“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Ever since I was a kid and heard my parents talk about their trip to Epcot Center, I’ve wanted to go. I remember looking at the pictures of the flowers that my mom talked so much about. So when we decided to spend a week in Orlando, I knew I had to make this dream come true. On that second day at Magic Kingdom, my family decided to go back to the resort because it was too hot. I decided to go to Epcot Center and I’m so glad that I did.
I scooted out of Magic Kingdom to catch the Monorail to Epcot Center, which is the best way to get to Epcot Center from Magic Kingdom. I boarded the Monorail and traveled back to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then transferred to the Epcot Monorail. I met a young couple while riding back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. (I’m like my dad – I’ve never met a stranger.) We started talking about the heat and the conversation quickly moved into our flights to Orlando. I explained how there were no direct flights when we started looking in May, and they said they had a hard time finding a direct flight as well. They asked me where I was from and I told them “I represent the Bay Area”, which is my classic response to this question. The gentlemen then said that they were also from the Bay Area and they lived in San Jose. ”Bay Area Family”! We talked a little more about living in the Bay Area before we arrived and I had to switch trains. We said goodbye and then went our separate ways. I caught the Monorail to Epcot Center and began my adventure.
When I arrived, the first thing I saw was the gigantic white ball I had seen so many times in pictures. That ball is HUGE! I was so excited to be there. It was still hot, but not like at Magic Kingdom and I didn’t care. I was here! I scootered past the gates and stopped to ask a cast member (someone who works for Disney) where I could see the flowers. She told me the flower expo was over but the Food and Wine Festival was happening now. I thanked her, grabbed a map, took some pictures, and made my way inside the park. I tried to take a selfie in front of the white ball, but I’m not good at it. So I found a photographer and took pictures. Almost everywhere I went in Epcot Center, I got my picture taken. After the pictures, I went to a gift store and purchased some water. Now I was set.
I scootered my way further into the park and saw The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Once again, I attempted to take a selfie in front of the sign and failed terribly. Thank goodness I saw a photographer and he took several pictures of me. I took pictures of almost everything I passed. I stopped to get a pretzel when I saw a familiar sight. It was the bell tower (St. Mark’s Campanile) located in Venice. My first thought was I need to get over there and fast. I finished my pretzel and made my way over to the World Showcase – “the countries”. What I didn’t realize is that I would have to go through so many countries to get to Italy.
I entered the countries counter-clockwise – first up was Canada. Canada was beautiful and rugged. I felt like I was in Canada. Some large totem poles caught my attention and I scootered over to them. At first glance, I just saw steps but then I saw the handicap ramp. I scootered up the ramp and when I saw the totem poles up close I was in awe. (Truth be told, I was in awe with every country I went to!) I took pictures of the Canada sign and the totem poles. I once again tried to take a selfie in front of a totem pole and failed. Two young women saw my struggle and offered to take a picture of me. I thanked them for rescuing me and we started talking. The young ladies were from New York City and I told them I was from the Bay Area, but I was born and raised in Alaska and I had been to New York several times and I love the city. We talked about 9/11 and how eerily quiet and calm the city was after the attacks. They asked if I had seen the 9/11 memorial. I responded no, but it’s on my bucket list. They told me they wanted to go to Alaska. I told them the best time to go is June – August, unless they like the snow. They told me the different countries they had been to in Epcot. I pointed to the tower and said that is where I’m headed. We said goodbye and parted ways.
I scootered down the ramp and entered the United Kingdom. I was in London again and it was great. Seeing the pubs, the old buildings, and the bookstores will transport you to real London. This would be my second time in a version of London in one week! I feel like this is a sign I need to go back to real London. I took some pictures and then took a selfie in front of their famous red phone booths. Those pictures did not come out bad, but when a couple offered to take my picture, I was relieved. When you go, make sure you visit one of the stores to see the many teapot designs. It was time to leave London as I kept looking at the tower.
I scootered out of London and right into France. What can be said about France that hasn’t been said? It was beautiful and was done with sophistication. The country makes you feel relaxed as you stroll through looking at the buildings, with the Eiffel Tower hovering over each building. With the beautiful music playing in the background, take a minute to sit and watch the water fountains. You will not be disappointed in this country. I took some pictures and continued my mission, scootering into Morocco.
