So I feel like a majority of these posts so far have begun with an apology. So I mean, why stop now?
I just. Look, I know these posts have been super spread out. But like, real-life is for real happening. Things have been BIZ-ZEE. Not only has work been all kinds of “I don’t care about your blog, just work, work, and work” but the kids have recently started back at school, and between Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Mare of Easttown, and re-watching old episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show – things have been stressful.
But look, I am here now and we have a super fun day to talk about – Day 8!
I mean, since we are talking about Day 8 it’s apropos we ask the Magic 8 Ball to see what we have in store.
Magic 8 Ball, will this post be incredible and hilarious?
You’re a real jerk, Magic 8 Ball.
Oh well. Let’s get on with it anyways.
Day 8 – Breakfast at Topolino’s, a day at Epcot, and a sick Owen
Day 8 was a bit of an anomaly in Walt Disney World, which means….
Yup. We decided we had enough of waking up early this vacation and decided to sleep in.
Until the late morning hour of 7:30AM.
Do you get it? Because 7:30 isn’t actually all that late. BUT it is later than we normall sleep at Walt Disney World.
See, that’s the joke. And honestly, it’s probably as good as it’s gonna get today.
Yeah, we were up at 7:30ish. We got ready and were out the door by 8:30AM. And it was a pretty awesome looking morning.
The reason we were able to “sleep in” today was that we were visiting EPCOT today and since it didn’t open until 11AM, we booked a later breakfast to enjoy before heading to the park. And that breakfast? It was at the Riviera.
No no…not that Riviera.
Nope. Not that one either.
I mean Disney’s Riviera Resort, of course.
And this place is hella-pretty.
But I mean, breakfast wasn’t in the lobby you guys. What? Like we were gonna steal cucumbers from the lobby spa water and eat those?
Pfft, of course we weren’t going to do that.
Because I couldn’t find the spa water.
So instead, breakfast today was at Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera.
Which, again. With the pretty.
For those who have been paying attention, we had breakfast before at Topolino’s back in February 2020, right before the world became a hellish dreamscape. And after that meal, Topolino’s quickly became our favorite character breakfast on property.
The food was delicious. The character interaction was on point. And the location was sicktown, not only beautiful inside but also being that it was at the very tippitty-top of the Riviera, it offered some dope views.
Wait. Do people still say “dope?” Like, has it come around again? Because that would be hella fly. Like, all that and a bag of chips.
The character interaction was going to be a little different this time around because of COVID protocols but still – expectations were high.
Did Topolino’s live up to those expectations?
Who knows. You’ll just have to wait and see.
It does. It does live up to them. Sorry. I lack the patience for suspense.
Back to the tour though. In the little waiting area, they have these super-dee-duper cute paintings.
Look at this masterpiece.
And this incredible piece.
And this work of art.
That last one is one I would totally hang up in my study.
So guys. Let’s get this confession out of the way. This is very difficult for me to admit, but I feel like I can trust you guys to not judge. Here goes…
I didn’t get alcohol with my breakfast.
Oof, that felt good to get that off my chest. That, even though there were breakfast cocktails (of course there were….it’s Disney) I didn’t get any.
I know. Who am I?
I did, however, get some POG juice. Oh, ha. Sorry. You don’t know what POG juice is, you Disney novice? POG juice is passionfruit, orange, guava juice. And it’s like a Disney staple.
Well, it was a Disney staple. Then, for a little while it was discontinued and the Internet lost its collective mind. Then, it came back. I think. I legit have no idea the current status of POG juice. And it’s literally keeping me up at night.
You know what’s super interesting though? Every time I have POG juice, I always think of Pogs, the game that was all kinds of popular in the 90s.
Yeah man. Three Simpsons references in this post already. It’s your lucky day.
Anyways though. That is always what I think of when I get my juice on with the POGness. Well you know what? The pog game (the one from the 90s) was actually named after the juice. Specifically, the caps that used to come from the juice were used in the early days of Pogs. I just found this out. Like this minute right now.
OK right. Back to the breakfast. To start, our server brought out a basket of pastries.
Now, I love appetizers. Because I love the idea of worrying so much the food you’re getting might not be enough that you proactively order more food to make sure you survive the meal.
Right? Isn’t that appetizers are for?
So yeah, appetizers=good. And breakfast appetizers? They’re like a whole other level. And like, breakfast appetizers that are brought out as an automatic part of your meal so you don’t have to make any kind of decision? Swoon.
