Walt Disney World Memorial Day Trip Report – Part 3

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After all of the excitement of leaving the Magic Kingdom and waiting for the monorails (if you haven’t read the previous installments of this Walt Disney World Trip Report from the 24-Hour Party in the Magic Kingdom, click here to start with those), then getting back into the room and getting ready for bed, it was just after 8 am. Yet, some “genius” had decided it was reasonable to make a lunch ADR for us in Epcot for 1:30 pm. In defense of that person, after the last two 24-hour parties at Disneyland, we had gotten up around noon each time and headed back to the parks. So maybe it was entirely reasonable for that person to make a 1:30 pm ADR, and maybe you should all just get off his back, okay?!

Ultimately, it turned out to not be that big of a deal. While we both were tired and probably could have slept a little longer, we both have a difficult time sleeping while it’s light out, so the quality of our sleep would have been low. Instead, we quickly got ready and made our way over to Epcot. We even made some FastPass+ reservations on the monorail; admittedly, it was pretty nice being able to make these in advance and not having to run around picking up paper FastPasses.

I’m actually looking forward to making some further in advance of our next trip. We don’t typically do much advance planning these days, but I don’t consider spending 10 minutes to make a Toy Story Mania, Soarin’, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ reservation all that much work.

Lunch was at Restaurant Marrakesh, a spot we had decided on after much deliberation. We debated doing it, Teppan Edo, Monsieur Paul’s, Rose & Crown, Nine Dragons, or Chefs de France. We settled on Restaurant Marrakesh for lunch and Chefs de France for dinner. For as many Walt Disney World restaurants as we have experienced, we actually have not done several in World Showcase, with Restaurant Marrakesh being one of those restaurants. This has nothing to do with the ethnic nature of these restaurants (we are open to just about anything), but more to do with lukewarm reviews for many spots.

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A full review of Restaurant Marrakesh is to come, but suffice to say, I think it’s my new favorite restaurant in World Showcase. From the ornate interior to the service to entertainment to excellent cuisine, Restaurant Marrakesh far exceeded our expectations. I can’t say it was entirely authentic, but we both thought the cuisine seemed like largely authentic, just a tad milder than you’d find of typical Mediterranean, MENA, or Moroccan cuisine. Everything we tried still had great, complex flavor profiles, but it seemed to be spiced to less a degree than the authentic restaurants we’ve visited in the past.

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Every restaurant in World Showcase is necessarily a compromise (so that these spots actually appeal to a broad group of tourists), and we view this as a great way to accomplish that compromise. Rather than Americanize the menu, the heavy spices most likely to intimidate a wide audience are toned down. Flavors are still great and robust, but more approachable. Granted, many Americans will still be intimidated by Restaurant Marrakesh to the point of not eating here (the restaurant was practically dead during our meal), but if people can get past their preconceptions, it’s a restaurant that could have broad appeal.

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Like I said, I’ll cover it in detail in our full review, but for now, know that we highly recommend Restaurant Marrakesh. It’s far superior to Spice Road Table (and will probably cost you less for a full meal). It’s also superior to World Showcase fan darling, Le Cellier. Oh, one last thing: get the baklava. It was mind-blowing. We had some mediocre (at best) baklava from Tangierine Cafe last year, and this was way, way better.

Our experience there makes me want to try other World Showcase restaurants despite their lukewarm reviews. Part of me wonders if those lukewarm reviews have more to do with the people doing the reviewing and less to do with the location itself, especially when the reviews are coming from regular guests rather than experienced critics (as is the case with virtually every Disney dining review I’ve read).

After lunch, Sarah debated going back to the room to take a nap, but about 10 minutes after deciding to go, she decided to stay. In the interim, I had gone in Impressions de France. When I was done with it, she met me at the entrance and we immediately caught the next show. Impressions de France twice right in a row was about the greatest thing ever for me, as I love that film.

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I’ve long been fascinated about the value of a sponsorship at Walt Disney World, and I think for the World Showcase countries, you can’t get much more ‘value’ than France. Even though Impressions de France isn’t an incredibly popular attraction, it is reasonably popular, and it showcases France in an absolutely beautiful light. Contrast this with Maelstrom, for example. Maelstrom is probably the most popular World Showcase attraction, but it’s a bit bizarre in how it showcases Norway, and has more appeal to me as a campy, quotable ride. If I were to guess, I’d say Impressions de France, even with significantly fewer guests seeing it, is doing much more for its country’s tourism than is Maelstrom. Ohhh, oil rigs?! BOOK MY TRIP NOW!

