8.1.09

Epcot, Mohammed and a lot of Rain

We woke up Thursday morning with a three-fold purpose: get packed and have our bags transferred to our new hotel, get to said hotel to pick up tickets and then bust it on over to a park for some more fun and adventure.

Because the conference had ended, we had decided to switch to a more value friendly location. The only resort with availability was the All-Star Sports resort. Getting from one hotel to another is tricky at Disney, because the shuttles just run to parks, Downtown Disney and the Transportation and Ticketing Office. We could have caught a cab, but opted to save money, so we caught a bus to Downtown Disney and then to the new resort. As we were waiting for our shuttle, another family was with us. We smiled at their adorable kids and said the obligatory hellos. After a few minutes, the mom piped up, "Do y'all still work at Twin Lakes?" (!) (?) We answered yes, and next thing 'ya know, we found out several connections: the family was from Jackson/Madison, their kids were campers at Twin Lakes, and the Dad worked with Harper Keeler who is an officer at the church and maybe even on our board. It's a small world (after all!).

We caught our shuttle from downtown to the All Star Sports and because it was early and we were the only ones on the bus, our driver took us directly to our hotel--so cool! This was only one of many traveling providences we were blessed with on the trip. In the midst of all this transferring about, we were trying to decide which park to go to. It was raining and overcast, which sort of dampened our plans to go to Hollywood Studios. We decided to visit Epcot again and once we checked in and got our tickets, we were off!

Having been at Epcot the night before, we were not in a big rush to do the big ticket rides, but ready to enjoy a few attractions in Future World and wander all over the World Showcase.

We started off with "Living with the Land." It was fascinating in a nerdy, green-thumb kind of way--I really liked it. Then, because it was pouring, we sort of rushed to the next available thing which was The Seas. We did the Nemo Ride: you sit in a clamshell and travel through an aquarium while being entertained by Nemo and friends who are in the water, too. It was pretty neat. The Seas exhibit was also fun. After, I wanted to experience Honey I Shrunk the Audience. Gotta admit, it was lame, so I won't even discuss it.

We finished off our Future World time with a trip to Innoventions and the Club Cool. Innoventions was just fun and exploratory: little boys, especially would enjoy it. Club Cool is like the Coca Cola museum: you get to try all sorts of Coke products from around the world. They didn't have our favorite: Sprite Ice (minty Sprite from India), but Beverly was on tap. Blech. What nastiness!

From there it was on to the World Showcase. What fun! We were hungry and had decided to eat lunch in Morocco, so we whizzed past Canada, the UK and France. The Moroccan restaurant was amazing. We had lamb, tabouleh, hummus, and this wonderful bread, followed by baklava. I'd never tried Baklava before; it is what I always imagined honeycombs to tasted like. Such goodness--we highly recommend that eatery. We explored Morocco a bit, then went to France (where we saw Belle and Sleeping Beauty), then the UK. The UK was one of my favorites. There's a conglomeration of British architecture and fun shops. Those of you who know me, will also understand that the experience was only heightened by rounding a street corner and seeing Mary Poppins and Alice popping into a shop. I probably squealed. My loving husband allowed me to chase after Mary Poppins (yes, I know she's not the real Mary Poppins), and we found her and Alice posing for pictures. Tuan offered to let me have my photo made with her, but I reluctantly decline: there was a long queue forming. (See, instead of "line", I offer up the use of "queue" because it was in the UK).

We did not taste any food in the UK--because who wants to eat English food? (except fish and chips) Instead, we trekked onward to Canada. Canada was a really neat place and we saw the attraction "O Canada!" The theater is in Circle Vision--you stand us and the film surrounds you. It's very similar to IMAX. The film was marvelous. Martin Short narrated and you really got a feel for what life is like for our Northern Cousins. I always thought that once you entered Canada, everything was the same and sparsely populated (kind of like how I thought everything North of Jackson was the Delta), and was so delighted to find out otherwise. It's one of the best experiences at Epcot.

From Canada, we traveled south to Mexico. We were actually hungry again by that point, so we enjoyed some Nachos from the Mexican restaurant and took the Grand Fiesta Tour. It's in the Mexican pavilion (which is inside, so you feel as though you were in a Mexican City at night--very cool, but was an odd attraction.

From Mexico, we went to Norway (logical, eh?) where we rode Maelstrom. Then to China.

China led us to Germany, then to Italy. The buildings were very fascinating. At that point, it was getting dark and we were tired. The pavilions circle a lagoon and I believe the perimeter is over a mile. It was a great time to visit the good old US and see the American Experience: it's an audio-animatronic show that covers the history of the US--so moving, so patriotic and a great place to rest your weary feet.

After America was Japan. Japan had wonderful shops with great prices. We spent a lot of time shopping there. There was also a hidden attraction: a Tin Toy exhibit from the collection of Jon Lassiter. It was so cool! Japan brought us back to Morocco.

We had made dinner reservations at Les Chefs de France for 9:30 and had some time to kill, so we went back through the UK--still so fun and went to Future World to look at the Christmas lights and get ice cream. Epcot's lights were my favorite of all--so stunning and beautiful and such great music. We shared a mint chocolate chip ice cream and watched the lights and the fountain--a lovely breeze was blowing and all seemed right with the world.

That time passed too quickly. Soon, Tuan decided we needed to meet our reservation, so we hiked back to France. It was no short walk. We timed our reservation so that our dinner would end after the park closed. It gave us time for a long dinner and smaller crowds exiting. Les Chefs de France is a French bistro. The atmosphere was just amazing and our waiter, Mohammed (from Monaco) made our meal even better. Imagine being waited on by a fellow who speaks broken English with a French accent and bears an uncanny resemblance to Prince Charming. Oh, yes, it was fun. Tuan ordered duck and I had a filet. Anthony Bourdain talks about how much the French love food. I could tell. Mohammed was teaching fellow diners how to eat certain things and he was thrilled when I ordered my filet rare.

In the middle of the meal, the restaurant lights were dimmed so that we could see the spectacular fireworks show--amazing. We ended our night with coffee, creme brulee and cream puffs. Marvelous, simply marvelous.

Getting out of the park took a while, but we savored the lights and sights and sounds as we left France and hiked to the buses. When we returned to our hotel, we were looking forward to hot showers and a good night's rest. We weren't disappointed. Because our resort was full of high school groups, we ended up with a handicap accessible room. Our bed was huge and so comfy and our shower was out of this world--it was just this generously sized room with a fold-down bench and adjustable sprayer. I really thought we were going to flood the lower room or have Disney put water usage restrictions on us. Sleep came very quickly that night. We needed the rest: two more days in the park remained.

2 comments:

Caroline said...

Okay, I was being a bit sarcastic at first, but I am really having fun reading these!

I remember eating at Norway and riding the viking boat ride...

David said...

Guitta and I are both longing to go back as we read your posts. We're so glad you had fun.