Today was the last day of our park admission (but not the last day of our trip – don’t leave yet!) so we jammy-packed it full of activity. We didn’t have park hoppers, so for our last park we picked Epcot (does this mean it’s our favorite park? Maybe it does, dear reader. Maybe it does….).
The plan was to get to World Showcase right at opening so we could videotape Patrick dancing in front of each country as an homage to the “Where the Hell Is Matt?” series of videos of a guy who quit his job to video himself dancing in front of landmarks around the world. (I hadn’t heard about these until Patrick showed them to me on YouTube, and I find them to be such a profound affirmation of humanity that I can’t watch them without getting teary. Our video, however, will probably be more of a profound affirmation of my complete lack of videography skills).
Note: because my cameraman, Patrick, was doing the dancing, we don’t have a lot of photos of this day. So I had to borrow some from the Internets….
Although we spent a leisurely morning getting ready and merely moseyed over to the International Gateway, we still got to Epcot well before the World Showcase opened. We wracked our brains trying to think up something to do in Future World to kill time.
Our breakfasts thoroughly scrambled inside our tummies, we wobbled off Mission: Space and headed toward MouseGears so I could return my threadbare Disney gloves.
I would have been happy to exchange them for another pair, but all the shops must’ve had a run on the pink ones during the cold snap. The CMs were very understanding about the obviously shoddy workmanship and gave me my money back.
When it got closer to World Showcase’s 11am opening time, Patrick and I wandered over and began debating which country to start in to have the least amount of people walking through the shot. We were hanging out near Mexico waiting for rope-drop, but I got nervous about the number of people amassing there, so we decided to start with Canada. This also seemed like a good idea because I’d read that people generally start with Mexico and Norway and work clockwise. But when we got there, there was a huge group of people doing a scavenger hunt, and we kept having to stop shooting cuz people were running through our shot. I got kinda anxious about it, so we went back to Mexico, skipped it, and started in Norway, then went clockwise with everyone else.
In general, people were pretty aware of what we were doing and conscientious about not walking through our shots. Because Patrick was “the talent,” I had to wear the backpack and lug the camera and our free-dessert magnets, so I guess that makes me the cameraman, grip, and costume assistant. I also spent a lot of time crouched on the ground trying to hold the dang camera steady – movie-making is darn unglamorous, if you ask me!
Our last stop was Mexico.
The Finished Product
For comparison, here are the original videos we parodied:
Where the Hell Is Matt? (2006)
Where the Hell Is Matt? (2008)
Ours is, of course, shot in the faux countries of Epcot, and the music is from the IllumiNations pre-show soundtrack. Enjoy!
Where the Hell Is Pat? (2009)
Trip Report Continued…
Well who should we run into just as we got the last shot off, but Lacey & Eric! This was a good thing because A) I had Lacey’s photo-caption contest prize to give her, and B) I still didn’t have their contact info. (In fact, when we met this time, I finally asked for their info, put it in my iPhone, and then unwittingly erased it as we left them – d’oh!). It was nice to catch up with them again, but I didn’t want to interrupt their lunch at the Cantina, so we bid them farewell (this time, for reals!) and went inside the Pavilion for our lunch at San Angel Inn.
When we ate here on our honeymoon, we were pleasantly surprised by how tasty our carne asada was. This time, the food was as blah as everyone says it is.
We started with two side orders as appetizers.
Meh…. OK, I guess.
Carne Asada Tampiqueña is my favorite Mexican dish. What could be better than a steak topped with a cheese enchilada? But this one was not great – the beef was tough and not very flavorful, and the cheese enchilada was like mush.
On our way out, we broke down and bought an already-finished Animale Fantastico. This one was a cute little crab.
Like a dope, I forgot to get a picture, so instead I will show you this picture that came up when I searched for “Animales Fantasticos” on Flickr.com:
Isn’t this the cutest thing you have ever seen?!
It’s NOT the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Well how about this?
Still resisting the bunny, eh? Well try THIS one on for size!
You are powerless to resist this bunny!
Oh, bunnies not your thing? How about penguins in sweater vests?
