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Florida 2012 Journal – Epcot & Around the World Segway Tour at the World Showcase
February 26th, 2012 by Jessica

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Epcot & Around the World Segway Tour at the World Showcase

We woke up again at 6:00am and I was very, very sick.  I desperately needed medicine but nothing was open, and the front desk told us they couldn’t help.  I felt trapped with no car and no way to get help or medicine.  We waited for the concierge to open at 7:00am but they couldn’t help us either.  The mercantile opened at 7:30am and we rushed in to buy medicine but they were out of stock.  Apparently I was one of a million people at the park having allergy problems.

Epcot was our destination of the day and we waited for the bus to arrive.  It finally showed up at 7:50am.  We had expressed our concerns to the concierge and other cast members at getting to Epcot by 8:15am for our morning tour, none of whom told us it would be a problem to get there on time.  The bus stopped at Fort Wilderness first and didn’t drop us off at Epcot until 8:20am, five minutes after our tour check-in time.

Epcot's Spaceship Earth

Epcot's Spaceship Earth

For the Around the World Segway Tour at Epcot World Showcase, they told us to check in at Guest Relations.  We finally figured out how to get into the park early which was not evident, and ran to the Guest Relations at the park entry.  They promptly informed us to go to the other Guest Relations, which was located under Spaceship Earth.  By the time we ran to the other Guest Relations it was 8:30am.  I was sick, tired, angry and sweating, and overall really not having a good time.

Of course, we were informed that our Segway tour had already left.  When I commented that we had been trying to get to Epcot for more than an hour, the cast member asked where we were coming from.  I told him we were staying at the Wilderness Lodge, to which he responded, “It’s not possible to get here on time from the Wilderness Lodge.  Didn’t they tell you to take a taxi or drive here yourself?”  No, of course not.

All of the lucky stars in the universe then aligned, because two people somehow managed to arrive early for their 9:00am tour and had taken our two spots on the 8:30am tour.  We were then switched into their spots for the later tour.  I don’t know who they were, but I am incredibly thankful for their earliness.

The cast member signed us in for the 9:00am tour and told us to come back in about 15 minutes.  We wandered around the area under Spaceship Earth and found our Legacy Tile from our honeymoon in 2002 (West-2-C-15, lower right).  We then made our way back over to the correct Guest Relations for the start of our tour.

Getting our Helmets for the Segway Tour

Getting our Helmets for the Segway Tour

I’m not even kidding when I say that the Around the World Segway Tour at Epcot World Showcase was probably the most fun thing we did on our entire trip.  Andrew and I both loved it.  The tour started out at 9:00am inside the Segway Experience at Innoventions West.  We watched a video about the Segway and listened to our guide explain the safety features and the functionality of the units.  After about 20 minutes, we were ready to ride our Segways.

They took us outside the video room and to an open area where eight Segways were parked between small traffic cones.  The guide taught us one by one how to get on and balance on the unit.  Since I had been on a Segway once before, he had me go first.  Once he got the entire group safely onto the units, he had us get off and back on again.  Once we were all fairly comfortable with that process, the training began.

We ran several drills in our training area such as moving forward, turning circles in place, moving backwards and synchronizing our movements with those riders on either side of us.  We went forward, turn around, forward, turn around, forward, backwards, turn the other way, etc etc until we were all comfortable not hitting the cones around us.  Then we were split into two groups for the intermediate training.

One group of four moved over to the ramp training.  We were taught how to go uphill, turn a corner and then come back down safely.  We ran this drill multiple times in line going up, turning and coming back down the ramps.  Then we were moved over to the second station which was a slalom course through small traffic cones.  They were fairly close together, and we had to maneuver the Segways through the cones without knocking them over, falling off or running into any other Segway riders.

After a while he had us going faster and faster through the course until we were comfortable.  Then he switched to high speed riding in circles around the cones.  The goal was to go as fast as we could without running into the rider in front of us, yet still handing the corners well.  At this point, he started jumping out in front of us and making us stop hard without falling over.  He would yell things like “SQUIRREL!” or “SMALL CHILD!” to prepare us to stop very quickly.

After our intense training session was through which took about an hour, we were ready to go out Around the World at Epcot.  They took us out through the main doors through the Epcot Park which was open.  Our tour started out heading west past Imaginations towards the Showcase plaza.  We were then let in past the ropes into the World Showcase which was still closed to the public until 11:00am.

We started the World Showcase tour going past Mexico and Norway, stopping first in China.  We traversed some ramps in China and learned more about the area before moving on to Germany where we maneuvered through gardens with the miniature town.  The tour guide talked about how we always celebrate Octoberfest in Germany with beer and fun.  In Italy, we had an opportunity to slalom around the stone pillars which was a lot of fun.

Segway Tour Photo Opportunity

Segway Tour Photo Opportunity

We then stopped for a photo opportunity outside of Italy.  It was deemed a “free ride” area and we had a photo opportunity with a great shot of Spaceship Earth in the background.  The tour guide used our camera to take pictures of us, and we had a chance to video each other on the Segways and take a short break.

We rode to the American Adventure into the rose garden for another treacherous path and some bridges.  Then it was off to Japan where we traversed the bridges around the Temple and explored the area.  In Morocco we actually got to take the Segways into the rooms and go through the shopping areas and streets.  We learned about the doorways and the history of their size, as well as the fact that the Kingdom of Morocco actually wanted to be represented at Epcot.  The people of Morocco built the whole area to their exact specifications.