After Impressions de France, we spent some time wandering around World Showcase, before heading up to Future World for caffeine fixes. Sarah got some disgusting plain iced coffee from Starbucks, and I got samples at Club Cool. Actually, since they changed their selections at Club Cool, I’m not really sure which, if any, of the drinks have caffeine. (Anyone know?) So maybe I just drank a lot of sugared cola. Whatever, I wasn’t all that tired.

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We then met up with a friend and wandered around Epcot taking some photos and chatting. For all of the issues it presently has–and there are many–Epcot is still the Disney theme park in the United States that I most enjoy wandering around. Worldwide, that crown has been taken by Tokyo DisneySea, but for me, of the US parks, there’s still something about a stroll around Epcot. It’s not just in World Showcase, either. I love feeling the breeze as I walk under Spaceship Earth, and I really enjoy the sitting on a bench and waiting for my favorite part of the Innoventions background music loop. Mind you, I don’t think Epcot is substantively up to snuff, but I do still love being there. The character and mission of Epcot definitely changed long ago (the mid-1990s, by my estimation), but it still has the look and feel of EPCOT Center. I still hope it substantively returns to an EPCOT Center-caliber park one day, but I think the chances of that grow more limited with each passing year. Hopefully I’m wrong.

We did Living with the Land and a couple other things before it was time to eat again. We weren’t all that hungry, but we had made ADRs for Chefs de France, so we headed over there.

The last time we dined at Chefs de France, our experience was subpar. We have heard rave reviews about the place, so we decided to return. We won’t be back again in the foreseeable future.

To be fair, we had a couple of good dishes in our meal, but for the most part it just seemed like a lot of items you’d find at a traditional American restaurant with minor twists on them…and all given lofty French names. Our main courses themselves were largely unremarkable, as was dessert.

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Even assuming we’ve just been unlucky with the food–twice–the atmosphere in there really leaves something to be desired for me. It’s noisy, tables are practically on top of one another, and has a generally chaotic feel. Nothing like an actual cafe in France.

Upon leaving dinner, Sarah decided that now it was definitely time for a nap, so we walked her to the front of the park. As we turned to head into Future World, I noticed a nice late-afternoon sky and snapped a photo. Seemed like it had the potential for a nice sunset in an hour or so.

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Then, as we walked the promenade connecting World Showcase and Future World, I stopped in my tracks as I looked over at Journey into Imagination. Regular readers probably know by now that I’m a huge Figment fan. When I first got into the Disney fan community–before I got into photography–I remember seeing somewhere (I don’t recall where) a beautiful photo of the “ball” of the sun setting behind Journey into Imagination’s pyramids.

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That exact scene was essentially right in front of me. I was beyond excited, and just seeing this gave me an odd sense of optimism. The scene felt representative of the EPCOT Center that once was, as it reminded me of this pre-opening guide to EPCOT Center.

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While I don’t think it’s truly the dawn of a new Disney era, standing there as the sun shined through pyramid and the monorail glided by was something else for me. Have you ever had that feeling where you lose a sense of time and place and feel? For a few minutes, I felt like I was back in EPCOT Center. It wasn’t as if I was looking around and seeing Horizons or the old World of Motion, more that I just in the old place in a way I can’t really articulate. It probably sounds strange or reveals something deep-seated lurking back in my psyche (I hope none of you are shrinks!), but it was a nice feeling. I still hold out hope that someday Epcot will find its way and regain the optimism and inspiration it once had. I still love it, and it’s these “little moments” that still make the park special for me.

For those rolling their eyes, yes, I guess I am this easily moved by a pretty sunset.

Once I snapped out of this sentimentality, we started darting around Future World for more photos. After grabbing a couple for herself for Instagram, Sarah headed out to take her nap, agreeing that we’d meet up in the Magic Kingdom after Epcot closed.

