Epcot had Extra Magic Hours in effect, so we rose early, slapped on some sunscreen, and joined the busy queue waiting for the bus at our resort. When we got to Epcot, the doors were not yet open, but the lines to enter the park were already a mile long. We tried to find the shortest (and most childless) line, where we waited for the doors to open, and I began to panic about making our breakfast reservation. Word to the wise: don't make breakfast reservations in the parks unless they're at least an hour after the park opens. Yes, you can make it, but you'll stress yourself out and arrive sweating buckets, as we did.
When the doors opened, we pushed our way forward (or were carried forward) with the rest of the masses. At the turnstile, we swiped our cards, gave our fingerprints (I found this wildly unnecessary and very suspicious), and finally entered the park. After grabbing a map and quickly plotting the most efficient route to the restaurant, we took off for the World Showcase. I won't call it a run, but families were certainly throwing themselves out of our path (at least they should have been). We made what turned out to be a very lucky wrong turn and found ourselves by Test Track, so we grabbed FastPasses for later and continued our speed-walk/sprint.
Ten minutes after our scheduled reservation, we arrived at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway (thank gosh it's the second country in). Once again, Disney was beyond accommodating. Considering this is one of the most popular character breakfasts, I was concerned we'd get booted, but I guess Disney just doesn't do that sort of thing. Instead, we were greeted by a gorgeous blonde Norwegian girl who assured us everything was fine and was nice enough not to point out how awful we looked. We probably could have immediately joined the velvet-roped receiving line, but I guess Disney likes to announce its guests. So we waited about 51 seconds and then heard "Now seating the Royal Family of Ellen and Jackie." And thus our mortification began.
We booked our shame at the door and entered the banquet hall. First up, posing for a professional photo with Belle - aka the best princess ever. (There's no contest and I will fight you if you dare disagree.) She looked glamorous; we were a hot mess. But she pulled us in close for the photo, complimented Jackie's shirt, and told us purple was Beast's favorite color. Yes, all the princesses had their little quips.
After our photo, we were shown to our table (off to the side, naturally, since we were the only people there not with a table full of kids), where our waiter, Christian, welcomed us. Christian, by the way, was a beautiful man. Seriously, what are Norwegians eating? And how can I get some? Anyway, he pointed us in the direction of the cold buffet and brought over some hot dishes. All the food was exceptionally yummy, if not your standard breakfast.
While we dined, the princesses flitted about visiting with the guests. I know they're supposed to stay in character no matter what, but I'm pretty sure we got a few of them to drop when they swung by our table. Aurora stopped by first and was lovely. When she asked if we were too shy for a picture, I think she expected us to say no. Well, Aurora, when you paid as much as we did for this magical Disney experience, you bet your butt we're taking pictures. As we did with all the princesses. Observe. (P.S. they made us do those silly poses. Also, look closely and you can see Aurora laughing at us.)
Snow White Aurora Ariel
Perhaps you're wondering why a one Cinderella is missing. Well, I'm sorry to tell you all this (block your ears, kids) but Cinderella is a stuck up bitch. She saw our table, did a 180, and went to visit a different group. Rude! She did come over later, but just to warn us not to lose our shoes. She didn't even ask if we wanted a picture! Well, Cinderella, congrats. You're now on my naughty list.
But I'm not going to sweat it. We got a professional shot with Belle and some fun ones with the other princesses. All in all, a good experience. I will say, though, Disney makes you pay out the wazoo for this magical experience. Yes, the professional shot is complimentary (they give you a large copy in a folder as well as four 4x6s), but when the meal costs as much as it does, it darn well should be. Just keep that in mind when booking a character meal. And be sure to make the most of it!
When we were done being embarrassed, we ventured back out into Future World. We hit a few rides, such as Spaceship Earth, but the lines were insane and nothing truly grabbed our fancy. We spent most of the morning perusing the shops and sampling sodas from around the world in Club Cool. A stop in Club Cool is a must. You may have to fight your way through rowdy crowds to reach the soda machines, but all the samples are free, and most are quite tasty. But beware of Italy! I had to wash my mouth out after that one.
After Club Cool, it was back to the World Showcase, easily the best part of all of Disney. We started in Canada and wound our way over to Japan for our lunch reservation at Teppan Edo. As hibachi is one of the coolest and tastiest meals one could ever have, I was pretty pumped. Teppan Edo did not disappoint. We were once again seated away from the main hub-bub dining room in a secluded room with just two hibachi grills. We shared ours with an older couple and a family from Texas. Good times were had by all. Jackie and I also discovered that the mystery white sauce they served is the most delicious thing known to man. If you ever get white sauce: eat liberally. And let's hear it for the traditional onion volcano!
After lunch, we continued our circuit around the World Showcase, snapping many photos and taking inventory of all the food we needed/wanted to eat when we had more room in our tummies. On the way out, we cashed in our FastPasses and took a (literally) quick trip on Test Track. Then it was back to the resort for the afternoon for some pool time and a photo-shoot of all the cool themes.
Canada United Kingdom France
Japan Italy Germany