We started the day off at a more leisurely pace. We even slept in until 7:45. Once again, we headed up to the lounge for breakfast. At this time of day, there are a lot more people up and about, but we still managed to get a table.
We ended up arriving at Epcot for 9:30. The wait times were all quite reasonable still! Test Track was at 10 minutes, even Soarin' was still under an hour (not that we had any intentions of going on). So we decided to start the morning off with a nice ride on Test Track. A 10 minute wait for most rides ends up translating to a walk-on. We didn't even have to wait in the de-briefing video room! We also picked up FPs for a 10:10-11:10 return time. After the ride, we went on over to the Universe of Energy!
There are quite the mirrors around the sign. That occupied us as we waited outside for the show to start. The ride ended up being quite empty. The car behind us didn't even have anyone inside. Just as a reference, these cars probably hold at least 50 people.Although the show is a bit dated in the fact that it's obvious that Ellen and Bill Nye have aged since it was shot, the topic is still relevant enough. It's still quite dumbed down, but there is a nice mix of education with comedy. Plus, there are dinosaurs on the ride!
The show runs close to 40 minutes, so once that was done, we went back to Test Track to use the FPs! After that, we headed over to World Showcase. The main reason for today's visit was to take part in the Food and Wine Festival. We started on the Mexico side. Even though it was only 11:15 at this point, we could tell that the park wasn't anywhere near as busy as Saturday's madness. We headed into Norway and picked up a ticket for Mission: Kimpossible. It was set for 11:45, so we had a little bit of time to waste.
So onwards we went to China! Here's inside the Temple of Heaven.
And...go figure, a picture of a light!
Tamara stopped at the South Korea booth and ordered the Barbecue Short Rib, Rice, and Cucumber Kimchi. It was quite good!
We started to head back to Norway and happened to see Mulan all by herself, so we grabbed a few shots.In Norway, I always enjoy the small seaside town feel to the area. Perhaps it's the colours and the paneling on the stores.
We picked up our Mission and got Mexico, which was kind of nice, since it was right next door. So we headed into the pavilion to look for clues. Most of the clues were located right near the front of the pavilion. We even got to encounter a talking bird along the way. The mission required that we take control of the rockets that were being launched out of the volcano. Of course we were successful, yippee, the world showcase is safe once again!
Since we were there, we hopped onto the Mexico ride. It's still rather disjointed, but better than I remembered. It definitely had been updated.
We decided to take our travels to Germany next. We checked out the new Karamel Kuche store, it smelled very good. However, we didn't end up buying anything. As awesome as it all looked, I wasn't really in the mood for caramel. We checked out a few of the stores there- I enjoy seeing so many Smurfs toys, then headed on over to Italy.
It was time for another taste of the world. Tamara ordered the Baked Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Bolognese Sauce. It was also quite good!
Of course, I had to take a few pictures of the area. I love that they have a few gondolas parked in the main lagoon.
There are also some lovely buildings in the area!
While on the way to Japan, I picked up a Crab Cake with Cabbage Slaw and Remoulade at the Hops and Barley booth. It was tasty, the crab was especially nice.
Here's the main building associated with the Japan pavilion. I think it might be one of the few buildings that you can't actually enter. A lot of the buildings still serve as stores or restaurants, this one is roped off.
We headed into the Mitsukoshi store. I could spend hours in that store, there are so many cool things to look at! We decided to take part in the Pick a Pearl experience. There are tons of oysters to choose from. You get to pick the one you want (not like you can tell from the outside what's going on inside). Then you count to 3 in Japanese and they cut it open and fish out the pearl. They clean it, then measure it, and then there's a little drum song/announcement. I got a slightly above average sized pearl. The colour was rare though- a silver-blue. I think they said only 5-10% are that colour, so I felt a bit special.
We ended up ordering jewelry there. I knew that if I didn't get it set right away, I'd probably keep forgetting to do so. Tamara had spotted a pendant that required 2 pearls, so she decided to pick a second pearl. She got one the same size as the first. It was a slightly different shade, so one ended up being a bit greener, the other a bit pinker.