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I like this perspective, but the sky wasn’t looking all that good from here. I think if I arrived earlier or waited a bit, I might have had better results.

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Sky over by Mission: Space was not that impressive. Someday, I want an awesome sunset version of this photo.

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As you can see, I was going from location to location trying to get a good angle on the sunset. I’ve found that unless the sunset lights up the entire sky, it’s very difficult to photograph at Epcot. About the solid view of the horizon is looking over at Imagination and The Land from the main promenade to World Showcase. Still, this makes for a fun challenge.

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The clouds behind Spaceship Earth looked gorgeous from over here, and I thought about waiting for a monorail, but decided against it. Literally 30 seconds after leaving this spot, a monorail passed. Ouch.

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I really liked the two-tone look of the sky over by Journey into Imagination, but this photo looks sort of incomplete without the monorail.

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This lasted for a while, and then it was time for Illuminations. I had wanted to watch from the “Front of the House” view between the two gift shops, but this was reserved for the new dessert party they’re doing. I still haven’t been able to watch from this spot…something always gets in the way. Maybe someday.

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Instead, I was able to get a good spot in Mexico, with a view that was really close to the water.

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Amazing show, as always. I know I’ve said this countless times, but I hope Disney only ever upgrades the effects for Illuminations. I don’t think there’s any improving the score and concept of the show itself. I certainly don’t want something feature different Disney characters “from around the world” or something of that sort.

Once Illuminations was over, I got down to business taking photos of World Showcase.

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France and Morocco were my priorities for photos. I wish they were placed in World Showcase in a different order, as France is always packed with people right after Illuminations, and Morocco rarely has anyone in it. I still managed to get a number of nice photos in France.

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If you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat wondering, “what will be the lead photo for the Restaurant Marrakesh review?” This is it! You can thank me later for saving you a sleepless night agonizing over this…

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I took a lot of photos in Morocco (my favorite pavilion for photos), including many of the Fez House.

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From there it was on to Japan…

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I love the look of the landscaping around Katsura Grill. The whole area reminds me of Kyoto.

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I think this is like a 50 second exposure, yet some fish aren’t even blurry (meaning they didn’t move much if at all during the exposure). Lazy fish.

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I skipped America, as I don’t find it that interesting for photos. A bit too one dimensional. Oddly enough, I don’t find Liberty Square all that captivating for the same reason. Maybe I am a communist?! Someone, alert the authorities.

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Fortunately, I had plenty of time to do my thing, because the Epcot Wind Down event meant Security wasn’t going to shoo me out until at least 11 pm. This alone makes me a fan of the Epcot Wind Down!

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Thanks to the Epcot Wind Down, I still had plenty of time for photos when I arrived up in Future World. Usually, I’m feeling like I need to get going, as I sense that few others are still around.

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The above two photos are obvious variations in focus on the same photo, and are my two favorite photos in this installment because I think they’re unique. I can’t decide which I like more, but I’m leaning towards the top one. It pops more, and I feel like there’s just a bit too much that’s out of focus in the lower shot. I might try to play around with that one a bit more to see if I can improve upon it with editing and cropping. Unlikely, but we shall see…

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I spent like 5 minutes lying on the ground under Spaceship Earth trying to align this photo. It’s still not perfect, but Sarah had long ago made it to the Magic Kingdom, and I realized time was of the essence. I decided to leave to get to the monorail with enough time to get to the Magic Kingdom before it closed.

After a series of delays, I headed to the bus stop (the monorail stopped operating just as I arrived at its station). A few people walked up and started talking to me about photography. They seemed nice, and I showed them some photos. It turned out they were also heading to the Contemporary, so we shared a bus. Once on the bus, they asked some questions, and while conversational, I was a bit coy about details.

I don’t know how you feel about this, but I’m always reluctant to share my affinity for Disney with other people unless I know they ‘get it.’ This is true even at the parks, as most guests are not Disney-obsessed. I’m sure you’ve all been there: you’ve told someone how much you liked Disney, only to receive a blank stare, or worse. Well, imagine that, except telling them that you regularly write a blog about Disney theme parks. You don’t get blank stares, you get, “OMFG, I need to get the heck away from this crazy dude” looks of fear and confusion. I made a remark about being weird in the last installment of this trip report, and that was (mostly) a joke. I’m serious about this. If you tell someone in the general public that you write a Disney blog, they will often treat you like you’re a leper.

