Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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The Bahamas, USA (East Coast), Canada 2013
(20 Sep 2013 - 15 Oct 2013)

 

Day 11

(Part 2/2)

Orlando - Disney's Epcot (30 Sep 2013)

 

 




For Part 1 of the blog, click here.


Without further ado, we proceeded to Epcot, sixth most visited theme park in the world, dedicated to the celebration technological innovation and international culture. In fact, Epcot is often referred to as a "Permanent World's Fair". Epcot is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a Utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney. Epcot is twice the size of Magic Kingdom Park and is divided into Future World and World Showcase. Every Spring (Mar – May), Epcot features the International Flower and Garden Festival where dazzling gardens sprouts. There’s themed flowers, garden displays, topiary displays of Disney characters and various sculpted character shrubs! If only we can visit Epcot during Spring which is quite impossible for me as Mar-May is my peak period for work L

Vance: Don't worry Fiona, I will get a representative for you; I can always bring my Mistress here during Spring Break! Woo! *Joking lah*

Photos for this remaining blog entry are arranged according to their respective themes.


Future World East
 
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Future World
serves as Epcot’s main entrance and features the park's iconic landmark, a large geodesic sphere structure which houses a themed attraction (Spaceship Earth) inside. Taking 26 months to build, "the giant golf ball" stands towering over the entrance to the park eliciting awe from most guests who visit. There's a whole bunch of fast facts about this huge ball. For e.g. Water almost never drips off the sphere. Spaceship Earth's drainage system absorbs rainwater into gutters and then funnels run off through underground channels all the way out to World Showcase Lagoon. Coolz!

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Spaceship Earth is a 15-mins dark ride takes guests on a time machine-themed experience, demonstrates to guests how advancements in human communication have helped to create the future one step at a time. Passengers journey back in time to witness the origins of prehistoric man, then travel forward in time to witness important breakthroughs in communication throughout history—from the invention of the alphabet to the creation of the printing press to today's modern communication advancements, including telecommunication and mass communication.

At the beginning of the ride, the camera in front of the seat takes riders' pictures (using facial recognition technology) which are used at the end of the ride to conduct an interactive experience about the future of technology, featuring the riders' faces on animated characters and narration.

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Visitors are then asked where in our Spaceship Earth they live; this is used in the post-show area where a map of the world is displayed with the riders' faces shown where they live. Towards the end of the ride, visitors can enter information into the screen in front of them, detailing the kind of future they would like to see. Lastly, riders are presented with a video showing their personalised future which are emailed to riders (FOC). Here our desired future! J



Vance: This is cool right?!

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Next, we went separately (Single riders) for Test Track, where guests get to design their own car in the Chevrolet Design Studio (pre-show Area).

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At the pre-ride area, you see prototype vehicles from Chevrolet, very sleek and cool design.

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Then riders board a "Sim-Car" (6-passenger ride vehicles) and are taken through the "digital" testing ground of the "SimTrack". Throughout the ride, guests see how their designs performed in 4 main tests (capability, efficiency, responsiveness and power). Spoilers : Expect rain/snow projection, car skidding out of control, sharp turns, lighting bolt, sudden acceleration and much more. After the ride, guests can see how their car did overall, film a commercial, and race their designs. The speed of the car ride is somehow similar to Radiator Springs Racers in Disneyland California Adventure Park.

Vance: This is actually the "Father" of the Radiator Springs Racers! Car nuts will love the ability to customize the car and put it into action as a ride!



Leaving the "Sim Track", guests move into the post show area, where they now have the opportunities to take part in several interactive experiences. First, a huge video screen allows guests to scan their RFID card and see how they stack up against other designers with the performance scores of the vehicles.

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Our designs compared and yes, I've won! :P


Next is the opportunity to create a Chevrolet commercial, featuring the very car that was previously created in the design studio (before the Test Track ride). A digital driving table allows guests to actually drive a mini version of their car around a track against other guests - again all using the performance characteristics that were designed in the vehicle back in the studio.

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In addition, there are green-screen photo opportunities with Chevrolet concept vehicles, and also the chance to see a range of current Chevy vehicles in the Chevrolet Showroom. Here's our photos taken with the Chevrolet concept vehicles J

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Chevrolet was selling their 2014 Camaro 2SS Convertible at Epcot. Total vehicle cost with all options thrown in @ US$53,630, which is really affordable (by Singapore's standards)!

Vance: Actually a if you get a Toyota Corolla in Singapore (in Mid 2014), you could get just about TWO Camaro 2SS Convertible in States!

