After "Mission Space" we met up with Randee's sister Merryl and her girls: Megan and Lauren. We headed for
the "Universe of Energy" where we got to see "Ellen," "Alex" and "Bill Nye The Science Guy" (Bill! Bill!). Nothing new to report here, but we always seem to enjoy this one. We went on to "The Seas" followed by "The Land" where we had lunch.
Other than "Soarin'" (which we rode later, during our Extra Magic Hours), both Land and Sea were pretty disappointing. "The Seas" now seems to be much more geared toward younger visitors (way pre-teen). I remember there being more scientific information available in the past. The boat ride in "The Land" was pretty useless. The last time we went to WDW, there was a cast member riding along with us, explaining what was what and answering questions. This time, we were on our own except for a few pre-recorded blurbs here and there.
After lunch, we headed for "Test Track" which is always fun. We rode again during the Extra Magic Hours, but I took a video clip for our first ride. On the way out, Eric found the car he wants when he turns 17 in January. If he can pay for it, he can have it!
The rest of the daylight hours were spent roaming around the World Showcase. We rode the "River of Time" (another attraction modified down to the way pre-teen level, sigh) and the Maelstrom. We saw Chinese Acrobats and found "Hidden Mickeys" and wandered around until about dinner time, when Merryl and the girls headed back to their hotel. The four of us then had dinner at the "Rose and Crown" where we had lagoon-side seats for the nightly "Illuminations" light and fireworks show. The food was great and we had a great view of the show. If you'd like to watch the show while enjoying some typical British fare, I highly recommend that you make reservations at the Rose and Crown for dinner - and be sure to tell them that you'd like outside seating to watch the fireworks.
We ended the night with a ride on Soarin' which involved almost an hour waiting on line. The wait was worth it (just like it was last time). To keep you amused while you're waiting, they have an interactive wall that allows the crowd to move various animated objects and animals back and forth across the wall. If you wave your arms to the right and your shadow moves into an object, the object moves to the right. The same goes for left, up, and down. They have a number of different games they run, alternating them such that you (hopefully) don't end up playing the same game twice while you're waiting. The ride itself is pretty spectacular. You sit in a "car" in a row of 6 or 8 seats, all facing a large curved screen. Your car gets lifted into the air so that your feet are dangling (don't wear flip-flops!) and all you can see is the screen. They then play an iMax-like movie while blowing you with a gentle breeze, appropriately scented for the area over which you are flying. You almost wish it could go on forever. This one is a definite for Fastpass. I honestly wouldn't mind riding this 2 or 3 times.
I have pictures from this trip over at flickr, with the Epcot pics starting here.
UPDATE 2008/01/04: I originally posted this from my Blackbery using IMified early morning on day 3 as a placeholder post to be fleshed out when I got a net connection better than my Blackberry (and I wasn't ready to just collapse onto the bed :-) ).