That was sort of the situation I was trying to avoid here, since it was just me and them on the bus, it was late, and I was tired. They were nice, though, so we kept chatting. Finally one of them asked for my Instagram username, and I shared it. At that point one of them recognized me, and I found out they were huge Disney fans. It was like a weight of potential awkwardness lifted off my shoulders. We took a photo together as we got off the bus at the Contemporary, and then I headed on my way.

I literally started running for the Magic Kingdom after that, as it was 11:47 pm and the park closed at midnight. If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes to run from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom with 20 pounds of camera gear, the answer is about 7 minutes. If you’ve ever wondered if they will let you into the Magic Kingdom 6 minutes before it closes without asking you any questions or letting you know the park closes in 6 minutes the answer is also yes. (Although in the past, they have kindly advised me when it closed.)

I got back to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train about 2 minutes before the park closed, and we were able to get one ride in. I was actually a bit relieved that there was still a 30 minute long line, as I was hot. I normally get pretty sweaty just wandering around late at night taking photos (photography is an intense sport for me), so I was feeling gross after Epcot, but then running to the Magic Kingdom really pushed me over the edge. Those Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue fans were a nice relief.

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This was my first chance to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at night, and the experience can best be described as ‘ballin’. There’s a reason it ranked highly on our list of the Top 10 Best Magic Kingdom Attractions at Night. It made all of that rushing and running worthwhile, although, to be honest, I would have done that just to get to the Magic Kingdom in time for a night photography session.

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Yeah, I got plenty of mileage out of the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens this day. I really like the lens (review coming soon), but I’m not sure it’s worth the additional cost over the manual focus fisheye lenses I normally use.

After some more photos, we were both pretty much beat, so it was time to call it a night.

Click here to return to our Walt Disney World 2014 Memorial Day Trip Report Index in order to navigate to other installments. If you’re new to our trip reports, make sure to check out our past Walt Disney World and Disneyland Trip Reports.

For actual Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice beyond these quick and random tips, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.

Your Thoughts…

Which park is your favorite to spend time wandering? Are you reluctant to share your love for Disney with “normal” people, or do you try to share your passion? Which World Showcase restaurant is your favorite? Share your comments on any of these things–or anything else from the trip report–in the comments!

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47 Responses to “Walt Disney World Memorial Day Trip Report – Part 3”

  1. Laura B. says:

    These installments seriously have me excited to be heading back down to O-town next month (and in September…and in November). It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading about your trips to the other parks, it’s just that I can’t put myself in the photos the way I can with Walt Disney World (I’ve only been to Disneyland once, in 1997, and I’ve never been to any of the foreign parks). Seeing new photos of WDW just gets my heart racing and puts a smile on my face. If I ever run into you on a trip to WDW (or potentially DLR, since I’m heading back next year!!!), you won’t get any weird looks from me!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Haha, thanks! Sometimes it’s easy to spot the hardcore fans (people with vintage Disney attire, pins, etc. are pretty good indicators), but sometimes they blend in with the “normals.”

  2. Rose says:

    I’m a fan of Chefs de France but haven’t been in a couple years. I remember having a really good steak.

    To be fair, if you’re comparing it to a cafe in France, the noise level isn’t due to the restaurant itself — but to the guests. From my experience, the French are a lot quieter in restaurants than Americans. I’ve been in tiny Parisian restaurants where you are squeezed in on top of each other, but it’s still quiet.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that it was a characteristic of the restaurant itself–it’s almost entirely due to the difference in guests. Regardless of the ’cause,’ it’s still part of the overall experience. In terms of experience, Chefs de France is very little like a cafe in France. From the menu to the ambiance, it really only vaguely resembles something in France.

      I think Bistro de Paris captured the spirit of France well. I’ve heard Monsieur Paul is more “accessible,” which sounds to me like a buzzword for it being more like Chefs de France. Unfortunate, from my perspective.

  3. Michelle says:

    Such amazing imagery! What fisheye/wide angle are you using? I’m in the market for one, for my trip in November.

