Day Four: Epcot & Disney Hollywood Studios

DAY FOUR: EPCOT & HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
I slept in til 9:30 (rare for me on a Disney trip, but this was supposed to be a retreat of sorts and I needed my rest) and decided I would go to Epcot with the sole mission of trying to charm my way into Le Cellier as a walk up. After all, I was by myself and how much room could little ole me take up? Plus, I had my Le Cellier pin on and planned to flash it along with my award winning smile to get what I needed. And what I needed was a bowl of Candian Cheese Soup.

I planned to end my day DHS so I decided to park there and take the boat to Epcot. I’d never done this and thought it would give me a chance to see part of Disney World that was still foreign to me. I parked in Film 31 and walked over to catch the tram to the entrance. As I did, I realized that I did not have my Annual Pass in my lanyard holder; I knew I had just had it out to show the parking lot attendant so I raced back to the car to find it. I could not locate it so I got on the tram and went through security, headed to Guest Relations where I had them print me a new one, and then went back out to board the boat to Epcot.

I walked right on and it was getting ready to launch. We had a leisurely trip over to the Epcot Resorts and things were going fine until our last stop, which was the Yacht and Beach Club. Boarding at this dock was a stereotypically loud, obnoxious New England-accented large Magical Gathering group of morons. No offense to non-loud, obnoxious New England-accented people but typically you aren’t noticed. Hence the loud, obnoxious part. They ran back and forth on the boat while it was in motion, jumping over seats, and most annoyingly the pre-teen daughter of one of the families kept coming over and sitting next to me backwards so she could yell at the other people sitting directly behind me.

We finally docked at Epcot and then they families started to try to push their way to the front of the line. The cast member, a decidedly cranky guy who was definitely “over it,” told them to get back in line where they belonged. I silently cheered him and gave him a smile as I went through the turnstiles. He didn’t care.

I walked briskly over to Canada and lined up behind two couples who were being gretted by a non-friendly girl who was definitely tired of telling people they were booked solid. She told the first couple that they were had no standby available and the couple behind acknowledged that was what they were asking about, too. She offered to help them find another restaurant with available seating around the World Showcase Lagoon and they stood and debated for a few minutes before wandering away.

So, it was my turn. I walked up as confidently as possible. “No room for just one even?” I said with a wink and a smile.

“No.” She barely looked up from the podium.

“Shucks,” I said and walked away wishing I had listened more intently in that class on assertiveness.

I was starving so I went to the only other place in the WS that I knew I could find something I’d like for sure. There was no wait at the American Adventure counter service restaurant. It took a while to get my cheeseburger and the cashier explained that they were now making every cooked to order so it was taking a little longer. I can’t imagine this policy will last very long during peak season; people will be ready to riot!

After I ate lunch, I went out to see when the next showing of the American Adventure show was; the older ladies staffing the pavilion informed me that they were having technical difficulties and had no idea when it would be back up. Disappointed, I went over and bought some fried ice cream with chocolate sauce to drown my sorrows. It was tremendous.

After I finished eating, I was treated to the Kwaanza storyteller. He was engaging and funny and informative. I love Epcot. I had no plans so I walked over to Italy and Germany and continued around the WS until I ended up at Norway. There was no wait for Maelstrom until the end while we had to wait 10 minutes for the doors to open to the theater. I was going to watch the movie this time, but decided to wait until my next trip when I purposely will do all the attractions I typically avoid or have never experienced before.

Connie called and said she wanted to watch Block Party Bash at DHS and that I should come over there, so I agreed. I did ride the boat ride in Mexico (it will always be El Rio del Tiempo to me, dang it) and then caught the Friendship over to Morocco and headed back through the International Gateway towards DHS.

Once the boat docked and I walked through security, my ticket wouldn’t work in the turnstiles and they sent me to another podium where the cast members were asking one another if they were able to print a new one when they were “offline.” I said it wasn’t a big deal and I’d just worry about it later and they agreed that would be best.

I called Connie and she was getting off ToT and heading towards me. I met her halfway and we grabbed a curbside spot on Hollywood Blvd to watch the BPB. I was thirsty so I got an ice cream sandwich and a Coke and waited for the show. Several Streetmesphere characters came out to play and they entertained for a long time. Once the parade started I was blown away by the energy these performers used. We were right between the Monsters Inc. float and a trampoline float and I can’t imagine how these kids do this show in the heat – and twice in a row! I know its not very popular with some Disney fans but I love this and will definitely catch it again in March. And I don’t usually like parades! I was shocked to see Corey Clark from American Idol working as a dancer in the BPB, however.

After the party, Connie and her family wanted to go ride the Backlot Tour. I told them I’d catch up to them later and headed off to The Great Movie Ride. Our guide was probably the most enthusiastic I’d had in awhile, but I still don’t understand why the gangsters don’t SPEAK UP! You cannot hear them at all EVER.

After this, I walked back to the AFI Showcase to wait for Connie and the rest, but they hadn’t even boarded the tram yet. I sat and read more of my book while I waited. They finally disembarked and we went shopping. Yes, I know, I can’t believe it either. More shopping with these people.

After browsing the Star Wars merchandise at the store by Star Tours (yes, I know what its called but I can’t spell it right so I’ll avoid the ridicule, thank you very much) Connie and I headed to the ABC Commissary for dinner. Her family went elsewhere and we’re not entirely sure where.

We then walked back to the Streets of America to await the initial lighting of the street. It was very cool to see and much less crowded than Friday night had been. We spent a lot of time back there taking pictures and wandering around. We have a contest every year to find the black cat and I found it first. I also bought some glazed nuts to really feel as if I were enjoying the holiday spirit.

At this point, I was beat so I said my goodbyes and headed for the exit. I stopped by Toy Story Mania, but it had a 50 minute posted wait time and the queue looked about the same so I passed. I made it back to my car, found my Annual Pass on the floor under the seat, and headed back to the hotel.

Early the next morning, I checked out of the hotel, drove to the airport, and flew home. I love Southwest Airlines. I love the Orlando Vista hotel. I love Dollar Rental Car. And I love Walt Disney World. This was a wonderful retreat from the working world and I look forward to my March trip where I will be staying at the French Quarter, using the Magical Express, and taking full advantage of Disney transportation the entire trip. Stay tuned for that trip in ab
out 80 some days!

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