Today we will be visiting Epcot. Our main objective was to eat and drink around World Showcase but first, we had a bit of business to do in the front of the park.
I don’t believe that I’ve mentioned so far how absolutely perfect the weather was while we were there. We had seriously dodged some awfulness in the weeks leading up to our trip. It was obnoxiously hot and humid culminating in a serious hurricane that closed the parks for only the fourth time in its history. Hurricane Matthew took all the mugginess with it and we were left with clear skies and perfect temperatures for the entire week.
As soon as we passed through the gates I spotted a delightful surprise, The Muppet Mobile Lab!
Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew are a part of the “Living Character Initiative” that began over ten years ago. During this ten minute show they scientists can interact with guests in real time while performing a series of comedy routines. The Mobile Lab is basically a Segway equipped with flashing lights, rotating signs, bubble jets, smoke sprayers, water misters and confetti cannons. The boys had left Epcot in 2009 to travel around the world to other Disney parks, but they came back just in time for our visit. This wouldn’t be our last real encounter with Muppets. Foreshadowing!
We watched the remainder of the show then headed to the Land Pavilion to experience a (almost) brand new attraction, Soarin’ Around the World.
The Soarin’ attraction has been a staple of Future World since 2005. The original premise was a picturesque trip across the broad and varied terrain of California. While it continued to be a fan favorite, the film had gotten a bit long in the tooth. It went under refurbishment for quite a long time, not only reworking the film, but updating the digital technology and adding third concourse to ease up the wait times.
The new film breaks free of the boundaries of California and takes us all around the world! I had heard enough about the new film to unfortunately be looking out for the negative stuff. All in all it’s great, but they went a little over the top with a lot of CGI in this iteration. Made me a little nostalgic for the old scratchy film.
While we were in the land Pavilion we used our fastpass for Living with the Land. A few years back that sentence would have been ridiculous, but now with the new “Fast Pass+” in place, attractions like this which used to be walk-ons are having wait times of thirty minutes and more. It seems like this new system is just spreading the misery around a little more evenly.
Living with the Land is an opening day attraction whose purpose is to educate, which was originally the whole point of Epcot. It begins with show scenes illustrating how the powerful forces of nature shape the land, then our boat ride proceeds into The Land’s “Living Laboratory”, which showcases ideas about the future of agriculture. This is most certainly not a thrill ride, but it has its charms. The ride through the greenhouses is quite relaxing.
We were visiting Epcot during the peak of the Food and Wine Festival. Loyal readers may recall that we have enjoyed this festival in the past. I was positively giddy the first year we got to go, That being said, I wasn’t so stoked about it this time. We hadn’t originally planned to visit this time of year, but here we were. I was just so looking forward to strolling around World Showcase without it being cluttered with all the food booths not to mention the throngs of people. Also, with all the standing in line for the teeny bites, there’s much less time to wander and explore the pavilions and enjoy the cuisine that’s to be had therein. Lastly, the value of the nibbles and drinks of the Festival has gotten a little bonkers. So, for this go ’round we’ll be (mostly) ignoring the food booths and instead making a courageous attempt to eat and drink around the World! We start north with Canada.
So, remember when I said we wouldn’t be visiting the Food and Wine booths? Well, there’s no choice in Canada for walk up snacks, so…
These were both winners. The filet was tender and a good portion (not always the case according to bloggers) and the soup was smokey and perfectly accompanied by the bread. It was more like a cheesy bacon dip. The drink selections here we not so good so I moseyed over to the beer cart that’s in Canada year ’round for a La Fin Dumonde. At $10.50 it may seem pricey, but this beer has a 9.0% ABV and is a full pint. If you ordered this at a pub it would be served in a snifter and probably only ten ounces. Plus, it’s delicious!
We made our way up into the pavilion away from the crowds and found a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy our refreshments.
We finished our snacks and wandered through the Pavilion before moving on.
We were crossing back over to Mexico for our next stop. We didn’t think that starting with tequila would be a wise plan. On the way, were lured into the Craft Beer Marketplace.
This is housed in the Odyssey building which used to be a restaurant but has been closed for decades. It’s just a general use space now. I think this is quite a good use for it. The beers were tasty and it’s a nice spot to cool off and take a rest.
After our diversion, we made it to Mexico!
This area is another great place to cool off and take a break. There’s lots of little carts and things to looks at or buy. Not exactly my style, but still fun.
Also in Mexico is the Arribas Brothers Glass shop. Their wares don’t seem to fit particularly into the Mexican theme, but it’s interesting none the less.
We wanted to space out our drinks a little longer so we took a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour. Always a good take. They added these animatronics to the end just recently.
It was tequila time! There was a line out the door at La Cava del Tequila for drinks to-go, but only a short wait for a table inside. I just love this spot. Disney has been creating more and more small lounges like this where you can tuck in and get away from the crowds.
These were both really well crafted, but we agreed that the Avocado was the winner.
We got some Chips and Queso here too. Boy, these were just terrific. They also came with a nice smokey salsa.
Continuing on to Norway! This area has recently been infiltrated by Elsa and Ana of Frozen. This was certainly controversial due to the fact that Arendelle is fictional and therefore not in Norway. That being said, they’ve done a nice job with the facades of the show buildings. If you don’t want to see these characters, you don’t have to. We would be seeing the sisters later. Today, we are here for the School Bread!
Our drink at Norway was actually a shot of Aquavit. This is purported to be so vile that they have a “Viking Challenge”, wherein you take the shot and then have to hold a straight face for five seconds. If you succeed, you get a pin exclaiming your victory. I took a sip off the top so I could say I had a drink in Norway, then Jeff knocked it back.
Years of drinking cheap bourbon must have been good training for this, because it tasted pretty darn good. It had a nice floral aroma and tasted strongly of caraway. Good stuff. They didn’t have any pins though. That’s bull crap!
Next on the roster was the U.K. This pub is always hopping.
The bitter of the Boddingtons cut through the Guinness nicely. We didn’t have any food in the U.K., but these were a meal on their own. We wandered through the shops and the back gardens of the pavilion.
Jeff stepped up to purchase a couple slushy, froo froo drinks.
There wasn’t any place to lounge in France, so we traipsed on over to Morocco to find a seat.
It was getting time to get some more food on board so we tracked back to France. We couldn’t resist their Food and Wine kiosk, it smelled so garlicky and delicous!
We’ve made good progress so far, but we’ve got the whole night ahead of us. Take a little rest and we’ll be back to attempt to finish our quest to conquer the WORLD!
Up Next: We have the whole World showcase to ourselves!!!!