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I’ve often thought that perhaps second to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is my favorite park at Disney – however as I get older and with this most recent visit, I do believe Epcot might be climbing to the top of the park list. I absolutely love World Showcase – as a traveling person myself, I’ve always loved the idea of taking in a little piece of “another world” all in an afternoon.

I think my bucket list might include attending one of the many festivals that are held at Epcot each year – like the Food and Wine Festival or the Festival of the Arts (which began the day before we left…). I just really love all that Epcot has to offer and I loved (for the most part) our day spent at Epcot.

We started the day with one of my favorite rides – Soarin’ – which was once a ride that took you across California but has now been upgraded to a quick trip around the world! As a hater of flying, I’m not sure how a ride that imitates a hang glider swooping and soaring through the sky ranks as one of my favorite rides, but then again – the world is filled with irony!

We grabbed some breakfast while we were in The Land and even rode Living with the Land; which I haven’t been on in ages. The boat ride for Living with the Land certainly isn’t anything wildly thrilling or on the cutting edge, but I love riding the boat through the greenhouses and seeing all the things Disney is growing and working on at Epcot – it’s always so neat!

We popped over to The Seas and hopped a clamshell to ride Nemo & Friends, took a tour of Imagination with Figment and then blasted off into space aboard Mission Space – my Dad and I always take the “less intense” flight while my Mom and sister are always on the “more intense” mission – thrill seeker, I am not. I was the pilot on my mission and we orbited the Earth, coming in for a rough landing due to a storm over Florida…hehehe! Thankfully the pilot (hey – that’s me) had a cool head and everything turned out fine in the end!

We had Fast Passes for Spaceship Earth later in the evening and the line for Test Track was next to impossible at this point in the day (and it was only about 10:30), so we headed for World Showcase and Mexico to start our tour of the “world”.

I just love everything about the Mexico pavilion – most especially, that it’s all indoors! We hopped a boat for a tour around Mexico with the Three Cabelleros before perusing the stalls set up in the marketplace, filled with colorful artwork, trinkets and gifts. The restaurant in the base of the pyramid is one of my favorites at World Showcase; I especially love being able to sit next to the river as the boats pass in the twilight and watch the lights twinkle around the pyramid.

The Mexican pavilion had a special showcase at the entrance all about Coco and the artwork that inspired the movie – I thought the movie was excellent – so I loved seeing the models, artwork and ideas that brought the movie to life! Given that the line for Frozen Ever After in nearby Norway (did you know Mexico & Norway were so close? Neither did I…) was over an hour long, we did the slow walk over to Canada for our lunch reservations!

We arrived in Canada a little earlier than expected and so we perused the shops, gardens and the waterfall that tumbles down the mountains at the back of the area – I was especially intrigued by a book about a moose living his best life that was offered in the shop, so Lindsey and I gave it a read before popping over to our lunch stop. We’d heard so many good things about Le Cellier over the years that we decided this time around we’d bite the bullet and eat there…and so at 12:30 we made our way into the cellar for our lunch!

Le Cellier is known for it’s Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup and I knew from the minute we scheduled the reservations that I would be getting some of that – because; honestly, I love all things cheesy and soup is one of my favorite things. I also got The Montreal 75 to sip on during my meal – and for my actual meal, I embraced all things cheesy and got the Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. Now – Le Cellier is known for it’s steak; it’s a steakhouse after all, but I’m not a steak eater and on this particular day, the cold I’d finally managed to catch (blegh) was taking it’s toll – so comfort food like soup and macaroni and cheese perfectly fit the bill.

From Canada we made our way through World Showcase in a giant loop – stopping of first in the United Kingdom – where we perused the Twining tea shop, looked at sweet tea pots and explored the ancestry shop before a quick stroll through the English gardens. A stop off at the Christmas tea pot for a picture and then we were on our way over the bridge and into…

France, where the first stop was posing for pictures. We made our way into the theater and watched the video Impressions de France before looking through a store; a store that led directly into the real delight of being in “France” – pastries! We pulled up chairs in the little cafe and ate our sweets before checking out a few more stores and sneaking a glance at Belle as we made our way from France to…

Morocco – where I somehow took a ton more pictures than I’ve ever taken before. Everything about the Morocco pavilion is so detailed and ornate; we made our way into the middle of a pavilion before turning right and emerging in the middle of an open air market. We checked out an exhibit on clothing styles in Morocco and my Dad announced he’d found a camel (see below)…before we moved on to another country, crossing continents and finding ourselves in…

