We woke up to pretty good weather Saturday Morning. It was cloudy but it did not look like it was going to rain. The weather report claimed rain chances would increase throughout the afternoon and then tail off as evening progressed. We did some animal spotting from our balcony and ate in the room before packing our ponchos and heading to Epcot. We decided to use our rental car and not wait for the bus because of the weather and it is just so much faster than waiting for the buses. Because the bus stops at Kidani first it would be standing room only I’m sure so the car was the best bet.
We got to Epcot around 9:30 or so. I wanted to take some nice outdoor shots but although it wasn’t raining the sky was not all that picturesque. (Spaceship Earth isn’t that impressive with a white sky behind it.) Bag check sucked! Ok for all you non Walt Disney World people. After 911 Walt Disney World started bag check. I am not sure if the purpose is to spoil a terrorist plot, or to make me feel safer? Either way it is a huge waste of time and causes massive confusion as most guests who are just starting their vacations don’t understand it. Now this is the part that gets me fired up every time. Bag check is set up so guests line up before entering the main entrance gate. Walt Disney World has fences and barriers to move people to the checkpoints. There is also a break in the gate that will have a security guard there and a huge sign that reads “No bag entrance” (or something to that effect) Now back to my point. We get to the bag check line and the line is longer than where the entrance to the check point is, meaning we had to enter the gated area and instead of moving left to the bag check table we moved right to get in line. In front of us is the no bag entrance. Both Kim and I have bags so we need to go through bag check. The part that gets me upset is that only about 1 out of 3 people needs wait in the line. DHUA, if there is a family of 5 and they have one backpack or diaper bag sent Mom through the no bag check gate with the kids and Grandma to wait for Dad to get the bag checked. Why does a family of 8 need to wait in line because they have one bag! Use your head people. The other problem with bag check is people don’t unclip their fanny packs and or don’t have their bag open. That slows the line up too despite the cast members repeated pleas “Please have your bag off your person and open for inspection” I always laugh when Kim reaches her breaking point during our trips and will ask the guard “what is the purpose of this?” they never have an answer. They should say “Because the damn Mouse told us to! We have no clue why we need to do this. It is 90 degrees out here and I am wearing this Mickey mouse security outfit, do you think I want to be out here looking through bags?” but they are always polite and just shrug their shoulders or fumble around stammering and say “well these are the times we live in”.
Enough about bag check, I really wanted to take some photos but that wasn’t going to happen with the cloudy sky but I did want to ride Soarin’ so we headed right over there. The wait was about 30 minutes. I love this ride I never get tired of it. The soundtrack is amazing it was scored by Jerry Goldsmith who wrote music for Patton, Band of Brothers, Apollo 13, and one of my favorite Disney movies The Rocketeer.
After Soarin’ we went on Living With The Land boat ride, always relaxing but Kim likes it better when it was Listen To The Land because she really liked the song that was used back when that was its title. By the time we got out of the Land Pavilion the sky was looking a bit dark so we headed over to the Boardwalk Resort to have lunch at the ESPN Club. We love the food and atmosphere here and have frequently visited for delicious burgers and sandwiches.
We headed over toward World Showcase where all the countries are at Epcot, stopping to window shop a few times. As we headed to International Gateway the back entrance to Epcot we came across Cinderella. I took a photo of just her I mean why put my fat ugly mug in the photo and spoil it? After taking her photo I asked her if she had email in the castle because I could send her the photo. She said ‘oo I don’t know about that stuff but Belle might, after all she is always reading books” That’s why I married a brunette. Cindy may be pretty but she is still a Blond and needs help from the smart Brunette. (only kidding Robyn don’t kill me”)
We left Epcot and went to the ESPN Club. We got there just as it opened. We sat in the bar area as we always do. Kim ordered a Burger plain and well done and I got the Dinger which is a buffalo chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato. After eating we went back to Epcot to get the car. There were a few spots of blue sky so I snapped a couple of shots. He went into the shop on the west side under Spaceship Earth and I bought a nice Coffee Mug. It had the word Soarin’ on it so I had to have it.
We made it to the car and headed to the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall. Our goal was to pick up some bargains at the Disney outlet store. It was a very disappointing trip. Nothing was that good and what was good came in small or XXL. It was the first time we left empty handed. By this time it still had not rained and the heat and humidity was creeping up. We went back to the hotel, changed and went swimming. Of course this included a few cocktails from the fabulous pool bar. I recommend the poolside lemonade.
For dinner we went to the Yachtsman’s Steak House. Kim ordered the Filet and I ordered the New York Stip. This Dinner was fantastic, our server Al was from Brooklyn NY and we thought he did an excellent job. I could not recommend this place enough. With drinks and appetizer our bill was about $130 so bring the room key with charging privileges. That included our Tables in Wonderland discount. Al did such a good job we added an additional tip to the automatic 18% the discount card adds. If you are eating there ask for Al, you’ll be glad you did.
I wanted to take photos of Illuminations so after dinner we went to Epcot. I spoke to a couple of cast members standing next to a private roped off area in Italy if I could set my tri-pod up next to the rope on the side near the railing. One of them (I think her name was Pat) said I can do better than that and after a couple of radio calls had us on the VIP list for the private area near the UK. We headed over there but never made it. It was around 7:35pm when we headed over to our new spot so I could have room for my tri-pod. We got to Japan and the sky opened up. We ran for cover under the overhang of the Mitsukoshi Department Store. We waited out the storm with a couple from Dallas TX. The storm lasted over an hour and prompted the canceling of illuminations. (so much for the VIP seating) We went out of International Gateway to go back to the Beach Club for our car. Just passed the Friendship Boat landing and at the base of the hill coming from the Beach Club was about 12 inches of standing water. It was so funny, people were freaking out on how they were going to make it back to their hotel. There was still lighting around so they would not run the boat. People were taking off their shoes and rolling up their pants. Some people were already so wet it did not matter and they simple forged ahead not even stopping. The best were the folks trying to walk above the water using the handrail. Most would get in a few feet and then fall off the railing and end up soaked. We just waited a few minutes until the lightning had cleared and the boat took us to the Beach Club. No “wading” required. The rest of the night was uneventful. We stopped at the concierge desk to cancel lunch ADRs at Sci-fi for Sunday. I almost forgot, we did get to see the fireworks from Wishes over at the Magic Kingdom from our balcony, that was very cool.