Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 2 – Monday 12/03/12: Shark Food

My cough kept me up part of the night and we woke up later than I would’ve liked.  Epcot was the plan today because on our last trip in ’89, we ate at Coral Reef.  I was never a big seafood person, but I learned I like shrimp there.  For this trip when we were making plans and thinking about making advanced dining reservations (ADR) Coral Reef was one we wanted to eat at for nostalgic reasons mainly.  So back on the Monorail we went.

WDW TR-43 – our building at the Poly

WDW TR-44 WDW TR-45 – views from the Monorail

WDW TR-46 WDW TR-47 – at the entrance to Epcot

We knew we had our lunch ADR at Coral Reef fairly soon, but hadn’t eaten breakfast so we made our way to The Land for a small snack at Sunshine Seasons, just so we wouldn’t be completely starving until lunch.  Soaring already had a 40 minute wait and we ride that pretty regularly at Disneyland so neither of us wanted to wait that long to ride.  Living with the Land had a wait of about 25 minutes so we decided to wait on that for now as well.

WDW TR-48 WDW TR-49 – outside and inside of the Land pavilion

I knew Epcot was a big park, so I didn’t want to go too far away from the restaurant and have to walk all the way back, so we made our way to The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion.  The Nemo ride said it had a 10 minute wait.  Which I learned at Disney World just means it will take you 10 minutes to walk through the queue and make your way to the ride.  The queue was very neat though, so it wasn’t a total waste.  The ride was okay.  After we found Nemo we headed over to Coral Reef to check in even though we were about a half hour early.  They ended up seating us after about a 10 minute wait and while we weren’t seated right next to the aquarium, we were the second closest tables to it.  So we had a good view during our lunch.  Not being a seafood eater really, I ordered the New York Strip and Moms ordered the Coral Reef Lobster Orecchiette Pasta, think of it as an adult mac and cheese with lobster.  Both of us really liked what we ordered.  Mom’s birthday, so after our food they brought at a Chocolate Wave for her.  If I remember correctly, it was a chocolate lava cake served with a scoop of raspberry gelato.  The combination of the two was fantastic.  It was a really great lunch and the action in the aquarium made it even better.

WDW TR-50 WDW TR-51 – outside and inside the Coral Reef Restaurant

WDW TR-52 – my New York strip steak

WDW TR-53 – Moms Lobster pasta dish

WDW TR-54 – the Chocolate Wave (everything on the plate was edible)

At this point Moms decided to take a break and go back to the room.  I had overheard some talk about Test Track 2.0 being open for a soft opening and wanted to check that out.  The night before when we left Epcot, the Monorail was closed and they sent us to the bus stop to take a bus back.  Moms being on her own to leave went back to the bus stop because that was the way she knew how to leave, and I told her she could do that rather than explain to her to take the Monorail back to the TTC and then transfer to the resort line.  The thing I never really thought about in planning the trip was since we were staying at a Monorail hotel, we couldn’t use the buses to get to and from those parks serviced by the Monorail.  Since we used the bus last night, I thought we could.  Moms couldn’t.  They told her the buses from Epcot only go to Magic Kingdom hotels if the Monorail is down.  Eventually she got back to the room, with a little more of an adventure than she planned for.  Test Track wasn’t around during our previous trip, so it was one of the rides I was looking forward to.  The stand-by wait was 40 minutes, so I got in the single rider line.  Test Track has you in a car to go through the various tests they perform on cars.  Handling, safety, performance are all tested.  In this new version you are given a RFID card when you enter the line and in line there are computers you use to create your own car.  I found out later that the single rider/fastpass lines only get to choose a couple of different presets in the design phase.  You tap the RFID card to the computer to store it on there and then right before you hop on the ride you tap it again to tie you into that vehicle.  As the ride goes through the various tests you see how your car was scored along with the other people in your vehicle.  I liked that aspect of the ride, but found most of the testing part, aside from the high-speed run, pretty lackluster.  Being sponsored by Chevrolet, when you exit there’s a host of new Chevy vehicles for you to look at and get your picture taken with.  I understand Radiator Springs Racers (RSR) in California Adventure uses a similar ride mechanic and vehicle, and I love that.  I think the non-thrill ride part of Test Track wasn’t as good as RSR, but it was still fun.

WDW TR-55 – entrance to Test Track

Upon exiting I thought I’d get my astronaut on.  Mission: Space was another ride that wasn’t here on our last trip.  I wasn’t sure if I could handle the more thrilling orange side, so I opted for the shorter lined green side.  On the ride there are four stations and each person is given a “task” to do to successfully complete the mission.  You don’t really have to do anything though.  I ended up in a capsule by myself so I was trying to do all the jobs.  It was fun.  I definitely enjoyed my mission to Mars.

WDW TR-56 – blasting off to Mars

I walked around a bit taking photos and then left (via the Monorail) to join Moms at the hotel.

WDW TR-57 – a general shot of how much space there is

WDW TR-58 – one of the many flower beds

WDW TR-59 – Ellen’s Universe of Energy

WDW TR-60 – fountain in Future World

WDW TR-61 – Christmas tree and dome

WDW TR-62 – World Showcase panorama

WDW TR-63 WDW TR-64 WDW TR-65 WDW TR-66 – countries of the World Showcase

WDW TR-67 -small Christmas tree

WDW TR-68 WDW TR-69 – the dome close-ups

WDW TR-70 – Stitch topiary

WDW TR-71 – Magic Kingdom from the TTC

WDW TR-72 – design on one of the buildings at the Poly

After a couple hours break, we went down to the boat dock to catch a boat to Magic Kingdom.  I thought the Monorail to Epcot was great, but the boats from the MK area hotels to the park is even better.  We were both pretty hungry so the first order of business was finding food.

