17 months...

It has been 17 months since I last set foot in a Florida Disney Park. (11 months since I've been in any Disney park). For a self professed Disney fanatic, the drought has been very hard. However, I don't see Ed MacMahon and the Prize Patrol showing up with the money for annual passes for my family.

Yesterday, I went to Epcot. One of my online friends, Liz, was here because her significant other, Greg, is at a convention at WDW. We made plans for months to meet and of course, Liz being equally enamored of all things Disney, only a Disney park would do (despite my asking Sea World?). It was my choice, and I chose Epcot.

As is typical, we played our phone tag for days. Finally, we got things coordinated on Thursday night. I told her I'd be there between 9 and 10 and could stay until 6 or 6:30, since Ed had to work (boo). We talked of my leg issues and the most recent injury and she said she'd push the companion chair.

We were on the phone as I was approaching Auburndale-she was at the Magic Kingdom. My timeframe was 40 minutes, allowing for a stop at my credit union to pay for the parking (my word-TEN DOLLARS!). I parked in handicapped, pulled the companion chair out of the trunk and wheeled it up to the very crowded security checkpoint. I was there all of a minute before my cell rang and it was Liz, just off the monorail right above me. Two minutes later, she was there and ordering me into the chair.

Bags checked and determined to be harmless, off we went to Guest Relations to get my Guest Assistance Card and ticket for the day. Liz laments to me that Spaceship Earth is down for rehab, so there would be no trip through time today. The stupid wand that was there for far too long is finally being removed. Yippee.

Liz was having issues with the heat, as would anyone not a Florida resident. It's hot and sticky these days. I am used to that, she is not. We make a stop at Art of Disney to look around and cool her off. Mind you, this is one of the stops Ed and I made every time we were in Epcot. I didn't spend as much time looking as I normally do, but it was nice to see some artwork of new characters-a giclee of Lucy with the lampost in Narnia, for instance. After five minutes, Liz was suitably cooled off. The whole time we were in there, the CM was on the phone and didn't help a soul. This despite the store full of people (20 or so guests, folks)

Onward. We head over to see Nemo at the Seas. Not 'the Living Seas', but 'the Seas". The queue for the old seacab ride is still being used, it has been rehabbed into a seafront style with rough hewn wooden floors and pilings. I loked the effect. At the top of the windy queue, instead of being herded into a large screening area, we continue on in the queue. Disney strikes again with the never ending line. I hadn't noticed the fastpass entrance.

Once on the ride, I have to say wow. They used the old Sea Cab track with vehicles similar to what is used on haunted mansion. The premise is that everyone from the movie is looking for Nemo and you take a tour through the Great Barrier Reef. Well done, it's a combination of animatronics and animation. I especially liked the incorporation of those huge tanks of fish with some animation. Peach at the end had me cracking up, too.

At the beginning, I heard what is supposed to be Marlin speaking and commented "That isn't Albert Brooks, that sounds like the voice of Goofy" Liz now thinks I am more of a freak than I am, because I recognize the voices. Just so you know, my kids can do it, too (witness one of them saying "did Kaa swallow Pooh?" during a viewing of The Jungle Book.

What's the next stop? Soarin, of course. We leave the chair at the top of the pavillion and head down the escalator. This is probably a good move from the standpoint that the one elevator in the building is usually backed up with people, but the queue for Soarin is like walking from New York to Pennsylvania! Usually, walking doesn't hurt, just the standing still. Today, well, the walking is slow going. We both enjoy the ride, Liz gets to see the hidden mickey and hey, I recognize that the aircraft carrier is in San Diego and the I5 approach toe Disneyland.

Afterwards, we decide to head over to Canada and see if we can get a table at Le Cellier. That free dining thing makes it difficult for day guests or those staying at other resorts to get a table at the sit downs. We're in luck and while waiting, we talk of small appetites and the kids menu. Each of the countries has a dish that's somewhat 'theirs' along with the boring kid stuff. Le Cellier's is a steak, and considering how delicious their steak is, we both go with it.

to be continued later...


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