Croissants. Chocolate chip muffins. And seasonal Danish. I think this one was a maple Danish? You know, because maple is one of those flavors you just associate with summer. I remember those hot summer days of childhood when the maple man would come driving in his maple man truck up the street and we would all come running to get some of that sweet, refreshing maple syrup to beat the heat.
Memories. Light the corners of my mind.
Oh, and that basket was accompanied by a trio of spreads. A spread trio. A sprio.
House-made jam, honey butter, and Nutel…sorry, chocolate-hazelnut spread.
All the pastries were delicious, with the seasonal Danish coming out on top. But I gotta say – that croissant with some chocolate-hazelnut spread on it was all kinds of a close second place.
Nutella. It’s Nutella. That felt good.
As we were enjoying our pastries, we noticed this rodent creeping up on our table….
GAH LOOK HOW CUTE. All the characters here are dressed as some sort of artist to go with the whole Riviera theme and Painter Mickey is killing. It.
Like I said, things were a little different because of COVID protocols. Characters couldn’t come right up to our tables or hug or anything but they could pose for a distance selfie.
Continuing on my no-alcohol breakfast journey, I ordered a cappuccino. Which was delicious.
Oh and guys – look at this ketchup. It’s a little Mickey head.
Speaking of Mickey – as cute as he was in his painter outfit, Minnie is a literal vision in her poet’s dress.
I also kind of love Donald as a sculptor…
…and Daisy as a ballerina.
Entrée time, y’all!!
Nickie ordered the Quiche Lorraine Frittata (with House-made Pancetta, Roasted Potatoes, Gruyere, and Lemon Vinaigrette.)
Which she said was…ok. She enjoyed it, but definitely thought there might be better things on the menu.
Myles got the Sour Cream Waffle with Roasted Apple, Chantilly, Orange-Maple syrup with a side of smoked bacon.
I ordered the Wood-Fired Butcher’s Steak (with Polenta, Pomodoraccio Tomatoes, Roasted Onions, Wild Mushroom Conserva, and Watercress) along with a side of eggs over-easy.
Owen also got the steak (with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) and a side of scrambled eggs. I didn’t get a picture of his since it was like mine but less exciting.
But MAN, we both agreed – this was a fantastic steak. Super tender, super flavorful, super delicious. I honestly think this is one of the best steaks at Walt Disney World.
At the end of the meal, in the absence of being able to get autographs, we received a signature card with pictures of the characters on the front…
…and their signatures on the back.
It was a pretty great meal, overall. I know Nickie wasn’t in love with her choice but other than that, it was rull nice. Plus, the service was very good here from when we first walked up to the hostess stand through our entire meal. Right off the bat, the staff out front was super friendly and talkative and kept asking about my Millennium Falcon popcorn bucket. And even awesomer? One of our servers was the waitress we had when we visited in February 2020. And she remembered us!!
I mean, of course she did right? We ARE hella-memorable.
Oh, I should also mention PRO TIP – we asked our waitress for some of those pastries to go and she boxed up two orders for us! Hello, breakfast tomorrow.
After we left Topolino’s, we spent some time exploring the Riviera, including our favorite little spot, Voyageurs’ Lounge. Such a cool, cozy little spot.
After we finished breakfast, we headed back to the Boardwalk to park (since we were staying there) and walk over to our park destination for the day – Epcot!!!
The morning was looking a little merp…
…so Nickie decided to head to the room for a little bit while the boys and I got some rides out of the way. Which was smart. Of her. Not us.
Off to the park!
Our first planned stop was in Future World but being that we were entering via the International Gateway, we got to take in a little bit of Flower & Garden awesomeness on the way. Like, ugh, look at Kermit on his bike. Stop.
And look at these guys. Stop.
But yeah, like I mentioned – our first stop was in Future World. Specifically, we were looking to take a spin on Test Track. And like, yeah – bad weather is no bueno for Test Track. But the rain had kind of stopped at this point so we thought our chances were good.
While we were in the inside portion of the queue, it started raining again. Yeah. Womp.
Thunderstorms, guys. And this meant the attraction had to shut down for a little bit. Which meant…this.
So, like, here’s the whole rundown of how the whole situation played out for us. We got in line at around 10:45AM. And like, we didn’t reach the actual preshow until 11:35. So yeah, lots of waiting happening. And honestly? We almost got out of line but the cast members assured us the rain was passing soon so we kind of just waited.
Plus, while we were waiting I had to pee. And the cast members let me out the back door so I felt like all kinds of backstage magic happening.
Yeah, I get easily excited.
Annnnnyways. Like I said, we reached the preshow at around 11:35. And it was kind of a big deal because the preshow where you build your car like JUST came back after COVID.