We headed to Morocco, where I quite enjoy taking photographs. Here are just a few of the ones I took. There are a lot of neat pathways and architectural elements in the area.
Tamara and I ended up losing each other, as I had wandered off to take more pictures.
Before heading to a different country, I picked up a falafel. It was good, however, the order of ingredients was slightly problematic. I guess you were supposed to eat it by taking a bite from the side, so you got a taste of everything. I didn't want to make a big mess, so I ended up eating it from the top down, and not from the side. Unfortunately that meant that I didn't get to really taste everything together.
While I finished off my falafel, Tamara headed over to France to pick up some Escargots Persillade en Brioche and Creme Brulee au Chocolate au Lait.
And just in case you wanted a glimpse of the chocolatey goodness under the toasted sugar top, here you go.
I only tried the Creme Brulee, it was really good. Escargots are not really my thing, but Tamara enjoyed them. I did sample one of the small bread tops, since it wasn't too tainted.
France has a few little gems, like this suitcase full of artsy icons.
There's also this artist's easel set up along the lagoon. This is one of those details that is totally unnecessary, but definitely awesome. They didn't have to put anything along the water, but they did. The painting is a good likeness for what you actually would view from there.
We walked through United Kingdom, taking a quick stop at the classic phonebooths. These are actual functioning phones, in case you cared. However, given the heat, it is not a good place to make a call! It was disgustingly warm in there!
We picked up the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup at the Canada booth. It was really good, however I cannot imagine eating a whole bowl of it. We shared this small container and that was plenty! It is so rich!
At this point, we were getting much too warm. I was managing, but Tamara was getting a little too hot. We had already gone through 3 waters at this point. We took a brief break from the sun in a store, then hit up one last booth- the Desserts and Champagne booth of course!
They offered 3 desserts. Now you could choose to buy 1 for $1.5o, or you could just order all 3 for $3.50. We both ended ordering our own plate. Here is my plate, there's the Strawberry Angel Verrine, the Pear Streusel Pudding Cake, and the Dark Chocolate Sensation. Once again, everything was good. I was a bit disappointed with the Pear Streusel, as I had expected a bit more Pudding, it didn't really seem like it had much.
It was a nice sweet finish to the day of snacking. Our last stop before exiting the park was Club Cool for some free cold international beverages.
We headed back to the hotel, and unfortunately our room was being cleaned, so we waited around, eventually heading to the lounge. We got back to the room and rested/napped for about an hour. We were both feeling pretty gross from the heat and humidity. A shower ended up being the perfect prescription. I felt very refreshed and ready to take on the park!
We got back to Epcot just after 6:00. We rode Maelstrom in Norway, I took some more pictures, and then we headed back to Mitsukoshi to pick up our jewelry. We went through the store again, where I found this cute little panda figurine. I didn't want to buy it, so I took a picture instead.
We were pretty hungry, so we decided to see if we could check in at the restaurant a bit early. It was a good thing we went when we did, as the restaurant was very busy. There was a line-up to check in, but once Tamara had checked us in, we were seated almost immediately.
We ordered green tea and assorted tempura to start. I didn't bother taking any pictures of the tempura. For the price, I was a little taken aback at how little tempura we got. I know I'm at Disney, but I expect more than 4 pieces of tempura for 7.99! I don't care if there's a jumbo shrimp and a piece of chicken in there.
Here's a shot inside the restaurant. Since it was dark at that point, the windows served as a mirror, so I'm actually in this picture!
There was an odd group of 4 seated near us, it seemed to be a couple and 2 of their friends. Anyway, the one half of the couple was obviously much more adventurous with food. The other half had never even used chopsticks before. He was trying to learn how to use them, but they ended up bringing out regular cutlery for them anyway. We had kind of been chatting a bit, and when he got the fork, I wiped my hand across my forehead, as if expressing great relief. I thought I had made it clear I was joking, but I think he thought I was serious. Oh well! You can't read everyone 100% of the time! Ha!
Anyway, onto the sushi! This is the Volcano Roll. It was awesome. It was a California roll with very spicy chili mayo sauce topped with sashimi tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and black flying fish roe.
