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  1. #1
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    Default Three-part Trip Report - Final Part 3 - Oct 4-12, 2020

    Same preface as pt 1 & 2

    Part 3 – EPCOT
    We did not purchase park tickets for this trip and have never been during Food & Wine. We always had a child in a Fall sport and couldn’t get away. However, we found ourselves there during the Festival this year and we couldn’t pass it up. We also had hurricane Delta in our path on our original departure day (Saturday, 10th). We had enough points and the room was available, so we were able to just sit still for two more days and check-out on Monday. With all that, we bought two days for EPCOT, Thu & Fri.

    We drove to the park each day. Parking was different. They left a row between each set of cars to allow social distancing. Then we think, after a row was cleared of people, they would fill in those open spots. When we left each day, there were cars parked on each side of us that weren’t there prior. I guess they assume we won’t all show up at our cars at the same time at the end of the day. That was mostly true.

    Security checks are bit more intense than before. There’s a no-nonsense vibe about them. DH kept setting off the machine with something in our bag – it turned out it was my glasses case (metal hinges?). Entering the park was normal, but no finger bio-scan required. On top of Covid, EPCOT is in quite the state with all the demolition & construction. I kept losing my bearings walking around the walls & losing my sight lines. I have no sense of direction though and DH navigated us just fine. We thought Mouse Gears was closed but it’s not, at least not yet. They have a smaller footprint and the entrance is kind of facing Test Track – hard to describe, but you must walk a bit to get there.

    We went looking for replacement Disney car dice, which don’t exist anymore apparently, and checked out the Test Track gift shop. While there, a CM asked if we had seen the new Corvette. We had not, and I was off like a bullet with the CM. It was beautiful and we found ourselves talking with another CM who learned that we are loyal GM/Chevy people and so he said, “follow me, I have a nice surprise for you”. We wandered into one of those mysterious Cast Member Only doors, then into an even more mysterious elevator LOL. What could happen? It’s Disney. It ended up being a nice relaxation station. We got a cold drink, enjoyed some air conditioning and a seat with an amazing view of EPCOT. We were sitting in the Test Track building but above the ride and could see across the park. No catch. We didn’t have to buy a Corvette or anything. It was just a nice GM perk.

    When we left Test Track, we headed to World Showcase. The F&W Festival was a lot more about me than DH – as you’ve probably noticed in the previous trip reports, he’s the one with the food allergies. DH was able to enjoy a few snacks, but it was mostly me 😊. I could probably recall every bite I ate; I am a human Remy. I love food and I love to try new things. But I won’t make the trip report quite that long and detailed. I’ll just say that I tried to focus on foods or flavors that I had never tasted before. Since this is now my only experience with F&W, I have no idea how it compares to prior events, but I enjoyed it immensely. It did take both days for me to taste everything I wanted. However, bad planning…I managed to leave a lot of dishes with cheese on the second day – oof!! That was heavy.

    The masks: They did end up “moist” and a bit uncomfortable. There were plenty of opportunities to sit down, have a brew or bite and take them off for a few minutes. Those breaks really do make it bearable.

    On Thursday the crowd was relatively light. We walked into the China pavilion and suddenly I realized details that I really had never noticed before. I always try to appreciate the Disney difference, the effort of the Imagineers. Without so many people around, I was able to take in another level. It was an exhale moment; joy. While taking it in, I noticed my favorite rat Remy strangely out of place up on a balcony. We did not know (yet) that it was a “thing” – to find Remy in every country. Once we figured it out, we were on a quest. We didn’t grab one of the official games, we just did our own scavenger hunt and took pictures when we found him. Like eating all the food, that also took both days (and some Google cheating) to find him everywhere.

    I had a horror moment when we realized that Kringla in Norway was not open – no Viking coffee!! I grumbled about that for a while, and it sparked the idea that Disney should expand the use of virtual queues to everything. Especially since we were also observing the insane queue for Frozen Ever After as it snaked around buildings back into the China pavilion. Kringla opened on Friday, which caused jumping and giggles (from me) and they told me they are only open on the weekends. Much like Disney Springs and AKL with restaurants closed or at limited capacity, I think the crowds are hitting levels that warrant opening them up. Otherwise you are limiting places for those crowds to go, and with the super extended queues, social distancing becomes more difficult. Open it up, provide virtual queues for restaurants and big attractions – just my 2-cents.

