January 14… and it went a little like this:
It was overcast when we woke up this morning: no alarms, no hard-and-fast schedule, and no grand plan. Just an overcast day, getting over to Epcot at some point in the morning, and enjoying it.
But we’re still here.
So, we went to Epcot. Epcot, and the World Showcase, that eclectic and seemingly random collection of national showcases ringing a lake. And as many times as I’ve been there this trip — running through four times and pasta in the park — I hadn’t actually used my ticket to go yet.
We were there pretty much when the park opened. We weren’t rushed, but we got there anyhow, and made our way onto a few rides: a couple spins on the Test Track, a couple flights on Soarin’, and a jittery and too-often-stopped trip through Spaceship Earth, the slow-moving, conveyor-belt-type ride that’s inside that iconic panelled sphere that sits at the gate of Epcot.
We were pretty much solo for most of the day. Claire, Karin and I made our way through a number of the national pavilions, sampling food from around the world: nothing too crazy, just favs that we can’t get most anywhere else in Disney World: German beer, curry-wurst, sushi, some French pastries, and… oh, yes… another turkey leg.
Karin and Claire played an interactive game where they were hunting for clues with a kind-of-cell-phone device that led them around a couple of the pavilions.
But the day wore on. It rained a little. And we needed a short break. We caught the bus back to the hotel for a bit of a siesta and a nap, but were back at the gate by half past six.
The second part of the day was a fancy dinner: Claire hung out with her aunt, uncle and cousins while Karin and I took the monorail to the Contemporary Hotel’s California Grill for a date-night dinner overlooking the Magic Kingdom, well-timed to catch the 8 pm fireworks. We had sushi, seafood, and some nice drinks.
The highlights of the day include:
1) A double-dip on Soarin’ when the ride attendant miscounted our seating and graciously offered us a second go without even having us leave our aisle. Two rides for the queue of one.
2) The monorail. As clumsy and inefficiently as the system is run (well, at least compared to riding the LRT back home and have recently spent some time in the New York subway system) I’ve always wanted to take a spin on this classic transit system.
3) The fireworks from afar: from the fifteenth floor of the Contemporary Hotel, our window-side seats for dinner gave us an awesome view of the show. They even dimmed the restaurant lights and played the audio program over the speakers.
Tomorrow should be a shorter day: but we do have a breakfast date with Mickey Mouse… or so the tour guide tells us.