Maybe not so poignant a beginning as the others, but like I said, I have to get to it before I forget all of the magical details.
We put Epcot off, not knowing what to expect. I had never been there and all of the literature I read indicated that it was the least stimulating (read: most boring) of the parks. Maybe it was because of our low expectations, but Epcot pretty much rocked.
(I recognize that if I keep saying "Disney was awesome!" I'm going to get my name removed from the credible reviewers list...but if I had found something bad to say, I would.)
Perhaps Epcot might have been less alluring back in the days when character greetings were taboo. But they aren't. So, pretty much, that's what we did. And Abby absolutely delighted in it. Ben was a good sport too. He had to meet a lot of princesses.
Sam and I coordinated a tag-team parenting strategy where one of us would take Ben on the "thrill rides" while the other of us would stand in line with Abby to meet whomever it was available. She wasn't picky. And she was perfectly content to meet whomever was in the shorter line. (For this, her parents were very grateful.)
This is the story of Epcot - in photos (but not exclusively because you know I love captions).
As we made our way around the World Showcase...
In France, Abby elected to pose by the topiary version of Belle because the live Belle was wearing her common blue dress with apron. Apparently, Abby can't be seen with princesses unless they're in evening-wear.
With the beautiful Aurora. (She really was pretty inside and out.)
In Morocco, both kids posed with Aladdin & Jasmine. (No, really, we made Ben do that. Hahahahaha. He got a lot of points from me for that. He's not usually such a good sport.) Ben said, "I didn't know Aladdin was from Morocco." Neither did I, kid. At Epcot, they just go with "close enough". I guess they didn't figure our little geography nerd would call them out on it.
In China, they met Mulan. At first sight, Ben exclaimed, "Who is that!?" Then he remembered that Mulan didn't always look like a boy.
In Future World, while Ben was off doing things like experiencing G-forces at Mission: Space, designing his own roller-coaster at the Sum of All Thrills, and collecting and disposing of virtual trash at Don't Waste It!, Abby met Vidia and Rosetta. (Rosetta was very chatty. I think it made Abby nervous.)
We were 2nd in line to meet Daisy Duck. (Meeting Daisy was almost not optional. We left her line at the Magic Kingdom in favor of eating lunch. That was not the choice Abby would have made and was very clear about it. No worries. We found Daisy at Epcot. phew!)
Stitch was next to Daisy, so when I asked Abby if she wanted to hug him, she said, "Sure." Just like that. See...told you she wasn't picky. . (She's never even seen Lilo & Stitch.)
Obviously this is Bolt, but from across-the-way, I thought it was the clock-wielding rabbit from Alice & Wonderland. Abby didn't care either way. "Sure."
The KidCot stops made the more-educational World Showcase a bit more exciting for the kids. They got to color a bear on a stick at each country with Sharpies (gasp! No, really...what as Epcot thinking!? Guess Crayola wasn't interested in sponsoring them?). They also collected a stamp from each country, kind of like a passport. A few of the countries wrote the kids' names in their languages. (That was super cool to me.)
Our favorite attraction (if you will) at Epcot wasn't really an attraction at all, but a retail store for Coca-Cola, Club Cool. If you've ever been to the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, you know that at the end of the tour, they let you sample cokes from all over the world (including the more popular flavors from the U.S.). Club Cool features only the lesser-known flavors from other countries, after all, that's the theme of Epcot, I think. They had a delicious ginger-ale that Sam and I enjoyed. Abby & Ben liked the Mezzo-Mix from Mexico which was an orange-cola. Beverly, the Italian option, was the talk of the place. It tasted like battery acid/cough syrup.
It left such a big impression on Ben that he traipsed all the way over to Italy to ask the stamp guy if he'd ever tried it, and if so, did he like it? He talked with the man for about a minute and returned to us. We asked him what he said and Ben said, "I don't know. I couldn't understand him."
Glad we did that. Now we'll never know. (Guess Ben gets his accent-interpreting skills from his mother.)
Epcot was a great break from the super-scary rides (according to Abby) of the other parks, but had enough rides to keep both kids thoroughly happy. Abby enjoyed (to our surprise) Test Track, and racing around the track at high speeds. She's so random.
Oh, one thing, the worst ride at all of the parks is found at Epcot. Journey into the Imagination with Figment. Sam and I just looked at each other and said, "huh?!" at the end. Feel free to skip it.
My other tip...definitely get a fastpass for Soarin' first thing in the morning. We all loved it. (But I wouldn't enjoy waiting in line for 80 minutes, and that happens fast.)
Epcot, check. We'll come again some day. That's a promise.