Day 6: Rainy Day at Epcot

Ack! We’re on Day 6 already! What will I do with myself when I finish this report? Start posting off-topic about my daily life, I suppose…. “Tuesday: I sat in a cubicle all day. First, somebody ran up and hollered ‘Heyweneedyoutoproofthisletterthat’sgoingoutrightnownowNOW!’ [insert three pictures of letter from various angles]. Well, let me tell you how I felt about this letter…”

Today was Monday, and it was also DIS  Boards bride Toni’s wedding day. Considering how desperate I am to crash another Disney Fairy Tale Wedding, I did a terrible job of stalking Toni this day.

Patrick woke up bright-eyed and bushytailed AND none the worse for wear, so we went right back to having a fabulous anniversary trip. One thing I really liked about this trip was that we were (OK, I was) less concerned about getting to the parks for rope drop. We still managed to get there 20 or 30 minutes after they opened, but I didn’t feel the need to hustle us out of the house in the morning. And the crowd levels were no worse than they would have been at rope-drop – hooray!

We ended up spending the whole day in Epcot.


Ominous clouds over the International Gateway

The forecast was for rain, so the first thing we did was ride Test Track twice in a row to beat the inevitable rain shut-down. Well, actually, the first thing we did was take a bunch of pictures along the way that I can’t think of funny captions for…

OK, so then we rode Test Track twice in a row to beat the rain. This time we had to go in the front way with the plebs instead of swankin’ it up with the secret GM Lounge entrance like we had in September.


Is it me, or is it HOT in here?


Aaaaah.... the open road!


I like the meticulously detailed re-creation of a GM parking lot they made for this part!


Whoohoooooooo!

Test Track’s gift shop always seems to have something cool that you won’t find at every single other merchandise location. This time, Patrick turned up a neat-looking T-shirt with the Dinoco Gas logo on it and discovered a series of small versions of the big, overpriced Vinylmation figures we’d seen at Disneyland a few weeks earlier. They come in blind-item packaging, though, which means you don’t know which one you’re going to get until after you buy it. We later saw a guy buying an entire case of them at World of Disney ($10 a pop, 20 boxes per case) – I guess he really wanted to collect ‘em all!


The one Patrick wants


The one I want

Just to show you how much better Patrick was feeling that day, the next ride he picked was Mission Space. …. of which we have no pictures. But this artwork from Spaceship Earth pretty much sums it up:


OK, first you get launched into space to go do some stuff, then you, like, float in space and fix a thing, and then... well, I don’t remember the naked guy, but maybe Gary Sinise got his kit off at the end but I just couldn’t tell cuz the screen was so small....

After surviving the high-speed, turbulent, and abruptly resolved mission to Mars, we decided to take a slow-moving journey through history at Spaceship Earth.


The pictures never turn out, but we always try to get a shot of this scene.

I screwed up the part at the end where you tell the computer what you like to do and it shows you your future. I always answer exactly what I really want to do, so we always get the same picture….


Well, not exactly the same picture...

So next time Patrick wants to do the answering so we can get a different kind of future.


This one looks.... uncomfortable


Now that’s my kind of future!

After Spaceship Earth, we poked our heads in the Disney Gallery, where I drooled over the Olszewski miniature of Cinderella Castle that I’m going to get one day when I’ve completed (and started!) my collection of his Disneyland miniatures and we’re all flying around in rocket cars and eating food from replicators (Me to replicator: “Sundae. No Way Jose. Peanut-buttery!”)

We still had time to kill before the World Showcase opened (sheesh – we coulda slept in!), so I dragged Patrick over to Sunshine Seasons at The Land to get a slice of peanut butter chocolate cake for later.

Along the way we saw this odd bird trying to get some play with a lady duck:

I think she’s hiding from him under the water in this shot


OK, you might want to be sitting down for this part: So we get to Sunshine Seasons and I start looking around for my peanut butter chocolate cake and… I can’t find it. So I ask the CM at the bakery counter and, according to her, they NO LONGER SELL IT!

Donde esta mi peanut butter chocolate cake?


However, she also told us she’d worked there two years and never seen it, and I’ve had it there about four times since Feb. 08, so I think she might’ve been full of it. To add insult to injury, she told us they no longer allow newlyweds/anniversary couples to take a free cookie from the bakery case because now that there’s the stoopid “What will you celebrate?” campaign, everyone’s celebrating something.