  4. Lisa C. says:

    I am used to people thinking that I am an oddball because of my Disney obsession. We live two hours from WDW, and we have been three times in the past month (admittedly one time was just for our anniversary dinner at Victoria and Albert’s). People ask why we are going to Disney World AGAIN (“Didn’t you just get back?”), why we have three more trips planned already, why I subscribe to Disney magazines, read about ten Disney blogs daily, and collect so many pins and 90’s Epcot items. Epcot Center fueled my interest in science, technology, and optimism about the future. In a way, I owe my philosophical ideals to my early Disney experiences. So yeah, there are other people who “get it”!

  5. Mark Willard says:

    Gorgeous photos as always!

    I believe the “Front of House” location is actually the new FP+ viewing location for IllumiNations and isn’t a dessert party or “Wind Down” location… Unfortunately this means that that location is permanently off limits now unless you have a FP+ for IllumiNations.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      There’s the new dessert party on weekends (not just a standard dessert party like they do in Italy); I think that also uses space at the ‘Front of the House.’ Guess I need to just get FP+ next time.

  6. Josh Cross says:

    Who are these people that you speak of that give you weird looks when you communicate your passion for Disney? Do they have no soul? Ice water in their veins? Love your blog. Keep it up. We are using it to plan our trip for the fall of 2015, especially for snacks and dining.
    I thought your comments on Chefs de France were spot on by the way. We were most looking forward to that restaurant on our trip, and we were very underwhelmed. Keep up the good work!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      People who aren’t Disney fans? Obviously soulless.

      I have a theory about Chefs de France–and World Showcase dining in general–but I’ll save that for another post.

  7. Kim Underwood says:

    That was us on the bus with you that night!! :) My friend, JR, and his wife, Clare and I had just left the Wind Down in Italy and thoroughly enjoyed seeing your close up shot of Spaceship Earth still on your camera that you’d just taken. After you left, we all commented on what a nice guy you were to take the time to chat, share and even pose for a photo with us once we got off the bus because clearly you were running late. :) Thank goodness we didn’t ask for your autograph. ;)

    Here we were worried that you thought we were crazy Tom Bricker groupies instead of just a group of Disney loving parents who left the kids in NC and PA to enjoy our happy place. Meeting you was a highlight of our trip!

    Thank you for the unique, detailed, and spectacular photos and blog reports. You provide such joy to us between trips or during tough times in real life.

    Take care!
    Kim

    • YORCH C says:

      “You provide such joy to us between trips or during tough times in real life.” totally agree with you guys!!!!!… Tom (and Sarah of course)should be treated as a celebrity, so don’t hesitate to ask him his autograph next time!! :)
      I’m not ashame of my groupbricker status.. ;) ten years ago i worked over the mexican pavilion so i complety understand your feelings towards Epcot and to be honest i couldn’t care less about people finding me weird…after all what a nice hobby and passion we all share here… nice to meet you kim!

    • Megan says:

      That would have totally been me too – I would have been worried about bothering Tom with my silly groupie questions!

      Generally, I keep my Disney fandom under wraps which isn’t hard since I don’t go there much, but I love keeping up with blogs and podcasts and can talk about WDW like I’ve been there many many more times than I actually have.

      Hard to pick a favorite park to wander in… might be Epcot too, though Animal Kingdom is a close second.

      Keep up the phenomenal work, Tom and Sarah!

      • Tom Bricker says:

        It doesn’t bother me at all! It’s one thing when it was a scenario like this, where I didn’t initially know whether they were Disney fans. It’s totally different if someone comes up to me and already knows my name. I don’t wear shirts around that say, “I’m Tom Bricker,” so it’s a safe assumption at that point that they know who I am!

        ‘Groupies’ probably isn’t the right word for it, though. I’m a normal Disney fan just like you all…not like the Keith Richards of Disney fandom. Except maybe in terms of looks! ;) I know you’re all just kidding about the celebrity stuff, but I just don’t like that…makes me uncomfortable when people approach me like I’m someone (fake internet) famous. I’m just a regular guy.

