Thursday October 20

We all woke up early to get ready for Epcot. We arrived just as it was opening and filed into Futureworld. Our game plan was to hit Ellen's Universe of Energy and anything else that might strike our fancy before the World Showcase opened at 11am.



I don't know why, but it's always exciting to see the Monorails when at Epcot! 



Why, Spaceship Earth, you are looking marvelous today!



We are just a little behind the crowds! See them all heading over to Soarin'?

On our way to Ellen we noticed a food stand that was selling Bailey's coffees! Ursula and I were delighted, and even Stitch got a hot chocolate or something similar.



Ursula shows off her tattoo and her coffee!

It was warm out but not truly hot yet, and we were there for the first showing of the Ellen show/ride. It was cute. It's been so long since I've seen it that the jokes were new again and I spent a long time trying to remember if it was the same show or completely different. I think the dinosaur part is the same, however. And didn't there used to be a lot of “Exxon will never run out of oil, so don't you worry about conservation!”? I feel like that might have been a bone of contention with the old show, so maybe it has changed in 15 years!



Stitch and Ursula are excited for our Energy Adventure!



You can see pixelated, reflected me taking a pic of us in the in the shiny tiles on the roof. How do they keep it so shiny?

Ursula discovered that her second pair of Crocs had a slightly different footbed, and they were bothering her. We went to Mouse Gears to look for some Mickey crocs but they seemed to have the same footbed with the same bothersome textural nubs. Poor Mum! Since it was early in the day it wasn't too crowded in the store, all the sizes seemed to be there, usually all I see is medium by the end of the day! I got a villains hoodie for myself and Stitch got some toys for her cousins. We even bought a Tinkerbell hoodie for Mum since she had been admiring it and had gone so far as to try it on. We had our purchases shipped back to the hotel for us, which is a nice service. 

We also discovered that they hadn't given us the 20% discount (from our animal passes) so they had to un-bag everything and re-ring it all up. One of the cashiers was downright cranky that she had to do all this, even though it wasn't our fault she hadn't given us the correct discount. So we just stood there while they re-did everything and it took forever. [note: I think I got the same cranky CM when we went back for our spring break trip. She might just be a cranky person, she certainly didn't have the Disney magic in her. More like the discount grocery lack of magic. Let's get a nice, chipper person at the register in Mouse Gears, shall we?]


We weren't in any rush since our real goal was to be at the WS at opening before the Food and Wine fest got really crowded. As soon as we were done shopping we moseyed over there right in time for WS to open. We took a friendship boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon to Morocco and got some F&W foods with little to no wait in line.




Ursula peruses the F&W offerings on a map as we sail





It was a lovely day for a nice boat ride!



Japan as seen from the water-- looks like the tide is out! 



Interesting waterwheel thing as we approached Morocco's launch




I love the World Showcase!

We would decide what looked good to us, then have one person stand in line and get a couple things to share, while the rest of us went to the next food booth and did the same thing. Once we all had food we'd meet up and take bites of everything. It worked out well for us especially when it wasn't crowded! It was all pretty tasty, generally at least one of of would like the snack even if nobody else did. The only truly terrible thing we got was a Singapore sling, which was an alcoholic drink that tasted like frozen battery acid. We tossed it, even though it was expensive and I have a moral opposition to wasting alcohol.



Practically unheard of to see food booths without a half hour line!


Friendly food booth CMs





Lovely Japan



Stitch loved the "tuna sensation" which was raw fish and avocados in soysauce. I ate the avocado and she ate the fish.



Mitsukoshi Dept Store

Stitch was hot to get into the Japan giftshop, as (like her big sister) she is a bit of a Japanophile. I used to have a big crush on Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters as a teenager (and to some extent I still do, but the true madness has worn off into a healthy fondness), so back in the day I spent quite a bit of time in the same giftshop going gaga. Stitch loves Totoro and Ghibli studios, plus Pokemon and other various Japanese offerings which this store had in spades. I also gave her some money to spend however she wished as her birthday present, so we had a good time shopping, looking at everything and taking pics of the neat items we weren't going to buy. In fact I'd taken so many pics that my camera's battery ran out, and I had to borrow Ursula's so I could continue taking photos.






Kaki Gori stand, one of our favorite snacks in WS! And fine display of plastic food!



