Day 10: Epcot

Last night ended with a hair dryer. This morning began with a hair dryer.

It rained a lot yesterday. My shoes spent all day being utterly soaked. I let ’em sit for half an hour under a hair dryer last night; it only sorta made a dent. This morning, I got them dry enough to be worth wearing. It was also nice that Epcot opens later, and we didn’t have any fast passes for the morning, so it was a much more leisurely start to the day than normal…and like a proper day, it started with coffee.

Once that was worked out, we took the Skyway to Epcot. We shared our skyway car with a family who had a daughter who was probably four, and was quite scared of being up in the air on the Skyway. She was worried about it falling, and her mom tried to reassure her. It didn’t seem to help this small human with her big feelings. Her older sister (9 or 10, I’d say) tried to help by telling her that the alternative was swimming to the park…with alligators…it didn’t help. I tried to help her by reassuring her that she was a unicorn (she was wearing Minnie Mouse ears with a unicorn horn), and as a unicorn, she would have to be okay with flying. Her response, “But I don’t have my wings yet!” …the level of adorable here was palpable, but I was extremely conflicted about my “awwww” reaction since she was still quite agitated. I let mom take the lead at this point; she held her child’s hand and tried to keep her calm as best she could. When we got to our first stop, our young traveler was very happy to be on the ground…but that was short lived because the stop was actually a transfer point to a different Skyway line that would go to Epcot. So, small human was required to go on another Skyway car, and though she was surprisingly well behaved enough to avoid throwing a tantrum, it clearly wasn’t her favorite part of the day. “I wanna go back to the hotel” she said. Mom said, “Well, we’ll still have to go back on the Skyway to go back to the hotel, so can we at least go to the park?” She begrudgingly agreed, and got into the Skyway car, though not the same one with Lizzy and I.

When we got to the park, Lizzy and I waited for them to get out as well. When she came out, we were all “yessss!!! you made it! Look at you, being all brave!”, and she gave us both a high five. We walked with her down the ramp, and she continued talking to me. She was all, “that was really scary” and “my heart is beating really fast”, but my favorite line was “if my heart is beating really fast like this for too long, I’m worried I’ll have a heart attack!” …I kid you not, this four year old was genuinely scared of having a heart attack. I told her, “You’ve got a couple more years before you have to worry about a heart attack. But today, have a good time in the park, can you do that?” She agreed, the parents waved to us, and we parted ways. This was undoubtedly the most memorable encounter of our day.

Some amusing T-shirts seen while walking:

  • A number of his-and-her shirts where the woman’s said “I wear the ears”, and the man’s said “I drink the beers”.
  • Two or three Star Wars themed his-and-hers shirts where the woman’s had a picture of Leia saying “I love you”, and Han Solo’s, saying “I know.”
  • “Hakuna Moscato”
  • “These calories don’t count”
  • Disney Vacation 2020 2021
  • “Here in Spirit” – a group shirt had several names of people on the back; each of them  had died in 2020 or 2021.
  • His-and-hers shirts where the man had a rear profile view of Mickey on the back of his, the woman had a rear profile of Minnie, and they were holding hands…but they were standing on the wrong side of each other, so they were holding on to nothing.
  • A young Indian (from India) girl , 3 or 4, wore a “Minnie Mouse” shirt to match her mother’s “Mommy Mouse” shirt. The outfit itself wasn’t special, but this girl had sass for days.

Today was primarily about the snacking and things of that nature. Our day started in Canada, which had apple themed things – more specifically, hard ciders and an apple tart. It being only 10:30 or so, I asked Lizzy “Isn’t it a bit early to start drinking?” Her response: “It’s Epcot. The park’s open. We’re fine.” I enjoyed getting to try the different varieties, but my palette isn’t terribly complex, so aside from the grape one (i.e. someone clearly dropped a packet of grape Kool-Aid mix into a vat of Angry Orchard at a level I’d have been able to taste while I had Covid), they had “notes of”…something. Whatever, it was roughly six ounces of cider and I drank ’em all. Done. The apple tart was good, but I know I’m getting old when things are starting to get “too sweet” for me…and this thing definitely straddled the line. Still, it was good, we hung out in Canada for a bit, and then we moved on.

 We then moved to Spaceship Earth to meet with the rest of Lizzy’s family, but we weren’t waiting two hours to go on the golf ball…so our togetherness was short-lived as we split up not long after to resume snacking. “Journey into Imagination with Figment” was a stop on the way back.

