EPCOT – The Seas and Soarin’

Our second day at EPCOT started at The Seas. Last time we came here Son was in a stroller, he was mesmerized by the oversized reef at the front of the building and the pesky seagulls shouting – straight out of Nemo. Some things never change…..

We saw Mr Ray, Crush and Nemo all outside before we headed indoors.

This attraction revolves around one of the largest saltwater aquariums in the world but also has a Finding Nemo ride, lots of displays and plenty of interactive stuff. The aquarium is vast – apparently the Spaceship Earth golfball would fit in here with room to spare. They have dolphins, sharks, turtles, rays, loads of other sealife and oodles of multi-coloured tropical fish.

We watched the manatees for ages, spotted sharks and a few turtles then Son had a picture taken with a diver emerging from the tank.

The Sea With Nemo And Friends is a tame little ride – no thrills – you enter at the seashore, go “underwater” and travel in a Clam Mobile with Mr Ray. As expected Nemo goes missing and the ride continues with a mix of animation, puppets and right at the end a cute effect where Nemo and friends “swim” in the aquarium tank with the real creatures.

Son really enjoyed Shark World, lots of interactive displays about these interesting creatures and we touched shark skin, peered into a periscope and explored an underwater wreck.

We had a Fast Pass for Turtle Talk with Crush. The theatre was so incredibly packed and I remembered nostalgically the last time we did this when Son was 3. Not too many other people at the show and that made such a difference. The technology is still impressive – an animated Crush has a real-time conversation with the audience. Adults sit on benches at the back, children sit right at the front and a Disney employee hosts the session. Our lady was really disappointing and didn’t engage well at all with the little ones. Crush and his facial expressions were hilarious but he only chatted with one child, answered a couple of questions and it was nowhere near as interactive as we remembered. A bit of a let down.

Away from all things marine we had time for one more thing – Soarin’. We loved this and actually got to ride it several times – with a Fast Pass – the line seemed to range from very long to super long at all times. It is great though, definitely not your typical motion simulator ride. The building in which it is housed for a start is shaped like an aircraft hangar and from the moment you step inside the theming is superb. It really feels as if you are about to board a flight.

No pre-show, just a safety video then we were ushered into our seats. There are 3 large and open ride vehicles, each has 3 rows and the very best seats are in the front row of each closest to the screen. We managed to get these seats first time and it was a real wow experience – you feel as if you are flying. We never managed this again, it wasn’t a big problem but elsewhere you are aware of other peoples’ feet and seats and the experience is a little less wonderful.

When the movie starts the front row lifts and is highest, the others go below and slightly to the rear. Super comfy and very wide seats and with just an aircraft style lap belt there is no claustrophobia and a comfortable feeling as it all starts. You lift up swiftly and smoothly in front of a massive screen, fly through some stunning scenes over California from snow capped mountains to desert canyons and rocky seashores to gorgeous beaches. Right at the end you swoop up Main Street USA to Cinderella’s Castle and finish at the evening firework display. The seats move left and right, angle up and down and are perfectly in sync with the camera on the screen. We loved every second and felt just like we were hang-gliding or the next best thing. Combined with other effects including the wind blowing on your face, the scent of lemons as you pass over trees and more all add up to a great experience and one not to be missed.

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