The Beach Club Resort was situated only a few minutes from Epcot; it was our saving grace. After the first meal, we were already tired of the standard, greasy fare at other Disney eateries, so when we stumbled into Epcot, it was like having our own, personal party catered by a Top Chef. We stuffed ourselves and drank ourselves silly, around the world in nine days.
Food and Drink:
Diversity – Since the park was so close, we hit up the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, shuttled back to our hotel and strolled into Epcot for dinner. Even the kid’s meals provided some variation in the different countries. Babyface had Empanadas in Mexico and pizza with real tomatoes on top in Italy.
Cocktail Crawl – We strolled through the park on one day, picked three countries each and did a drink crawl. I had plum wine in Japan, sangria in Morocco and wine in Paris (there’s a cheap wine stand, right next to the bridge in front of France). Hubby had a flight of beers in Germany, Italy and Morocco. We got a nice buzz, while watching each nation’s entertainment and sipping our drinks.
We did a sit-down meal, instead of quick service at three restaurants: Rose and Crown, Napoli and Akershus. We spent the eve of the 4th of July at the Rose and Crown in the United Kingdom. Not so patriotic of us, since it’s the country we were celebrating our independence from.
Rose and Crown – I had a pork duo and scotch flight. The scotch flight was good, but the pork was mediocre. Hubby had the chicken curry and beer. Again, the beer was good, but the curry was just okay. The portion size left his stomach half empty. The kid’s meal was nothing unique. My daughter opted for the cheese pizza and it was simply edible, nothing more and nothing less, but appeared fresh, nonetheless.
Napoli – It was worth shelling out $30 for a large pizza, which was plenty for the three of us. It was fresh and tasty, unlike the quick service pizza throughout the other parks. We did have an issue with the host staff there. Some guy claimed he was my husband, kind of like Date Night without the mafia, took our table and we had to complain. They seated us promptly though, thanks to the help of a thick-accented New Yorker, who said he was an ex-cop and was also waiting to be called.
Akershus – Our breakfast at Akershus was not atrocious, but only decent. We went there for the princess/character breakfast, which I’ll review later. They brought out a hot plate of eggs, sausage, hash browns and bacon. There was a buffet for other pastries, bagels and fresh fruit (apples and bananas). We could order fresh pancakes or waffles. We chose the pancakes and they weren’t much better than Bisquick. The juice was watered down and our waiter never returned to refill our coffee mugs, even after the second request. The $40/adult and $22/child is for the intimate, princess meet-and-greet, not the standard fare of food. Breakfast is cheaper than lunch or dinner, so schedule earlier in the day. I think 11:30 am is the last breakfast seating.
The ambiance at all three restaurants was unbelievable. We really felt like we had walked into an old, English watering hole, a Tuscan restaurant retreat and a Norwegian nook. All servers had accents to match and “claimed” they were from the country of cuisine. This is where my husband and I questioned the authenticity of these Epcot haunts. Were these servers actors or the real thing? Is there some sort of foreign exchange program for waiters and waitresses? They all claimed to be from their homeland, but it all seemed somewhat contrived. I guess it doesn’t matter, because we felt completely transported.
Rides & Activities:
Kidcot – While we did our cocktail crawl, our daughter would fill up her teddy bear stick. It’s basically a stick with a teddy bear cutout at the top, distributed at the Kidcot stations in each country. Your kid gets one and colors it. They fill it up with a new stamp and someone signs their name in each language or a flag. We had a cocktail and Babyface got a new stamp for it every time. It was like a passport away from sobriety to silly. It was a cocktail crawl that the whole family could join in on! (Babyface was only allowed non-alcoholic beverages, so no calls to CPS required.)
The Seas with Nemo & Friends – We were stuck, Groundhog Day-style, on this ride. My daughter didn’t want to leave and she’s not even a Nemo super fan. At the beginning of the trip, we told her that she could pick one souvenir. If it’s any indication of how much she loved this ride, she chose a stuffed Squirt, the sea turtle.
Soarin’ – We opted for a fastpass, so we didn’t have to wait long in line. I don’t believe this would have been worth the wait. The concept is cool (very similar to The Harry Potter Experience at Universal), but the seating was not well executed. Try to get in the front row for this ride. You’ll avoid watching dangling feet at the top of the screen; they’ll take you out of the experience.
Mission: SPACE: Our daughter didn’t meet the height restriction, so we had to take turns on this ride. Most often we would just opt out of the ride, if she wasn’t tall enough, but felt this one was a must do. We were right. There are two different options: Green (mild for the faint at heart or those with pre-existing conditions) or orange (one fast and kicka$$ ride). I won’t give away any spoilers because I feel this ride should be experienced without any knowledge of what lies ahead. Fastpass or not, don’t miss it!
Journey Into Imagination With Figment: This was a flash from the past for my husband, who wanted to share his nostalgia with our daughter. You ride through a science-related ride, following a purple dragon and learning about the imagination. You may want to plug your nose because Figment likes to let out the stink at times. There’s a hands-on, play area at the end of the ride worth checking out too.
We learned something new about our daughter, during this trip. She doesn’t like the loud boom and bang of fireworks. I was lucky I brought earplugs for sleeping, because they offered her some relief. Another thing we did to distract her was buy a light-up star necklace with multiple settings. She stared at it in her stroller, earplugs in place, while we enjoyed the unique firework show. My husband is from Ohio where you’re lucky if fireworks don’t hit you on the 4th of July, so he was a bit disappointed. I thought they were great! We stood next to the Rose and Crown and had a nice view.