Arrival at Epcot!
We stopped by the character spot, which had no waiting time at all at 9:30am! This was the perfect "slow" season I had anticipated. We got photos with lots of characters - Mickey, of course -
We weren't that impressed with the front half of Epcot. We went to The Seas with Nemo and Friends and I was excited because those gulls were yelping "Mine! Mine! Mine!" repeatedly. I love that movie...but especially the gulls.
Yikes, I've been eaten by a shark!
Cedric found a friend. We would have brought him home, but he was a bit expensive. Also we were out of room in our luggage.
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience 3-D adventure.
When the World Showcase opened, we headed off on a trek around the world. We really didn't have enough time to explore each area in depth - so we just focused on getting a cool photo in each place. First stop was Mexico.
I met a viking in Norway!
Next was China.
When we got to Germany, I pretty much decided that Epcot was a much better place to meet famous characters than Magic Kingdom (where you have to wait in long lines for everyone!). Snow White was just hanging out by the wishing well, and happily posed for a photo with us.
Andrew in the German town square. Germany was his favorite spot.
Biergarten Restaurant, where we had lunch. It is staffed entirely by Germans - really enhances the atmosphere!
The inside of the restaurant! It was cold and felt like an open-air village square.
We sat really close to the stage - but our lunch time did not coincide with a performance. That was a little disappointing. If we had had the whole day, we would have stayed to see it anyway - but since we had to leave the park by about 3pm, we had to move on.
After lunch, we pretty much ran to France because I was determined to find out when I would be able to meet Belle. There was an Aristocat out, but no Beauty...so I asked when Belle would be there and was told to return in about 20 minutes. I was so excited. We wandered around in Britain for a little while, and happened across Mary Poppins on our way back to France! She asked if we were having a jolly holiday, and we assured her that we were.
We were crossing the Parisian bridge on the way back from Britain, and I could see a spot of bright blue in the distance. I was literally bouncing like a 5-year-old. I was SO EXCITED. I mean, I had been dreaming of meeting Belle since I was 6. Who cares if I'm now an "adult?" That's 17 years of waiting for a wish to come true - quite a long time. We got into the line with all of the little 5-year-olds and waited patiently for my turn. Belle pointed at Andrew and asked if he was my prince, and then said she hoped he was behaving well and acting nothing like Gaston, as Gaston can be positively primeval. Granted, she's reciting cheesy lines, but still. Magical. I floated around the rest of the day. Really. Props to my sweet hubby for letting me have my little girl moment and not crushing my fantasy by insisting that she wasn't really Belle.
After we had succeeded in the mission to meet Belle, we went back to Germany and continued the trek around the world. Next stop - Italy!
This reminded me of our fountain at the Plaza, so Italy got to have 2 photos instead of just 1. :)
Andrew, in colonial America!
Next stop: Japan!
Morocco was very pretty. I wish we had had time to go back into the market area you can see behind me.
On our way back through France, we discovered that the Beast had joined Belle. I didn't wait through the line again. Probably should have...but I was content to have just met Belle. :)
Beautiful stained glass window in France.
In the heart of France. I'm wondering if Paris actually has this color scheme. I felt like I was walking around in Anastasia while I was in this little village. Is it just a fairy-tale version? Or does it actually feel this magical in real life? Guess I'll have to visit to find out, one of these days...
Sleeping Beauty's line was closed, and they wouldn't let me get in it even though I told them I'd be gone by the time she came back. :( Sad day. But at least I got to see her!
Still hanging out in Paris. Love all the Disney photo opportunities!
Yep. This could be where I belong.
Next stop - Britain. I was happy we had visited earlier, because there was no sign of Mary Poppins this time around! Great phone booths, though.
Here's one with an actual phone inside. :)
Found a random passerby to take a photo of us in Canada. We have a heart for Canada at the moment since it is the heritage of one of our favorite people on How I Met Your Mother. There were some fabulous Canadian gifts and souvenirs in the gift shop (like maple syrup), but we didn't buy anything. Trying to squelch my spending habits while on vacation is not entirely fun...but the credit card statement is certainly grateful.
Mickey is evident everywhere in Disney, not just obvious locations. :)
Back to our hotel. I'm pretty sure we were the only people on the Disney bus.
I hate waiting for travel that I can't control. You have to arrive super early, and you waste valuable vacation hours. :( Here, we're hanging out in front of the Music Resort, waiting for the Disney's Magical Express bus to pick us up.
And hey - I just noticed! You can see the leftovers (on my thumb) of my manicure from the Vista Salon and Spa on board the Disney Wonder, earlier in the week. I wanted French tips, but Rebecca (the Canadian employee who did my nails) said she could not do them. Boo.
Ha. THIS photo occurred at about 11:30pm Atlanta time. We got to Orlando on time, just as it started pouring rain. We boarded our flight on time, we headed off toward the runway...and we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And...wait for it....waited some more. After about 2 1/2 or 3 hours sitting in the plane in Orlando, we finally were able to take off. Our flight, which was supposed to be 1 hour and 10 minutes long took us almost 5 hours. So - obviously by the time we arrived in Atlanta, not only had our connecting flight long since left, but every flight to KC (and most other places) was gone. So this is the delightful line of people from our flight, waiting in line to make new travel arrangements.
You can see Andrew...tall guy in a blue shirt, near the middle of the line. Yep. What a night.
We were given a discount voucher for a hotel near the airport. It was close to midnight and I wasn't thrilled that we were footing the bill for another night we had not planned on. Thought about sleeping at the airport, but after about 5 minutes like this, with really loud televisions playing sports, we decided to just go to the hotel. Andrew called and made the arrangements while I hung out like this.
So - due to this mess, we got to add an extra day to our vacation. It was certainly an adventure - that's for sure. And oh, yes - I completely wore my Minnie ears the entire night. And oh, yes - I absolutely got some weird looks from the folks in Atlanta. :)
Coming soon - a few photos from Day 9, the unexpected bonus day! And then I will have finished this vacation series!! Woohoo!