Impressive Pagoda



Gator Kitty! Perfectly appropriate for Florida



But I really *want* the giant HK! That Chococat pillow head would also look great at my house!



Stitch found something she liked!



But soon we all discovered the Totoro section--so cute!



there were so many weird beauty supplies, I was curious but they were spendy so I just took pics.



So many weird things! Strange claws and massagers and other fascinating, useless objects. 



Cute sushi candies (and my new favorite, the Hi-Chews) 



Lucky Cat display



Kimono-clad CMs

I had read a thread on the Disboards about the pick-a-pearl located here, and I bought an inexpensive silver-plated Cinderella carriage peal cage on ebay. I thought it sounded like a nice memento. Ursula thought it sounded like oyster torture and couldn't believe I was into it. After questioning my morals for a few minutes I did decide to pick a pearl, went through the cute little ceremony, and got a nice sized white one. Nothing rare or special like I'd read about online, but it was pretty and just barely fit into the carriage cage.



The do a little ceremony, which attracted a crowd



I'm saying "Ooooh!"





Cinderella's carriage pearl cage



Stitch got her name written in Japanese on a fan

We were getting hungry again by the time our shopping spree was wrapping up, so we walked over to Morocco and ate at the Tangierine Cafe. It wasn't the best middle-eastern food I've ever had, but it fit the bill. This was the first place we encountered truly sour CM's. We wondered if the over-seas Disney recruitment didn't explain that, if hired, they would be required to serve food to tourists all day long. It wasn't even very busy yet, but nobody smiled and they acted annoyed when we asked them questions about the food. The nicest person there—the only person who smiled--was at the dessert case, and we weren't too interested in baklava so we skipped it.


After eating inside at one of the cute little tables we wandered around Morocco a bit. Aladdin and Jasmine were outside but their line was long so we didn't bother. Even if we aren't planning to wait in line it still seems exciting to see the characters out and about in the parks! I miss that about “old” Disney. Going into a building, waiting in line forever and seeing 4 characters in a row might be a better idea in theory, and is certainly organized better, but it is more magical to spot somebody wandering in the park and get to run up to them to say hello. I know why they changed it, who wants a mob scene of autograph books and cameras and all that? It just seemed like more fun the old way.

We went into the Morocco museum, which was totally empty. It didn't even look like a place you were allowed to go, and I think most people just breeze right past it. We took a picture next to the horse for my aunt who loves Arabian horses. I loved seeing all the jewelry and little perfume bottles everywhere. Everything was really neat with intricate patterns and designs.


Going into the museum.



Stained glass as seen from inside



An Arabian horse with decorative saddle and headdress







Hidden Mickey!

We poked around all the shops and admired all the fun scarves, beaded headdresses, jewelry and magic lamps. Ursula found it odd that there were so many cat beds made from shiny brocade fabrics.  I had to explain to her that they were actually just cases for little poufs you might sit upon if you had a cat-sized derriere. I guess you have to buy the fluffy part once you get home. They way they were displayed they definitely looked more like cat beds than seats.


You can see one of the poufs, properly inflated, here.






Notice the "time out" kid in the corner? Too funny to crop out.









We took two of these, and the other one was worse. 



After exhausting all the little twists and turns of Morocco and getting pictures by the fountains, we headed over to France. I love the France area! It's so cute. It was already pretty packed and the line for the bakery was out the door, so it wasn't that much fun to wander around in, unfortunately.




















Ursula reports “Decided to skip the tourist movie in France but definitely did not skip the bakery. Really not hungry at this point so the goodies ended up in our resort fridge for later.”

She was getting tired and grumpy though, and wanted to go home for an afternoon break. After sleeping for most of the previous day and night I wasn't tired at all, so I decided to stay and wander around. Stitch was torn but decided to go with Mum back to the hotel. I was annoyed because Ursula wouldn't leave her camera with me (declaring that after taking 10 pictures over the course of the morning it would definitely need the battery recharged) so I only had my phone camera to take pics with for the remainder of the afternoon. Thanks. They took the car and managed to get lost on the way home, turning the wrong way out of the Epcot parking lot. Apparently back at the hotel there was some sort of traffic kerfuffle due to a convention being held, and they were not able to park as close to the room as Ursula would have liked “It was only a few more feet than where I really wanted to park but it sure was irritating as I limped along.”

