Julia’s Best Week Ever, June 30, 2016: Fire and Ice

To completely ruin the writings of Robert Frost, “Some say your day at Epcot will end in fire, Some say in ice.” During this week, I managed to make both of those happen, and lived to tell the tale.

Unless you’re living in a troll cave, you’ve probably heard that the new Frozen Ever After ride opened in Epcot. I had not been a big fan of Maelstrom, and although I enjoyed Frozen, I am not a huge fan. Thus, the Frozen Ever After ride had very low expectations from me about whether or not I’d enjoy it. Because I do have a six-year-old daughter, I knew it would be in my best interest to get on the ride sooner rather than later, so I snagged FastPass+ reservations for the whole family for opening night as soon as they became available. However, being a glutton for punishment, on opening day, my daughter and I headed over to Epcot to be in the crowd of people all trying to be first.

 

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I will say that people were extremely polite and Cast Members were wonderful, helping grab strollers from people who were trying to make their way to the head of the line. Even so, a five-hour wait didn’t sound appealing, so we went for a different type of boat ride.

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After our tour of Mexico searching for Donald Duck, we had worked up an appetite. Also new to World Showcase is breakfast at La Cantina de San Angel, and I’m almost always up to trying some new food offering at Disney.

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I went with the chilaquiles con huevos, and didn’t recognize my meal when it came up. I’m used to Disney counter service only knowing how to make eggs scrambled, so these eggs cooked in a slice of onion and with yolks runny was quite a surprise. Generally, I don’t like runny eggs, but as this dish was designed to be stirred together, it worked exceptionally well, and I would order it again in a heartbeat.

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With the summer heat setting in, and my work e-mail inbox filling almost as fast as the Frozen Ever After queue, we headed home for the day. After work, the whole family headed over to try our FastPass+ luck for Frozen Ever After. Watching social media all day, we had heard about the five-hour-long waits, ride closures due to technical difficulties, and more. When we arrived, the FastPass+ line stretched all the way to China, and only FastPass+ was allowed to join in — no standby. The line moved quickly, however, and it was only about 20 minutes until we entered the indoor queue area.

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As we entered, we were given traditional Norwegian sustenance in the form of the Twix bar.

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I’m a big proponent of avoiding spoilers whenever possible, so I won’t share any details from the ride. (And if you really want to know what it is like, the internet is full of videos, pictures, and interpretive dance performances of the ride.)

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Once we got off the ride, every one of us wanted to get on the ride again. It is an enjoyable ride for all ages, and the effects in it are wonderful. I think that a good comparison to it is the Little Mermaid ride in the Magic Kingdom in terms of style of ride. Unlike the Little Mermaid ride that my daughter will do almost everything in her power to avoid going on because she doesn’t like it one bit, Frozen Ever After just feels good without being syrupy or campy.

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All in all, we waited about 45 minutes to get on the ride, and so by the time we rode Gran Fiesta Tour again and said hi to some folks who were in the park to cover the carnage event, Epcot was shutting down for the evening. We did manage to catch a glimpse of Illuminations as we walked out of the park.

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Seeing that little glimpse of it made us realize that it has been far too long since we had made time to see Illuminations. That sounds like a Saturday night plan. After running some errands Saturday morning, we grabbed lunch at Yellow Dog Eats, which is one of those hidden gems a short distance from the theme park bubble, but about as far removed from that mindset as possible.

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You can read Daisy’s review of it here. We chose to eat upstairs, which gave us a chance to look for new graffiti written on the walls and furnishings.

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For me, although it isn’t a barbecue place, the pulled pork is more satisfying than actual barbecue for my personal tastes. My sandwich was a mess of pulled pork, gouda cheese, bacon, and fried onions, slathered in sauce.

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Following the meal, we had thought about going to the parks, but the heat combined with the onset of a food coma kept us home for the afternoon. When we decided to venture out, the temperature was still beyond the norms, even for this time of year. When the temperature is nudging the triple digits after 4 PM, it’s pretty brutal.

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No luck snagging a same-day FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After, but getting some for Soarin’ wasn’t a problem at all. This also allowed us to get some much needed a/c.

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As there was no line for Living with the Land, we jumped on that while pondering our dinner options. One thing that did not look appealing was the Carolina Reaper peppers, which are so hot that you have to wear protective gear when picking them.

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We grabbed dinner for our daughter at Sunshine Seasons, but still stuffed from lunch, nothing looked appealing. I jokingly suggested getting ice cream for dinner because that’s the only thing that would taste good in this kind of weather. Surprisingly, the decision was unanimous that it was a good idea. I had wanted to try Ample Hills Creamery for a while now, and because it was only a quick Friendship ride from the back of Epcot…

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I can justify that mine was meal-worthy, as I went with the oatmeal lace cookie flavor, which nutritionally is like eating a bowl of oatmeal (at least that’s my story).

