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Florida 18 - T2 - Day 9 - Epcot

Today we set a 7am alarm so that we could in the car ready for the drive to Epcot. It was easy although we had the usual moan about having to pay $25 to park on top of the astronomical entrance fee. We had picked today to visit as the prediction was for the park to have the joint lowest attendance of the year. Certainly how close we managed to park to the entrance seem a good indication that this premise would hold to be true.

We allowed Karen to choose which queue at the entrance to stand in. This the last time we allow that as she picked the slowest one by far, not that it mattered as we were all then held at Spaceship Earth until the park officially opened.

Neil had booked our fast passes 30 days previously which hadn't included Test Track so we headed there first of all. However once we get there we found that it wasn't yet open due to problems so instead went across the park to Soarin which we all always enjoy. We only had a 10 minute wait. The only negative was that we were allocated seats on the 'bottom' row and to the side meaning we could see feet above us and the screen was distorted (meaning a bendy Eiffel Tower). Nevertheless we all came off with a smile on our faces.

We headed back to Test Track which was now open. This is a ride that has the option for Single Riders and so we chose that. We literally walked straight through onto the ride. Neil & I ended up in the same car and Karen directly behind us.

From here we used our Fastpasses on Mission Space. As usual we separated with Karen & Neil heading to the intense Orange version of the ride whilst I went for the tame Green version. The Orange version spins you round so that it simulates the G force you would feel whilst accelerating into Space. You are told to keep your eyes firmly fixed on the console in front to prevent any dizziness or disorientation. The last time I went on that version I felt rubbish afterwards. I simply cannot do 'spinny' things like roundabouts or carousels as my head keeps whirling round even when the ride finishes and I feel the need to lie down for a while. Now I am wiser and older I take the non 'skinny' version. The ride is good, but involves a gentle orbit of the earth as opposed to the landing on Mars that Karen & Neil experienced.

As the Food & Wine Festival was taking place we wandered round the old Wonders of Life Pavilion which is the Festival Headquarters. This was unremarkable apart from the Beer talk being given at that time by the Hanson Brothers about their MmmHops Beer that they now brew. We were planning to watch them later in their free 30 minute Eat to the Beat Concert.

By now Karen needed a coffee so we stopped and had a drink from Starbucks in the sun. From here we walked the short distance for our Fastpass to Spaceship Earth. As ever this was enjoyable and in its own way thought provoking. I am quite fascinated by the layout of this ride and would like once to see it all with the lights on even though it would probably shatter a lot of the illusions.

After this we headed to The Seas pavilion where we watched the Turtle Crush show. This was even better than before with some very funny audience participation. Another show where I love how the technology works and wish I could see behind the scenes. We then wandered around the Aquarium.

I then bought Karen & Neil a Lights Up Beer float to try. It consisted of Bright Red Cherry Beer, Very Green Kiwi Beer and should have contained a Blue Blueberry Beer but they had run out of that so they substituted with another Cherry Beer. Neil purchased some Korean Sticky Piggy Wings to much down with the beer.

We started to walk to The World Showcase and as we did so passed a number of the food stalls. Karen could not resist stopping and trying the Liquid Nitro Chocolate Dessert that she and Neil also really enjoyed. Not wishing to miss out I tried the sampler sized portion of Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Soup from Canada that was really good as well.

We wandered slowly through the many food stalls and then into Canada, stopping to have a look around their land. We then arrived in the UK land where we stopped and have Fish & Chips outside in the Rose Garden. This is a usual stop for us and we enjoyed the respite from both the sun and hustle & bustle. The food and drink was not cheap but given where we were not unexpected.

In France, Karen had a beer whilst Neil & I walked round. For some reason France seemed busier than any other country. I blamed Brexit.

We just walked through Morocco before arriving in America where we went and watched The American Adventure. I think this is very well done and not over the top jingoistic. The soundtrack I think is extremely well put together.

From here we had a quick look around Italy before spending much more time looking round the shops in Germany. We then left Neil to his own thing for a hour whilst Karen & I went watch Hanson perform on the outdoor stage in America. I purchased a Lobster Roll to eat from one of the festival stalls to eat whilst waiting.

The audience was almost full for the 5.30 performance. In previous years we have seen Billy Ocean & Squeeze perform here. It is very good as it is free and they just play a short 30 minute set of their hits. However on neither previous occasions have the audience stood up and screamed when the artistes came onto the stage and then sang along perfectly to every song. Karen recognised a couple of the songs before they played MmmBop which even got us to our feet dancing and singing along. They were good musicians and looked like honest clean lads so I approved.

After we met up with Neil, Karen was hungry again and so despite the myriad of foods from round the world bought herself some Chicken Nuggets to eat and share. Neil then bought himself a Bratwurst.

We had quite a long stop in Japan as there is a lot to look at in the shop.

Our trip around the world continued through African and China, but neither places really caught our attention as slowly made our way to Norway for our Fastpasses to Frozen. This may be child based ride but I think it is very well done especially how they just did a makeover on the old Maelstrom ride. I really enjoyed it and it was made even more amusing by how wet Karen got!

We wandered amiably around Mexico when Neil realised he could get us more Fastpasses for Soarin. So despite it being quite a walk we went for it. This time although still to one side of the screen we were on the top section so it was a much better experience.

Karen then needed refuelling at Starbucks so we stopped for another short break. Neil & I tried to go the Coke Cooling Station but it had just closed for the day. Instead we went and found positions for the fireworks. I then annoyed Neil by finding a fence to sit on which meant no one could get in front of us and offered a potentially great view of the fireworks. He had just managed to get us Fastpasses to a designated viewing spot and wanted us to move there. I argued it was only about 10 yards closer, that we have people right in front of us and most importantly to me I would have no where to sit and perch whilst we waited. I knew if I stood in the same position for 30+ minutes that I would not be able to get moving properly for ages after all the walking we had done. So rather grumpy he went and got himself a beer and allowed me to stay where we were.

I was right though, the view of the fireworks was terrific (although to be fair it may have been even better if had moved). We all really enjoyed them and they were very loud. I still get bored at the bit in the middle of the world spinning round in the lake however virtuous that may be.

Despite the fireworks not starting up 9.00pm we were still back at the Villa by 9.45pm which is the advantage of the location we are staying at.

9.7 miles, over 23000 steps, 12 ½ hours, numerous rides, lots of good food and drink. A really good day and the excitement of Barry arriving late tomorrow.

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