WDW TR-73 – the entrance

WDW TR-74 WDW TR-75 – some shots of Main Street

WDW TR-76 WDW TR-77 WDW TR-78 WDW TR-79 WDW TR-80 – Cinderella’s Castle from a variety of viewpoints

That castle though.  Such a beautiful sight, we were distracted slightly from our mission.  As a Disneyland regular, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is great, but I definitely have castle envy now.  Eventually we broke ourselves of the spell the castle put us under and made our way to Columbia Harbour House for dinner.  Moms and I both had the fish and chicken nuggets plate.  The food was okay and did it’s job of satiating our appetites.

WDW TR-81 WDW TR-82 – outside and inside of Columbia Harbour House

WDW TR-83 – chicken and fish plate

After dinner we were right next to the Haunted Mansion, so we got in the interactive queue line and rode that.  The ride itself has some added scenes compared to Disneyland and I enjoyed it a lot.  Moms proclaimed it the “best Haunted Mansion ride ever”.  Haunted Mansion is near Fantasyland so we headed to Moms’ favorite ride, Peter Pan’s Flight.  I didn’t notice any big changes, but Moms said she liked the Disneyland version better.  When we got off Wishes, their nighttime fireworks show, had started.  It was kind of surreal to be behind the castle during the fireworks with them going off all around you.  You don’t get the best view of the show, but it was a great spot to watch from.  I don’t know why I didn’t set up my tripod unfortunately.


Mickey’s Philharmagic was next, mainly because it’s something we don’t have on the left coast and I’ve heard good things about the show.  We both really liked it a lot.

WDW TR-86 WDW TR-87 – in the gift shop upon exiting Philharmagic

I took some more castle photos and then we made our way to New Fantasyland to ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.  This is one we both like at California Adventure and the queue in Disney World is amazing.  This was another ride with a 10 minute wait, that really meant it will take you 10 minutes to get to the front.

WDW TR-88 – sword in the stonel, castle in the background

WDW TR-89 – Prince Charming Regal Carousel

WDW TR-90 WDW TR-91 – exterior of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

After our second undersea adventure of the day, Moms had enough and decided to leave.  Today was the only day during our trip Magic Kingdom would be open past 7, plus there were Extra Magic Hours until 2 if I remember correctly.  I took some more photos of the castle before making my way to Tomorrowland.


WDW TR-93 – Cinderella fountain


Disneyland’s Tomorrowland is an area I feel needs a huge refurbishment of the entire land.  Disney World’s Tomorrowland gets huge points for not having a wasted Peoplemover track running through the middle of it, plus it feels more cohesive to me.  Space Mountain was my first stop.  Not having the Space Mountain dome on top of another building makes it seem so much more impressive in size.  It was pretty interesting to see the video games you could play while waiting in line.  I knew the ride vehicles were single-file compared to Disneyland’s side-by-side vehicles, but it felt more cramped to me.  Maybe it was because my foot got caught by my backpack when I sat down and I was in a semi-uncomfortable position the whole time.  I prefer the Disneyland version.  This one reminded me of Goofy’s Sky School at California Adventure, plus the lack of a soundtrack during the ride makes it less exciting to me.

WDW TR-101 – Space Mountain dome

WDW TR-95 – video games in Space Mountain queue

WDW TR-96 WDW TR-97 – scenes as you exit the ride

To whom it may concern at Disneyland,

Bring back the Peoplemover!



The Tomorrowland Transit Authority, aka Peoplemover, was next on my list.  It’s great.  It’s neat that you can catch a glimpse into a couple of rides and see them from a different perspective, but it’s also a nice relaxing place to sit and get off your feet.

WDW TR-100

WDW TR-98 – Peoplemover vehicle

WDW TR-99 – view of the castle from the Peoplemover

WDW TR-102 – another castle shot, this time with the funky metal trees in Tomorrowland

I was starting to get tired, but figured I had enough energy to hit some rides in Adventureland before I left.  Of course I took more photos of the castle on my way.  Castle envy is serious and I have an appointment with a doctor next week for treatment.

WDW TR-103

WDW TR-104 – me with my Disneyland Glow-with-the-Show ears on

I enjoy the Jungle Cruise when you have a good skipper.  The corny jokes are right up my alley.  This ride had a very good skipper.  There’s some added scenes compared to the Disneyland version, and I liked it a lot as well.  I thought I would constantly be lost and feel that nothing was where it was supposed to be in Magic Kingdom before we left.  That didn’t end up happening, except when trying to make my way to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (BTMRR).  I got a little lost trying to get out of the Agrabah themed Adventureland.  Eventually I found my way and was able to ride BTMRR with only a 10 minute wait.  Despite hating this ride in ’89, it’s become my favorite ride at Disneyland.  This version was very good as well.  I especially enjoyed the view of the castle during some of the lifts.

WDW TR-105 – Big Thunder Mountain

After riding a runaway mine cart I started to make my way to the exit.  I was passing by Pirates of the Caribbean and since there was no wait, I went in.  This is another ride at Disney World with a fantastic exterior and queue.  The ride itself is shorter than the Disneyland version, because it doesn’t have the opening scene and drop, but the rest is pretty similar.  You also exit before the final lift and take a moving escalator up and directly into the gift shop.

WDW TR-109 – exterior of Pirates

WDW TR-106 – entrance of Pirates

WDW TR-107 WDW TR-108 – some of the queue

By the time I got off, it was past midnight.  Though my day in the park was still going on, it’s technically the end of day 2, so I must end for now.  Tomorrow, a pattern starts to emerge, plus I make a mistake that puts us behind again in the morning.



Link to Day 1

Link to Day 3


One thought on “Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 2 – Monday 12/03/12: Shark Food

  1. Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 1 – Sunday 12/02/12: 23 Years in the Making | Utini!

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