Spontaneity at Epcot
About This Page: This is a discussion on Spontaneity at Epcot within the Sharing the Adventure: Disney World Trip Reports, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; Who: Rich and Kathy
When: September 4, 2005
Why: Labor Day Weekend
Because we live just ...
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Who: Rich and Kathy When: September 4, 2005 Where: Epcot Why: Labor Day Weekend
Because we live just an hour from Disney, we never really know if we're going to Disney or where in Disney we're going until we get up that morning. And, BTW, I-4 has made huge improvements and it's almost 6 lanes the entire stretch.
As Labor Day weekend was approaching, we thought we weren't ready to get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and go to Disney so we decided we'd go Sunday morning. We planned the trip all out. We'd get up early Sunday morning and go to church in Orlando, check out some new condos at the Mall at Millennia, hang out at the mall for a bit and then maybe a brief stop off at Downtown Disney.
But something happened when we approached the WDW/Celebration exit off of I-4. Noticing it was 8:50 am and realizing that if we made a turn directly into Disney, we could get to Epcot by park opening, we found ourselves entering the Epcot gates by 9 am. So much for church that morning (we’d grab an evening service later) and the condos at the Mall at Millennia. Besides, at this point, we figured if we were to move to Orlando, we'd move to Celebration and maybe we'd check out the Artisan Park condos on our way out. NOT!
Once we entered Epcot - we were committed to throwing ourselves into Disney. We stopped in at Guest Services and made a noon PS at Alfredos - we had fond memories of dinner here in '99 and hadn't been back since. We were anxious to try it again. The CM, however, made a huge point of correcting us that it is now "AR" - not "PS" (the first sign we'd seen that the CMs were finally switching over to the new terminology.) Rich resisted the urge to lecture the CM on how idiotic the whole idea was. Okay, I'll say no more. Maybe Rich will add his opinion later on our blog.
We were hungry so we stopped in at Electric Umbrella and split a Bagel Breakfast Sandwich - egg, American Cheese and choice of sausage or bacon with 2 cartons of milk.
Having staved off our hunger but leaving room for our noon "AR", we headed for Test Track . We're always blown away by this ride. Can you believe how incredibly fast you go? It's like being a race car driver - one of Kathy's childhood fantasies. What a kick. The line was short, by the way. After Test Track we stopped to try out one of those huge vans with the DVD player in the back, thinking what family wouldn't love to drive down to Disney in one of those - watching their favorite Disney movies on the way. On our way through the gift shop, we stopped to purchase a Minnie Mouse antenna topper - too cute to pass up. We then walked through Mouse Gear and noticed they did have the pitcher for the patio dish set we are collecting so we would be sure to pick one up on the way out.
At this point, we’re still thinking we might want to move to Celebration after all. But, then, we rode Soarin’ and, as always, we are swept with an incredible desire to move back to California or some place out West. It starts with remembering the refreshing feeling of rivers, cool fresh air, incredible ocean views, cool fresh air, mountains and waterfalls with cool fresh air, Disneyland nights with cool fresh air. Okay, you get the picture. Especially this time of year. While we did notice the slight drop in temperature, it’s still way too hot to truly enjoy the parks. The crowds were light and there was a bit of a rush of a breeze - almost bringing cool fresh air. But after awhile, it begins to be just too much.
This time we were seated in the bottom row at the far end. At first, Kathy commented that it was the worse seat in the house because she thought we’d miss some of the panorama effect. But it was exactly the opposite. It was one of the best seats because being on the end allowed her to really feel like she was soarin and she couldn’t see the feet overhead.
After Soarin' , it was time to get a bottle of water and we wandered through the new Seasons food court. We were very impressed. We’ll make plans to come back for lunch. As it was, we couldn’t resist a little side dish of buffalo mozzarella and tomato . It was delicious! We were glad we had room for another little shared snack at WDW. Snacking around the parks, in lieu of a big meal, is one of our favorite things to do. But we had AR at Alfredos we wanted to keep so we made do with the salad.
We talked and did a little people watching - kids are so cute at Disney - we love to watch them having so much fun. By then it was almost time for World Showcase to open - boy do we wish WS opened earlier and stayed open later and while we’re wishing, had direct parking. This is our favorite place in all of WDW and this is the main reason we sometimes think about moving closer. If only we could just live at the Boardwalk.
We interrupt this mini-trip report posting for a weather channel announcement: Orlando just broke a 56-day record for 90 degrees or above. Also, temps are supposed to stay below 90 degrees a couple of days this week. Can we say Woo Hoo?!!
Now back to our regularly scheduled program of posting Part 2 of our Epcot report:
We took a right turn towards Canada and the UK pavilions, strolling along, noticing the gardens and commenting on how we’ll have to return in the cooler weather, especially when the roses are in full bloom. We reminisced about the Rose Garden in Portland and how the cool, mild climate is more conducive to growing roses. The flowers are so bountiful all over the Northwest and after a spring rain the air smells as fragrant as Hawaii. This is something we’ve missed since we left the area. We expected more of a floral experience in Florida but haven’t seen it in Central Florida - except for Disney. Maybe South Florida is more fragrant, although the tropical climate seems more conducive to growing banana trees and a wide variety of other green trees/plants rather than anything floral.