RIP, peanut butter chocolate cake...

After this depressing news, we were so out of sorts that, without thinking, we picked up FastPasses for Soarin’ despite our M.O. that we don’t need to ride it at Epcot cuz we have it in California.

Finally World Showcase opened, and off we went to give it a thorough going-over. (That’s right, it’s taken me this long to describe our day and we’re only at 11am.)

So long, Future World...


Hello, Mexi—WHOA!


Less active shot...


We got a classic bit of anniversary pixie dust in Mexico, where the CM at the entrance to the Gran Fiesta Tour took one look at our hats and ushered us straight to the front of the (nonexistent) line to give us our own boat and a Magical Memories (Moments?) certificate!

The Gran Fiesta Tour is a thrilling, turbulent adventure through Latin America!


...Unless you’re sober.


I took this with my iPhone!


When we got off the ride we poked around the marketplace and told each other for the umpteenth time how much we love the atmosphere in Mexico. We also tried again to catch one of the Animalés Fantásticos artists at the early stages of painting a new animal so we could buy before it was done (for a surprise like on our honeymoon). But we must’ve lucked out that time, because every time we’ve been back, they’re almost finished with an animal.

We headed off to Norway to knock out Maelstrom (I want so much to like this ride! The idea of floating through the different Norwegian environments is so appealing to me, but the execution is so slapdash). Along the way we saw this depressing tableau…

So.... I guess they’re never bringing back the Viking ship playground...



Nor-vey!

Too bad FastPass doesn’t let you bypass the movie theater at the end altogether!


It was getting close to our noon reservation at Chefs de France, so we hoofed it around the World Showcase. When we got to Germany, we saw poor Snow White standing around with nothing to do, so we graciously offered to take a picture with her.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have an autograph book, so we signed her arm instead


Lunch!


This turned out to be one of the highlights of our day (well, OK, food is the highlight of my EVERY day, but….). I wasn’t convinced Chefs de France was going to be all that great. Having Bistro de Paris upstairs makes Chefs de France seem kinda like the poor relation to me. Also, I thought I wanted to sit in the interior of the restaurant, which seemed to be way more atmospheric than the solarium sides.

As it turned out, we got a table right by the window in the, uh, Morocco-side solarium and sat down just as the rain started to fall, and it was lovely! We got to enjoy the downpour from our toasty spot inside while sipping hot soup and marveling at how many people come to Florida without ponchos or umbrellas. (Says the one who didn’t bring anything heavier than a sweatshirt…)

This is called “bread”!


Bisque de Homard - Lobster Bisque


That was flavorful, but it only had one tiny piece of lobster.

Half a Croque Monsier et sa salade verte - classic French toasted ham and cheese sandwich with a green salad

Kinda burnt at the edges, but tasty. Needs more cheese sauce!

Profiteroles au chocolat - Puff choux with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce


Deeeeeeeeeee-ricious! I could drink that chocolate sauce by the glass…

Patrick’s pin collection at that moment


While we were eating, we got to see all the waiters assemble to sing Happy Birthday to different people – three times! It happened twice before I realized the restaurant only had male waitstaff – what’s up with that? It also got me thinking about whether these French fellas were the favorites (or the bane!) of the ladies on the College Program. We later saw most of them roaming around Italy in a pack after they got off work. They seemed very interested in the girls working at Tutto Italia.

After lunch we decided to see all of the films in World Showcase, starting with France, mais oui!

We stole this idea from the people in line ahead of us – we can’t be original all the time, you know!


Whenever I see Impressions de France, I always think about how the kids in the flower market scene are all grown up by now (we won’t talk about what happened to the grandmas….).

From there, we went splashing off to Canada.

Where should we go? Oh, Canada...


I have no pithy commentary for Canada or its film.

So all day, because I am a stalker, I kept thinking about Toni’s wedding: “I wonder what’s happening now?” “I wonder where they moved her ceremony”…. “I wonder if they’re cutting the cake now”… “I wonder if there’s any leftover cake” … “I wonder what they did with the leftover cake” etc.