Ahem! So… let’s see, where were we? Ah, yes: As evidenced in the pictures above, we bought a wooden crab.
After lunch we nipped down to the front of the park to get some footage of Patrick dancing in front of the Epcot ball, and then nipped back up to Norway so I could demolish a school bread.
Our next mission was to assemble a Candy of the World (Showcase) gift basket for our neighbors, who selflessly braved our cat’s hissing and scathing looks of utter contempt to keep him alive while we were on vacation. We hit on the notion of bringing them one candy from each country in Epcot. Once again, I dropped the ball on demanding Patrick take pictures, so I’ll just have to describe them individually and then show you the gift basket at the end.
In Mexico we got a bag of individually wrapped wafer cookies with goats milk caramel in them. This sounds (and tastes!) grosser than it looks…
In Norway it was pink and white mushroom-shaped candies (which I’d hoped would be like meringues but later discovered were chewy and raspberry flavored – ick!)
In China it was “American Cola Candy” which were Coke-bottle shaped gummi candies.
It seems like at least once on each trip we get stopped by the IllumiNations globe as it makes its journey to the lagoon for the big show, and this trip was no exception.
And so, our quest for candy of the world continued. We had to skip Africa because Coke and Cheetos don’t count as African… anything. In Germany we found some sort of cherry-chocolate nonsense in the shape of a heart and took two whole pictures.
The choices in Italy were almost overwhelming, especially the colorful bags of individually wrapped candy. In the end we cheaped out and got then a lemon sucker and an orange sucker.
On the way to America we saw something we’d never seen before: An American band (unfortunately, it wasn’t Grand Funk Railroad).
In America, we chose a candy that paid homage to America and that for which it stands: The Almighty Dollar. I wish I had a picture – it’s the candy bar with a wrapper printed to look like a $100 bill and Mickey in the president’s spot.
Shopping for candy in Japan was a lot of fun.
I also spotted a really cool, colorful mobile that I loved, but I couldn’t justify spending $40 on it…
This guy, however, was TOTALLY worth $20! I held an informal, prizeless naming contest on the blog but couldn’t pick just one name, so it changes daily.
CandyQuest hit a snag in Morocco, where a CM told us Moroccans don’t really eat candy so the Pavilion doesn’t sell it (???). So instead, we got our neighbors a jar of Moroccan honey.
We wanted to use our pool-hopping privileges for BoardWalk Inn, so we put the rest of our candy shopping on hold and left Epcot. We stopped back by our room and changed into our swimsuits, then drove to BoardWalk Inn to try out the Luna Park Pool and its slide, which some call the best resort slide on property. Since half of Stormalong Bay (including the slide) was being rehabbed, we were allowed to pool hop.
The pool was pretty happening, considering it was still only about 63 degrees out. Some CMs were leading everyone in pool games and playing loud music, something I’d never seen before at a Disney pool (and then saw an hour later back at Stormalong Bay!).
The creepy clown slide turned out to be a lot of fun! I definitely liked it the most of any of the slides I’ve tried so far (Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian, Beach Club, Crush ‘n’ Gusher). I like that it’s tall and twisty but not enclosed.
If it had been warmer out, we definitely would have done it more than six times. After we had our fill of the slide, we participated in a “YMCA” dance-off (against ourselves) in the shallow end. I cringed when the DJ said “This one’s for all the parents!” – am I that old?! Now, “YMCA” is always fun, of course, but it’s even MORE fun in the water because you can fall over if you want to! The only thing you have to watch out for is accidental indecent exposure when attempting the maneuvers in a bathing suit.
Since we were the only ones participating, we declared ourselves the winners and then went sloshing back to the car in our soggy swimsuits. We decided to hit Stormalong Bay one last time and, as previously mentioned, discovered a loud DJ party going on there, too! This time we just floated around the lazy river for an hour, keeping our “YMCA” water-dancing prowess on the down-low. The other thing kept on the down-low this time at Stormalong Bay was Patrick’s lunch — ba-da-bump!
After that it was back to the room to change for yet another fancy dinner (but this one was our last). We hadn’t been to Yachtsman Steakhouse since out Sept. ’07 wedding-planning trip, so I was really looking forward to it. I remembered the porterhouse for two being good and that we got to sit in the center window seat and talk about how much fun we’d just had taking our engagement pictures with Nathan.
