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PTR: Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World


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Day 1 - Epcot


(I know this is kind of late, but I still have yet to post a trip report from my October trip to SFoG and Dollywood, so...it could be worse? Yeah?)


This year for Thanksgiving, instead of doing the traditional family thing, I headed down to Florida to visit some friends I had met while doing the Disney College Program in 2007.


(Before you go off thinking I'm some rebellious anti-family heathen, let me explain - most of our extended family was spending the holiday with their respective in-laws, so my mom decided to go to our home town in Tennessee to visit some of her old friends. And with that being of no interest to me, I decided take advantage of my still-Disney-employed friends, Christa and Chris, who could get me into the parks. Plus, they were going to be going back to their home states - Texas and California, so no where near me - at the end of the year, so this was probably my only opportunity to see them ever, EVER AGAIN.)


So. Thanksgiving Day, we spent at Epcot, which is my absolute favorite park. We had Thanksgiving lunch in Mexico, and don't bother calling me Comrade for it, because my family already took care of that. It wasn't nearly as busy as I was expecting, but that could be due to the fact that we didn't ride much during the day, except for Journey Into Imagination, Nemo, and Living with the Land which generally have little to no wait most of the year anyway. After Christa and Chris left to go to work later in the afternoon (Cast Members getting off during the Holiday season? Ha, ha, I don't think so), I rode Test Track, Mission: Space, and Universe of Energy, and never waited more than 20 minutes. I didn't do Soarin' that day, nor were the Christmas lights on nor the Candlelight Processional performing that night, but when I returned a couple of nights later, I got to check all three off my list, though I included all the pictures in this portion of the TR for the sake of efficiency. Blah, blah, blah, I'm getting bored listening to this train of thought in my head, so on to the pictures.


And finally, a nighttime shot of SSE. Lovely, if I do say so myself. Next up, Disney's Hollywood Studios. Stay tuned.


Narrated by Mr. Peterman




Also, the Candlelight Processional. I didn't wait in line for seating (it stretched all the way to Italy! Literally!), so I just watched from the Midway.







In case you're not familiar with these lights, they sort of dance and change along with the music


As I said, these lights weren't lit the first night I was there, but I was able to go back towards the end of my stay to see them.


Onto the Christmas decorations





Some IllumiNations photos. I didn't have a tripod, so my first strategy was to set my camera on the narrow railing in front of me. That didn't work because it wasn't high enough. So I then propped my Flip video camera on the railing, balanced my photo camera on the Flip, and rested my chin on the camera to steady it. Pretty crude, and I had no idea what I was aiming at, but it worked pretty well for what it was.





Night shot of UoE


How about the hat-tip to Horizons? Aww, memories!


Well, no, I actually never went to Epcot when Horizons was there so....awww, someone else's memories!


Notice anything interesting in this picture? Besides the gravity-defying dining set?


This is the only ride at Disney that gets me the tiniest bit anxious. Not because it's scary exactly. It's just that I can be a bit of a hypochondriac sometimes, so before I board the ride, part of me wonders if I have developed an undiagnosed heart defect or brain aneurysm since my last visit, and perhaps THIS RIDE WILL KILL ME.


I guess I'm not THAT worried about it, though, because I still rode the Orange side. AND I'm still alive, so I guess I can skip my physical this year.


Giant walk-through car commercial


theming theming theming


I know it can be risky, but I went ahead and tried the single rider line on Test Track, which ended up working well, as my wait couldn't have been more than 15 minutes or so


It's not my favorite attraction - it's a bit dated - but I love, love, LOVE the main theme and the music during the big bang sequence (which isn't what is pictured here, but it's the only picture I have and I needed a place to put the explanation, so there you go.)


Look at all those legs, I'm like a spider. A spider waiting in line to learn about Energy. Thank goodness Ellen Degeneres has got a whole Universe full of the stuff.


Due to the line and lack of fastpasses, I didn't ride this on Thanksgiving, but I got to it twice a few days later.


Sorry I don't have much to say in these captions. I've got a killer soar throat, a bruise on my arm, and I'm still trying to process the death of Princess Di, so...lot of distractions here.


The Land Pavilion (my favorite)




Back to Future World for a bit - the reverse waterfall thing at the Imagination Pavilion


And since you already saw Mexico, we'll just end here at Norway.