Japan…and the gorgeous torii gate that perfectly frames Spaceship Earth in the distance. The lush gardens and soaring pagodas lined a pathway back to an almost castle-like building that housed an exhibit on Japan’s culture of cute – including all things Hello Kitty and the like. We snapped some pictures and this was obviously a point in the day that my cold medicine wasn’t doing it’s best work – see my less than amused expression? Ha-ha! From Japan we made our way to…

The American Adventure – and I have 0 pictures of our time in the America section of the park. Oops. We watched the American Dream show and I honestly fought the urge to nap in the darkened theater because again – cold medicine not living up to it’s true potential and all that jazz. I did manage to snap a great picture of Spaceship Earth across the lagoon, since when you’re in America you are directly across from Spaceship Earth! As the sun started to set, we crossed and bridge and found ourselves in…

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Italy and in the shadow of the Doge’s Palace with the canals of Venice in the distance. We had to get in a line to have our picture snapped with Italy – everyone loves the canals I suppose, ha-ha. I can honestly say with the final few countries we didn’t take in as much as we did the earlier countries; trying to see as much as possible before the sun was completely gone…we popped in and out of a few shops and took some pictures before making our way to…

Germany..with the first signs that we were making the transition from one country to the next was the gigantic model train display that sits on the edge of Germany. The town square with the statue of St. George and the Dragon and the little houses all lit up in the twilight were worth a few pictures before we were on our way to the next country, which just happened to be…

China – where acrobats were performing in the shadow of the Temple of Heaven with the dominant Paifang gate as a backdrop. We watched the acrobats for a few minutes before making our way through the gardens and into the temple where we met Mulan! Excitement! We also watched the CircleVision film on China and we ended up having a private showing – I guess at that point on the evening, no one else was interested in watching the beauty of China unfold all around them? The final stop on the World Showcase tour was…

The country of Norway, which is now filled with all things Elsa and Anna related! We were in Norway for a very short bit of time, long enough to snap a few pictures and confirm the line for Frozen Ever After was still way too long to get in – since we had Fast Passes for Spaceship Earth that would come available in just over an hour and it would take 90 minutes to board the boat that would take us on a voyage with Elsa and Anna. We ended our world tour there and made our way across the park and toward Test Track…

Lest I forget – I snapped some pictures of some Epcot wildlife earlier in the day and I don’t want to leave them off the recap; they were pretty funny, if I do say so myself.

We endeavored to get in the line for Test Track – the wait was less than 50 minutes when we hopped in and we figured we’d take our spin, go use our Fast Passes to ride Spaceship Earth and then grab dinner before Illuminations. Epcot had extra magic hours on Tuesday night and so we planned to get in Frozen Ever After once those started – you have to be a Disney hotel guest to take advantage of the extra magic hours.

It was at this point in the evening – around 7:00 – that the cold I was trying to combat really started to rear it’s head. I’d had a bit of a headache for most of the day but the medicine I was taking had kept it at a dull ache and so it was tolerable. Standing in line for Test Track, the loud music and the lights combined with my pounding head began to make me feel slightly sick and so I told my family I couldn’t stand in a line with loud music and lights for the next 45 minutes, so I’d have to wait outside.

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My family decided shortly thereafter that we could add Test Track to the the rides we’d catch during the Extra Magic Hours and we made our way over to Spaceship Earth – a ride that is much calmer and also in the dark! I still managed to make a horrible grimace when they snapped our pictures at the end and my Mom said I looked mad at the world. It was actually pretty hilarious given the context and moreso looking back – but it wasn’t as funny in the moment.

We decided to pop back over to Mexico to grab dinner and snag seats for Illuminations and while my parents ordered the food, my sister and I stalked out a table. We finally found one that had a bench and one side seat, which left three of us squished together on the bench munching on our tacos and nachos… It was at this point in the night, when my head had reached a crescendo in terms of pain and I just felt completely worn out, as I took a bite of nacho and a tear rolled down my face. I’d reached the point of no return and I had to tap out.

I tearfully announced that I couldn’t keep going until 11:00 – if I did, the headache would likely morph into something much more. This meant I’d miss out on riding Frozen Ever After and Test Track and I’d also miss watching Illuminations…but I knew staying would be a bad decision. I was so disappointed in missing the rides and disappointed in myself because all day I’d been pep-talking myself that I would be tough, stay strong and stick it out – but it just wasn’t going to happen.

My Mom and I caught a bus back to the resort where I was able to take a different medication and lie down – which dramatically helped how I was feeling. My little sister shared a couple snaps from Epcot and while the day at Epcot didn’t exactly end on a high note, as a whole it was a very fine day – dull headache and all.

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