We stopped in France to discuss the forced perspective of the Eiffel Tower, then moved through the United Kingdom and Canada to complete the tour. We made our way through Epcot back to the Segway Experience at Innoventions West where the tour had began, and said goodbye to our Segways.  It was so much fun; I really wish we could have done it again the next day!

After our Segway tour, our moods were discernibly better than they had been in days.  We sat down to enjoy lunch at Le Cellier in Canada.  They sat us in the Alberta section of the restaurant, and explained that each area was named after a Province in Canada.  On the menu were treats like crab spinach gratin, cheddar soup, filet mignon with mushroom risotto, New York strip with cream cheese mashed potatoes, chocolate Moose and whiskey chocolate cake.  Andrew maintains that this was his favorite meal of the trip.  For the grand price of $102 plus an $18 tip, this lunch was incredible.

Test Track had quite a queue so we grabbed a fast pass, and then went over to face my ultimate fear: Mission Space Orange.  I had promised Andrew months before that I would ride it with him, but I had no way to know how sick I would be when I got there.  When we approached the ride, the cast member asked “More intense or less intense?” to which Andrew quickly replied, “We want Orange.”  As I longed for the Green card, we rushed into line and much to my dismay we discovered the wait was very short.

I was then inundated with warnings by multiple ride operators and signage to look straight ahead and keep my eyes open.  We were loaded into the ride and I had my eyes on the barf bags just in case.  I kept my eyes open, looked straight ahead the entire ride, and somehow managed not to throw up!  Andrew said that he can’t tell when the ride is spinning, but it was plain and clear to me exactly when it started and stopped spinning each time.

After the ride, I found myself having to sit down on the bench outside to prevent myself from getting very sick.  My ears were already plugged up from the allergy problems, and I’m prone to motion sickness anyway.  As it turned out, Mission Space Orange pretty much did me in for the remainder of the trip.  I was sick after every ride we tried from this point forward.

Coke Flavors Around the World

Coke Flavors Around the World

I finally got my bearings enough to walk again and we rode the Universe of Energy with Ellen DeGeneres.  It’s a nice slow ride that moves through different areas on a large movable theater car with about a hundred people per car.  Next we rode Test Track with our fast passes, and used our PhotoPass to get the only free ride photo. Afterwards, we then moseyed our way through the World of Coke tasting center and I had the distinct displeasure of trying battery acid, otherwise known as Beverly.  I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad.  I did enjoy the Israel version with the lemon and honey flavors, and Andrew enjoyed the Mezzo Mix from Mexico with the orange flavor.

Disney Fine Art Photography called my cell phone to confirm our portrait session the following morning.  I had booked an hour long session for our 10th Anniversary to have portraits done at the Wilderness Lodge.  To my surprise, she told us our photographer would be Mike Strickland, the same gentleman who photographed our wedding 10 years prior!  It was quite a coincidence, because I didn’t even think to ask if he still worked there.

We went down to The Land and got our fast passes for Soarin’.  Then we rode The Land boat ride through the greenhouse, and sat down with a snack at the Summer Café.  We were still trying to use up snack points, so we enjoyed some bottle water, tea, potato chips and Andrew indulged in strawberry shortcake.  I have no idea where he put it though, because I was over stuffed and feeling very motion sick.

Behind the Seeds Tour

Behind the Seeds Tour

I decided to stay on level ground for a while and picked up a single ticket for the Behind the Seeds Tour inside The Land.  It was a one-hour walking tour inside the greenhouse where they discussed how Epcot is contributing to sustainability and efforts to conserve the environment.  I found it to be very interesting, although too long.  My tour guide was new and very excited, so he talked for a very long time.  The tour started at 3:45pm and got out at 5:20pm, about 35 minutes later than expected.

While I was on that tour, Andrew went off on his own to ride Mission Space again (twice) and also rode Spaceship Earth.  He then used his phone to order the Transformers Club exclusives which had just been released a few minutes prior.  Later, we would discover that due to credit card processing issues, he had tried using three different credit cards to buy them.  Within three weeks of our trip, two of those three credit cards were compromised when the Transformers Club was hacked.

Spaceship Earth at Night

Spaceship Earth at Night

Dinner this evening was at Le Chefs de France at 6:00pm.  We enjoyed the artisan cheese plate, French onion soup, duck & filet entrees, and pear sorbet and puff choux for dessert.  The tab for this dinner would have been $118 plus a $22 tip.  Afterwards we walked around World Showcase and did some shopping in various countries.  I picked up green alabaster hearts as souvenirs for myself, Andrew’s Mom and Amy.

We finished up our day at Epcot by riding Spaceship Earth, before getting on the bus back to the Wilderness Lodge.  I was exhausted, very motion sick and suffering from extreme allergies.

Jessica and Andrew agreed on their Favorite Thing of the Day:  Around the World Segway Tour at Epcot

Did you know? There’s a lot more to this story!

Flight to Florida & Universal’s Royal Pacific Hotel
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios & Arriving at Walt Disney World
Visiting the Magic Kingdom & The Richard Petty Experience
Water Sports & The California Grille
Hollywood Studios, Star Tours & Toy Story Midway Mania
Epcot & Around the World Segway Tour at the World Showcase
Our 10th Wedding Anniversary
Animal Kingdom, Mini Golf & The Yachtsman Steakhouse
Our Final Day at Disney & our Private Illuminations Cruise
The Missing Towncar & Our Flight to Phoenix

Flickr Photo Collection of Our 10th Anniversary Trip to Florida
See the Wilderness Lodge Yellowstone Suite Video Walk Through
See my Richard Petty Ride Along Experience Video

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© 2013 Jessica M. Green