St. Patty’s Day in Epcot - I was worried that it might be slamming in Epcot as everyone wanted to be in the “party” park for the holiday, and it was indeed very crowded, but as the Guide notes, Epcot handles crowds better than any other park. Though extremely crowded, it was a great day.
At daybreak, we donned our green outfits and were out the door by 7:45 am to the bus for Epcot. On the way we applied some Irish tattoos and went over the gameplan. This was the source of the most indecision for me as far as planning a route. I had agonized over the order of the first three rides and switched it repeatedly in the weeks leading up. I had read dozens of posts on this site and others to collect opinions. The big decision (we had our Tier 1 FPP locked up by Frozen Ever After):
Soarin --> LwtL --> Test Track
Test Track --> Soarin’ --> LwtL
Our kids were very into designing the car and having the whole experience, so single rider was out. Here’s what we settled on:
We were at the park by 8:05, through bag check and at the tap styles around 8:15. They let us through the tap styles around 8:25 and we lined up near SSE for the RD. The JAMMitors played for a while around 8:45 and they dropped the rope around 8:50. No gentle walking us back to the rides - it was barely controlled chaos, with many people flat out running to Soarin’ and Test Track. Our family walked briskly back to Soarin’ and were through the line in about 3 minutes. Section B2 - the best seats! The screams of excitement from my kids as they were surprised and delighted by each new scene made the whole trip worth it. Everyone LOVED this ride - I practically teared up at the end with SSE and the fireworks.
Disembarking, we were out the door and across to an empty LwtL - no wait whatsoever. Here my 6 year old gave the first glimmer of doubts engendered by his Everest experience and hearing about the dark rides like Pooh / Peter Pan/ FEA. He was a bit unsure, but realized once we were underway that it’s about the tamest ride of all time. Both kids enjoyed it quite a bit and loved the fruit and vegetable facilities.
We were done both rides by around 9:15 and feeling good. We sprinted across to TT - the app now had the wait around 60 min, and it was posted at 90 min. No problem, I thought, we were WAY ahead of schedule. Uh oh. An agonizing EIGHTY EIGHT minute wait ensued, way way way over the TP estimate. It was the first time I’d ever seen a posted time be more accurate than a TP estimate - the original plan guessed 37 minutes, and the app predicted a 60 min wait. The kids didn’t particularly enjoy this experience, though they loved designing the car. Upon finally riding, a bit of a role reversal ensued - the 8 yr old scaredy-cat LOVED the ride, especially the fast parts, while the 6 year old daredevil DESPISED every moment of it. The dark ride at the beginning is mostly what scared him, but he didn’t seem to like the fast part either. At the end he told the single rider lady beside him, “I think I’m going to throw up”. Luckily this didn’t happen, but it almost ruined him on dark rides the rest of the trip. 5 days later I somehow pulled a TT FPP on our last night, but the 6 yr old wasn’t having it, and I gave it up.
So we’re now a good 25 minutes behind the TP schedule. We had originally planned on having my wife take the 6 year old on MS with a FPP while I took the 8 yr old to get Agent P sign ups done and head to Club Cool as he’s a huge fan of “fizzy”. Obviously the kid claiming to be about to throw up isn’t a prime candidate for MS, so we just bailed on the whole thing. We did Club Cool and my wife got the Twinings Green Tea Mint Julep at the Berry Basket. Our World Showcase adventure was about to begin.
It was a beautiful afternoon at Epcot. We started in the UK at YCFS - having lived in Northern Ireland for a couple years, I can say the fish and chips was as good as any I had there. The kids loved it too, and I enjoyed a Bass Ale as accompaniment.
We browsed the shops of the UK and attempted to interest the kids in either the Kidcot passport or the Easter Egg hunt - but they were having none of it, their interest completely captured by the medieval swords in the one shop. We bought them the swords but had them sent to the hotel so as to avoid a full on medieval assault on the next country. We next went into the Rose & Crown for the obligatory St Patty’s Day pint of Guinness. UK/Irish friends on Facebook who saw my picture seemed horrified by the plastic cup it was served in, but I’m not sure what R&C is supposed to do being at an amusement park with constant traffic. It definitely wasn’t poured properly either, but I don’t think letting a Guinness settle for 5 minutes would be conducive to quick service. It was delicious!
