Tuesday, October 12.
With CP still feeling under the weather and both of us considerably more tired than at the beginning of our trip, we slept in today until 8:45. After some cereal, yogurt parfait, and hot chocolate/coffee mix we headed to the bus stop around 10am. Our Magic Kingdom bus arrived quickly and took us equally fast to the entrance of the park, so we were on the train to Frontierland in no time.
Our first stop of the day was Splash Mountain, whose wait was only 5 minutes and which in reality was nearly a walk-on. Our fast queue experience was marred only by the presence of the line-cutting grandma in front of us, but we both had forgotten about that after the intense soaking we received at the end of the ride. Naturally, our next stop was Big Thunder, which advertised a wait of 20 minutes and the promise of drying ourselves off in wind. Being wise in the ways of Disney Math™ we figured the line was really much shorter than 20 minutes, and indeed, we waited maybe 5 minutes to board. The kid behind us was apprehensive to ride for the first time, but by the end of her first ride through the wilderness, she was clapping and giddy, thrilled with herself that she had liked it. Next up was a walk through Frontierland and Liberty Square for another ride on Space Mountain, during which we confirmed that the left track is truly much smoother than the right side.
With lunch time approaching and hunger fast settling in, we decided the proper course of action was a tide-me-over snack at the Confectionary before heading to Downtown Disney for a real lunch. While munching on chocolate-covered pretzel rods we watched Pluto interact with children young and old, and then we headed for the exit to grab a boat to the Wilderness Lodge, which CP had never seen, and where we could catch a bus to Downtown Disney. We took a bathroom break in the very peaceful lobby of the Wilderness Lodge villas, wandered the grounds, and then caught a bus to Downtown Disney, where we went to the lovely Earl of Sandwich for a lunch of Caprese sandwiches while watching the day’s parade of crazily adorned BBB girls.
We visited the pin store, Once Upon a Toy, Basin, World of Disney, and the Lego store before stopping at Ghirardelli for iced lattes and a complimentary sample of pumpkin spice chocolate. Refreshed, we visited the kitchen store, the Christmas store, and the Art of Disney, in which I became obsessed with the Art on Demand kiosk and the many Mary Blair and other vintage prints one can order.
After what was possibly the longest bus ride back to AKL (I think the Downtown Disney bus route is reason enough to rent a car, but more on that later), we checked in on the animals and chatted with a cultural representative from Swaziland. We then retired to our room for some homemade Mezzo Mix (half Coke Zero and half orange soda – try it!) and Gilmore Girls while we recovered from the heat of the day. Our plan for the evening? Epcot. Specifically, lots o’ eatin’ in Epcot.
After arriving around 6:30, we checked out the line for Test Track and found it too long for our taste, and thus we decided to head straight to the Food and Wine booths. We started with Puerto Rico for a torched cherry colada (YUM), and then made our way through China (stopping to browse these crazy puppets)
en route to the South Africa booth, where we finally had our Flavors of South Africa and a glass of sauvignon blanc. Next up was Italy for chocolate and strawberry gelato, which we washed down with a Red Stag black cherry bourbon lemonade in the American Adventure. We then moved to the Belgium booth for a coffee with Godiva liqueur, which we would have enjoyed more had we not been seated next to a young girl who complained vociferously of her “poopy pants.” This in itself was not so bothersome, but her family’s shouts at her to “just ignore it” and eat her snack were a bit harder to take. Not surprisingly, we moved quickly on, stopping in Morocco to catch a performance of Mo Rockin’.
Between the crowds and our late lunch we weren’t stopping to eat as much as we thought we might. In fact, we found the drunken masses wielding their plastic beer cups and plates of appetizer sized food to be a bit off-putting – especially the woman of my grandmother’s age who shuffled drunkenly through Japan in (I kid not) her slippers. So, our last stop of the evening was at the Greece booth for a glass of Atlantis white wine and some greek salad and spanakopita. We then browsed the Gateway gift shops and walked once more to Test Track to check out the line; with only a 10 minute wait for the single rider line, we jumped right in. Afterward we headed out of the park to the sounds of the Fountain of Nations show, and popped into the Art of Disney to browse for Pluto art, as CP is quite the fan. Pluto print in our possession, we headed to the bus, went back to AKL, and spent the next several hours transfixed by the rescue of the Chilean miners.
It’s worth nothing here that it was after this night that CP and I both decided that Food and Wine might not be the Disney event for us. Lazily meandering through Epcot – especially the World Showcase – is probably our favorite Disney activity, one that was made impossible by the drunken crowds and sheer number of food booths. And, sadly, while the food we sampled was decent, I wouldn’t say it was worth the patience required to wait in every line and dodge said drunken revelers. The alcoholic options were in my opinion more notable than the food itself, but the heftier-than-normal Disney prices for these beverages hardly justified them. Would we go to F&W again? Probably – the 3D dessert party was pretty great – but if we do go again, we’ll make sure to hit the Food and Wine booths when they first open at 11am. So, there’s my advice, folks: if you want to eat at Food and Wine, make it an early lunch.