We were up bright and early the next morning, ready for the Scavenger Hunt! Despite me going to bed a couple hours after Sarah, I still beat her up (poor word choice, but you get the idea), and I went out for some sunrise shootin’ at All Star Movies.
With this stay at All Star Movies, we had now stayed at all of the Value Resorts. I’ve come to determine that the Value Resorts or Deluxe Resorts are the best options for us. We enjoy the finer things, and also short commutes to the parks, and the Deluxe fits this style of touring well. At the same time, we are both kids at heart, and I enjoy what other sneer at as garish design. In that regard, the Values serve us well. The Moderates, while nice, haven’t really found their place in our touring yet. Caribbean Beach Club and Coronado Springs both look beautiful, so maybe someday soon.
Back to the topic of the Values. I think they get bashed for their design far too frequently. I think we often lose sight of something: that a big part of Walt Disney World is captivating the fancy of children. I’m not suggesting everything should be squarely aimed at kids or that all we need kiddie coasters, but I do think the Value Resorts have their place.
I know if we would have stayed at them when I was a kid, I likely would have loved exploring them. As an adult, sure, the Polynesian is much more to my liking. But for kids, giant toys and figures of their favorite Disney characters are pretty appealing!
Heck, even though I’m not a kid, I think the giant Disney characters are pretty cool. Perhaps I’m but a mere simpleton, but I like the Values, and think Disney has done great with the design of them. After seeing new design materials for the Art of Animation Resort, I’m really excited to stay there!
I had some photos I had to get of the food court, so I decided to grab a refillable mug while I was there. I figured I would be able to use it every morning of our trip, which alone wouldn’t recoup its value, but once you factor in that it’s a nice souvenir, I think it’s worth it. Much to Sarah’s chagrin, we have a cupboard full of cups like these at home. Whereas she would like to use nice kitchenware that matches, I have an eye for the eclectic, and generally use dishes based on utility. Utility in a cup boils down to the picture on it (I know this isn’t strict utility), and how much liquid it can hold. Consequently, I never use our “fancy” cups. Yessir, in these trip reports, you learn far more about us than you ever would have expected (and probably far more than you ever would have wanted).
I grabbed a cup of Coke, sat down, and took in my surroundings. I know it’s only a Disney food court, but at this hour of the morning (it was around 7:45), it still wasn’t busy in there, and it was a relaxing place to sit. After I finished that cup of Coke, I refilled, unpacked the infrared camera from my bag, and set out to capture some more photos (yes, I realize there are no infrared photos here, I haven’t had a chance to convert them yet!).
Before I did this, I figured I better check the time. Crap, I forgot my phone. I frequently do this, and it understandably isn’t on the top of Sarah’s “favorite things” list, so I decided I better make haste back to the room. I grabbed a handful more shots, then headed back.
When I returned back, I found out that our friend who worked at Boma, and Scavenger Hunt teammate, Nick, would be at our resort to pick us up soon. I scrambled to get ready, carefully clothing myself along the way (as you’ll see why shortly), and we were out the door by 8:45.
You may remember Henry Work from the Disneyland installment. Well, Sarah and I aren’t the only ones who vacation “liberally.” Henry had arrived at Walt Disney World a few days before us (and would be going to Disneyland right after his lengthy Walt Disney World trip). After reading this, you might be thinking, “all this Henry dude does is screw around in theme parks–I want that job.” While Henry had a fun month of May, most of the time he works long hours as a web developer. I’m still not quite sure what, exactly, that means, but he spends a lot of time doing it. (Honestly, it might just be code for riding the Haunted Mansion repeatedly, who knows!)
After talking to Henry about his preparation efforts for the Scavenger Hunt the weekend before our trip, we began making half-hearted efforts to prepare ourselves. I began looking at random “details” photos on Flickr and reading posts on the Disney Shawn blog. We arrived at EPCOT early that morning so that we could spend some time strategizing and maybe even riding attractions to memorize portions. We saw Henry and his team doing the same. Unfortunately, their preparation efforts would be much more fruitful than ours.
The “preparation” started with Sarah going to the Land to get FastPasses in case we had to ride Soarin’ for the Hunt. I highly doubted there would be Soarin’ questions because of the wait, but who knows. I told her I’d stay in the Innoventions Plaza, taking photos of the character topiaries. Some time passed, so I decided to give Sarah a call. I have no clue what she was doing prior to this, but she said she would meet me at Test Track. So I headed over there, snapping some more photos. More time passed. More time than it would take to walk from the Land to Test Track, by a long shot.
Finally, I called. It turned out my teammates had gone on Living with the Land without me! The first attraction of our trip, and Sarah does it without me. The writing was on the wall, folks. If anything says “drifting apart,” it is riding Walt Disney World attractions without your spouse. (Nevermind the fact that I often ride more intense attractions without Sarah; this is somehow totally different!)
I made my way over to the Land, and waited for the rest of the team outside of Living with the Land. From there, we headed to the Hunt check-in area, as it was around 10 am. Much to our surprise, there was a huge line out there! I guess we didn’t know what quite to expect, but we certainly did not expect this many participants. After waiting about 30 minutes in line, we had our Scavenger Hunt book in hand, and were ready to begin.
In spite of our plan to develop a strategy, we didn’t end up with much of a plan. We began identifying the likely locations for some of the questions, grouping them together, and heading to the appropriate pavilions.
There are multiple pages in this Walt Disney World trip report installment. Navigate to the next page below!