Flying to New Heights: A Mousetacular Event

A shady spot in Epcot (Mouse on the Mind)Last winter, Rob and I were fortunate to be part of a Mousetacular celebration. I wrote about our first experience—a pre-opening breakfast in Disney’s Hollywood Studios—but with booking open for the 2012 event, I wanted to tell you about our other experience: an early morning in an empty Epcot.

Our morning started quite early: we met Sandy (owner of Instant Impressions Travel Services) and Annie (her amazing daughter) in the lobby of the Boardwalk Inn at 7 a.m. We were fortunate to catch an early morning ride over to Epcot’s front door with them in their shiny rental car.

By 7:45 a.m., we headed into the Park. It was so early that there were still horticulturists working in the flowerbeds. It was pretty surreal. We trooped through the Park and stopped in front of Test Track, where we entered a side door and into an elevator.

Our first stop was the Test Track Lounge on the second floor of the building. The area is pretty swank, and we were told that the area is actually used by GM officials for business meetings and such. In a large meeting room, there’s a full wall of one-sided glass where you can watch the Test Track vehicles below.

But the real “wow” factor in the space is the view of Future World from the full wall of windows. We stood there for quite a while, looking out over the empty park and snapping photos of the Imagination Pavilion and Spaceship Earth.

View from Test Track Lounge (Mouse on the Mind)

Once we took in the space, we dug into a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and breakfast breads served buffet-style.

With Mary Poppins (Mouse on the Mind)

After we ate, a very special guest joined us in the lounge: Mary Poppins! I am normally freaked out by “face” characters, but she was really wonderful. She joked with the children and was kind to Robert and I. She even signed an umbrella for us! With no waiting in line and not crowded by other guests, it was a really cool experience.

It got even cooler when we were led to The Land for the first ride of the day on Soarin. Rob and I were in the center front row—epically awesome!

After breakfast and Soarin, Sandy let us loose in the Park to complete a scavenger hunt. To answer all of the questions, we rode Spaceship Earth twice, Journey into Imagination once and Living with the Land once. We also explored MouseGears.

Rob and Melissa with our winnings (Mouse on the Mind)This was our first in-Park hunt, and it was so fun. I’ve always thought of myself as a person who’s pretty good with the details, but this forced me to look at the Park in a wholly different way. Rob became fiercely competitive and a little bit obsessive with getting the EXACT. RIGHT. ANSWER.

After about three hours of racing through the Park, we headed back up to the Test Track Lounge to tally the scores. Rob and I ended up coming in third place, and our prize was a pair of amazing 2011 ear hats. Swaggy.

This happened to be the last day of our trip, so after the hunt, we grabbed lunch at San Angel Inn before heading back to our hotel to catch Disney’s Magical Express. It’s never easy to leave the most magical place on earth, but such a fun, full morning certainly helped!

Have you ever done a scavenger hunt in WDW? Tell us about it in the comments below! 


Full disclosure: Instant Impressions Travel Services owner Sandy is a friend of the site, but we paid for our own travel and all of the Mousetacular experiences we were part of.

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