Day 8 – Magic Kingdom / Epcot
We awoke with a bit of melancholy, knowing this would be our final “theme park day” in Florida, though we both were eager to maximize our fun and, of course, complete our Food & Wine passports. Slowed a bit by sore feet, we nevertheless maximized our time in the Magic Kingdom.
Melanie forced me into a fourth competitive ride, wanting desperately to even the score, so we once again boarded the Buzz Lightyear ride where she’s happy to have tallied a win, bringing our final score to 2 victories each (Toy Story Mania, Men in Black Attack, Buzz Lightyear x2).
THE PEOPLEMOVER was just as exciting as I remember it from 3 days previous.
Chased by the zombie-like performers of the Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it! parade, we fled the Magic Kingdom via monorail and headed to Epcot to complete our food & wine passports. Having only “Desserts & Champagne” remaining by this point, we “sprinted” (i.e. hobbled slowly toward the food stands) to the stand and got our final food stamp. Delighted by our efforts and all jacked up from the intense sugar overload of the dessert trio, we headed back to the visitor center to get the much sought after completion stamp.
A friendly guy named Glen from Cleveland, Ohio grilled us to be sure we hadn’t obtained each of our 29 stamps through nefarious means and, satisfied, stamped our worn passports with the holy grail of food & wine festival artifacts.
Euphoric from our completed goal, it was time to relax and take a leisurely stroll through the park, stopping here and there to get souvenirs or revisit some of our favorites from the food stands. Among our favorites:
- Germany: Nuernberger Sausage in a Pretzel Roll; Radeberger Pilsener
- Argentina: the beef empanadas
- China: Tsing Tao beer
- Poland: Kielbasa and Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream
- Hops & Barley: Linda Bean’s Lobster Claw Cuddler with Drawn Butter
- New Zealand: Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad
- Hawaii: Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise
- Belgium: Leffe beer
Amid the chaos of food and beerz, we heard some fast-paced techno music coming from the Japanese section of the Showcase, and caught a ninja tempting fate by twirling the Spinning Ninja Cube of Death high above his head. Watch in awe.
Whilst walking through the park, we were fortunate enough to witness a staff member mysteriously pass a pair of laminated cards to some other parkgoers while guarding a roped-off area right on the water. Melanie, ingrained with the teachings of her Epcot masters, wisely steered us towards the staff member and asked what the section was for, innocently enough. Melanie’s charm landed us two “VIP” passes for that night’s IllumiNations show, ensuring we’d spend our final night in the parks in style (i.e. not jammed together with a thousand screaming kids and exasperated parents).
After a couple more food stops and random walking around, we ventured back to the VIP area and took some seats on a planter just before the fireworks started. Both of us took it all in sans cameras, reflecting on the great week we’d had and happy to have shared it together (pause for collective “awwwww”). We’d have been remiss had we not taken one more ride on Spaceship Earth in order to perfect our custom video and thus headed back inside the giant golf ball. I’d argue the second iteration greatly exceeded the first.
After our laughter subsided and we exited the globe, we realized we still had fast passes for one more Epcot ride, the Test Track.
Test Track takes its riders on a mock vehicle performance test, which translates to annoying turns and jolting stops simulating a variety of road conditions. That part stunk but the ride is capped by a high-speed race along the outside of the track on 30-degree curves. Very enjoyable.
Thoroughly spent and content, we said good-bye to Epcot for the final time and ventured off into the night.