fish were right next to . . . real fish). I dunno - maybe I just have a low thrill threshold! We also enjoyed a simulated ride called "Soarin.'" We visited several of the countries in the World Showcase. My favorite attraction at Epcot was the manatee tank. Disney takes in manatees that need rehabilitation and eventually releases them, making room for more manatees in need. I noticed that the two manatees in the tank had seriously compromised tail paddles (sliced off by recreational watercraft of some type, I imagine). And then finally, we stayed at Epcot for the closing light show and fireworks.
Oh, and one other note. I thought there was a firm "no crying at Disney" policy but let me tell you - there is crying and plenty of it. Not necessarily by the kids in our group, although they had a few moments of dissatisfaction, too, but I witnessed some spectacular meltdowns in other families. I saw one kid get spanked in a gift shop at Epcot. I saw another little girl get hauled into the stroller parking area and placed on a cement ledge while her father advised her, loudly and in no uncertain terms, that her lack of gratitude would NOT be tolerated. I yanked my kid out of a line to meet Chip and Dale because she was complaining that our friends' kids had sweet tarts and she didn't (never mind that I had a whole backpack full of treats and snacks for her - they just weren't SWEET TARTS, fer cryin' out loud). I warned her about 97 times and then snapped and told her she would NOT be meeting any chipmunks that day. She sat on a bench and cried while our friends went through the line and hung out with Chip and Dale. Oh, and while she was wallowing in self-pity, she uttered this dramatic little gem: "If you don't love me, why don't you just sell me!" First off, we are still paying on our adoption loan and there's no way we'd even consider selling her until that's paid off. Second, the market for uber-talkative little girls who refuse to walk at Disney World and force their fathers to carry them instead . . . is pretty soft right now.
On Tuesday, we skipped the parks and headed to Daytona Beach. My friend Lisa lives in that neck of the woods, so she and her husband joined us. They brought their three children as well. Despite the risk of sunburn that the beach brings me, I do love to bounce around in the waves. A day at the beach soothes the soul, I tell you (at least two of my friends are reading this right now and thinking, "Oh, c'mon, she has no soul!") The kids had a lot of fun digging in the sand and convincing themselves that they were doing stuff with sand and water that no other kid in the history of time had ever thought of before.
A few more photos: