Thursday, January 19, 2006

Day Four PM - Epcot

At 4:30 PM we boarded the bus for Epcot – our destination for the evening. At this point we weren’t even the slightest bit hungry and hoped that we would regain some of our appetite before we were scheduled to eat dinner at Alfredo’s later in the evening. It was then that we decided not to make reservations for more than one table service meal at day. It was just too much food.

Our first stop was in Future World to ride Ellen’s Energy Adventure, starring Ellen DeGeneres. This attraction moved us through the supposed creation of the universe and turned out to be more interesting than it first appeared.

Since we had done most of Future World the previous day, the plan was to spend the first part of the evening working our way around the World Showcase, visiting each country’s pavilion, stopping in Italy to eat dinner at Alfredo’s. Since this was Epcot’s evening to stay open three hours late, we planned to use some of that time to ride some of our favorite attractions back in Future World later in the evening. At this point they were not handing out the wristbands that identified those that were allowed the stay past the regular closing time. I hoped that we would be able to pick up wristbands as we made our way around the lagoon.

We began by visiting Mexico. In addition to displays of Mexican arts and crafts, there was a restaurant and a boat ride taking us through the culture of Mexico. It was moderately interesting.

Continuing our way around the lagoon, we briefly visited each Pavilion until we reached the American Pavilion located on the opposite side of the lagoon. It was at this point that we realized there was no way we were going to make it all the way around before our 7:30 PM dinner reservation. We also hadn’t seen anyone handing out the EMH wristbands either. We knew the park would be closed to regular guests by the time we finished dinner and we weren’t sure if we would be able to pick up a wristband at the time. So we walked at breakneck speed the rest of the way around the lagoon until we were back at the entrance to the World Showcase. Continuing on to Mexico, we finally spotted a place where they were handing out the wristbands. After being issued our wristband, we realized that we were really running out of time so we had to race half way around the lagoon again to the Italy Pavilion. Before entering the restaurant I ducked into a nearby restroom and tried to freshen up so I wouldn’t arrive all hot and sweaty.

Alfredo’s at WDW was created by the direct descendants of Alfredo di Lelio, the inventor of Fettuccini Alfredo. We felt more than a little out of place as it was a very upscale restaurant and we generally don’t eat in upscale places. The wait staff are all Italian natives and although our particular waiter was civil, we had a sense of thinly veiled contempt on his part. It wasn’t until it came time to present the bill that he became a little more friendly and polite. We both ordered the Caesar Salad for our appetizers, followed by the Fettuccini Alfredo (of course) and iced tea. For dessert, I ordered the chocolate mousse and Jason ordered their 50th Anniversary Happiest Celebration dessert. The entire meal was delicious.

Dinner took just over an hour and by the time we left the restaurant it was time to stake out a spot for the Illuminations fireworks show scheduled for 9:00 PM. We found a spot on a small bridge directly in front of the Italy Pavilion. As the time for show drew closer it became more and more crowded so that by the time the fireworks actually started we were packed like sardines. Fortunately, I was against the railing so I wasn’t completely surrounded by people. Still it was a little uncomfortable. The show itself was amazing and we both enjoyed it at lot.

After the fireworks ended it began to rain quite heavily. Since the World Showcase was now closed (only Future World stayed open during EMH), there wasn’t anyplace to duck into to escape the rain so in no time at all we were soaked. As quickly as we could we made our way the rest of way around the lagoon. At the nearest restroom, I wrung myself out as best I could and we continued on to The Land, an indoor Pavilion which housed the ride Soarin’ (among other things).

Soarin’ was posting a 70 minute wait and no FP’s were being issued. We briefly contemplated trying to ride Test Track, but figured it would be just as crowded. With fewer attractions than the other Parks, long lines form more quickly. Tired and sore we decided to head back to the hotel. We filled our mugs with hot chocolate. After a long soak in a hot bath, the lights were out by midnight.


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