As last year, I'm here with my friend Krissi, and also with Krissi's mom Doris, who had gotten an airline voucher and decided she'd like to go to Disney World. Krissi's dad stayed home. I met up with the two of them in the Orlando airport at the Disney Magical Express area on Friday, and we entered the Disney machine. Our luggage was already in it--if you use the Magical Express airport transportation, you tag your bags before leaving home, and Disney deals with baggage claim and gets the bag to your resort hotel room. All we had to do was enter the line and zig zag to the right bus for our report, Caribbean Beach. The bus dropped us at the Customs House, we got checked in, discovering then that we're in the "Barbados" cluster, not "Martinique" which we requested and were in last year. Apparently Martinique is a higher price range, and somehow we didn't recall that from last year. That's OK, Barbados is just a little further from the food court/shop/concierge, but is closer to the bus stop and to the Customs House 'front desk'.
We dropped our carry-on stuff and collected the basics for a theme park trip, and Doris contacted friends who would meet us at Epcot. We got there first, and decided to ride Spaceship Earth, which Krissi's mom had never done. Bad decision--the ride stalled and we sat for quite a while as various Disney cast members (employees) walked back and forth on the service walkways. But eventually it restarted and we emerged to meet up with Barbara and her daughter Tina. Tina is Doris' goddaughter, and is a cast member--she works in hotel security at the All Star Sports resort. She urged us to go get FastPasses for Soarin', which were for about 7 PM (it was about 3:30 then, I think). We also rode the pleasant boat ride in The Land, and then headed to the back part of Epcot, World Showcase, to see what the Food and Wine Festival looked like.
The festival is an annual event, and it's Disney of course, so the 'booths' are nice looking structures set up mostly in the main path area around the lagoon. Many of them are for countries not represented in the World Showcase permanent exhibits, and each offers several food 'small plates' and several wine and/or beer options. It wasn't too crowded when we got there as it was Friday, but the crowd picked up as the evening progressed and will probably be heavy this weekend as the festival ends this weekend. We walked slowly around the lagoon, chatting, looking at the options, and sampling occasionally. Many of the food options could be purchased with our Dining Plan snack credits, which may work out well--K and I had several left over last year. But at one per small plate, we burned through many of them yesterday. The food choices cost between $3.75 and $5.50 or so, incidentally, and a snack option is generally capped at $4.50 so it's pretty equivalent.
So, what did I eat? Cheese soup from Canada, milk chocolate creme brulee at France, spaeztle gratin with ham and cheese at Germany--shared with K, and I had part of her Nurnberger sausage on a pretzel roll--and a pirogie served with caramellized onions and kielbasa. We watched an excellent troupe of acrobats at China, took the boat ride in Mexico, and did some shopping at many of the countries. We walked the entire lagoon circuit, and ended up back at Soarin' right in time for our FastPasses. On the way out we did the little Nemo boat ride in The Living Seas, and all rode Spaceship Earth (without a halt!) before going our separate ways.
We were relieved that our bags and the rollaway cot (Krissi is taking the cot) were at our room when we got there at 9:30 or so, and we unpacked and got set up. We're all into Disney pin trading, so we sorted pins from the day, looked through each other's 'fodder' (stuff bought cheap on eBay to trade), and headed to bed.