We arranged to meet back up at DHS for our dinner reservations. I was just going to spend time enjoying the World Showcase, which is one of my favorite places in WDW, and then take a friendship boat over to DHS.

I got a Grey Goose citron slushie and took a picture of myself enjoying the sun with my drink for my friends on facebook to admire. I got a lot of comments as back home it was grey, rainy and in no way lemon flavored slushy beverage weather.

Truth be told, without any other pictures to help me remember, I don't recall what exactly I did during my solo world tour. I believe I walked the whole loop, grabbed a couple of snacks as I wandered, and just generally enjoyed the atmosphere. It was very pleasant and I needed the break from my family. We were starting to get really annoyed with each other and I think the close quarters were taking their toll on all of us. I was also very glad to be feeling better, and decided that without a doubt I'd gotten food poisoning from that lousy food court two days before.

I moseyed over to the International Gateway and got on a boat to DHS when it was time to meet back up. I started getting texts from Stitch that sounded angry: “Where are you? You have our passes!” It was true, I did have the passes because I am the official fast-pass runner. That meant they would have to pay for parking at DHS and would have to get in line at the ticket window to have their passes re-issued once they got parked. I was fully anticipating a big to-do when I arrived, but I guess it had mostly blown over by then, as they already had their new passes, and the hotel room key had granted them free parking. Stitch gave me a hug and felt bad that I'd misinterpreted her texts as being angry. I was much relieved to find out I wasn't in the dog house after all.


Balloon wrangler



I never was able to get a decent pic of the big hat-- the sun is always in the wrong place at the wrong time!



Dockside Diner looks cute, we've never eaten there though.



Slightly better pic of the sorcerer's hat, though still not great.

We all trucked over to the Sci-Fi Dine In and were soon seated in a car. Stitch and I had the front and Ursula stretched out in back. Our waiter called the couple sitting in the very back seats "hitchhikers," pretty funny! I can't remember what we ate anymore, but it was all pretty good. Stitch got an amazing Oreo cookie milkshake, while Ursula and I got something more exciting. Ursula “got a little more mellow after a fancy fruit mixed drink with a flashing ice cube. Looked cool in the near darkness.” Those glow cubes are awesome!



The waiter did a good job cutting the hitchhikers out of the shot, but he almost lost Ursula, too!

After we'd eaten we got the waiter to take a pic of us in the car and he had no qualms about using the flash, which was nice. We were too shy to use it ourselves, so we got a few dark, ultra blurry shots of the interior of the restaurant, which of course look like they could have been taken anywhere


This is the best one, I must have used my gorillapod to get such a clear shot. Neat restaurant!

Once we all got settled we wandered over through the Streets of America to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, but it was closed. Stitch was bummed because she'd played on it as a baby and thought it looked cool. One of the stores in this area already had their Christmas ornaments out so we looked at those for a while.  





Can you see the lights on the building facades? They were getting ready for the Osborne Festival of Lights. 



The xmas light stuff all turned off made this part of the park really hideous. Wish we were able to enjoy it all lit up!



Youse guys!


We decided to check out Pizza Planet's arcade. I wanted to see if there was any way to win a little green man from a giant claw machine but saw no such thing. S and I wasted a couple bucks trying to win impossible prizes while Ursula found a quiet place to sit down for a few minutes. 





No way to win this guy, too bad!

We had a little fun in the Muppets area, and we might have gone in to see the show but I'm not certain, anymore. We like the Muppets a lot so I think we saw the show more than once this trip.









We are happy sisters!



Best fountain ever!





I like the Muppet-esque touches in this little courtyard. 

The wait for Star Tours was 60 minutes--way too long—so we walked right by it for now. Extra Magic Hours was to start soon and Ursula made a good point that soon 10,000 people would be clearing out of the main part of the park and into the Fantasmic auditorium. Glad we didn't need to see that show more than once and try to battle those crowds again.

We went into “the Walt Disney show,” which most people call One Man's Dream. The best part for me, lover of small things, miniatures, dioramas and dollhouses were the scale models of the different parks. Oh I just love them! I'm also fascinated by Tokyo Disney and Disney Sea, which they had as a model for me to drool over. The Disney-ana was also really cool, I took a lot of pictures in there. The film was good too-- I thought it would be kind of boring and cheesy but it kept me interested and it wasn't as sappy as I'd thought. Maybe a tear came to my eye, I'll never tell.



