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1 Day Food & Wine: a timeline

On 10/24, I took the opportunity on my day off to shuffle off to EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival from NYC. That’s right – a one day turnaround. Seems impossible, I know, but it was a feat I had accomplished two years ago when you could get into the park for free on your birthday (same week in ’09) and I knew I could pull it off. It was also the first time I’ve live tweeted anything – what could prove to be a bad habit going forward. Here’s how my day brokedown, via DillosDiz tweets…

Attempting a one day trip to #EpcotFW11 @WaltDisneyWorld – currently at JFK – stay tuned…

My sister works for JetBlue, so this is why such irrationally rash decisions can be made. Waiting standby can be nerve racking (as the flight back that evening was), but that’s the beauty of having a day off on a school day in a non-peak period…

On the plane – next stop – @WaltDisneyWorld #EpcotFW11

I really don’t remember the plane ride. I was up at 4:30am. Parked my Forerunner in a compact car spot (and somehow didn’t get towed), and sleptwalked onto the flight…. with Even More Legroom!

At Orlando Int’l aka MCO… I see a Test Track in my future and I don’t mean 417…

While the Greenway (417) is quick, I enjoy taking the 528 West to I-4 route these days as it brings back the drive we took when I was a kid (such as the turn of death from 528 to 4), and also my morning drive to work at MGM every day.

Just Fast Pass’d #Soarin … 1:42 – 2:42

Got into EPCOT just around 10am and decided to take my chances in getting a fast pass for a decent hour. It’s been a couple of years since I had been on the ride. I have only experienced the elongated wait once before, all other times via Fast Pass or the cast member you know. The first time I went on the Soarin’, I was disappointed. I didn’t like the jump cuts. I wanted to fly in and out of each scene in smooth transitions. But maybe I went on the ride the first time when I just couldn’t enjoy anything. The ride is beautiful. Guests are always marveling on it (even 6 years later). Love the score and Puddy’s pre-show announce.

Nemo & Friends at The (Living) Seas is probably one of the best attraction overhauls in the history of #WDW

This is a pretty bold statement, I know. But, since the transition beginning with Turtle Talk 7 years ago, The Seas provides a perfect balance of purpose. It still maintains it’s original intent of education without overdoing (or forcing) the Disney element. I think the ride is so simple, but so effective. Very tranquil.

I didn’t know that overhauled attractions would become a theme of my day. I followed this up with trips to IMAGINATION! and the Universe of Energy with Ellen Degeneres. The former, I had not been on since it’s overhaul in 1999. I loved the original and, while people outraged over Horizons or Mr. Toad’s closing, this change made me the most angry. Yes, it may have been outdated or, dare I say, trippy, but Journey Into Imagination was, especially in 2011, a precursor to the overload our brains have today. An updated version with DreamFinder & Figment would have been fine… A gutted version with Eric Idle & a CGI Figment with nods to the characters played by Rick Moranis & Robin Williams in the 90’s…no.

Ellen Degeneres started appearing in the Universe of Energy reboot in 1996. I had never been on the reboot – which means I have not been on this attraction in 15 years AND, what’s more, it’s probably closer to 23 or 24 years, I remember sleeping through it the last time I was on it and…this was no different. I knew it was over when the cast member announced the 37 minute running time once we went inside (WHAT?!?!?!!) but I closed my eyes soon after the dinosaur was hassling the horrendous Ellen animatronic… Can you blame me? I was up at 4:30am!

#EpcotFW11 -Hawaiian pork slider, New Zealand lamb slider, Belgium mussels in garlic cream, French coffee & eclair – all awesome

Surprisingly, my reason for going to The Diz I probably will spend the least time talking about here. I have definitely been in EPCOT during the festival before, but never made it my focus.

If you have never experienced the Food & Wine Festival before – do it. Everything about it is fantastic – the portions, the prices, the selections. Though, I never thought about drinking around the world during the peak of the Florida sun – this is definitely the best way to do it.

Additional props to the use of the Wonders of Life pavilion as the Festival’s home base it made me chuckle a little… I want to ride Body Wars! Where’s Gary Carter to teach me how to swing a baseball bat!

About to try the #StarTours reboot at Hollywood Studios!

It’s MGM and will always be MGM, coming from the mouth of one who worked at that country club.

So, about that attraction overhaul comment earlier. The difference between The Seas & Star Tours is that when Star Tours opened, it was great. It was great and it re-introduced me to the Star Wars Universe after a five to seven years absence. Now, since that time, George Lucas may have, um…tinkered with this Universe, but the fact of the matter is that Star Tours never changed (except the exterior) for 20 years and with rides like Spiderman, Men in Black, The Simpsons, and Toy Story Mania and all their crazy technology contained within them…it was time for a reboot.

I admit that I was skeptical. I’m bitter towards Lucas, I’m not a video game guy, and I definitely hated the CGI elements of the prequels, but…this ride…was…INCREDIBLE! I was literally giddy. I Fast Pass’d it as soon as it was over. I rode it twice more after Fast Passing it. I don’t want to give too much away (that you can already find on Wikipedia) but if you go in there with the knowledge that the ride takes place between Episode III (‘Revenge of the Sith’) & Episode IV (the original),the enhancement of the storyline, the special appearance of characters, and the 54 different variations you can get of this ride shine through. Hoth & Naboo (even with a Jar Jar cameo) were both awesome!

#StarTours reboot – 3x and counting, add Rock & Roller, MuppetVision, & Toy Story Mania… Conquering MGM (not Hollywood)

My good friend Ali works over at the American Idol experience, so we got to rock it on the big attractions. MuppetVision appears to be having some work done (maybe to coincide with the movie). I think this is the case and hope it’s not just poor maintenance. The weather was perfect as the fell somewhat and I was delighted that the park was lit up for night as I was making my exit from the park.

I was back on a flight at 9:45pm to JFK thus completing my very, very full day. Totally alleviated the jonesing that had been the highest it’s been since before I was employed (pre-1995). This is a good thing.


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