SEGWAY tour around the World Showcase at EPCOT

My wife surprised me on our trip to Disney last week with a tour around EPCOT on a Segway transport. I had seen people riding these around on previous trips and commented on how fun it looked. I was excited to finally get a chance to ride one.

My day started early, as the tour began at 8:30am. I walked from the Beach Club Resort to the back entrance of EPCOT before the park opened. Once inside, I headed over to guest relations to sign in. It was odd walking through the park before any guests were there. The only people around were a few gardeners and some maintenance workers. After I checked in and signed a quick liability release, we walked with our guide over to the training area at Innovations West. We started by picking out our helmets and watching a short video on some safety features. Once that was over, our guide rolled out a SEGWAY and showed us how to turn it on, how to get on and off, and how to make it move. Then, we each got to practice ourselves.

SEGWAY tour at EPCOT

Getting on was easy enough. Just hold it level until you see a green light (you will see red lights if it’s not level) and step on one foot at a time. It’s a little shaky at first, but it really only takes about 5 or 10 seconds to get the hang of it. A computer and gyros in the base help to stabilize it and your body movement forward or backward makes it move in that direction. It’s very sensitive and only takes a small amount of leaning to make it move. The sensors under your feet feel every move you make and react in that direction. To make it turn. You lean the bar in the direction you want to turn. If it sounds difficult, it really isn’t. There were six adults and two teenagers in our group and we all picked it up easily.

After our training session inside, we headed out to the park for a trip around the World Showcase. Along the trip, we stopped in several of the countries where our instructor gave us a little information on the country and also took us through some ‘challenge’ courses. We rode down a ramp in China, through the miniature train village next to Germany, in and out of the columns in Italy, and through France. Half way around, we had some free time to ride around within a coned-off area and have our pictures taken by the lake. Once we got back to Future World, we had to weave through people, as the park had opened while we were on our ride.

My daughter was bummed that she couldn’t take the tour, but you have to be 16 or older to ride. There is also a weight limit for riding, which is 100-250 pounds.

If you ever get the chance to take this tour, I highly recommend it. It is a two hour tour, including the instruction time. The SEGWAY is easy to ride, and I can’t think of a better place to ride than at the Walt Disney World resort.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® Family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

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The Many Benefits of Character Dining

To feed off last week’s blog on Crystal Palace and why I am such a fan of Character dining, I thought I would explain in more detail. I am a big fan of time management; using my time the most efficiently yet still having an incredibly good time and still being flexible. I find by being a time manager, I am able to be more flexible, if that makes sense.

My kids have always beenvery big into the Characters when traveling to Disney destinations. Next to being on a Disney Cruise Line® ship, there is only one other way to have a unique meeting experience with the characters. That is through character dining, where the characters take the time to interact with members of your dining party.  You won’t feel rushed in getting the photo and autograph and it is all done in a good atmosphere. You’re not out in the hot sun, you’re not hungry, and you’re not at the end of a seemingly endless line of people.

The time management part of me is two-fold. We have to eat, but we we would also like to see the characters. Why not do them together so we can quickly get back to the parks, rides, shows, and attractions?  While they are eating, the kids are able to see, interact, and get photos and autographs of their favorite characters. This can be a nice break during the day or a magical beginning to a day at the parks.

Everyone wants to see the Fab 5 (Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto). A great place to do this is at Chef Mickey for breakfast or dinner. You will typically see all these guys there (characters are always subject to change) and it’s right off the monorail, either on your way to or back from the Magic Kingdom® Park. As I mentioned before, a favorite spot of mine is the Crystal Palace restaurant in the Magic Kingdom® Park, which is where you will find all of the Pooh Characters. If you can, make an early reservation so you will be able to enter the park ahead of the regular crowd. This will also let you experience the Main Street, USA® Area virtually to yourself as you walk to an early breakfast before the park opens.

There are many options when it comes to character dining. The hottest ticket is Cinderella’s Royal Table, which takes place in Cinderella’s castle.  Here, you dine with princesses in a magical setting, creating an unforgettable event for any young child. Can’t get in? No worries, there are plenty of other options to meet the princesses.  I have been twice to Norway’s Akershus restaurant located in the Epcot® World Showcase. The breakfast there is wonderful and the experience with the Princesses is a little more interactive. Their breakfast and lunch menus both have traditional Nordic food, but for those with finicky children, the breakfast menu did include some American fare food.

In summary, there are many benefits to character dining, such as time management, personal interaction, and unforgettable memories. And remember, if you are on the dining plan, these meals will only count as one table service (subject to change).

So sit back, put the camera and autograph books on the table, and let the kids have a blast while you grab that extra cup of coffee.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resort and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-800-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

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Epcot®, by Kid Expert Nattie, Age 10

EPCOT®
Epcot is awesome!!!!! It’s based on the future, inventions, and countries around the world. Some people say it’s only for parents and that kids would get bored in the first 5 minutes but that’s not true. Epcot has fun for all ages. There are Kidcot Fun Stops, rides, and much, much, more. Different countries are placed in the World Showcase. Each country has natives from there that you can ask questions about anything there! You can decorate masks with markers at each country and when you are finished you can show off your style of imagination. Just remember, do a little at each country so you will have room!

Test Track, MISSION:Space, Soarin’, and Living with the Land are just some of the things that are available outside of the World Showcase. My dad and I personally like them all. My mom and sister aren’t too big on the whole “going on tough rides”. We recently found Living with the Land in the same building as Soarin’, which is really neat! There is a green house with bananas, ginger, asparagus, and more plants that we use every day. Most of the foods you eat at the restaurants in Epcot are grown in the green house in Living with the Land. If I had to sum Epcot into one sentence I would say, “Fun School!”

Written by our Kid Expert, Nattie. Check out more of what she has to say as well as more tips and tricks at her Kid’s Only Site.
http://www.themouseexperts.com

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resort and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-800-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.