Walt Disney World: Free Day & Epcot (Day 4 & 5)

Disney – if you want to hit the parks – is not a relaxing vacation. Super fun but exhausting! We built in a “down” day since we were hitting the ground running so early each morning and going late into the night. When traveling with a big group and usually sticking together, you need a break 🙂

So, on day 4 we did all scatter… from the pool, to golfing, to the beach, to the couch, and to the parks. I personally hit the pool and had lunch with Mom at Olivia’s. Jason golfed (surprised?).

Later that night, we took Mom and Bobby to an early dinner at Flying Fish on the Boardwalk. I’ve always wanted to eat there and we wanted to thank them for all they’ve done on our Disney trips. It was lovely and I’ll share pics/details on my food blog in a bit.

Jason had been in the heat all day and wasn’t interested in hitting a park after dinner so we went to the outlet mall instead! I never turn down a chance to shop 🙂

Psst – there are Disney park outlets in Orlando and you can get actual park merchandise at a deep discount. I got 3 shirts for $10/each and a scarf. All at around 75% off park retail.

The next day was Epcot for the Food and Wine Fest! One of my favorite WDW events!

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Half our group got to the park during morning extra magic hours but we took my brother’s rental car back with him and came into the park around 10am instead. We had fastpasses for Mission Space, Soarin’, and Crush. Epcot does tiered fastpasses and we chose Soarin’ as our tier 1.

We did Mission Space first and it was a walk-on, even 2 hours after the park opened. Obviously no need for a fast pass.

The Living Seas was next! Nemo actually had quite a wait (in the full sun) so half of us skipped it and sat next to an aquarium inside. It’s cute, but not worth 30 minutes. We had a fast pass for Crush and that actually did save us time. Fastpass got us in the next show and they were running a 20-30 minute wait for standby so I’m thankful we had it. We LOVE Crush! So entertaining and never boring or a repeat.

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We scooted over to Soarin’ for our next fastpass and it, too, saved us time. Wait was over an hour at that point and we were in within 10 minutes. It takes nearly just that to get to the theater!

By the way, I’m so glad they are updating the movie for Soarin’ – it needs it!

We decided to start in Mexico for Food and Wine booths. Trying to keep 8 people together with everyone stopping at different spots, crowding around trashcans with food (it’s a thing.), running for available shade and air conditioning (hotter than the surface of the sun) was nearly impossible. We sorta kept just meeting up with each other.

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I think by now we’ve tried almost everything they offer each year so we tried to stick with favorites and new stuff – I’ll share all that on the food blog soon. Nobody goes hungry at Food and Wine, though you may go broke!

For years, I’ve seen the ‘pick a pearl’ in Japan but have never done it. Honestly, I was always intimidated by the crowds and assumed it was one of those things you had to fight through the crowd to participate in and I didn’t want to bother. Reality is, you buy your ticket at any register, get a number, and just wait for your number to be called! Much less intimidating.

I knew that a lot of Epcot is stopping to eat/drink so I wanted Zoe to have something cool to do back in World Showcase. I ordered a pearl cage necklace from Etsy of Cinderella’s carriage and gave it to her that morning to wear until we got to Japan:

When it was her turn, Uncle Jason picked her up so she could select her oyster:

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Honestly, we had NO IDEA what she was saying but Zoe seemed amused:

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It was quite a production and the lady kept telling us how rare her pearl is.

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I bet they tell that to every 10th kid.

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It really was beautiful – a grayish purplish pearl instead of classic white. We put it in her necklace and she wore it the rest of the day:

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Around 5pm, we had made it back around to Greece and I couldn’t see myself staying at the park another 4 hours for IllumiNations. I love it… but I also love air conditioning.

Air conditioning won out and we all ended up leaving at various times.

(but not before Zoe met Belle in her blue dress!)

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Jason and I stopped into Starbucks on the way out for an iced coffee and my Epcot mug which was a good thing as we wandered the parking lot for longer than I’d like to admit searching for my car.

We were those people.

{But I had coffee so I was okay.}

Starbucks has a location in each park + 2 at Disney Springs. They sell a park exclusive “You Are Here” mug at each park that I was determined to get. I *love* them.

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The plan for the night was pool (cool water!!) and takeout. It was glorious!

Though I still sorta regret missing IllumiNations.

Next up: our last days 😦

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