Orlando 2023: EPCOT

by | Mar 2, 2023 | Food & Drink, Travel, USA Travel

Sunday was our day at EPCOT. I set an alarm for 6:55am to join the first virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy but didn’t get in. We slept a bit longer and while enjoying my fancy cold brew, I booked us the free hotel shuttle for 10am.

We arrived to the park around 10:35am and walked straight in after receiving our ticket cards, a Chewbacca one for me and traditional Mickey Mouse for Eric. Our first stop was The Seas with Nemo and Friends and the aquarium. The ride itself is silly, but we were both rather disappointed in the lack of educational signage in the aquarium area. The info was very basic and mostly reduced to cutesy characters from the movies – I feel like this is a missed opportunity on Disney’s part.

Next up was Living with the Land which was one of our favorite rides as kids. This experience hasn’t aged well and as someone who works in ag science (Eric) some of the information was just inaccurate.

Our next stop was the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival since we had to walk right past the theater and there was no wait. We watched a series of three 3D shorts that were surprisingly entertaining. I generally love Pixar’s short films and in an uncrowded giant theater we found it well worth spending ~30 minutes.

By now it was nearly 1pm, so I needed to get back on the Disney app and try for the second-chance Guardians virtual queue at 1pm. Success! We were group 101 with a 140 minute wait. Plenty of time to explore some of the World Showcase. Now, as people who have physically been to most of these countries since our last visit to EPCOT, I was a little wary about how the presentation was going to feel, and it did come off superficial. We started counter-clockwise and stopped at the Rose & Crown pub for a Black Velvet. It was open seating, so Eric grabbed us a prime spot along the water to enjoy our beverage.

 

We were visiting during the Festival of the Arts and while we weren’t terribly interested in the Disney themed art booths, we did find some tasty options at the food kiosks – starting with a deconstructed French onion soup.

And we did spot a few characters on the walls.

 

For lunch, we stopped for a quick bite at the Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie and split a reasonably priced ham and cheese croissant and chocolate tart.

We had about 30 minutes before our slot was called for the Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, so we half-hustled through the rest of the countries and entered right when our group showed up on the board. Unfortunately, there was still another 45 minutes of line waiting to go before the actual ride but at least there were some interactive bits along the way. The ride itself was intense! The coaster cars swivel forward and backward and get up to 60mph speeds entirely in the dark, so it’s impossible to focus on anything for too long. It was fun but I am grateful I did not have a full stomach.

Eric wanted to try the Mission: Space ride next door and the green (less intense) line had no wait. We had tried this ride 20 years back (right after lunch) and I felt really bad afterward so thankfully he agreed to the ‘wimpy’ option. We both found the ride to be too short although I was thankful for the lack of spinning.

Ready to head back into the Showcase, we stopped into Mexico for the Gran Fiesta Tour (Three Caballeros) boat ride at the rear of the pavilion. This ride was also showing it’s age. The marketplace was exactly how I remembered it from my childhood but I am sure the prices have gone up!

Wine-o-clock. We tried the Weinkeller in Germany first as I was interested in the fig liqueur but the pricing ($9+ for a 3oz pour of wine or $12+ for a 1oz shot – get outta here) turned us off so we ended up at the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Italy. We each got a large pour (Montepulciano for me and Rose blend for Eric) and found a nice outdoor spot to rest our feet. We watched group after group get turned away at Via Napoli Ristorante and lots of people disappointed that the to-go window was closed. The sheer number of different Mickey ears was astounding.

Feeling peckish, I decided to walk back to the German kiosk for a short rib and small rose cider. Getting those items safely back to Italy without running into distracted parents and tourists was a feat!

The light was gorgeous, so we got a few nice sunset photos across the lagoon, then got in line for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

The sign was showing a 40 minute wait, half as long as the wait throughout most of the day. We both thought the 4D ride was cute, but again, it was too short for the wait.

At this point, we were both flagging so I checked to see if we could get into our 7:30pm reservations at La Crêperie de Paris a little early. Thankfully it was no problem and our waiter was super friendly and welcoming. I got the salmon crepe and Eric had the classique (ham, egg and cheese). I think I got an entire package of salmon on mine and while I didn’t finish the crepe, I definitely ate all the fish! Eric cleaned his plate. We each got a glass of cider, one demi-sec and one rose and while both were good, we both liked the rose a little better.

We decided to take the 8:40pm shuttle back to the hotel which meant missing the Harmonious fireworks but that was okay with us. On our way out we saw the Spaceship Earth Points of Light show which was a lovely send off after a very full day in the park.

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Valencia, Spain (Mar)
Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)