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Photo 80/365: Disney diary day 2 (and my take on some tips)


Epcot is arguably my (maybe our) favorite Disney World park. We love traveling the different countries, our favorite rides are here (Figment and Spaceship Earth), and you just can't beat the food options. Unlike the other parks, where table service restaurants are few and far between and adult beverages are just as hard to find, Epcot is swimming in great dining and drinking options. We had lunch in Morocco at Spice Road, a beer in Germany, a sparkling wine in Italy, and dinner in Japan at Teppan Edo, where they cook the meal right on your table. We made great use of our overkill meal plan by ordering one of everything that sounded great and treating it like a shared plate meal. It was delightful.

I did a lot of research before embarking on this trip, research that resulted in quantities of information that rivals our meal plan for over-abundance. Top ten (or so) lists are the big thing, of course: best tips, best snacks, best meals, best shows, best photo-ops. I took in as much as I could and here are some take-aways that I am really pleased with so far:

1. Breakfast reservations for before the park opened.
This was awesome. Possibly one of the best things we did all day. We'd made reservations for the Garden Grill for 8:00am. The food was great, we dined with characters, and we started our day with mimosas, but the best part about it actually was being in the park before everyone else. That meant not only did we miss out on long entrance lines, but we got to see neat aspects of the park before they were gunked up by pedestrian traffic.

2. Disney PhotoPass (and Memory Maker)
Family pictures on vacation are hard to grab, someone always having to play photographer and whatnot. But Disney's PhotoPass photographers waiting to take pictures of your whole family. And the whole magic shot thing, where they shop in graphics after the fact, takes on a sort of "collect them all" aspect that gave us an added activity throughout the day (plus something to giggle over when we looked at our shots on the Disney app while waiting for food or in lines). We added Memory Maker to our vacation package so that we would have unlimited downloads of all our shots for keeps, but you can easily have them shoot with your camera, or select pictures individually for download later.

3. My Disney Experience App
Speaking of the Disney app, that was another winner we were really glad to have. With it we were able to view our photos, manage our reservations, find our way through the park, and keep track of our schedule. 

4. Agent P's World Showcase
And speaking of scavenger hunt type things, the spy game in Epcot, Agent P's World Showcase adventure, was a lot of fun for all the kids in our party (that being three of us, you see).

5. Pin trading
In my pre-trip research something I came across was the tradition of pin trading. The existence of this activity escaped my notice on our last trip, but you'll see lots of Disney cast members wearing lanyards with a number of pins on them throughout the parks. Kids (of all ages, really) are encouraged to engage cast members for trades. I liked the idea of having something fun to do throughout the park aside from the various park games), and I took the recommendation of several other moms and bought a collection of pins off eBay for a major discount before we left. Pre-purchasing like that is a controversial practice, but I think there's a difference between collecting and participating, and participating provided a lot of fun for both Calvin and myself over the course of the vacation (and even led to one very, very special activity on our final day...)

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