And OF COURSE we were into that. Test Track just isn’t the same without a nonsensical doesn’t-really-impact-the-attraction car building game thing.
I’m being completely serious there.
And the attraction was indeed a lovely time.
Afterwards, the three of us walked over to a Flower and Garden food booth – Sunshine Griddle – for some sustenance.
And look at the awesome we found there.
That there is an order of Sunshine Griddle’s Fried Cinnamon Roll Bites with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Bacon and the Froot Loops shake. Oh man, you guys…this stuff was all kinds of amazing. The Cinnamon Roll Bites were all soft and warm and filled with some sort of apple-ish filling. But that Froot Loops shake kind of took my breath away.
OK, maybe that was a bit of hyperbole.
But it did make my head explode.
By now, Nickie had made her way to the park so we made the plan to meet up with her in World Showcase. Specifically, we made plans to meet up in Norway. On account of the lines were still relatively short and we wanted to hop on Maelstro…
Oh, ha. Sorry. Frozen Ever After. Is what I meant.
And whatever you guys. I know I am probably cashing in my “OG Disney fan” membership card or whatever. But Frozen Ever After is a much MUCH better attraction than Malestrom. And please, stop. If you guys all loved it so much and it was, like, a must-ride for you…thing wouldn’t have closed down.
It’s like, “All you people that loved Maelstrom…
(wait for it)
Let it go.”
We met up with Nickie and hopped in line at around 12:15.
I really dig the Frozen Ever After queue. And you guys know me. I am all about a good, well-themed queue. That’s what they used to call me – Old “well-themed queue” Wayne.
We were in our boat by 12:35 so it was about a 20 minute wait. Which, like, you know. Not bad.
While we were on the attraction, it started raining again. Which, I don’t know. There is something awesome about walking in the rain at Walt Disney World. The majority of guests run for cover, leaving the streets more open than normal and you know – it’s usually a relatively warm rain so yeah, I dunno. I dig it.
Lunch today was in Italy so we started walking that way. On the way, we passed through China…
…and since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped in at the Joy of Tea for one of my favorite drinks in all of Walt Disney World – Tipsy Ducks in Love (made with Bourbon, Black Tea, Coffee, Cream, and Chocolate).
I mean that stuff is yummy.
In my tummy.
And, like, remember how I said I liked walking in the rain at Walt Disney World? Well. Walking in the rain at Walt Disney World with a Tipsy Ducks in Love in my hand is awesome-time.
Our lunch today was at Via Napoli in the Italy pavilion.
Which is a place we love but haven’t eaten there in years so we were all pretty excited to get back there. Plus, Via Napoli is Italian for…
But yeah, it’s a great place.
To start, we ordered up some…well…mozzarella sticks? I know that’s what they are basically but I have to assume Via Napoli had a more fancy pants sounding name for them, like bastoncini di mozzarella or, I don’t know, Fried Fun Sicks.
Yeah, I was never all that good at the fancy pants stuff.
You guys, they have PITCHERS OF BEER at Via Napoli.
Beer is always good of course. But beer really shines in pitcher form.
Because there’s more of it.
For his entrée, Myles ordered the Chicken Parmesan over spaghetti, which he seemed to enjoy…
…but the portion was ginormous. And that resulted in him boxing it up to take back to the room. And that resulted in Nickie mistakenly throwing it away. And that resulted in not ending up having any chicken parmesan back in the room. And THAT resulted in me not having anything to eat late-night. And THAT resulted in me having at least one night without the shame that comes with shoving cold chicken and pasta down your throat while trying to avoid making any noise so as to not wake your family and have to explain your gluttony.
So hey, thanks love. You really saved me from myself.
For his lunch, Owen ordered off the kids menu and got himself a Pizza Margarita.
Nickie and I also ordered a pizza to share – the Quattro Formaggi. A white pizza with mozzarella, parmesan, fontina, provolone. Look at the size of this thing.
Also yes. I know. My wife is very attractive.
The pizza was delicious. Especially compared to most other pizza on WDW property. But really, that is an extremely low bar. Pizza at Walt Disney World is typically…not good. I mean, to be fair, Florida isn’t really known for having good pizza. Or Chinese food. Or COVID protocols.
Current events. Amirite?
Oh and our server brought me more red pepper flakes than I would need in a month.
A really great lunch at Via Napoli for sure. Though (foreshadowing alert) Owen wasn’t really able to eat much of his pizza because he wasn’t feel all that great, all stuffed up and tired. Poor Owen.
As we were sitting having lunch, the rain really started coming down so when we ventured out into the open, things were…well, you know…wet.