  8. JR Longino says:

    Tom –
    I want to reiterate everything Kim said above. The relief that you felt was mutual, I can assure you. I also have a small Disney blog (www.dwdads.com), so meeting someone I follow with a clear and vidid passion for Disney was a very cool experience. This was our first trip to Disney without kids so I’ll never forget the slow walk with my wife Clare through an empty but beautifully illuminated Epcot Center after a wonderful Wind Down experience at Tutto Gusto with our friends Kim and Becky. Meeting a very humble Tom Bricker on the bus was a memorable ending to a wonderful evening. (Thanks again for indulging us with a picture!)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Great meeting you, as well. For us, every trip is a “without kids” one, but I can only imagine how special that slow walk out of Epcot was on your first-adults only trip. That slow walk is incredibly special to me even now, and one of the reasons why I love Epcot. In fact, that might be my favorite “attraction” in Epcot.

  9. Chris says:

    Great photos in this trip report. I especially loved the first Illuminations photo. It makes me feel a mixture of nostalgia and excitement … and it definitely makes me wish I were in Epcot rather than at work right now!

  10. DreGGs says:

    ..seriously…we had pretty much identical itineraries this trip, and somehow I only “saw” you once? I think you may just be part ninja.

  11. Jess says:

    Confession: I actually am a psychologist (I don’t really think of myself as a “shrink”; I actually work with kids in a school). However, I am also a hardcore Disney nerd, so no judgement from me!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      If you are a psychologist who works with kids, you are probably ideally-equipped to analyze me. Assuming you’re working with ~7 year olds. It seems I share a lot of interests with them! ;)

  12. Darolyn says:

    Gorgeous shots of World Showcase, like always! Not sure when I will next be at Epcot but I like the idea of the Wind Down. I didn’t spend much time after park closing taking pictures last time because I worried I would be shoo’ed away.

  13. Wendy says:

    Amazing photos, as always. My personal favorites from this installment are: the first sunset/Imagination one, Mission: SPACE, and the one from the red bridge in Japan.

  14. Dan Heaton says:

    Hi Tom. I can totally understand your comments about feeling (at least for a moment) like you were back in the old EPCOT Center. I still get those feelings periodically (especially at night) when the music is playing and I’m standing near Spaceship Earth, Imagination, or even The Land. I’m trying to stay hopeful there will be some good changes soon, but it’s still my favorite Disney World park to just hang out in by far. Incredible photos!

  15. Aaron says:

    I really enjoyed your Disney affinity part (obsession) I usually don’t wear anything disney and have a lot of tattoos but I’ll talk your ears off about how much I enjoy it. I was on a royal carribean cruise and told people how nice the disney cruise is even without kids, I got a few omfg but it’s the bests place ever so forget them. Thanks for the report

  16. Melissa says:

    I’ve had my outfits planned out for our October trip since February (a different Disney Princess inspired outfit every day), and read several Disney blogs on the daily. I will definitely not be wierded out if I ever see you and Sarah in the parks. I would for sure ask for a picture with you though!

  17. Daffystardust says:

    I completely agree with you about Marrakesh and Chefs de France. The former is underrated and the latter is overrated, maybe just because more people are comfortable with the type of food served in France. It looks like you had the same dish at Marrakesh as I did back in October. Delicious!

    Your photos are always wonderful and I’m itchier than ever for my return trip in September.

    Right now I’m scheduled to try out Kouzzina on my EPCOT day before it closes just about a week later, but I must admit that I’m tempted to try out one of the restaurants in the Japan pavilion as part of a promise I’ve made to myself to spend more time in some of the pavilions I’ve given the short shrift to in the past (for some reason I always end up spending the most time in France, Morocco, and Mexico).

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Personally, I think I’d stick with Kouzzina. Now, that’s not a “real” recommendation as we haven’t dined there yet, but I’ve heard great things, and plan on making it over there before it closes.

      In Japan, we like Tokyo Dining as a solid, and potentially inexpensive pick. We’ve held off on Teppan Edo because reviews are very mixed, with a lot of credible ones making it sound like Benihana. YMMV.

  18. Tamara says:

    We try to go to Disney as often as possible. My husband and I are very lucky to have 3 kids who love Disney as much as we do. But it never ceases to amaze us how family think us a bit weird or odd that we go to Disney as often as we do. “Didn’t you just go there”? “Disney is for kids. Don’t you get bored”?