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Next, we visited the Vision House, a show home exhibit that highlights the very best in green residential design and sustainable living. Visitors leave with a greater understanding of green design, technology and products as well as a host of sustainable living ideas that they can incorporate in their home.


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These are real cranberries! Cast members in waders stand knee-deep in the colourful bog, demonstrating how rakes are used to turn the fruit during wet harvesting. Cranberries actually grow on long vines in marshy areas, not underwater as some people might think. The night before the harvest, growers flood the area with up to 18 inches of water. Then, they use the rake-like tools to loosen the cranberries, and the fruit floats to the surface.


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Our Disney FastPass #1 for the day were utilised on Mission: SPACE, a motion simulator thrill ride that simulates what an astronaut might experience aboard a spacecraft on a mission to Mars. We were turned into astronaut as we blasted into space without leaving Earth! Choose between Orange Team and Green Team and obviously we chose the Orange Team for a more intense journey. The Orange team is very intense with spinning, higher g force and more forceful rocking. So hang on, buckle up, and go for launch!
TIPS
: If you're going to do the intense version, do not ride it right immediately after your meal! Unless you like to be Singapore's icon 'Merlion' :P



At the post-show area of Mission: Space, guests are able to send a “Postcard from Space” via email. It’s a fun little animated postcard with different scenes to choose from inserting riders into an animated outer space background. Check out our postcard from space (below) for your amusement :P




Future World West

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Our Disney FastPass #2 were utilised on
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
ride. Board a “clamobile” and follow the Finding Nemo characters through an aquarium on a quest to find Nemo!

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The 3 seagulls who periodically squawk “Mine Mine Mine”. Certainly hope to see them in Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory!


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Turtle Talk With Crush – A live interactive show with Crush the Turtle. Using state-of-the-art computer graphics, “real time” animation was achieved that allowed Crush to carry on live conversations with theater guests via a “window” into the tank which is quite entertaining for both kids and adults.


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Our last Disney FastPass #3 were utilised on Living with the Land, a slow-moving boat ride where the focus is on agriculture, especially new technology to make agriculture more efficient and environmentally friendly.








 World Showcase

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The most significant and the main reason to visit Epcot would be the World Showcase, where countries like Mexico, Norway, China, Germany etc are showcased and contained in Epcot. This place is like a mini world's fair or world expo, where international cultures and customs are exchanged and significant pavilions from around the world are set up here. We would like to mention that World Showcase is also a well known shopper’s paradise in the whole world, and it has more than 35 stores.


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The Singapore Pavilion was spotted in World Showcase but do not be fooled as dishes like Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice & "Singa" Sauce (US$4.25) and Lemongrass Chicken Curry with Coconut & Jasmine Rice (US$3.75) are definitely NOT Singapore's signatures. Disney should have consulted Gordon Ramsay on his battle with the Singapore Hawkers in Jul 2013. Comforting to know that at least the beverages, Tiger Beer & Singapore Sling and truly "Uniquely Singapore".

Vance: But hey, at least we are featured in DisneyLand right? :)


World Showcase (Mexico)

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Vance: Hey Fiona, that Rainbow colour hat looks good on you! Under the hot sun, I could get some shelter too by standing next to you! :P

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When you're looking for a ride where you can rest your weary feet for a few mins, head over to the Mexico Pavilion and hop on this 7 mins boat ride, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, that takes guests on an adventure through Mexico as Jose Carioca and Panchito try to find their missing amigo, Donald Duck.


World Showcase (Norway)

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The Maelstrom is a Viking boat voyage where guests board a 10th century style Viking warrior ship and are quickly dispatched up the flume's lift hill where they will find adventure and peril. Upon reaching the top of the hill, riders find themselves surrounded by Vikings and other seafarers, showing the importance of the sea in Norway's history. The boats continue the journey into an enchanted swamp where two rather ornery trolls cast a spell on the boats as punishment for trespassing on their land. The spell cast by the trolls causes the boats to spin around and suddenly guests find themselves floating backward past penguins and a 10-foot-tall polar bear. And then, the boat stops at the edge of a waterfall - and if you're standing outside the ride you can see the backside of the boats - before plunging down the 28-foot flume into the stormy North Sea. After passing "dangerously" close to an oil rig, the Viking boat end up in the calm safety of the harbour and then disembark the ride in a quaint Norwegian village.

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Guests can choose to stay in the adjacent theater and watch a quick 5-min film, The Spirit of Norway, or they can walk through the theater and end up in the gift shop, where they'll find the giant troll which is a perfect place to take a picture!