Next up, the Spicy Tuna Philadelphia Roll: Spicy tuna mix, Philadelphia cream cheese, green onions, and sesame seed. This was a nice change from the usual Philadelphia roll, as Tamara doesn't like smoked Salmon that much.
Next up, the Yellowtail Roll. Just a basic roll, but nice all the same!
The sushi bar was quite busy that night, and they only had 3 sushi chefs working. I found that surprising, given the size of the place. Anyway, that meant that our sushi came out in 2 servings.
Unfortunately, the two that came out last, would've made better starters.
This is the Craft Sushi: Tuna, salmon, squid, tobiko black and wasabi mayo. Had I known it was going to be this much fish on the rice, I probably wouldn't have ordered it. Generally I like more of a mix of flavours. However, it was very beautifully presented! It's not often you get to see flowers sculpted out of fish. I was clearly not thinking, and I shoved the whole squid one into my mouth at once. I guess I thought it couldn't be taken apart, I don't know? I learned my lesson, and took the salmon apart piece by piece. It was much more enjoyable that way!
The other sushi we ordered was the Egg Omelet Nigiri. It was very nicely done!
By the time dinner was done, it was close enough to start finding a spot for Illuminations. We ended up in Morocco. It was a pretty decent spot. Once it was showtime, there were a few pushy people, but nothing a few nasty glares couldn't take care of...
The first two photos are from the little camera. We had set it to take a set of 5 pictures every 2 seconds.The next batch are the longer exposure ones. I didn't end up doing any exposures longer than 3 seconds though. It was too hard to keep still.
After the show we walked slowly towards the front of the park. The park is beautiful at night! The atmosphere is quite different from the day, you definitely need to take time to enjoy it at both times!
Here's a little bit of France. While we were there, there was a couple that wanted their photo taken with the fountain. The lady had been busy getting all the settings just so, and I think she was accepting that fact that it was just going to be a shot of her boyfriend/husband. She saw me, with my big camera, and figured I could use hers, I guess. I had fun taking a few different shots of them. I took at least four. After the first batch, I asked her if she wanted a few more, she was happy to have the offer. How many people are willing to get down and kneel on the ground in order to get a better composition of some random strangers? I don't think she spoke much English, but she said thank you several times. It made my happy, and I'm sure they were happy too!
Here's a nice landscape view of a few of the countries from a distance. I don't own a tripod, and I didn't want to have to carry one around in Disneyworld. There were definitely times where I would have liked to make use of one, but it was nicer to not have the inconvenience! And there are always walls, fences, or garbage cans to make use of, as I did for the shot below.
Here's a lovely light post from the U.K.
As we walked towards the front of park, there was this lovely sight before us!
We went to ride Test Track for the third time. You have to ride it at least once at night, it's a slightly different feeling experience! Here's a shot from the "heat test". We ended up going through the Single Rider line, since it was a lot faster. We knew we wouldn't be seated together, but that was okay. Tamara was adopted by her car, she got to join a family of 5. I didn't really talk much with the people in my car, it ended up being two groups of 2, and 2 single riders.
We were feeling a bit peckish at this point, and I had still wanted to see the rest of the showcase lit up at night, so we headed towards Norway. It was extra magic hours now, so no more festival booths were open. La Kringla Bakery, however, still was open. I decided to try the much raved about School Bread. It was good, kind of like a Boston Cream, but instead of chocolate, there's coconut and more cream on top.
Tamara had a chocolate drizzled sweet pretzel. I think she enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything special.
We headed right on over to China, where I learned that this is probably one of the toughest buildings to get a decent nighttime shot of without a tripod! I took so many, and when I finally reviewed them on the computer, they were not very crisp. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. There wasn't anything convenient to prop the camera on, so I had to make do with handheld.
We were pretty much spent at this point. I decided that we should check the time board, just in case Soarin' was reasonable. I don't mind the ride, I just refuse to wait more than one ride cycle for it! It was at 30 minutes (which is 1.5 cycles), so I said nope, and we headed on back.