Quick note before we get into Part 2– I don’t actually have rides planned out, I’m not that crazy. Part 1 of this trip report was largely a joke, but I’ve heard from some people that it really did seem a little nuts. I’m writing all of this based off the dining reservations I canceled and that’s it, the rides, shows, or anything else I’m mentioning are just me rambling off the top of my head because what else do I really have to do with my time right now?! (I mean, I guess work but like…) Okay, now that that’s out of the way…
Since writing the first part of this pretend trip report, Florida has become an even greater dumpster fire in the way the state is handling the pandemic. Throughout this whole thing I’ve largely been in the mindset of “it isn’t worth it to travel to Orlando right now, but if I lived there I’d go to the parks when they open” but now I’m not so sure given how drastically worse Florida has gotten while New England seems to be doing everything right and going in the opposite direction. That said though, I kind of feel like a hypocrite because like everyone else, I was totally stir crazy during quarantine, and when my local zoo opened here in MA I went that first weekend. I guess my personal opinion, from my biased view of living somewhere where the virus is getting under control, is that nothing in Florida (or most of the country) should be open right now but we’d need actual leadership from the top that we don’t have to make that happen. I don’t blame businesses for opening and I don’t blame people (who have been cooped up and following the rules) for going out and doing things, assuming they’re at least trying to do things safely. I think my thoughts on whether or not Disney should have reopened and whether or not I’d go though could be a whole separate post, so I won’t take up more time with it here, but just wanted to throw that out there since a lot has changed since Part 1…
Day 2 – Monday, August 31, 2020
Imagine a year when the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival would have been running normally, and not as the modified version we have this year. A few years ago, I did a beverage seminar on my first visit of the trip to Food & Wine Festival and I loved it. I did learn that maybe four shot glasses of booze isn’t exactly the best breakfast, so going into it this year I would have maybe split a Joffrey’s donut with my friend on our way into the park before hitting up the 11 am beverage seminar. The seminars are a really great value and something that I think lots of people overlook when they’re planning a day at the festival. For $17/person (at least in 2019), it’s really not bad to hang out in some air condition and learn about different drinks while you sample them. We never got to see what this year’s seminars were, so this may not have been the second day of the trip but we’ll go with it because this entire post is all fictional anyway. I would have liked to do a beer seminar if possible. The first one I did was a Cachaca seminar, which was fascinating because I knew nothing about Cachaca going into it, and the next one I’ve done was with Dr. Loosen Wines, aka my favorite Riesling so that one was obviously great. Beer would have been a fun seminar to try next, so maybe next year?
A ride on Spaceship Earth would likely have come before or after the seminar. My friend isn’t a thrill rides person, which I think I’d actually really enjoy because it makes getting FastPasses so much easier and most of my favorite things to do aren’t thrill rides anyway, so in this imaginary trip we’d be walking right onto Spaceship Earth one way or another. When I go to the parks with my grandparents, we pretty much use FastPasses all day, because for the kinds of rides they’d go on there are always FastPasses available and I can easily book the next ones pretty much while we’re exiting the previous attraction. I imagine this trip would be gone similarly or that we’d be spending so much time doing things besides rides that long lines wouldn’t even really matter.
Aside from Spaceship Earth, I think we’d have focused this day largely on World Showcase. I know the festival booths are actually really plentiful in Future World too now, but I’d still break it up into two or three days and come back to that. In World Showcase, I usually start in Mexico (whether focusing on Food & Wine Festival or not). I STILL haven’t been to Choza de Margarita (although I love La Cava inside the pyramid in Mexico, so I don’t know….I need to try the new margarita stand obviously, so I guess I’d have to make two trips to Epcot just for that) so I’d want to try that even though it’s not Food & Wine specific, and I think my friend would love the Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride in Mexico so that would be a must-do as well.
I imagine he’d also be interested in the exhibits in each of the countries so (especially assuming I’d be successful in getting him to watch Coco before this trip) we’d take some time looking at the Remember Me exhibit inside the pyramid along with the hand-painted alebrijes. The alebrijes in Mexico are another small thing that I think a lot of guests probably overlook, they’re so beautifully made and it’s just really cool that you can walk through the shop and see Cast Members painting them.
In Norway we’d have to break from Food & Wine festivities for a troll horn. It’s one of my favorite Disney snacks- If you haven’t tried it you should. Actually you can’t go wrong with anything from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe, so if you’re ever needing a snack while strolling through Norway this is the place to go. My friend would also need to see Frozen before this trip so he could appreciate Frozen Ever After (would he go on this ride? I know I was terrified of it as a kid when it was still the Maelstrom because of the backwards “drop” but it’s really hardly a drop…Hmm…Something to figure out later, I guess). Do you think it’s weird though that in Frozen Ever After you get all hyped to see Elsa then you basically just walk in on her in her castle and she pushes you away? I mean the effects on the backwards part are cool, I guess, but like….You go to see her and she’s just like “Byeeeeeeeee”. I don’t know, seems weird to me.