Plus, some pretty intense lightning has started up. It got so bad we all actually had to duck into a shop for a little bit to try and escape it all. From there, we kind of ran from shop to awning to shop to try and stay as dry as possible.
We all decided with the rain and the time (it was 2:30 at this point), it was probably a good idea to head back to the Boardwalk for our mid-day break.
We went back to our room to dry off and relax a bit. Owen took a little nap as well to see if that helped him to feel better.
But, unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help. We took his temperature, and he didn’t have a fever but he just seemed kind of worn down. So we had to change plans a little bit. The original plan was to have dinner tonight back at Epcot at Chefs de France but with the current situation, it didn’t seem worthwhile. So we cancelled our dinner and Myles and I went out to grab dinner and bring it back for everyone to enjoy back in the room.
We wanted to get dinner at the Boardwalk To-Go kiosk so we walked down to the boardwalk to check it out.
But unfortunately the To-Go kiosk was closed today. They were open on random days throughout this trip and this was one of the those days where they were closed.
I know. That was a riveting story.
So Myles and I then walked into the BoardWalk Bakery to see what they had to offer for dinner.
I looked the menu over and called Nickie to let her know what they had but nothing really interested her or Owen. Soooo…we headed back into the resort and went to the pool bar – Leaping Horse Libations – to check out their offerings.
I called up to Nickie and she said her and Owen would both take a Pretzel Dog. Myles and I decided on the same thing. So 4 Pretzel Dogs to go it was.
This was a pretty dang good hot dog. The pretzel bun was super soft and the hot dog was all kinds of hot dog-y.
I also got the kids a couple slushies and Nickie and I a Mai Tai each.
After dinner, Owen climbed back into bed and Nickie offered to stay back in the room with him while I took Myles back to Epcot.
And yes, we all agree Nickie is a better parent than me. Let’s just all accept that and move on so we can enjoy the rest of the post.
Right though. OK, so Myles and I headed back out onto the boardwalk.
The rain had subsided by this point so that made for a nicer walk than anticipated over to the International Gateway.
We had no real plan in mind but the wait times for Soarin’ Around the World were looking pretty good so we decided on that as our first stop.
Well it was our first stop. But then we noticed everyone stopping to stare at some pooh in the grass.
I have said this before and I will say it again. Yes, of course, I miss the traditional character meet-and-greets. But this whole post-COVID feel of the characters just sort of hanging out and you happen upon them is a really nice way to interact with them too. It’s very Disneyland-esque. I kind of hope they do some sort of hybrid after we go back to “normal” where we can meet with the characters but we also may just run into them while we are our enjoying the park.
We also spent some time watching Pooh interact with this little kid on the other side of the fence.
Pooh would hide behind the tree and then jump back out while the little boy kept putting his hands over his eyes and removing them, in like a peek-a-boo scenario type of thing.
Our entire wait from beginning to end was probably like 25 minutes but that included us asking to be seated in the best row (Concourse B, Row 1), which required us to move off to the side for one full ride to wait to be seated.
Soon enough, we were greeted by David Puddy telling us
about his Jesus fish he loves the New Jersey Devils that it feels like an Arby’s kinda night he’ll be our chief flight attendant today.
It was a really fun ride on Soarin,’ due in large part to me sitting next to an older woman that commented on every part of the ride – “oh that’s the Taj Mahal,” “hey, that’s the Eiffel Tower,” “Oh wow, polar bears are more friendly than I had originally thought.” That sort of thing.
Since we were already in the Land Pavillion, Myles and I then made the short walk over to wait in the short line to go on the rather long Living With The Land attraction.
I don’t wanna beat around the bush…
…but I love this ride so much. I just really can’t explain why that is.
We also had to snap some pictures for baby Sophia (our niece and nephew’s baby) back home. Because we ended up seeing two of her favorite foods on this ride.
Cucumbers and blueberries. For those that don’t speak fluent Sophia.
Next stop? Imagination.
Specifically, Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
Look how excited Myles is. Kid totally hearts Figment.
So for Myles. Get ready for a FIGMENT PHOTO DUMP!!
After Figment, we walked around the park a little bit. And I mean, nothing beats walking around Epcot as the sun is going down, especially during Flower & Garden.
While we were walking around though, I couldn’t stop thinking about Owen and Nickie. It felt weird not having them there. Nickie said they were just chilling out, watching some hockey. At least there was hockey.
Still though. Missed those two.
I know what would help!
Let’s go to Spaceship Earth.
