Today was our second full Epcot day. Epcot is weird – you can’t really do it in one day if you haven’t been in forever and want to see everything, but two full days seemed like too much. This surprised me because I expected it to be my favorite park and thought I’d spend hours just poking around all the shops in the World Showcase. I think if I lived in Orlando I’d be there a LOT just hanging out, but there wasn’t that much left we hadn’t done on our second full day.
We got there for rope drop again and got to follow the Dream Squad but, alas, received no free churros…
We got to the rope stretching across the Innoventions plaza and these guys came out to meet us. For someone with zero interest in characters, I became inordinately excited to meet them, but all we got were some run-by shots:
After Minnie & the gang piled into their Dream Mobile with the lucky little bozos who were picked by the Dream Squad, the rope dropped and we dashed off to Test Track for another ride, followed by both versions of Mission: Space. I couldn’t really tell the difference – what do you think that means…?
When we came out, I realized my prescription sunglasses were missing. I thought I must’ve left them in the car, so we walked all the way back out there (which isn’t really that big a deal at Epcot. If it’d been MK or Disneyland, we’d have been gone like 45 minutes!). The shades didn’t turn up at the car, so we ran back to Test Track and, sure enough, one of the CMs had found them in our car – hooray! And so easy, too!
After riding and getting stuck on the Living Seas with Nemo & Friends, we decided to go wait at Coral Reef for our ADR. I’m so glad I put our honeymoon on the reservation because we got to sit right next to the tank. We were in the far right-hand window and didn’t seem to have as many fishy buddies as the tables behind us, but we saw this guy a lot:
I was really surprised by how good the food was. I’d heard mixed reviews and expected it to be overpriced and mediocre. Well, it was overpriced but prepared really well! We started with the wild mushroom soup. I think truffle oil is totally overrated, and I was glad you couldn’t actually taste it. Patrick had the Blackened Catfish with cheese grits, and OMG, I was stealing bites of grits the whole meal. (“Hey look over there – I think Steve is eating a turtle!” [swipe!])
My Grilled Mahi Mahi with couscous and honey soy glaze was cooked perfectly – another surprise. The couscous was delicious, but it would have been even better covered in cheese grits…
Whatever I order when we go back in September, I’m getting those grits on the side. Is it true that the steak is really good?
They gave us a free butterscotch creme brulee for dessert cuz it was our honeymoon!
After lunch we rode Maelstrom and Three Caballeros again and enjoyed them much more the second time – lowered expectations, perhaps? At any rate, we weren’t gonna press our luck with a second spin on Ellen’s Universe of Energy…
After Three Caballeros, we bought only our second souvenirs each – a bright blue Three Caballeros shirt for him and some supposedly authentic Mexican vanilla for me (even though we live in the middle of the largest Mexican immigrant community in the US and can prolly buy it at the grocery store…).
We poked around the World Showcase some more, and Patrick got some nice shots.
When we got to France I redeemed a postcard for a free Chanel sample, which I’d picked up on our way through Chefs de France a few days before. It was for that new perfume debuting exclusively at Epcot (but is probably in every department store by now). Patrick and I agreed that it definitely smelled like an Epcot restroom – hee hee!
We were scheduled to be in Epcot all day and had a dinner reservation in Mexico, but by this time even I was getting a little bored of looking in shops, so we hopped a monorail to the Magic Kingdom for a quick break.
Hooray! Magic Kingdom!
I keep saying this, but I was really surprised how much I liked MK. When I visited as a snotty teenager, I sneered at all its differences from Disneyland and considered it the inferior park. But now that I’m a snotty adult (and I visit Disneyland so frequently that I’ve actually – gasp! – been known to be bored there), I love its combination of familiar and different. And I love that we can visit attractions that Disneyland has shuttered or replaced, like the fort on Tom Sawyer Island or Swiss Family Treehouse.
Patrick took lots of gratuitous shots of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – it is just gorgeous at WDW, especially with the beautiful Florida skies.
Another thing you can’t do at Disneyland anymore is get a hand-embroidered hat (well, OK, hand-and-machine embroidered, rather than all-machine-embroidered). We bought two the week before they switched out the machines at Disneyland, so we bought two at WDW in the same spirit (I think I’ve heard they’re going all-machine-embroidered at WDW too…). We are so impressed by the talent and coordination it takes to do these well.
After we’d seen every nook and cranny of the fort on Tom Sawyer Island, we rode the monorail back to Epcot for dinner at San Angel Inn. This is another place that seems to receive mixed reviews, but the steak we split was delicious. It’s a different cut of meat, so we weren’t expecting a Le Cellier steak – it was more chewy but really flavorful.
I wish we’d been able to get pictures inside the Mexico Pavilion because the atmosphere was perfect – we got a table right by the water, under the volcano, the mariachis were playing, and the place was bustling. Add in the low light, the flickering candles, the hyper little girl trying to climb over the railing… bliss!
After dinner we stood in the marketplace and watched the mariachis. It’s not my favorite style of music, but I love the combination of musical talent and showmanship – it seemed that nearly every member of the band got a solo or to lead a song. It was lovely to stand and listen with Patrick’s arms around me, and when they finished I got to shake their hands! On our way out we stopped at the booth where they decorate the Animales Fantasticos – those colorful wooden animals. Patrick had been fascinated by them during our entire trip.
We saw that one of the women was working on a cute little armadillo and decided it would be a fun souvenir if we bought it right then, before it was finished, and had them ship it to our hotel. Then we would have a surprise when we opened it at home and saw how it turned out! I won’t make you wait until Day 13: The Reckoning to see how it turned out….
Once again, we decided to blow off our evening entertainment plans (this time, IllumiNations) and go to Downtown Disney for Ghirardelli sundaes. You can see where our priorities are… On the way out we were asked to do a survey. I love taking surveys because then I get to blab about my opinions even more than I already do. However, it felt like a pretty silly thing to do on our honeymoon, considering I’d taken a Sunshine Rewards survey nearly every day for the past year to earn money for our honeymoon – especially since Epcot’s didn’t pay anything!
When we got to Downtown Disney, I decide to do the trick where you buy all the souvenirs you saw in the parks at the World of Disney Store so you can get an Annual Passholder or Disney Visa discount on them. But apparently this is a well known tip, because half of what I wanted was out of stock! I’d decided my big souvenir would be the three Disney Parks cookbooks (never mind that they’re prolly all available at my second home, a.k.a. Disneyland), but World o’ Disney only had two and told us the first one had been discontinued. They were also out of the Mickey parts dog toys (I totally shoulda taken a picture of these – so cute! ) we wanted to get for our kitty-sitter’s dogs. We found them at the pet store, though.
Then we muscled our way to a table at Ghirardelli with our delicious sundaes (why didn’t I take pictures – why?!). I got what used to be called a Cable Car Sundae (hot fudge and butterscotch), and Patrick got a banana split because I told him to.
We started to drive back to AKV, but Patrick was bound and determined to get me that discontinued cookbook. He said he’s seen it at Coronado Springs’ gift shop, so we pulled off. Sure enough, they had a huge stash of them, and that book turned out to have a lot of the same recipes as the spendy coffee table cook book I got at World o’ Disney. So we returned the spendy one and I had all the Disney Parks recipes I could ever want. What a great guy!