World Showcase (China)

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 The replica of the Temple of Heaven (literally the Altar of Heaven) 天坛. Inside the replica is the pre-show area for the 14 min show, Reflections of China where guest gets a chance to take a cinematic tour of ancient and modern China (But be prepared to stand throughout the show). Li Bai 李白 (a Tang Dynasty poet who came out with the famous poem “A Quiet Night Thought” 靜夜思 aka “床前明月光…”) is the tour guide for this film. He will take you down the Huangpu River, Shanghai, Yangtze River, Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia, Great Wall of China, Hong Kong, and Beijing's Forbidden City and so much more.

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Don't forget to visit the Tomb Warriors Guardian Spirits of Ancient China located in the China Pavilion, where you'll find a miniature recreation of the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇), which is the single largest archeological find in the world.
 
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Disney Princess Mulan, which is quite weird for us as we (Chinese) know that Hua Mulan 花木兰 is a legendary figure from ancient China who took her aged father's place in the army. She was never a princess (in this legend) to begin with.

Vance: Actually hor... This is the most legendary character, ever, but... I have never seen any little girls wanting to be a Princess _anywhere_ wanting to dress like Mulan... what happened?!?!

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We had lunch at Lotus Blossom Café. The menu is very reminiscent of Panda Express, but with Disney prices. Definitely a great place for us as we were sick of burgers, pizza and pastas by now.

Vance: And as usually, 1 Side and 1 Main fills the 2 of us nicely :)



World Showcase (Germany/Italy/Morocco)

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There are no rides/shows here in Germany, Italy and Morocco. But there's plenty of restaurants here.


World Showcase (The American Adventure)

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Housed inside this mansion is The American Adventure which is a 30-mins show that takes guests through the history of the United States. While you're waiting to enter the theater for The American Adventure show, be treated to the super talented Voices of Liberty performance group. This a cappella group that sings American patriotic songs for about 15 mins prior to the showing of The American Adventure.

Vance: And this is the most authentic part of the World Showcase I presume! (In America after all!)


World Showcase (Japan)

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The bright red torii gate of Japan reminded us of our visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine in 2008, which is famous for the countless torii gates.


[Throwback!]
See below video taken back then...



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Located in Japan is the Mitsukoshi Department Store, which is a retail wonderland. If you are looking for a traditional Japanese gift, this is the place to find it. The store features Japanese footwear, kimonos, anime items, Hello Kitty, and Japanese snacks.

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 There's also a "pick a pearl" tank where guests can choose a fresh oyster and purchase the pearl within.

Vance: I'm sorry, they don't serve the fresh oyster here :P


World Showcase (France)

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Watch Impressions de France in the France Pavilion. This 18-mins film is projected onto 5 screens, transport guests to the land of romance and fairy tales. Guests will 'visit' vineyards and several sites in Paris including the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées.

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Posing with Remy from the movie, Ratatouille.


World Showcase (United Kingdom)

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Join Winnie the Pooh and Tigger here in United Kingdom Pavilion for a willy nilly silly good time. Skipping the queue today as I have already met Pooh & Tigger yesterday at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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Don't forget to offer a hug and pose for a photograph here with the famous nanny (Mary Poppins) in United Kingdom Pavilion.


World Showcase (Canada)

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O Canada is a 18-mins (360 degree film similar to Reflections of China) narrated by Canadian actor Martin Short and takes guests on a tour of the large country of Canada. Guests "travel" to the famous Niagara Horseshoe Falls, Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec and Montreal. It was an exciting preview for us as we're visiting Toronto and Niagara Falls subsequently. From the film, we learned that Canada's famous exports were actually famous people like Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, James Cameron, Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Shania Twain, Michael Bublé and so much much more!

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Besides shopping, it's always fantastic to eat your way around World Showcase since there are 11 international pavilions more than enough to for the hungry traveller to explore and it probably takes all day long for one to try every snack out. We had Crispy Pork Belly served with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro + Seared Scallop with Ragout of Tomatoes, Peppers and Hearts of Palm from Brazil for dinner.
 
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 Not forgetting Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi with Caramelised Onions and Sour Cream from Poland.


illumiNations: Reflections of earth

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Behold the past, present and future of Earth at daily fireworks show at Epcot. With so many guests around the lagoon and some locations blocked by foliage and buildings, where are the prime locations for viewing this fireworks and laser light extravaganza? We decided to park ourselves between the Germany & Italy Pavilion. This is a popular spot with unobstructed views. So do arrive early because it fills up fast. The downside is that this place is towards the back of the lagoon (i.e. you would be caught walking with the crowds after the show).


What a long and tiring day! Looking forward to tomorrow where we will visit Disney's Hollywood Studios tomorrow!


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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!