Almost looks like Walt is driving an ECV. You think he would lean on the horn and run over people's feet?



Sleeping Beauty's castle



Not a great shot, but interesting model of the Peter Pan ride



Creepiest thing in the parks is a naked Lincoln animatronic



Display of old ride decor. Figment! Dreamfinder's blimp! The robot guy! 



Cinderella's castle



Epcot's Spaceship Earth



I am thinking this is Sleeping Beauty's castle in Dsineyland Paris. 



Yes, Le Chateau de la Bella au Bois Dormant is, I believe, what the plaque says. 



Hollywood Studio's Tower of Terror!



Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life--amazing detail!



Japan's Disney Sea, so cool!



California Adventure 


Next stop was Toy Story Mania. Up to this point we hadn't been able to get fast passes, but EMH was starting and we thought we might be able to get them now. No such luck-- they didn't reset the FP machines like we thought (or read somewhere) they would. “Welp, it's an hour long line but we have nowhere to be, you want to just wait?” “Sure, maybe it won't be that long once we're inside.” WRONG. We waited every minute of that hour and slowly inched our way through the queue maze. It was an intersting queue, I'll give it that. The oversized toys were fun and Mr Potato Head gave us a few minutes of entertainment. But mostly it was long and boring, my phone battery was dying so I couldn't spend all my time goofing around on it like my family members were doing. And it's kind of boring to stand there for an hour with two people that are totally ignoring you and tuned into their phones.



The start of the ride wasn't crowded so we thought it wouldn't be so bad... 



The Queen with the queen of hearts



The giant toys really were a sight to behold



Even if not everyone was beholding them



Is this a real game? I want to play it! Now about 15 minutes in line.



30 minutes in line







Potatohead was funny the first couple times. After that, not as much. About 40 mins in line.



We are getting close! We can actually see the ride vehicles now! 50 mins in line.



Xmas lights and Tinkertoys, fun! 55 mins.



Finally on the loading platform! I have my own Slinkydog at home (named Nora) so I have an affinity to the Slinks



Don't I look delighted to be finally on the ride?



Here we gooooo!



And after the ride. Was it fun? Yes. Would we wait that long ever again? NO!

We finally loaded onto the ride and I was utterly underwhelmed. If I'd been in a 15 minute line for the ride I would have been fine with that, but an hour to shoot things on a screen? What. The. F.... Even Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters is more fun-- at least you're shooting real sets! I was unimpressed. Sadly, the queue was the best part of that attraction. No need to ride it again, that's for sure. I think Mum and Stitch felt about the same way I did.

Stitch bought some Toy Story toys for our cousins and had them shipped back to the hotel. I did a pin trade with the CM and got a really cool sparkly Donald Duck as Santa pin, and a cute Stitch pin, which the human Stitch somehow talked me out of. I'm too nice. She won't even wear her lanyard because it's too heavy with Stitch pins, but she can't live knowing I have one that she doesn't own!



Battleship on the ceiling of the store

Ursula doesn't understand why we like pins so much, and truth be told I'm kind of surprised that I got so into pin trading! But there are some that are really cute and you get a mad little thrill trading them. It's kind of just a fun thing to do in the parks-- keep your eye on the pins and stop for a trade and a short conversation. It's kind of a genius idea. When else are people ever going to talk to the custodial staff? Give them a pin purse and people are all over them!




The hat is also a challenge to photograph at night!

We went over to our favorite little corner of the park near Tower of Terror and Rock 'n Rollercoaster, rode them both a couple times. We had to show our room keys since it was EMH, and the lines inexplicably got longer for ToT every time we went back through, even though they were running both sides. Fantasmic must have let out at some point, but the night we went to F! we were able to walk right on after the show let out.



Hollywood Tower Hotel. Let's check out the TipTop club, shall we?



Best display case ever! Love those perfume bottles! and the purses! and the jewelry! Love love!







Our wonderful bellhop! Wish it had turned out better, but maybe dark and grainy adds to the effect?

At any rate after riding until EMH were over, we wandered out with the other tired masses, and I photobombed a photopass pic of a big group of people. When they look closely they'll see one stranger's head at the edge of the shot with her mouth wide open! Fun ending to the night, we laughed about it all the way out of the park.

Next up is our classy breakfast at the Grand Floridian and waterpark day!