We hung around the UK for a good hour, hoping to see the trad band who supposedly were starting at 12:45, but we never found them or else I had bad information. Off to France we went.
In France, we got the kids ice cream at L’Artisan des Glaces, had some PhotoPass pics snapped with Beauty and the Beast topiaries, and watched Serveur Amusant. My wife had a Kir Imperial from the impressive menu offerings at Fleur de Lys (the France outdoor kitchen).
Next stop - Japan. Here we explored the pavilion and the art gallery and browsed the Mitsukoshi Department store. The kids bought various Japanese candies, starter chopsticks, and lucky owls. We caught some of the big drums outside too.
The family walked down to Italy while I stopped in America for a craft beer. I really wanted the Megamix Pale Ale at the Smokehouse, but the hordes of BBQ crazed people in line made me unwilling to wait, so I grabbed a Warrior IPA at Block & Hans instead. In Italy my wife was at the bar in Tutto Gusto. The kids held down a nearby table playing games on their iPad for a little break. My wife got a flight of wine and some Arancini - shrimp and lobster risotto balls. OMG- those were little balls of pure deliciousness. We were highly impressed with Tutto Gusto and would make a point to come back again for a meal next time.
The touring plan for the countries was pretty loose, we didn’t really follow the times, so we didn’t make the American Adventure mid afternoon show. We headed straight to Mexico instead. The eastern Friendship Boat route wasn’t active, so we wound up walking. In Mexico we took some more pics and got in line for Gran Fiesta. Here my 6 year old’s memories of Test Track almost sabotaged the ride - he saw it was dark and almost refused to get on. We eventually convinced him it was super tame and he agreed and ended up liking it, but we had to promise to give him a lollipop at the end and allow him to bring a nightlight on future dark rides. The line for La Cava del Tequila was too long, as was the line outside at La Cantina de San Angel, so despite having grand plans for a relaxing margarita, we moved on to Norway.
In Norway we used our FEA FPP, which was fine enough. The audio animatronics were very well done and life-like, and the little waterfall drop was fun. Not sure it’s as worth a long wait as Soarin’ or TT, though - I can’t see waiting 90 min for this one. We explored some of the shops here, went into the Stave Church, and I grabbed an Einstock Toasted Porter at the beer cart - this wound up being my fave beer of the day, full-bodied and flavorful.
Next stop - China. It was around 435 by this point and we had been walking quite a bit, so we elected to see Reflections of China, which the kids enjoyed - though they enjoy pretty much any kind of filmed
entertainment. My wife had a Kung Fu Punch from Lotus House which she said was quite tasty. We moved back up to America to catch the 5:15 American Adventure show. Another nice break for the feet.
Now it was time for our Biergarten res at 6:00. We arrived about 5 min early but it took 10-15 minutes before our table was ready. We got some Photopasses with the Snow White topiaries and bought a Christmas ornament in a shop. The wait was worth it as we had a front table directly beside the dance floor. We’re Oktoberfest vets, attending whatever local celebrations we can find every year wherever we’re living as well as making the trip to the real deal in Munich once in 2006. So we chicken danced, Zicke Zacke’d, and Prousted and got to know our tablemates who had traveled from Ohio to celebrate their anniversary. The food here was spectacular! Of particular note - the pretzel rolls, the pork schnitzel, the potato dumplings, and the Kasespatzle (mac n cheese) were all on point. We stuffed ourselves and left full and happy. Beer consumed was the Altenmunster Oktoberfest, a solid festbier.
We were able to walk off dinner as a FPP at Turtle Talk with Crush awaited. The kids sat up front and thought Crush was hilarious. Afterwards we waited maybe 5-6 min for Spaceship Earth, which afterwards we discovered was our 6 year old’s new favorite ride - he talked about it repeatedly. I think he liked the “stars room” and the touchscreen integration with the bouncing heads.
At this point it was 8:45. We sauntered back to World Showcase and found a spot between Mexico and Norway for IllumiNations. A beautiful show. Then we made it out to the bus, traveled to Kidani, and crashed - long day, but truly a memorable and fun time.