Now Morocco is a place I want to see in person one day. It’s also on my bucket list. I liked Morocco, with its authentic buildings and music. The smell of different spices in the air makes you want to sample every dish in this country. I enjoyed looking at the jewelry, the different ceramics, and crafts. The prices of the items will not break you. I took some pictures of the buildings, none with me in them, and scootered into Greece.
Greece is not a regular country at Epcot, but pops up for the Food and Wine Festival. There was a place to eat but no Greek buildings. I took a few pictures of the menu and rolled into Japan.
Japan was so cool! Like Morocco, the buildings were authentic, and the atmosphere was great. Japanese music was playing in the background, and lanterns on the buildings are the perfect quiet setting if you want some downtime. Take a minute or longer to sit and take in the ambiance of this country. You will not be disappointed. If you are looking to do some shopping, browse the large department store for gifts and many other items. After spending some time here, I did feel relaxed and was ready to get back to my mission. I said “goodbye” to Japan and “hello” to the United States of America.
I will admit I did not spend a lot of time in the USA area, because Italy was next and I was ready to get there. Plus, I live in this country. I did stop to look at the buildings, took some pictures, and moved on. The waterfall in front of the American Pavilion was nice and it was good to be back in America, even if just for a short while. I said bye to the USA and finally made it to Italy.
I couldn’t just scooter into Italy, I had to record it. I took out my phone and began recording me entering Italy. I had made it and my heart was so full of joy, I didn’t know where to begin. Looking up at the tower, seeing the different buildings, the smaller version of the Trevi Fountain, and the smell of food in the air – I was overwhelmed with joy! And then I heard it…thunder. I looked up at the sky and saw a very dark cloud, reminiscent of the same cloud I had seen at Universal Studios. But I was not about to let this thunder steal my joy. I took my time as I scootered through Italy, taking pictures of everything and enjoying all the sights. I was home, or so I told myself. I attempted to take a selfie in front of the Trevi Fountain, but it was an epic fail. I was rescued once again by a young lady. After the picture in front of the Trevi Fountain, I decided to have a slice of pizza from Via Napoli. The slice was so authentic and good, like no other pizza I’ve ever eaten, except in Italy. After the pizza, I decided it was time to go, even though I did not want to. The thunder was louder, and therefore closer. I took a few more pictures, sighed, and headed out of Italy, that was until I saw a photographer. I couldn’t resist. I waited in line for the couple in front of me to finish with their session. When it was my turn, I took pictures off and on my scooter. When the photographer told me to pose with my arms to my side and my hands flat, I asked her what character she was adding to my picture. She told me it was Daisy. That was a fun photo session.
After the photo session, it was time to go, since I did not want to get stuck in a rainstorm on a freeway that I was not familiar with. I put my scooter on the highest speed, took one last look at Italy, and sped away. I was weaving in and out between people, trying to beat the storm. When I got behind someone who was walking slowly, I turned down the speed and went around them. I wanted some ice cream, so I stopped at a vendor and bought some ice cream. I took a few bites, heard the thunder, saw some lightning, and that was enough for me. I threw the rest of the ice cream away and scootered out of the park as fast as my scooter would go.
When I got to my car, I was a little concerned about getting the scooter into the SUV I had rented. It was heavy and I could not lift it by myself. The storm was still coming and I needed to go. I asked the people who were parked next to me to help and they did. The kindness of strangers has not gone away. I thanked them several times and left. I made it back to the resort just as the first drops of rain began to fall.
I’m so glad that I went to Epcot Center and didn’t let this opportunity slip away. It was well worth it and I didn’t mind doing it on my own. I didn’t ride any of the rides, so I don’t have any suggestions regarding the rides. But I do suggest getting there early so you have enough time to see all of the countries. The young lady in Italy told me that after Italy there was Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico. If it was not for the storm coming in, I would’ve kept on scootering to each country. However, visiting 8 out of the 12 countries is not bad. Another suggestion is that when you visit each country, take your time. Take in the scenery and the culture. Learn a little bit about what each country has to offer and do try the food. You may not be physically in that country, but you will feel like you’re in it.
Next blog: Animal Kingdom