Epcot has a few countries that don’t have official entries in the World Showcase, but for the 50th Anniversary been given some small sections. These typically consist of to-go restaurants with less than a dozen menu items, along with a small gift shop. Brazil, Spain, and Greece were on this list off the top of my head; over the course of the day we went to each of them. I was feeling a bit sleepy, so I got a nifty drink that was a combination of chai tea, espresso, cinnamon and some whipped cream on top. I was pleasantly surprised that it was just the right amount of sweetness!

Mexico is officially the country where stories are made. Lizzy and I went there because she wanted to try one of the tequila drinks. I like tequila as much as the next guy, but I wasn’t in the mood for hard liquor today. We wait on line to get into this place; took about 20 minutes to get in. Once we get in, Lizzy was talking to the bartender for several minutes, realized there were no strawberry drinks available, and motioned me to leave, empty handed. It was the most pointless line we’ve stood on thus far, but I’m okay laughing about it. We rode the boat ride in Mexico; the second time I’ve done so this trip.

Though we didn’t do much in Italy, a street performer did a mime/juggling/”dad magic” show that was a definite crowd pleaser.

I got a snack in Germany, but was a bit underwhelmed. “Hey US, can I copy your hot dog homework?” “Yeah, but change it a little so the teacher won’t think you copied.” “Ladies and gentlemen, bratwurst in a pretzel bun!” …it was a hot dog in a more dense bun. No sooner do I finish eating it, but out come the ponchos. Lizzy joined me shortly thereafter, having gotten a wine flight. It turned out to be a running thing that I would drink the wines she didn’t like, most commonly the reds since I have the world’s least discerning palette, causing red wines to taste basically the same to me. All of today’s subsequent ethanol consumption was performed in this way.

Today was Veteran’s Day; many veterans were wearing their veteran hats. I make it a point to thank them all for their service, particularly to tell the Vietnam vets “welcome home”.

I saw someone wearing one of yesterday’s favorite shirts: “I don’t do group t-shirts”, and this one had Donald. So, I asked where it came from, and he said it was special ordered. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, he offered to sell me the one he was wearing, but I’d also have to trade him the Mass Effect shirt I was wearing, but it wouldn’t fit him (a self-depreciating joke referring to several extra pounds he had that I didn’t), so the deal was off. We talked for a few more minutes and compared notes. It was nice to chat with him for several minutes on the topic.

The American Adventure was a combination movie/animatronic show in one of the larger theaters we’ve been in thus far, which was well done overall. A BBQ place next door provided lunch/dinner for us. I enjoyed talking to Lizzy for a bit as we did.

A quick lap through Morocco later, we went to France for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This ride was unique in that it was the first 3D ride we’ve been on this trip, and the first one I’ve been on that’s been totally trackless – some sort of magnetic track guides the different ride cars around through the ride. Personally, I hate 3D things; Muppetvision is the only one I’ll tolerate…but even with the glasses off, it was a lot of fun and easily a highlight.

We went to Japan as the final stop of the day. In addition to the lovely pagoda, Japan sports the largest gift shop I’ve been in on this trip so far. Now, I took a lap through it in a few minutes, taking a look at a few exhibits in the process.

I waited a bit for Lizzy to finish up, when I found myself taking a swan dive into one of those rabbit holes that I’m starting to get sick of. One of Lizzy’s pastimes she does here is to shop. Rock on! She works hard for her money and it genuinely makes her happy to have a bunch of things she bought at Disney. I’m not judging her for this, I’m judging myself. I haven’t bought a single souvenir yet. Not one. Now, over my life, I’ve become a bit more of a fan of “incidental souvenirs” – my collection of room keys over this trip would be such an example. Growing up, we bought one or two, tops, when we went on trips, and yes, I’m thankful for my parents instilling wisdom in this regard. Like any child, I’d invariably want half the gift shop, play with it once, and never enjoy it after. On the other extreme, at what point did I go to the other direction and summarily avoid gift shops because “I never buy anything in there anyway”, or embrace my inner fox, looking at all the “grapes” and calling them sour and basically avoid shopping entirely? I won’t go broke if I buy a T-Shirt or a coffee mug, will I? …I have eight days to figure this out.

Lizzy stayed behind, while I went back to the hotel. The Cast Member at the Skyway recognized my N7 shirt, the first one today who audibly did so.

When I got back to the hotel, a friend helped me fix a technical issue with my blog, finally.

Blogging. Bed.

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