    One more close call on the food allergy front. We mobile ordered at Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue. If you read my Disney Springs post, then note that this occurred before the Polite Pig – this is a tomato allergy. We ordered the Kansas City Smoked Half-Chicken with onion rings…checked “no sauce”. When we picked up the food, the smoked chicken was glazed in a BBQ sauce. Apparently, that’s the way it’s served although there’s no indicator of that in the description of the food. The manager (we think her name was Kady) came out to help find an alternative, but DH was frustrated at the situation and wasn’t going to attempt to order anything else. They reversed the charge for one of the chicken orders and we sat down – the food was delicious, but I felt terrible diving into chicken while he had only onion rings. A few minutes later Kady came out with a smoked half chicken that she was able to snag before they sauced and baked it – no charge. The rub used in this restaurant (as opposed to the Polite Pig) did not have tomato powder. It’s one of the reasons we were taken by surprise at Polite Pig. Kady really came through for us. She worked to find a solution when we had already walked away from it. She could have walked away too, but she didn’t. We really appreciate that.

    We enjoyed more rides on our second day (Friday). We spent quite a bit of time in The Seas Pavilion. We hadn’t done that in years. The crowds were up as we got to the weekend, but we basically walked on to Soarin. This is where I had my close encounter with a couple who didn’t want to wear their masks. We were staged for the ride in a way that led us to believe they were placing the couple of in front of us at one end of a bench and we would be on the other, separated by several seats. But when we were seated, it was the couple at the end, plexiglass barrier, one empty seat, me & DH, plexiglass barrier, one empty seat, and then a couple from the other queue at the other end. I was seated closest to the couple we followed in. As soon as the ride lifted, the lady next to me pulled her mask off, as did her husband. They remained unmasked until the ride lowered, and lights were coming on. Of all places to take a mask break! - Enclosed, with a significant amount of air circulation. Granted we had a barrier, but they had no right to risk the population in that ride who were in proximity. I understand masks are uncomfortable and this couple were visibly not in the best health and probably needed to take a mask break, but not in a ride.

    There was one more blatant example of a young couple just completely ignoring rules, masks, following queue spacing…all of it. That was in the Test Track queue. My 7-year-old grandson would have behaved better than this 20 something couple, who were expecting a child. After every few steps, the young man leaned on, rested his head against, or touched everything around him even when there were signs all over specifically stating do not touch. It was like watching toddlers. Lots of headshaking by people trying to do it right.

    Test Track was the last ride as the park was closing and it was amazing as always. I tried hard not to let the few who wouldn’t follow the rules affect the mood of my trip too much, but there were certainly moments where it was difficult to keep my cool. We all want it to go back to the way it was. However, we all agreed when we made reservations and bought tickets that we would abide by the rules that allowed Disney to open at all. Truly, if you don’t want to, or physically can’t, please don’t make that agreement.

    All in all, it was a great trip albeit unusual. Compromises are made everywhere, by the guests, the cast members, and operations in general. Most of the time, most of the people followed the rules, and I think Disney is trying to enforce without sacrificing the Magic – that’s a tough place to be. I read a lot about dissatisfaction with the reduced hours and lack of events, fireworks etc. We missed some of that as well, but we had unique opportunities to “stop and smell the roses” so to speak. To take time and observe the magical details, to sit quietly and really enjoy the environment created for us. For those who think that magic is lost, I would first suggest putting the phone in your pocket and lift your attention to your surroundings. It’s still there, but sadly we watched a lot of people miss it while they swiped and stared heads down. Some very creative and inventive people put a lot of work into every square inch to make it special. Much like getting through these tribulations with Covid, finding the Magic will take all of us.
    First Trip - January 2003

    DVC
    Kidani Village - AKL
    Bay Lake Tower
    Riviera Resort

    VMK - QueenThump & BrerFan

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  4. #2
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    Thank You for a great report.
    Lanny
    Have been going to WDW since 1981
    Have a Great Day
    Health and Happiness to all Disney Freaks

  5. #3
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    Nice report. Plenty of detail. Thanks.
    WDW - 99 Off Site
    WDW - 00 C.Springs, Wilderness
    WDW - 01 POFQ, Boardwalk
    WDW - 02 C.Beach, POFQ, AK Lodge
    WDW - 04 Riverside
    WDW - 05 C.Springs
    WDW - 07 Riverside
    WDW - 11 C.Beach
    WDW - 12 POFQ
    WDW - 14 Riverside
    WDW - 15 POFQ
    WDW - 19 Wilderness
    WDW - 20 C.Beach

  6. #4
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    Thank you for the trip report. I have to disagree with your statement about people who can't wear masks not going to Disney. Why should they not be able to enjoy life just like everyone else? Having a sickness or disability does not make you less of a person. It doesn't give you less rights than anyone else.
    I'll meet you at the Rainbow Bridge.

  7. #5
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    I greatly enjoyed reading about your time at Epcot!! You clearly know how to make the "best of it" under less than ideal circumstances!!
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

  8. #6
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    Great report! I agree about putting the phones away. Enjoy the atmosphere because I am certainly missing it being stuck in another country!! GAHHHH!!!


    *Disneyland Paris Hotel
    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

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