Secretly, I wanted to make a detour to the BoardWalk Inn and nonchalantly “happen” to walk by the entrance to the Attic (which, if you read my wedding trip report, you know is at the dead-end of a twisty 3-mile hallway, and it is therefore physically impossible to “happen” to walk by) just so I could peek at her reception… But I knew that, while we often joke on the DIS Weddings and Honeymoons board about crashing each others’ weddings, in reality it would just be awkward and weird for her if two random strangers in garish mouse-ear hats showed up in the middle of a family gathering. …Either that, or her guests would think she’d shelled out the big bucks for entertainment by Disney’s “Uninvited Guests”!

So, instead of crashing Toni’s wedding, we went to China to see the CircleVision film. Whoopee. On the way to we stopped in Mexico to take a picture of this piñata because, ooooh – pretty colors!!!

And now, because I can’t show you the movie we saw, Reflections of China, I give you Close-ups of China: What China Looks Like If You Get Really Close to Stuff!

They always have the cutest stuffed animals in the China gift shop. I couldn’t resist getting a fat little panda with plastic bamboo in his mouth, even though I was pretty sure I’d bought the same stuffed animal on one of our previous WDW trips.

Inside the gift shop was panda-monium!

By this time, it had been at least an hour since I’d had any sugar, so I needed to make a stop at Kringla Bakery for another dessert. Good thing, too, cuz it started pouring rain!

I got a Coconut Custard Tart. It was really bland. I guess I shoulda known better, considering the crust, the filling and the cream topping were all basically the same color….

We were out of the rain yet still got to enjoy it as water sprayed in under the open sides of Kringla’s patio…

I ditched the other half of my tart and we gave our soggy table to a cute pair of honeymooners. The rain seemed to be letting up a bit, so we forged on toward Germany to poke around in the shops.

The Christmas shops at WDW always get me excited and momentarily confused about what month it is. “Oh boy! Christmas is coming in just… say, wait a minute – it’s February!!!”

Patrick’s family enjoys the (American) Christmas tradition of hiding a pickle ornament on the tree and competing to see who can find it first. I wonder if they started the tradition using real pickles, but then had to switch to fake because the smell was a dead giveaway….

I found the pickle!


The trains were running! (But not on time – that’s Switzerland’s thing…)

In Germany we stuck our heads in the Biergarten restaurant to check out the ambience. It always looks so cool, but I just can’t get past the buffet menu of clammy cold cuts and fruit-sullied desserts, so we’ve never eaten there.

When we got to Italy, we took a peek in Tutto Italia to see what that restaurant looked like (that’s when we saw the Chefs de France waiters macking on the Tutto Italia hostesses). Again, no pictures, but now that the restaurant is being run by the Patina Group, I might be convinced to try it someday.

"Would you like to try our Catch of the Day?"


This guy’s doing an impression of Patrick


Apparently, according to our pictures, we stopped at American Adventure, although it didn’t rate a mention in my journal that night. I think I prolly sat on a bench while Patrick took this picture:

And this one:

Next stop: Japan!

We gave the Mitsukoshi Dept. store a thorough going over, and I was pleased to find myself not gripped by the usual spontaneous and previously nonexistent desire to pick a pearl to be made into jewelry I’d never wear….

Our FASTPASS window had opened by then, so we hoofed it back to Future World to ride Soarin’ (over California). I love the look of this part of the queue, although I think the aviation memorabilia we have at DCA is more interesting to look at when you have to wait in line:

I was *very* excited when we got inside the theater to discover that we were in THE best seats: Middle section, top row (no feet dangling from above!). And it was fun to see all the shots of our homeland, including Downtown LA (sped up – the traffic never moves that fast!) and DISNEYLAND!!! Of course I always notice that they shot that footage before Sleeping Beauty Castle got its repaint a few years ago – it looks so washed out.

After Soarin’ (over California) we took a turn through the ginormous Future World gift shop (Mouse Gears?), which holds a special place in our hearts as the site where, several times on our honeymoon, we decided to blow off IllumiNations and go to Downtown Disney for Ghirardelli sundaes. Fortunately, that didn’t happen this time.

There is an unfounded rumor going around on the Weddings & Honeymoons board that Disney is discontinuing the bride mouse ear headband just because they recently added bride and groom mouse-ear hats. So I took this picture of the scads of bride headbands as proof that it’s not so.

