May 282014

Boat to Magic KingdomWednesday was probably the only day we had with no real plans other than dining reservations. Given that our first reservation was for the Rose & Crown Pub in EPCOT—and that Gina and I had only been to that park briefly so far this visit—we decided that’d be the best place to start our day. So, fairly early in the a.m., we headed out to the boat dock to get to the Magic Kingdom area, where we’d pick up the first of two monorails that’d allow us to reach EPCOT.

Gina at EPCOTInsignificant note: I should probably start referring to the park as “Epcot,” as Disney does on their website (and so no one thinks I’m shouting), but I’m still stuck on it as an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow! Anyway, a bit later (with relatively smooth travels), and there we were! Our intent was to make it a fairly slow and relaxing morning, so that’s exactly what we did. Since we’d already done the majority of the rides we were interested in in the front section of the park (Future World), we made a bee-line for the back to enjoy all that the World Showcase has to offer. We decided on clockwise travel, making the United Kingdom—and the Rose & Crown—the penultimate stop on our trip around the world. First up: Mexico!

Gran Fiesta TourOverall, I’m not generally impressed with the rides/movies they have in the World Showcase section of Epcot (though I love the sights, sounds, shops, etc.) However, I discovered a gem of a dark ride on our last visit: Mexico’s Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. While it does rely heavily on screens with traditional animation, it’s still a fun little boat ride… and the way it floats past the San Angel Inn Restaurante reminds me of how Pirates of the Caribbean passes by the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. And you can never go wrong reminding me of Disneyland’s Pirates (that reminder is also the one redeeming aspect of Disney World’s Pirates ride, which otherwise pales in comparison).

Japan PavilionSpirited BeastsWe mostly bypassed Norway (wherein Disney shoehorned some sort of Frozen exhibit), didn’t spend too much time in China (enough for a quick egg roll snack), browsed a bit in Germany (and grabbed a bottle of Shöfferhofer Grapefruit—one of my favorite little Epcot treats), took a quick photo outside Italy, got treated to a fife and drum rendition of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie theme outside The American Adventure, and lost a ton of time in Japan. We always enjoy the Spirited Beasts exhibit (and photos with the beak-faced man statue are tradition), and get caught up in the Mitsukoshi store… so much fun stuff!

Rose & CrownBy the time we were done in Japan, it was nearly time for lunch, so we mostly bypassed Morocco and had just a brief stop in the shops in France. Then, it was off to meet up at the Rose & Crown. This always makes for an enjoyable lunch (never done it for dinner), with fish and chips and Guinness abounding. We also split up some meat pies and a Scotch egg for appetizers. My first go at a Scotch egg, and it was as delicious as the concept had seemed to me!

Feeding DucksAfter our tasty lunch, we all wandered on together towards the Canada pavilion, which was the last stop in our tour around the world (showcase). As we were waiting for the ladies (who had stopped at the restroom), Greg got to chatting with one of the cast members who was selling popcorn. This turned out to be quite fortuitous when Gina rejoined us and remarked about the cute ducks who were hanging around, trying to steal a stray bit of popcorn or two. The cast member gave Gina a little cup of popcorn for her to feed the ducks with, and they all (the ducks and Gina) thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Made for an adorable end to the day’s Epcot visit, as Gina and I headed out to make a stop at our resort before our dinner reservation (for two).

We all got on the monorail together, switching at the Transportation and Ticket Center to one bound for Magic Kingdom. We planned to separate  there, Greg and Camara heading into the park, Gina and I taking a boat back to our resort. It started raining a bit during our ride, then the skies opened up as we parted ways.

Then I got stupid. Again.

I figured the best way to get out of the rain quickly was to sprint from the monorail exit to the boat shelter and wait there. Although the rain was going to soak me either way, this didn’t seem entirely illogical at the time. What I didn’t account for was that the surface on which I’d be sprinting was painted concrete.

Not so great for traction.

Or turning.

As I made the sharp right towards the boat shelter, my legs hurtled out from under me. I went down hard. At the time, I thought I landed mostly on my right arm, but I later pieced together that my right hip hit first, followed by my right arm and right knee, and my neck sharply locked into place so my head wouldn’t hit the concrete (though momentum carried my glasses right off my face).

My hip was bruised (though it only became visible yesterday, a full week later), my arm had an inch-long bloody gash, and my knee and elbow were also bleeding a bit. My biggest concern, however, was how stupid I must’ve looked. So, I quickly got up, put my glasses back on, and continued my now-drenched trip to the boat shelter.

I was battered (as was my ego), but determined to go on. I got out of my soaked clothes back at the resort, got a couple of band-aids at the front desk (we later bought a box, as I’d need to keep the wound covered for the rest of the trip), and went on with the plans.

Magic Kingdom from California GrillThe evening plan was dinner at the California Grill. I’d been wanting to try this for a while, but it had been closed for renovations until recently. That desire prompted me to make the reservations early, before we knew what everyone’s plans were, hence the reservation for two. The restaurant sits atop the Contemporary Resort (accessible by private elevator), with observation decks overlooking the Magic Kingdom (I do slightly regret that we didn’t stick around to view the fireworks, but rain was still threatening). Despite a weirdly slow start (we were seated for a solid five minutes with merely a wines-by-the-bottle list and no other menus), it was a delicious and enjoyable meal. The atmosphere was a bit too “bright” for my tastes (both literally, with unnecessarily high light levels, and figuratively, with a lot of noise and bustling about), so it wasn’t overly relaxing… but we did love it. Our waiter even rescued a misstep at the end: I ordered a glass of port with dessert, which he entirely forgot until he was reminded. He ended up giving me a huge pour (which I shared with Gina), and charged for a cheaper port than the one ordered.

It was a very nice end to a day not without its foibles!

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