Just as we started to test a door leading into a shop as to whether they were open or not, a CM walking by had to tell us “we’re not open yet - not for several more minutes” as if we were ridiculous for even thinking they might be open - although the shop across the way was opening right then. I already figured out they weren’t open when the door didn’t budge. Maybe she meant well but it just annoyed me. I mean, don't you already feel stupid when you try to open a door and it doesn't open? You don't need it announced like that.
Oh well, just one more of my pet peeves. We’re both really getting annoyed with CMs lately - think we’ve been overly exposed to Disney. I think we forgot to mention in Rich's birthday report about the CM manning the line at Pooh at the MK . We were all lined up straight out into the sun when he could have so easily opened up the inside shady queue area by removing the chain. He just stood there as if in a daze.
Anyway, back at World Showcase , we wandered into the Boulangerie Patisserie in France and decided to have dessert before lunch (besides, sugar makes Kathy hungry). We spotted our favorite - a Cream Puff - only nobody would wait on us - both sides pretended to not be open yet. Finally, one side had mercy and retrieved the creme puff so we could purchase it at the register. Sheesh.
We found an outside table and enjoyed the pastry and the people-watching. We then strolled towards Italy , stopping in to see what the Tangerine Cafe was like in Morocco , making note that we might stop in on another trip for a quick bite, and then admired the Moroccan rugs. They were so soft to the touch and we would love to purchase one at a later date.
We strolled through the shops in Japan and commented that we’d like to come back for some sake tasting and maybe a snack at Yakitori House . No wonder we couldn't make it to the regular mall today. World Showcase IS our mall - strolling, window shopping, tasting, drinking and dining with great atmosphere, people-watching and sometimes music to boot. Who could ask for anything more?
By this time it was close to our lunch PS - oh, excuse me - AR - at Alfredos and we joined a small group inside resting and relaxing on the comfy sofas. Because we had called ahead, we were seated first. We enjoyed the atmosphere, the waiter, the food, and the cute, well-behaved kids at the table next to us.
We shared an appetizer :
Fritto Misto con Calamari - calamari fried in special batter and served with a tempura of zucchini, sweet peppers, and apples accompanied by spicy marinara sauce
For drinks , Kathy ordered a Bellini and Rich had a Sangria - both delicious and refreshing.
We repeated our entrees from ‘99:
Kathy:Le Originali Fettuccine all'Alfredo - Our world famous creation - homemade egg noodles tossed in a special butter and parmigian cheese
Rich:Trittico di Pasta - sampler of our most popular pastas: Fettuccine Alfredo, ziti with a fresh plum tomato sauce and lasagne served in a homemade meat sauce
Rich, having grown up with authentic Italian food in southern New Jersey, can attest to the authenticity of the food at Alfredos and that may be key why reviews are so mixed. If you’re used to an American version of Italian food, you may not like it here. But if you’re looking for the real thing, this is the place to go.
Getting quite hot by now, we chose to boat back over to Future World , made a quick stop in at Mouse Gear to pick up our pitcher and a box of Pooh and Tigger Shortbread Cookies (have to bring home a little something for a snack when we get home - helps us extend the Disney trip).
Exhausted but unwilling to stand in the long line to get a bottle of water, we stopped off at Champions Gate and drove through McDonalds to get a couple of large sodas, which helped revive us for the trip home.
In spite of any criticisms we may have made, we had a wonderful time that we were able to revisit while writing up this report.
Next trip scheduled: an overnight at the Boardwalk in October for the Food & Wine Festival .
Oh another CM weirdness. We were paying for our stuff at Mouse Gear with our Rewards card and the CM refused to give it back. We insisted, explaining that it wasn't all used up - it wasn't a gift card. We download our points every month and re-use it. She finally gave it back to us. On the other hand, a nice older CM gentleman saw us shopping and brought us a cart to hold everything. We didn't really need it but it was very thoughtful of him. We also enjoyed waving at the characters on the character bus and thanked Pluto personally for Rich's birthday card.
Thanks for the trip report, it sounds like you had a great day.
I can understand the draw to move back to the Northwest or West Coast. Born and raised North of Seattle I now live in Phoenix and it does get old being in 100+ degrees for four or five months straight ! On the other hand I would love to be able to take a weekend day and decide to got to Epcot!
Oooh, I love me some Calamari! And what an interesting recipe. Peppers are not wild about me but I would be willing to give it a try. Thanks for the report on Alfredo's. I ate there once in 1995 and was not particularly impressed, partly because it was so crowded and so loud. It sounds like I should give it another go. I do know (from the Segway Tour) that the chef uses the herbs that are grown outside the restaurant!