I would show you a pic of the new mouse-ear hats, but they are so controversial that I fear this report would go right off the rails!

Pretty candy!


So by this time, we were getting pretty hungry, but we still had time to kill before our 7:30 ADR at Le Cellier, and we were BORED!

This is ironic in a way that only a WDW nerd would understand: I have never ever ever scored an ADR for Le Cellier at a normal hour. It is so popular that even when I called 180+10 days ahead (back in the good old days), I could only ever get dinner at some weird hour like 4:30pm. But when they started shortening the 180-day window last fall, it happened that reservation windows would open when no one knew about it, so I miraculously scored THREE prime Le Cellier ADRs. I made them all for 7:30pm, just because I could. A few months before the trip I cancelled one, cuz three was just too dang many. And a few weeks before we confirmed our hangin’ out with the Roots day, so I gave that ADR to a mother in need on the DIS Restaurant boards.

So here we were with our prime ADR and an hour to kill and the rain starting again and we couldn’t think of anything else to do, SO…. we did something that entirely defeats the purpose of an ADR and will surely earn me warning points on the DIS: We went to Le Cellier early and sat in the lobby waiting to get a walk-in spot. Not only that, but – despite their estimate that we could get a table within 20 minutes – we waited an entire HOUR for a table to open up and went in at our original time. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! (OK, I guess, in the grand scheme of things, there are worse things than this. Like being eaten by a gator…. Maybe.)

To make matters worse, the lobby was packed with people because of the rain, including one family who decided to drape their wet ponchos over the full length of the hand rail leading to the dining room and then scream obscenities at each other. Classy!

I was pretty grumpy by the time we got a seat, but then something wonderful happened. We got THE nicest server we’ve ever had at Le Cellier. Usually they just wanna hustle you in and out, but he let us take our time and actually seemed to be trying to cheer me up!

EXXXTREME pretzel bread close-up



We split a bowl of the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup - Made with Moosehead Beer and Smoked Bacon

We also split the Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon but swapped out the wild mushroom risotto for cream cheese mashed potatoes; it still had the white truffle and herb butter sauce


And here’s the best part. At the end of the meal…. WE GOT A FREE DESSERT! We didn’t get free anything at Le Cellier on our honeymoon, and I was starting to think that non-Signature restaurants were prohibited from passing out freebies. But there it was – and something I’d been wanting to try, too!

Chocolate "Moose" - Chocolate Mousse rolled in Toasted Chocolate Crumbs with Maple Leaf Antlers


Kinda grim, really… a moose with a flaming candle stuck in its head… and a dead-looking tongue flopping out of its mouth… Grim, but tasty!

So, I guess I grudgingly have to admit I like Le Cellier. I tried to think it was overrated, but the food really is delicious. It’s just too bad they can’t make it bigger to accommodate more people and take that snobby exclusivity out of the picture.

By the time we got out of Le Cellier, the rain had let up. I dragged Patrick over to the Lower UK terrace to see if I could find out the scoop on Toni’s dessert party. We couldn’t see anybody down there, so I grilled the event guide guarding the rope and learned that the desserts had been moved inside the Wonders of Life pavilion, but guests would be coming out to Lower UK in time for the fireworks. Hooray!!!

I took a really bad picture to post on my blog….

…but then I thought it might be scooping Toni’s trip report to share the insider info I was so proud of. So I saved it for … now! And I can’t wait see pix of the set-up inside Wonders of Life – I think one of the rooms is done up like a circus tent.

It was still kinda damp and chilly out, so we decided to go back to our room for IllumiNations. It wasn’t the greatest view, but it was fun to be able to see at least part of the show from the comfort of our room.

Up Next: Three Theme Parks in One Day + Dessert with Dinosaurs!

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3 Responses
  • Katelyn
    April 1, 2013

    My family also “hides the pickle,” which my husband thought was some risque holiday activity when we had our first Christmas together and I tried to explain all of my (apparently) weird family holiday traditions.
    And I LOVE the part on Soaring where it goes over Downtown and Disneyland… As a former SoCalian who lives in Seattle now, I always get emotional on that ride.

    • Carrie
      April 1, 2013

      Aw… me too!

  • Chilly
    February 4, 2011

    I want a pickle for my tree

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