How about a gratuitous engagement picture or two?
This time we had to wait for a few moments in the cozy booth facing the, uh, meat room where they store and display all their cuts of meat.
As if that weren’t sensory overload enough, they drag you by the dessert display on the way to your table.
Yachtsman definitely held up on second try. For one thing, they start you with some of the best bread on property and a big ol’ slab of butter. (The garlic is nice, but kind of overkill for bread this good).
I think Patrick ate about four of the pull-apart rolls (popovers?) – we just kept asking for more.
Our scallop appetizer was WAY better than the scallops we had at Narcoossee’s, which is s’posed to specialize in seafood.
For dinner we split the porterhouse (again – we couldn’t resist). I guess I’d never realized before that a porterhouse is actually two cuts of meat on one steak: a strip loin and a tenderloin. They were both good, but the tenderloin was a-friggin-mazing!
The service was really slow, especially when it came time to get the bill, but we almost didn’t care cuz the food was so good and we were able to get all the bread refills we could handle from the runners while our waitress was MIA.
At the end, we were delighted to receive….
Epcot was having evening Extra Magic Hours that night, so after dinner we strolled back there to finish CandyQuest ’09 and see IllumiNations.
We lucked out: the lower UK patio was open to the public, and we got a great spot right against the rail. Some nice ladies on the bench scooted over so we could sit there, and it turned out they were from Southern California too! They’d just begun their trip, so we shared all our end-of-trip pearls of wisdom (and probably regaled them with Patrick’s barfing story).
The show was great, but now I know what people are talking about when they describe being downwind at the UK patios. A mighty wind was blowin’, but it wasn’t blowin’ peace and freedom or blowin’ equality. It was blowing smoke and chunks of ash!
Still, we had the second-best view in the park….
Afterward, our new pals offered to take a picture of us. It was a kind gesture, but I wish I’d made the photographer stand on a bench to get a more flattering angle!
It was nice being in Epcot for extra magic hours – I don’t feel like we get to spend much time there at night, and it’s so beautiful. We went back to Morocco for a few shots (my one wedding-day regret is that we didn’t drag the Roots back to Morocco for nighttime pix!).
To conclude CandyQuest ’09 we picked up some tiny French chocolate squares, some Penguin sandwich cookie bars in the UK and then, because Canada’s gift shop was inexplicably closed, we cheated and went back to the UK to buy a mint Aero bar cuz you can get those in Canada too! Oh, and I forgot to put earlier that in Japan we got this cute string of individually wrapped chocolates that you could tear off one at a time.
Here’s what the finished product looked like after we assembled it back home.
We lingered in the UK a bit and ended up having a really interesting conversation with a CM from – oh shoot, now I don’t remember where in the UK he was from. Let’s say Blackpool, although he’d probably roll his eyes to hear that… He had a big map out on the counter and a basket full of slips of paper with UK city names. The object of the game was to watch Americans humiliate themselves with their inability to locate UK cities on the map. However – ha HA! – I had actually lived in the UK, so I got at least two right …if you count London.
We also talked about our fave British TV shows and his hopes of traveling to California and becoming a screenwriter (but living in the UK). It was a really nice moment we don’t often have when we’re dashing around trying to get on as many rides as possible, and I love that WDW offers both kinds of experiences.
Eventually we tore ourselves away from Epcot for the last time in who knows how long. The only thing keeping me from being sad was the thought of a Ghirardelli sundae at Downtown Disney. We’d decided to go back to the pin trading store and jump in with the pin sharks to see what Patrick could trade for before we left.
At first, Patrick met with rejection from the seasoned pin sharks, who seemed to be only interested in pins as big as your head with flashing lights and spinning doohickies on them.
But eventually he found someone who took pity on him (or possibly had a real job) and traded for a Swedish Chef pin he needed – hooray!
Back we went to Ghirardelli to celebrate our victory!
As usual, they didn’t put enough fudge on my sundae, so I got a sidecar of the stuff.
And that was the very happy end to a very happy day.