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At some point, I need to arrange for a taste test for all the ice cream options at Walt Disney World. I don’t think I can choose a favorite. The ice cream made for a perfect (albeit not nutritionally sound) dinner, and heading back to Epcot meant that we could walk off a few of those calories. It was still too early to camp out for Illuminations with crowds being fairly light, so we decided to wander. A crowd was gathering for the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats. We had never actually stopped to see their full show (at least not since their previous version as the Dragon Legend Acrobats), so we decided to catch their show.

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The skill and flexibility of these performers is simply incredible. Even in the prime of my youth, I know I never would be able to bend, flip, and twist into the shapes they can make their bodies. Following their show, we headed over to our favorite Illuminations viewing spot and enjoyed what I feel is the finest nighttime show currently offered at Walt Disney World. The inferno barge alone is one of the biggest “wow” moments in a nighttime show.

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And so this journey has traveled through days ending in Ice (with Frozen Ever After) and Fire (with Illuminations). Which was my favorite? Like Robert Frost, “I hold with those who favor fire” (although I wouldn’t turn down a FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After again either…).  Then again, ending the day with ice cream for dinner? I think that qualifies as an appropriate diet choice if you’re having the Best Week Ever.

Julia Mascardo

Freelance writer and editor, living the dream in Central Florida with my husband, cats, and spirited eight-year-old daughter.

11 thoughts on “Julia’s Best Week Ever, June 30, 2016: Fire and Ice

  • June 30, 2016 at 8:44 am
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    I didn’t grab a FASTPASS+ for Frozen opting for Test Track instead (in my three previous visits of Epcot I have never been able to ride Test Track for one reason or another and it’s about time I do!). We did however, grab an 8am breakfast at Akershus and planned to hop straight in line for Frozen as soon as they let us out of the restaurant. So my question is, are they going to continue to only let FASTPASS+ riders onto the ride into the near future? Should I swap out my FASTPASSes (We have 35 days until our trip so they may still be available to swap). Thanks for the advice!

    • June 30, 2016 at 9:19 am
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      I would think that they would be allowing standby, but I would personally get the FP for Frozen since that’s more popular and the lines have been crazy all day. You can ride Test Track after breakfast with little wait, and I think that’s the better bet.

      • June 30, 2016 at 10:09 am
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        Okay I’ll give that a try but I do it fearfully. The first two times I went to Epcot as an adult I didn’t ride Test Track because at least one of my kiddos was too small and I didn’t want to make them feel left out. The last time I tried to ride it first thing and it was broken. After every single ride I would run over there and try to get a FASTPASS and it was still broken (This was before FASTPASS+). I ran all the way from Les Chefs de France while my family finished eating lunch and in the time I was eating and running a mile across the park not only had Test Track opened but all the FASTPASSes were gone for the day. The rest of the day the wait for Test Track was 150+ minutes even when we left at 9pm. I fear that could happen again! Though this time my kiddos are 9 and 12 and old enough to do Single Rider lines. Thanks for the advice! It’s greatly appreciated.

        • June 30, 2016 at 3:20 pm
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          Frozen is definitely the better use of your “top” tier advance fastpass. That said, Julia’s note about only letting fastpass folks in was specific to the afternoon/evening of opening day; because the standby line was over 4 hours long, management stopped letting anyone else get into it. It’s definitely not a “fastpass-only” ride (though I see how Julia’s phrasing above could imply that there wasn’t a standby option at all).

          • June 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm
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            Thanks, Andy! I was able to get a 710pm Frozen FASTPASS+ in place of my Test Track one. We’ll just hightail it to Test Track right after breakfast instead and hope it’s not broken! 😉

          • June 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm
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            Hey Jenny—-If Test Track is broken, you wouldn’t be able to use it if you had a fastpass or not 😉 But the same goes for Frozen—-I’ve heard the reason they’ve only been letting fast-pass only lately is because its been breaking down ALOT, and they have too many fastpasses to honor.

          • June 30, 2016 at 5:07 pm
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            Good point, GH. 🙂 They do hand out anytime fastpasses though don’t they when rides break down and you have a fastpass or are in line? I’m determined to ride Test Track this time but still not willing to stand in a 2.5 hour line for anything!

  • June 30, 2016 at 10:00 am
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    We just got back from a trip to Scandinavia and Twix bars were everywhere, maybe they are more of a Norwegian treat than we realize, lol

  • June 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm
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    This was a great post to read, excellent job! I really love the entire series of “best week ever” going back as far as Daisy! All the authors have been great and I really think Len should double your pay…all of you!

  • June 30, 2016 at 10:23 pm
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    Which outlet did you visit to get these pictures?

    • July 1, 2016 at 10:27 am
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      For this edition of MMM all photos were from the I-Drive location. Our Outlet Intern who is dedicated to the Vineland location was off gallivanting across WDW ignoring the needs of you, Dear Reader.

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