I know when one is asked their most favorite Epcot ride, things like Test Track or Soarin’ or Frozen Ever After are often mentioned. But there is something so quintessential Epcot about Spaceship Earth. And it’s not just because it’s inside the geodesic dome…
Yeah, I went there. Geodesic dome, sucka.
But not only that. It’s a dark ride. It has animatronics up the wazoo. And it’s that whole edu-tainment thing Epcot was supposed to be but has kind of moved on from for the most part. Learning is fun.
Plus, that whole interactive imagining your future thing at the end is so fun right? Especially when you go through it with Myles and he selects French as your language.
We had NO IDEA what our future held. But I assume it involved a lot of croissants and berets.
And we are gonna look…FABULOUS.
And Myles is obviously going to have some sort of cartoonish accident that leaves a clean hole in his head. Like, maybe he got into an argument with a cartoon duck about whether it was Duck Season or Myles Season. Head trauma lol. Amirite?
He seems to be doing ok though. Like, it hasn’t stopped him from enjoying outdoor activities.
And I am obviously part of some sort of freak gamma ray accident that turns me into a giant.
When we exited the ride, the sun had gone even further down and Spaceship Earth looked hella-pretty.
Oh man and look at this topiary. It legit is on my “Top 20 cutest things I have ever seen” list.
Myles and I also stopped to take advantage of the PhotoPass photographer positioned behind Spaceship Earth.
That also makes the list.
We also stopped in at the now-defunct Mouse Gear shop (RIP constant dirty diaper smell) because we wanted to get something for Nickie and Owen since they missed out on our Epcot evening. And of course I didn’t get a pic of either thing. But we grabbed this shirt for Owen…
…and these ears for Nickie.
NOW who is the better parent?
Now, as I mentioned in my last post, fireworks had just come back to Walt Disney World and we saw Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom the night before. Tonight, we wanted to catch the-kinda-underwhelming-but-all-we-have Epcot Forever fireworks over the lagoon. So back into World Showcase we went.
Look at those Harmonious barges out there. Just taunting us.
We still had a little bit of time before the show. So we decided to get one of the Flower & Garden Festival snacks we were most looking forward to trying. This one was in the World Showplace building at the Festival Favorites booth.
Behold. The Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider with Garlic Sausage, Chorizo, Cheddar Fondue, and House-made Pickle.
Man, all those words together give me goosebumps.
We each got one. I also paired mine with a Frozen Lemonade with Firefly Blackberry Moonshine and Myles also got a Frozen Lemonade sans Moonshine.
They make a really cute couple.
That was a really super good sandwich, man. Lots of flavor, lots of stuff going on. And the Frozen Lemonade was good as well, very refreshing. But it felt a little expensive given its size at $11.50. Especially compared to the non-alcoholic version only being $3.50.
We found a spot to watch the fireworks over near the Canada Pavilion. Which worked out. Since that is also where the Popcorn in Canada cart is.
And where there’s a popcorn cart, there’s popcorn. And very often, beer.
Ah, the Disney World trash barrel. Also known as a “table” to WDW regulars.
So yeah, as you can see I grabbed a popcorn and a beer. Namely, a Moosehead draft. And since I had my Millennium Falcon popcorn bucket on me, I was charged the refill price of only $2.00 for all that delicious Walt Disney World popcorn.
And as we were eating our popcorn, Myles spotted off setting up to watch the fireworks two familiar faces. Two Disney YouTubers we watch pretty regularly – Paging Mr. Morrow and Kyle Pallo – were setting up to record the fireworks just a little bit away. So we walked over to say hi to them and say thanks for all their great content.
And of course, snap some INSANELY BLURRY pics. Because I am good? like that.
They were both super nice and gracious and friendly. And like, if you guys ever come across this post, it was a pleasure meeting you both.
Myles and I set up a few feet away from them to watch the fireworks ourselves. And, you know, then we watched the fireworks. Which obviously means FIREWORKS PHOTOS!!! Which is just like being there, only much MUCH less exciting.
Yeah, eh. I know. The pictures are a but merp-a-derp in both their quality and their number. But you know what? I feel like that properly communicates the nighttime show that is Epcot Forever. Like, sure, it’s there and all. But don’t go getting too excited about it.
Just like my pictures.
After the fireworks ended, Myles and I walked to the International Gateway, and back out onto the boardwalk. Which I mean – we ALL KNOW is beautiful at night.
And we headed back to our room and our fam squad. Thankfully, Owen was feeling better and they both loved their presents so the night ended on a total “up” note and we all went to bed looking forward to what tomorrow would bring.
And that brings US to the end of our post. I hope you all enjoyed Day 8 and are excited for the awesomeness that Day 9 is sure to bring. Get pumped.