    I love your work and am jealous of your photography skills (and Sarah’s amazing hair. How does she keep it so soft and shiny in the Florida humidity??)

    Hope to run into you (or stumble over you as the case may be) someday!

  19. That sunset photo of the “Journey into the Imagination” pyramid gave me chills. There is just something about EPCOT that makes me really nostalgic. It reminds me of my dad (now passed away) who took me there for the first time, and that photo just made me feel like I was standing right there. Beautiful and powerful photo.

  20. Kacie says:

    I think maybe avoid giving too much weight to Disney restaurant reviews. One pleasantly surprised you, and one wasn’t up to snuff.

    Beautiful sunset shots!

  21. Kacie says:

    Also maybe Disney fans need some sort of codeword to say to one another to tip off that hey, SUPERFAN HERE LET’S GEEK OUT TOGETHER. Haha! But for real.

  22. Julie says:

    Omg! I am so reluctant to share my disney obsession. I can’t say I know of anyone else, personally that shares the passion. I literally tall about disney world and my trip, every day!! This blog is such a release for me! There needs to be local support groups. Lol okay maybe not. But I’d love to be able to carry on an extended conversation with someone who can relate to a love for disney the way I can. Instead of getting a weird look, like, “excuse me, aren’t you 23? (24 now, happy bday to me!)”

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think probably anyone reading this blog–especially those adults without children–can entirely relate to you. Our non-Disney friends don’t get it. At all.

  23. Rune says:

    LOVE the beneath Spaceship Earth picture, it’s amazing. However, you will never know how much I wish Sarah had been there to take a photo of you lying on the ground taking it! ^_~ There’s a wonderful ‘cartoon’ element to that image of you lying there in action and yet it also reveals the true passion the Disney diehard is willing to put in to getting that special result. I’ve been tempted to lie on wet pavements in Tomorrowland a few times to try and catch the shine but since (a) I’m no photographer and so the results wouldn’t be as good as I imagined them to be, and (b) custodial would probably sweep me away, I’ve refrained so far. Please keep on doing what you do though, you have a fantastic gift for framing / composing.

    And yes, I have wondered in the past how close to closing time they will let you into MK, so cheers for that.

    Oh, and hooray for some decent baklava at last. Done right it’s delicious isn’t it? =)

  24. Joy says:

    That last Spaceship Earth photo looks like an evil insect face (and front legs). It freaked me out, but in a cool way. Ok, random blog comment of the week posted…

  25. Emily says:

    Don’t feel bad about being coy regarding your love for Disney. I do the same thing. I try not to get too overexcited when I talk about it, because my coworkers already refer to me as “that Disney nut”. But let’s face it, with my mountain of Disney books, my Mickey & Minnie plushes, and my constant planning of my next trip, I totally am a Disney nut.

  26. Elina ponting says:

    Amazing blog. I read this type of blog for the first time. The foods are very yummy, and even the pics are very beautiful.

  27. Elina ponting says:

    Nice stuff. Yummy food are also available. Keep sharing.

  28. Ben W. says:

    That picture of Imagination with the sunset stopped me cold. I honestly sat here for about 5 minutes staring at it. Really powerful imagery, and I understand your thoughts and feelings about EPCOT Center. I miss those days, wish that I could share that place with my kids, and selfishly wish that I could visit again myself. There are still echoes of that old feeling resonating in the park, and you captured one there. Well done.

    I also love the very last picture – there’s something whimsical about the way you caught another late-night photographer (or PhotoPass photographer?) on the edge of the picture. Thanks for not cropping that element out of the photo – it gave the photo extra “character” – as if Donald didn’t provide enough!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I don’t want to sound full of myself as a photographer, but when I stare at that photo, I get goosebumps. It truly has nothing to do with *me* as the photographer, either. It’s that the scene that presented itself was so powerfully “EPCOT Center” that it takes me right back to my childhood.

  29. Christi says:

    I am a bit late to this post, but I just had to comment on how gorgeous your pictures are! Also, speaking of running into “die hard” Disney fans, when I went in September ’13, I totally saw you and Sarah in the Contemporary but was way too embarrassed to say hi, thinking you would probably think I was a bit crazy for being such a fan of your blog! Please keep up all of amazing work!

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