Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trip Report: A Rainy First Night At Epcot

The trip to Florida was a long one - 20 hours of drive time, plus rest stops, meals, and two hotel nights. Arrive at Walt Disney World was a more than welcome break. The drive had gone fairly easily, but the last hour in the car was full of excitement and anticipation. At long last we had arrived at Disney!


Our family has a tradition of calling my best friend Becks at the moment we go under that archway welcoming us home so that we can all arrive together. Though this trip was no different we were even more excited because she was already down there and on the shared vacation we would celebrate her wedding.

It wasn't long before we were arriving at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, which would be our home for the next four nights.


Though we wanted to just drop everything and run for the Parks we had a few important things to take care of. Our room wasn't yet ready (arriving at 10am) so I sat Geordon down in the beautiful Wilderness Lodge Lobby to relax for awhile as the kids and I headed off to Magic Kingdom Guest Relations to pick up our Park Tickets. I must admit, we weren't quite prepared for that hour of time. Standing out on the boat dock we got our first taste of Summer in Florida, a time of year we generally avoid there. It was about 90 degrees with a staggering humidity. We missed the first boat to the park and waited about 20 minutes for the next - while we waited the line behind us grew and grew and grew. The trip across the water was lovely, but for some reason I hadn't considered that the guest relations window would have a giant queue. But this was Disney at peak season and I was very wrong, about a half an hour in I looked at my daughter's face and realized that sunscreen is NOT an option, even for an hour.


Eventually we had what we had come for. The kids grabbed their passes and headed off to Epcot while I made my way back to the Wilderness Lodge where Geordon had just texted me that the camera I had rented had arrived. We ate lunch and I fiddled with my toy for the trip. It was a Nikon D500, and I was more than a little excited to get to play with something more snazzy than my usual point and shoot. We ate lunch at Roaring Forks Cafe before checking on on our room once again.

Luckily they had a Villa with our name on it! We settled in and got unpacked, which is my habit. I like to get everything organized in the room before venturing out so that when I come back from the Parks exhausted I'm not rummaging through suitcases. While we were getting settled in, WDW got hit with one heck of a rainstorm. Tropical Storm Andrea had blown through the day before we arrived and this was one last deluge with crazy amounts of thunder and lightning. It was pretty impressive, and I was glad to be safe and dry in our room but I knew very well that this was a super short trip and every minute we were in the room was a minute we were losing at the Park.


After it let up around 6:30PM - Geordon and I headed to Epcot to try and salvage what was left of the night. Epcot was open until 9PM which didn't leave us much time. We wanted to hit Test Track and the boat ride at The Land. As we were walking in we saw Becks' groom Carlos and his family - who told us that Test Track had been shut down for the night. Bummed - we made our way to The Land, where the boats were also not running.

This was not the way that a fun trip to Disney starts. I was hot, wet, tired, hungry, and my plan had completely fallen apart the further the day went on. It was about 7:45PM and though the kids had run around having fun all afternoon, Geordon and I had done nothing. We headed toward World Showcase and tried to decided where to eat. I really wanted to try Les Halles, but my tummy said it wanted tacos. We made our way through the light rain until we got to World Showcase Promenade and still hadn't made a choice, should we go right to France or Left to Mexico.

Right then my phone rang and it was Tori looking to hook up. She was on the walkway to Mexico, so our choice was made! We headed to the left and as we did we heard the announcement that IllumiNations would be starting in a half an hour. Most of the people we saw were all headed towards the exits and I wondered if it was even possible that we might get a table at La Cantina de San Angel.



For the first time the rain seemed to be on our side and La Cantina was not nearly as packed as I expected it would normally be on a Saturday night 30 minutes before Illuminations. It took a bit of hunting by Tori, but we were able to find a seat under the pavilion on the water. Geordon ordered us some tacos and I gave Katie a call to come meet us for IllumiNations. Kirk - who has been soaked to the bone in the last downpour had already headed back to the room for the night.

With some food in me I finally started feeling more human and less like the day had been a waste. I ordered the Tacos de Carne, which is smoked beef brisket served on fresh handmade corn tortillas with Pico de Gallo and a squeeze of lime. They were absolutely delicious. Full of bright, fresh, simple flavor they really hit the spot. I'm not sure what Tori and Geordon ate, but my oh my were those tacos good. We were dry and sitting on the lagoon, my tummy was full, and IllumiNations was about to start.



As the drum beats began the start of the show I think it finally sank in that I was home.

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