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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Orlando Experience - Around the World in an Afternoon

I must confess - and perhaps this will add to my level of nerdiness, alas I don't care - Epcot is probably my second favorite park at WDW, if not at times my favorite park. I don't even think it has so much to do with the rides that Epcot has (although I do love Test Track, Soarin and Mission Space) but more to do with the World Showcase. I've always wanted to see the world and one day I truly hope to get out there and see it - but when you're at Epcot, even if only for an afternoon you get to experience a little bit of another world...and I like that.

I'm also a pretty big fan because I'll ride every single ride at Epcot - no pansy moments here! Although I do ride the green version of Mission Space instead of the orange...I'd rather not puke up my Mickey shaped ice cream, thank you very much!

Acting crazy on Friday morning - check out my super cool pins! 

Test Track - we love this ride!
We had a mission to book it straight to Test Track as soon as we got there because we weren't able to get Fast Passes for it...but apparently every other person in the park had that idea because the park opened at 9 and by 9:05 the wait time was 75 minutes! Are you kidding me? We noticed that the Single Rider line had a wait time of 10 minutes and we jumped in line because honestly, we're all adults and no one was going to cry if one of us rode in car A, while two of us rode in car B and another in car C...we just wanted to ride. As it worked out, my Mom and Lindsey ended up in the same car that I was in (sorry Dad, he was just behind us) and we only waited....10 minutes! 

We made our way through Future World pretty quickly - we did Captain EO, Journey through Imagination (apparently I had a big love for Figment when I was little, who knew?) and Soarin...which is hands down one of the best rides at Disney World! We had a Fast Pass but I must confess I'd probably wait in line for a good while to ride Soarin! We had lunch in The Land Pavilion before tackling The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Mission Space and Spaceship Earth! The longest line we waited in was for Spaceship Earth and even that wait was only thirty minutes - that is what I'm talking about! 

Inside The Land pavilion while eating our lunch...

Spaceship Earth!
A small funny that I have to share - my Dad and I were placed in our "ship" on Mission Space with a couple that were obviously visiting from out of town...like, way out of town. I'm not sure where they hailed from but they were chattering in a delightfully foreign language as we waited to board our ship. They talked to us in English as well and let me tell you - they were enthusiastic about our flight. If you've never rode Mission Space, each of the four people in your ship is assigned a duty: Navigator, Pilot, Engineer and Commander (I was the Pilot - score!) and you have buttons you have to push at certain times in the mission. Our friends were the Engineer and Commander and they were extremely gung-ho about their assignments - here we are riding this ride and the guide would say "Engineer...do blah, blah space thingy blah...now!" And the woman would holler "yes sir!" and push her button and they would fall out laughing. I mean, hilarious. He was the same way, at one point shouting out "aye, aye Captain" in response to a command.  I know for sure that they 100% enjoyed their mission into space!

You've got to eat a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream while in Disney - right?
We spent the rest of our afternoon and evening in the World Showcase portion of the park, which I absolutely love because...as I've already mentioned, I want to see the world and until I get there, I'll take it in little pieces! I must say I love the Mexico pavilion because everything is indoors and yet it seems like it is outdoors - which is really nice when the rain starts to pour almost as soon as you step into the step pyramid that houses all of Mexico! While it rains, you just explore the market set up under the stars and take a boat ride with the Three Caballeros...sadly, we'd already eaten or I'd have said we could have gotten a table at the restaurant inside and watched boats float past in the starlight while we ate... We've done that before; it was fun.

Mexico - you kept us sheltered from the storm! Yahoo!

Norway - which had an exhibit on the art of Frozen...and the ride Maelstrom! Look out for trolls!

I could have sat by this pagoda & quiet pond & watched the Koi (they were gigantic) swim all day...

Germany - we didn't stay here long but it was fun while we were there!

Italy - they had gelato & that is all that matters. It was delicious & I have no regrets that I ate it less than an hour before supper. Ha-ha!
World Showcase is made up of eleven countries; five on each side with America in the center...of course! I will confess we didn't stay in the American section for long and I have to admit I agree with a kid that I overheard as we walked through - "why are we stopping in America, we are literally in America right now!" We did spend ample time in all ten other countries though; we perused the market in Mexico, learned about Norway in the Art of Frozen exhibit in Norway, shopped in China (and saw Mulan, hey-o!) watched the clocks in Germany and had gelato (spell-check definitely wanted to change gelato to goat...) in Italy! We had a brief halt in our world tour when they opened the bridge between countries for the barges that Epcot uses in their nighttime show to come onto the Seven Seas Lagoon...but otherwise our tour continued without hesitation! We walked in the gardens of Japan, explored the open air market in Morocco (and there was Jasmine - she is sassy!) ate French pastries in France, had Bubble and Squeak with some Pimms for supper in the United Kingdom and finished up our shopping as we strolled past the totems in Canada! Not bad for one day - right?

Shrine of the Sun in Japan...it's pretty!

Exploring the Moroccan marketplace; I might like this country best. I can't decide...

France - always crowded with people. France has pastries & people know that. If you feed them, they will come. 

The Rose & Crown Pub - the sight of our delicious (well, sort of...the Pimms was yummy...) supper on Friday night.

O Canada! Sing along with me...

The princesses - they were everywhere in World Showcase...although, I guess Alice isn't really a princess. Oh well...

The BEST macaroon ever - a soft. flaky outside filled with fresh raspberries & lemon cream. Are you kidding me? Yum!

A quick shot of Spaceship Earth from across the Seven Seas Lagoon!
We decided to forgo the fireworks show at Epcot and take a leisurely route back to the Wilderness Lodge - we all still had to pack and on one really wanted to be up until 1 AM doing that when we had to be downstairs to catch the Magical Express back to the airport at 8:30. We rode the monorail from Epcot to the Transportation and Ticketing Center, then boarded another monorail that took us to the Contemporary and from there we boarded a boat and rode across Bay Lake to the Wilderness Lodge. As with every last night somewhere, it was all bitter sweet...the thoughts of "this is the last ride on the monorail for a while..." and "this is the last glimpse we'll get of Cinderella castle for a while..." certainly went through my head.

A monorail selfie with my favorite little sister ever!

One last ride!
I don't know how Disney does it - but it truly is a magical place. Even in the oppressive Florida heat, being in Disney World will make you feel like you are a child again...and when you can feel like that, you start to believe that maybe; just maybe...the dream that you wish will come true. :)

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