The late night took more of a toll on Sarah than it did on me. I was up and ready to go bright and early, and after grabbing a couple cups of Coke at BoardWalk Bakery (it wasn’t until the next morning—the last morning of our trip—that I noticed I could have gotten refills at the lounge right outside the elevator, and this lounge rarely had lines) I headed over to Epcot while Sarah rested.
To me, the proximity to Epcot is one of the huge advantages of the Crescent Lake Walt Disney World resorts. I would never head out to a park without Sarah if we were staying at Caribbean Beach Resort or Fort Wilderness, just because the commute time. I do enjoy spending time in the parks by myself, if only because it gives me a chance to take photos at my own pace without feeling like I’m impeding on the trip. Obviously, I enjoy being in the Disney parks with Sarah much more than I enjoy being in them alone, but for a couple hours here and there, it can be an interesting change of pace. I find that when I’m by myself, I do far fewer attractions, and do a lot more sitting around and just looking at things. Actually, I probably don’t even really taking more photos. I just do a lot more sitting, wandering, and listening to music.
However, that was not the case on this particular morning. It was a really slow day for Epcot, and I decided to take advantage of the single rider line at Test Track. The attraction itself only had a posted 15 minute wait, but there were literally like 3 other people in the single rider time on each pass I made of Test Track.
I’m not a huge fan of Test Track and I wouldn’t normally care to ride it this much, but with what could be some pretty substantial changes coming to the attraction, I wanted to experience the current version as much as possible before it goes down for refurbishment. I rode it three consecutive times before wandering off to see what else I could do.
I didn’t wander too far, finding Mission: Space. Two times for this attraction in one trip would probably be some sort of world record (for me), so I “chose to go!” I zipped right through the queue and into the attraction. I’ve always found this hit or miss for waits. Even on a slow day you can wait for a decent amount of time (15 minutes or more) if you don’t happen to catch a simulator as it loads. On this particular day, I was the last person in my simulator, and I didn’t wait more than 3 minutes (assuming you don’t count the pre-show video, etc., as waiting).
After this, I had been in the park for nearly an hour, and Sarah called me to tell me that she was on her way. Because of this, I didn’t want to do any additional attractions, so I wandered over to Journey into Imagination to enjoy the outside area and take a few photos. My goal was to catch a photo of a monorail, and I accomplished this lofty expectation that I set for myself.
Sarah showed up, and we did Test Track once more before heading to MouseGear to check out souvenirs. I can’t remember the last time we purchased anything at Epcot. There were some cool retro shirts, but nothing that seemed like a “must buy.” I really like retro-EPCOT Center stuff, and retro merchandise in general, and the Disney Design Group is doing an excellent job with all of this, but I wish merchandise featured new designs that are retro-inspired rather than using art directly lifted from old posters and concept art. Don’t get me wrong, this is better than no retro merchandise, it’d just be nice to see more brand new designs with the classic EPCOT Center and “Vacation Kingdom” flavor.
At this point, it was time to head towards the front of the park to make our way over to Wilderness Lodge. We had forty-five minutes before we were supposed to be there, but knowing Disney transportation, it might take that long or longer.
It might take less time, too, and this was what ran through my mind as I passed under the monorail track and a shot idea came to mind. Of course we could make it to Wilderness Lodge in 25 or 30 minutes, stopping to wait for a monorail would be no big deal at all!
After waiting 10 minutes and cutting our transit time to Wilderness Lodge down to 35 minutes, a monorail arrived and I got my shot. But with 35 minutes left (far more time than we’d actually need, at least in my head), another shot came to mind, and I ran up to the Spaceship Earth fountain to grab it. People were sitting right where I wanted to be positioned, so I worked around them rather than waiting. At least I didn’t delay in that regard, right?!
By this time, we were in a bit of a time crunch. We had thirty minutes to make it from the front of Epcot to Wilderness Lodge. Waiting for a bus could take this long. The commute itself could take nearly this long. Much to our surprise (and luck), the bus was already there waiting for us when we got to the stop. It’s quite normal for us to be late to meals and appointments at Walt Disney World, but not this time!
We actually arrived at Wilderness Lodge before our friends, and wandered the grounds a bit. Our friends were short on time, and Wilderness Lodge was the best option for them, so we decided to do Roaring Forks. This was great by us, as Roaring Fork has quickly become one of our favorite Counter Service restaurants at Walt Disney World after we first dined there in December 2011.
On that visit, we had the S’mores Cupcake and the Carrot-cake Cupcake, along with the Roast Beef Sandwich. Each of these items was delicious, and although it has been a while since I’ve had the legendary Turkey Focaccia sandwich that has since been removed from the menu at Sunshine Seasons, I think the Roast Beef is my new favorite Disney deli sandwich. Sarah agrees, and we actually did something rare–we ordered the same thing. That sandwich is just too good for either of us to pass up!
Lunch was fun, and it’s always great to meet up with friends in Walt Disney World. Wilderness Lodge continues to impress us, and we can’t wait until the next time we stay there. Unless we intended upon sleeping in the lobby or ousting someone from their room, this would not be happening on this particular trip, so we decided to head back to a park. Our first planned stop once we arrived: Pirates League, so we would be appropriately attired for our attack on random guests at Wilderness Lodge!
Unfortunately, a bus for Epcot arrived first, so we headed there instead. I guess the plan to oust someone from their room would have to wait. This wasn’t such a bad thing, as I don’t think either of us wanted to be permanently banned from Walt Disney World on that particular day.
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