China is next, and there is usually something I’d want to get from here at Food & Wine Festival. (Also this post is obviously skipping a lot of booths because we don’t know what a normal festival would have looked like in 2020. I’m also operating under the assumption that India and Thailand would be somewhere nearby. Thailand usually has a peanut chicken dish that I LOVE and would get every year, and last year after trying every single wine at the festival I named one in India as the best of the fest. So if those two booths were still nearby with similar menus that would be happening.) I really enjoy the gift shop in China (if I had unlimited disposable income I’d own every single tea set), and I think my friend would enjoy Reflections of China, so we’d probably be spending some time in this pavilion regardless.
I’m assuming the Africa booth isn’t going anywhere since that’s a popular staple of the festival and we’d definitely be getting something there next. Last year, I found the combination of the wine from India with a shrimp dish from Africa to be the best value at the outdoor kitchens, and I’m sure if I went this year I’d either replicate that experience or try the beef tenderloin in Africa because that’s another dish I’ve had many times before and really enjoyed. (Side note: I did quickly glance at this year’s menus and the tenderloin is gone but the shrimp is still there! So definitely try the shrimp there if you’re still planning a trip to this year’s festival.)
I think this is where we’d probably start getting a little full (or drunk). If full, we’d browse the shops in Germany next, maybe meet Snow White (?) Again, not sure of my friend’s level of interest in meeting characters as that would all be totally new to him, but that’s an option if we just wanted to spend more time in Germany. I LOVE Biergarten and I think he would too, but there’s no way we could eat anything like that after spending the afternoon doing Food & Wine Festival. If we were drunk by the time we reach Germany (which uh, I usually am) that’s when I’d suggest getting one of the giant pretzels to sober up.
Italy is an interesting one during Food & Wine Festival. I think its booth is notoriously bad, one of the ones that you just never really hear great things about each year (which is really unfortunate because Italian food is obviously delicious). But last year things changed…The balsamic glazed ribs. I could eat those every day. Actually this reminds me, they have to be easy to make, why haven’t I made these at home yet?! In any case, if the ribs are back, I’d stomach Italy regardless of the state of fullness I’m in, but if not I’d probably skip it. I would not skip the shop on the America-facing side of the pavilion though- There are a lot of cute Italy pavilion-themed things in there and it’s always fun to look at the espresso and pasta makers I’d love to have but would not love to figure out how to get home from FL.
I imagine by this point we’d probably have had enough of Food & Wine Festival for the day (like, in terms of stomach space. I could spend all day eating and drinking in Epcot if it were possible). So it seems to me like this would be the perfect time to see the American Adventure show. What’s a trip to Epcot if you don’t get to see that sweet robotic handshake with Mark Twain and Ben Franklin at the end (spoilers!)?? I’m not sure of the timing of this imaginary day in Epcot, I’m usually pretty good at figuring out how long things in Disney will take to do, but with so much strolling around and snacking and stopping in shops in the pavilions there is a lot of variable here.
I think we’d head out of the park around this time, either wandering through the rest of World Showcase on the way, or maybe we’d take a Friendship Boat across World Showcase Lagoon from Morocco since that’s only a couple of countries over. The plan for the evening would be to see Fantasmic! and in keeping with this being a pretty relaxing, low key trip getting back to the hotel to relax and freshen up before heading to Hollywood Studios seems like a thing that would make sense. I think I planned on doing dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater, but this would all be dependent on whether or not we were still really full by the time we’d leave the hotel later.
Fantasmic! makes me an emotional mess since I worked there a bunch of times during my Disney College Program (and since my other work location in Hollywood Studios, Lights, Motors, Action!, is now Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, it’s the only place in the park I can visit from my CP. During the end of Fantasmic! when Sorcerer Mickey appears at the top of the mountain, I’d be waiting on the side of the stadium with a picker and a trash bag to start cleaning as soon as the show ended, and seeing the expressions on guests’ face during that just always got me.
I assume on this imaginary trip we’d be pretty tired after a full day of Food & Wine Festival then heading back out for Fantasmic! but if not…Jellyrolls?!
That’s it for Part 2! If you don’t think I’m completely insane for writing a trip report for a trip that didn’t happen, check back for Part 3 soon!