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EPCOT at The Walt Disney World Resort

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

We started the day similar to other days: breakfast. This time we didn’t need a taxi, we took the Disney Skyliner to EPCOT and then walked to the restaurant: Trattoria Al Forno. This restaurant is located on the Boardwalk near EPCOT. Traditionally, it’s a place where you can meet Ariel, but character dining hasn’t returned to this restaurant. I loved the decor. Classy and modern yet also reminiscent of The Little Mermaid. Brian ordered the breakfast pizza, I ordered the Tiramisu French Toast, and Colton had the fruit and yogurt platter. All the food was fabulous!

Our breakfast at Trattoria al Forno located on Disney's Boardwalk
Trattoria al Forno

Oh I lied, the day started at 6:45am when I woke up to join the virtual queue for the new Remy ride. I logged into the app and hit join repeatedly for fifteen minutes. Someone told me that the queue had opened the day before at 6:50am and he was too late for a time. Today the queue opened up right at 7am. I literally had a world clock on my iPad so I could hit join the second it turned to 7am. We got a boarding number!

Amaris and her husband inside EPCOT

After breakfast, we headed over to Test Track. My son is a hair over 40” which is pretty much the magic height for enjoying most of the rides. It was an hour wait so we checked into line with our DAS pass and went off exploring. We hopped in a PhotoPass line for pictures and rode Figment. My son loved this ride a couple years ago, but he was lukewarm to it today. Before we knew it an hour had passed and we headed back. My son loved everything about this ride. He loved building his car, he loved going fast to test drive it, and he loved racing it afterwards. In the past, I didn’t really notice all the little fun things after the ride. My son opened my eyes to them.

Each day of this trip, we’ve played with a different mix of quick service meals and table service meals. Today, we tested out three table service restaurants. Lunch was at Garden Grill which is a character dining restaurant located in The Land. We checked into our reservation and shortly afterwards the notification popped up that it was our turn to ride Remy. The window is only an hour so we were concerned about making it. We decided to chance it and ended up racing through lunch to make it in time. Service at this restaurant was incredibly fast because it was a set menu served family style. We usually avoid character dinings because one, they are pricey and two, I’ve heard they are overpriced for the food. I’m happy to report that this meal was amazing in my opinion. I really enjoyed the grilled meat, mashed potatoes, and green beans. It was all cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth. I didn’t really care for the salad or dessert though, but I couldn’t have the normal salad due to my allergy. Brian’s favorite part was the salad. The dining area is circular and it slowly revolves. In the center of this circular dining area are the characters. They came by one-by-one and interacted really well with the kids. They were positioned so kids couldn’t touch them but they did a nice job making it fun. Mickey Mouse played patty cake with my son. Chip gave my son air high fives. Dale played rock, paper, scissors. Pluto also came by too. My son really enjoyed the experience.

Mickey Mouse at The Garden Grill
The Garden Grill in EPCOT

After lunch we raced over to Remy, but were ten minutes late. I was pretty sure we could still ride, but it was a gamble. We arrived there and the ride had broken down. We were told we could come later since it was down which was awesome because now we didn’t have to stress about the time.

My favorite part about Epcot is the world showcase. I love learning about new cultures and I find it a really cool experience to teach my son about other cultures too. Epcot has KidCot stops at each country where they are given a postcard to color with a fact on it and a sticker. If you collect all eleven, you get a little prize. So off we went collecting postcards. The neat thing about this activity is that it brings you into the nooks and crannies of the world showcase. In doing this activity, I explored new areas too. I’ve been to this park more times than I can count and I was honestly shocked at the new places we found. The Chinese pavilion in particular was uncharted territory. I found a really cool museum about Disneyland Shanghai and now I really want to go. I didn’t really know different their park is compared to Disney World and Disneyland!

Right after we collected the card in Italy, a street performer came out. These seemingly spontaneous street shows are my favorite thing about the world showcase! This particular show was an Italian mime/comedian/juggler named Sergio. He didn’t speak, but used his whistle and expressions to communicate. At first he seemed like a clumsy wannabe performer that was funny. As the show progressed he showed his real juggling talent. He also did a really great job with audience participation and my son was all about it. He targeted kids in particular with helping with the act. As we further explored the sunny world showcase, my son became thirsty. We stopped to get him a drink and Brian noticed the stand also had Dolewhip. I went from never having Dolewhip to having it three days in arrow and trying almost every flavor. (Yesterday we had strawberry and orange/vanilla swirl.) Today we had pineapple and watermelon/pineapple swirl.) My favorite is pineapple/vanilla swirl by the way but strawberry is a close second.

My son enjoying the street show.
Sergio at the Italian Pavilion

We popped out at Mexico and realized it was nearing our dinner reservation. We were still full from lunch, but wanted to try the next restaurant. We headed to England to Rose & Crown. We had a nice table by the water. Brian ordered fish and chips and I ordered Shepherd’s pie. Both were really good. The Shepherd’s pie was the best I’ve ever had and I’m really picky about them. I think I liked it because it tasted more like the English version of “Cottage Pie” versus the American interpretation of the dish. (By the way, if you order a Shepherd’s Pie in the real England, your pie will include ground lamb. If you prefer ground beef, it’s the Cottage Pie you’ll want.) We also got pints to drink too. Strongbow for me and Guinness for Brian.

In my option, three sit down restaurants is way too much food. My favorite combination was sit down for breakfast, quick service for lunch, and sit down for dinner later in the evening. With this combination, you’re not as constrained while you’re in the park and can enjoy lunch as a bunch of snacks. There are so many good snacks at Disney!

After dinner, we headed to the Remy ride. The line was pretty long even with the virtual queue but with my son's DAS pass we didn’t wait long. The hard part about this ride was that I had never ridden it, and I couldn’t adequately prepare my son for what it was like. Right as we stepped onto it he started to freak out. It started with a little uneasiness and as our rat moved he lost it. Ugly screaming at the top of his lung began. We did everything we could to calm down and eventually he did but the ride was halfway through at this time. The ride seemed cool but we were focused on my son so we pretty much missed most of it. I felt so bad for the couple who sat in front of us because there is no way they could enjoy it either. They rushed off the ride before we could say anything though.

After that experience, Brian took my son back to the hotel and I stayed to see the fireworks. I had a couple hours to kill so I rode Spaceship Earth which is one of my favorite rides and then I set up camp for fireworks.

The show is called Harmonious and was so much better than the long-standing Illuminations. The general premise of the show was traveling across the world musically. The soundtrack was amazing with songs from Mulan (Japan), Brave (Ireland), Beauty and the Beast (France), The Lion King (Africa), Coco (Mexico), and Soul (United States.) Each song was a blend of the original songs with artfully enhanced performers native to the countries being represented. The lyrics also wove in and out of English with other languages. In addition to the music, video projections illuminated against an elaborate water fountain that acted as a screen. Fireworks and bright lights also enhanced the show. I really enjoyed it!

After the show, I battled the masses to get back to my hotel. The show ended at 10:05pm and I got back to my room around 11:30pm. A long line for the Disney Skyliner was the bulk of that time.

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