Day 65- Soarin’ at Epcot & Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney

Happy 86th birthday to Mickey Mouse! We’re so happy the weather has gotten cooler so that we can wear our vintage Mickey Mouse “ugly sweaters” to the parks today! The temperatures have plunged from the 80s yesterday to the mid 60s today for the high. It is windy and there are a few raindrops, but not many. What a great day to go to Epcot! Our goal is 365 days in a row at Disney World, and we are to 65, which means we only have 300 more days to go!!! I am so excited!

We arrive mid-morning at Epcot and it is very nice! I love going to the parks early, it is less busy and the atmosphere is much lighter. We are going to Soarin’ and our FastPass+ check-in is about 30 minutes from now. We talked about getting coffee, but decided to grab breakfast instead, since we only ate fruit earlier this morning.

We went to The Land Pavilion and journeyed downstairs to the Sunshine Seasons restaurant. We have not eaten breakfast here before, so we take a minute to look around. Oh my, they have this round pizza-pie-looking breakfast, it is about 3 inches tall, and it looks awesome. I do know that this is NOT gluten free! When it is our turn, we let the lady know that we have an allergy and she calls the chef. This chef is one of the fun chefs! He says, “Rootin’ tootin’ gluten? That seems to be the common allergy today!” We ask about the Breakfast Platter, and he says that they will cook our breakfast in another kitchen, would we like gluten free waffles? Yes! In 5-6 minutes we have our food and it looks great! The food was really good and a great value for breakfast!

Now, off to Soarin’! We scan our Magic Band in the FastPass+ line and make our way up to the ride. A young man began walking with me and asking if we had ever been on Soarin’ before! He had been sitting with his younger sister, she is 7, and she was not going on rides since she went on some of the scary ones in Hollywood Studios. Oh, I am so sorry! He continued talking and was really a fun, intelligent kid! I turned and didn’t see anyone following him, and we kept talking until we caught up to the line. His mom and the rest of his family caught up and we had so much fun talking to all of them! I love days like today, days you meet some really fine people. They are from Alabama. They ended up following us to our requested first row. We had fun riding with some fellow Soarin’ fans, and had a blast.

I need some hot coffee on this chilly day! We were going to go to Starbucks, but it was completely packed. We couldn’t even get into the door. I looked at my kids, and they looked at me, and we decided to pass on coffee. We talked about hopping on the Monorail and going to Magic Kingdom to grab coffee, but decided to get coffee on the way out at the Joffrey’s coffee stand. Twinkie said that it was a really good cup of coffee.

The kids have a friend, with friends, in town and they are going to Downtown Disney tonight for supper. We decide to go home and get ready for tonight.

It is a beautifully coldish day, and tonight it will be very chilly!

Now, I will turn this over to Twinkie, who went to Downtown Disney last night with Tooti and their friends:

Downtown Disney is an amazing place to explore, hang out, and eat. Our first stop was the World of Disney store. There is so much Disney merchandise for sale inside that they have actually divided the store up into departments like Women’s Apparel, Accessories, Men’s Apparel, Souvenirs, and so on. You can find a vast assortment here, so if you don’t get to make it to the parks, but find that there is something you’re looking for, chances are that World of Disney may have it!

After World of Disney, we made our way to Planet Hollywood, where we had reservations for dinner. First, however, we had to make our way to the Lego store. Outside of the Lego store, you can see a giant Lego Loch Ness Monster in the lake, a Lego Prince Phillip fighting Maleficent’s Dragon, and a Lego scene featuring all Seven Dwarfs! Inside of the Lego store, you can find a Lego Hulk, and a Lego Woody and Buzz Lightyear, complete with a backdrop for pictures. Too fun!

We made our way around to Planet Hollywood, checked in, and had our photo taken in front of a green screen. Once we walked inside the doors, we were informed that we would be dining on the second level, just up the stairs. We made our way up to the second level and were greeted by props and memorabilia from incredible movies. We let our waitress know that had to eat gluten free, so she brought out the chef. He was so nice; I ordered the Kobe burger with steak fries, and Tooti had the spinach and peach salad. Delicious! Great food, great service, and great friends to enjoy it all with. Before we left, someone came by with our picture and explained the package to us. It was a great photo of all of us, and our good friend decided to get the photo package.

After we ate, we looked at some of the various props, including Cousin Itt and Baby Cousin Itt from the Addams Family. They even had a GIANT Woody doll from Toy Story sitting up on the third level. What a fun place to eat!

We left Planet Hollywood and went to explore Downtown Disney. There is so much live music here at night! First, we heard someone playing Mele Kalikimaka and sang along in passing. Then, we ran across a Latin dance party where a lady was leading a group dance, so we joined in on the fun. After that, we passed by a guitarist with a cool pipe-like instrument; we clapped for him and he threw his guitar pick to one of our friends… woohoo! Free souvenir!

We went back into the World of Disney store so our friends could pick up some souvenirs for the people back home. When we exited, we saw that the dance party was going on the stage right outside. They had a singing competition for the little ones, and one little girl was singing, “Let It Go.” Frozen is our jam, so of course, we had to stop and listen. This little girl could really sing! It was great. After that, they had all four of the kids sing, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” so we sang at the back of the theater. The DJ called for a couple (anniversary, first date, or a couple) to act out “Love is an Open Door.” All of a sudden, we hear one of our friends yelling at the DJ, “All four of them (all girls), know it! They know the song!” The DJ zeroed in on us and said, “If you can pick two, come up here and act it out.” I looked at one of our friends and said, “I’ll be Hans,” and we made our way up to the front. What a blast! We even got buttons to commemorate the occasion. This was so much fun, especially considering that Tooti and I hadn’t seen her in a year and a half!

After that, we made our way down to Disney’s Days of Christmas store. If you are looking for some holiday cheer, year-round, this is the store for you! Just about every Disney ornament you can imagine is available for sale here. They have stockings, tree skirts, plushies, and even a separate room for Frozen merchandise!

Finally, on our way back to our cars, we spotted the guys on the really tall stilts. They are dressed as toy soldiers for the holidays! Of course, we had to get pictures with them! One of them had just finished doing yoga poses (on stilts!) and jumping jacks with the family in front of us. Next, it was our turn. The stilt-man graciously agreed to take a picture with us and then talked with all of us for a bit. If you ever spot the stilt walkers, ask to take a picture with them, they are so nice and funny to interact with. We thanked the stilt-man, watched a bit of the dance party that was still going on, and turned to make our way to our cars.

When we passed the World of Disney store, a cast member was handing out punch-out Frozen ornaments, to promote the Frozen Sing Along Editions that came out this week. How fun! Little snowflakes to decorate our tree!

We said our goodbyes, got our hugs and selfies, and made our way home. What a wonderful evening with wonderful friends!

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