2:18pm. A recap… my friend, Megan, and I had just exited Ellen’s Energy Adventure where we had just had our lunch. Yes, on the ride. You see stopping to eat elsewhere wasn’t in the cards that day because we were busy touring Epcot hard core. We were on the Ultimate Epcot Touring Plan, and we had just conquered Future World while World Showcase loomed ahead of us. If you missed the first part I suggest you check it out here:
2:25pm. After entering World Showcase by making our way past the Odyssey, we reached the Mexico Pavilion. It was time to visit with three of my favorite friends The Three Caballeros on the Gran Fiesta Tour. There is seldom a backed up queue on this ride, and we walked right on with no wait.
2:36pm. Next we headed over to the Norway Pavilion to ride Maelstrom. We boarded within minutes and were off on our high seas adventure. Despite our inclination to walk through and skip “Norway – The Film” (a.k.a. “The Spirit of Norway Movie”), it is a requirement for Tour completion, so we sat and we watched.
If you’re looking for more information about the movies of World Showcase check out this post of mine.
At this point we stop for a few minutes to strategize. Megan points out that we need to start focusing on the show times, and I can’t argue with this. In order to complete the tour, you need to watch all the movies, and all the scheduled shows – some fully, and others only for 5 minutes (check out the attractions list for requirements). It meant deviating from the listed plan quite a bit to meet the scheduled show times of the day, but it looked doable.
3:02pm. We’ve gone from Norway all the way over to the France Pavilion to watch the Serveur Amusant. Most people probably think of this as “the French guys with the chairs” or “the chair stacking dudes”. For us it was a chance to sit and catch some shade while we watched.
3:18pm. Mo’Rockin is not playing, but this does not mean we get to skip the Morocco Pavilion. So we spend a few minutes walking around the Pavilion, through Tangerine Cafe, back past the front of Restaurant Marrakesh, and then through the shops.
On our way over to the Japan Pavilion we bump into our friend Doug, and he decides to follow us around a little bit. This is permitted when you do an Ultimate Tour. As long as you stick to the rules that state that you are not allowed to accept any outside assistance, there’s no reason you can’t be social. Just warn them about the running.
3:35pm. After a short bit of downtime we watched Matsuriza, the Taiko players in the Japan Pavilion. This one requires only 5 minutes of our time. I don’t dislike this show, but it’s not something I go out of my way to watch either.
3:43pm. Now we’re at the Germany Pavilion. Because there is no free show in this pavilion, it has a special task. You need to walk through the shops, find the Christmas Pickle tree and take a picture with it (hint: it’s in the Christmas shop).
3:46pm. We stop at the Outpost. This isn’t really a pavilion when compared to the others, but it is themed to an African safari supply outpost, hence the name. The task here is simple, play the drums.
3:50pm. At the China Pavilion we check on the movie time, and see the wait is 14 minutes. This is far too long to wait right now – even though things seem to be going well, we still feel crunched for time against the show times. We take a second to check out the Tomb Warriors exhibit really quickly – it counts as a bonus attraction for the Ultimate Tour.
4:00pm. It’s time to watch the Ziti Sisters walk through their comedic act at the Italy Pavilion. I’ve seen it take as little as 10 minutes and as much as 17 minutes. It all depends on how much they’re working the crowd. In the middle of the show I warn our friend Doug that Megan and I will be running full tilt to make the next show on time. He opts to meet us there and heads off. As soon as the show ends we run, having less than a minute to get to our next location.
4:15pm. Thankfully Megan and I are runners, and we manage to slide into The American Adventure building with moments to spare. It’s a pretty good place to cool off when you’re sweaty and overheated, and thanks to the singing of the Voices of Liberty we were also well entertained.
On the way over to the United Kingdom Pavilion, we meet up with my wife, Cheryl, and our friend Chip. Doug considers this a changing of the guard, and says good-bye to us. We let the others know to meet us over at the UK.
4:37pm. We make our way over to watch the British Revolution. I actually really enjoy listening to them when I get a chance – they cover a lot of music I like. We’re only required to listen and watch for 5 minutes. We head around the corner to position ourselves for the next show, but can still hear them while we’re waiting.
5:00pm. We shout, “Long Live the King!” a few times while watching the World Showcase Players act out a condensed version of the quest for the Holy Grail. It’s also snack time!
5:30pm. After arranging to meet Cheryl and Chip later, we find ourselves watching Sergio. This is one of my least favorite things in all of Epcot, and yet he still let me throw one of the mini Soccer balls at him anyway.
At this point we want to ride a Friendship Boat. We notice immediately there is not one on the Germany-Mexico side, and get a little concerned. After a few moments we finally see see one and it’s about to dock over in Morocco, and decide to run over.
5:48pm. We board the Friendship boat and Megan swears that she never wants to see a Friendship boat again. Our journey takes us over to Germany, and we realize that we didn’t need to run. We get off the boat.
5:56pm. Back at the China Pavilion. This time we’re not as concerned about the wait and watch Reflections of China. It’s housed inside the Hall of Prayer which is modeled after the Temple of Heaven, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, in Beijing, China, and also my favorite building in World Showcase.
With only a few attractions left and a little bit of downtime, we head over to check on the wait for Impressions de France to get a feel for its schedule. We decide that we’ll come back as the timing is better.
7:30pm. We watch Off Kilter with Cheryl and Chip. While we only have to watch for 5 minutes, it is entertaining as always, and we’re sad to have to run off.
7:39pm. Back at the France Pavilion, one thing I learned from Impressions de France is that Megan has been there. She seriously loves France to no end, and if you watch this movie with her, she will let you know it.
9:00pm. Winner winner, chicken dinner. Sorry by this point I was starved, but I was perfectly willing to be satisfied with fireworks at this point. And IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a perfect way to fill that need. Megan and I met back with Cheryl and Chip and performed our victory dance to the music.
9:23pm. The Tour is officially over when you reach the stopping point. In Epcot that means heading to the Fountain of Nations for one last establishing photo.
Megan and I had completed the Ultimate Epcot Touring Plan. Looking back, I feel that Epcot was a much easier Ultimate Tour than Magic Kingdom. Future World itself is fairly straightforward to complete, there’s not a lot of reason for deviation unless you can partake in Extra Magic Hours (which we did not). If night time EMH is available, I’d make sure to know which Future World attractions will be opened during that time and consider delaying them until later on.
The real potential for failure lies in the shows of World Showcase. Many of them get scheduled on top of one another and you really need to make careful plans as to which ones you’ll do when, and in what order. You also need to be prepared to run. Many of the times are tight down to 6 minutes or less between them.
Did I have fun? Yes. It’s a lot of fun navigating the park with a full agenda trying to get it all done. I used to love commando touring years ago, and Ultimate Touring Plans take me back to those times. It ends up being both nostalgic and new all at the same time.
When’s the next one? We haven’t worked out the details yet, but I do know it will likely be in the early part of 2012. The park and participants (other than me) are all still up in the air. So stay tuned in to TouringPlans.com for more exciting blog posts between now and then.