Japan is most definitely my favorite country in Epcot. I always buy pretty dishes when I'm there.


So it was nice to be able to causally meander through the country at my leisure for once.


The first time I went to Epcot while in the College Program, I was picked up by a Moroccan on the International Program who, by the end of the day, was asking me about marriage, making out with me, and giving me jazz CDs of love music (I really don't know which one of those was more awkward). And since he still had 15 months left in his program, during all my subsequent visits to Epcot, I had to make a mad dash through Morocco with my face hidden behind my hand for fear he'd see me and ask for my hand in his American Citizenship, whoops, I mean marriage.




More U.K., because apparently I didn't take any picture of France so on to...


United Kingdom...







I then went on my merry ol' way to walk around and take some pictures


Plus, Chris always wanted a picture of himself holding up SSE. You know, 'cause that's never been done before.


Both Christa and Chris had to work in the afternoon, so I walked to the front of the park with them. It was the least I could do since they were getting me into the parks and all...


I don't think any of us actually knew what these were supposed to be (giant prickly snow balls on sticks? what?), but they were still nice enough looking to pose in front of.


Epcot doesn't have as many lights as MK or Studios, but this little strip they have at night is still prettier than most stuff you see anywhere outside of Disney. Of course, this is what it looks like during the day time, so you'll have to take my word for it until we get to the night shots.


Since Christa was an Operator in the Imagination Pavilion, we went ahead and waited in the unheard of 3 minute-long line for Journey Into Imagination (since when is there ever any sort of wait for that?) We did, however, spare ourselves the torture that is HISTA.


And for dessert - the absolute best ice cream in the entire history of both ice AND cream - a Mickey Premium Bar.


I drool just from the memory.


Yep. Pretty, pretty.


I haven't eaten in all the countries yet, but of the ones I have, Mexico is probably my favorite. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is top-notch stuff.


Plus, it was prettier than Chris's kids' quesadilla.


Main course - okay, okay, it was technically an appetizer (or appetizero, in Spanish...I think) according to the menu, but I'm poor and frugal, and that was all the money I wanted to spend. It was still very good, so...I win.


First course - free nachos!


What better place to celebrate the American Thanksgiving than, you know, Mexico?


Christa, who was too busy photographing our misery at Club Cool did not partake in the Beverly tasting. This could explain why she is so happy and upbeat in this photo, whereas Chris and I were still miserably throwing up on each other off-camera.


There are various ways to survive the Beverly Experience. Chris prefers the clenched-fist-and-constipation-face technique as he attempts to eradicate the horrible taste through shear will. I prefer the allow-my-double-chins-to-make-a-cameo-appearance approach, where I try to "ugly" the taste away.


In the end, we just had no choice but to remove our tongues.


Since it was crowded, we spent most of the day just walking around and doing stuff with no lines. You know what that means...






To whomever made the official call to take down that horrid wand - let's make out. To whomever came up with the latest redesign of SSE (the attraction): you're dead to me. DEAD.


You know you're excited when you take a picture of your entrance ticket. Obviously, Christa's (the blurry girl in the background) level of enthusiasm does not quite match mine. Nor does she find my habit of photographing every single little thing amusing.

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Great photos, Natalie! I love EPCOT.


I too bypassed the family thing for Thanksgiving and spent the day at Islands of Adventure with some of my TPR friends. Theme parks on major holidays are the best places to be. Although, Universal was exceptionally busy this year.


I love the TR so far, Natalie. Can't wait to see more.

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My Monday morning had sucked......right up until the point that I clicked on this TR. I love you, Natalie - in a very "we both immensely appreciate Epcot, have multiple chins in some pics, and like to take pictures of Epcot that one one else usually takes" kind of way.


Feliz Navidad!

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1) Yeah, Mexico's the prettiest! Cause Mexico (and all Mexicans) are the coolest people ever.. EVER!


3) No, I didn't notice anything in that picture, and I sat there for a good long while trying to figure it out too.


4) Great trip report. I wish you were doing the coaster of the week on the West Coast boards, you're so effing good at captions. We can't all get straight A's in school, but some are just more prone to good PTR captions.


5) Where did number 2 go? Oh, that's right, I have to go to the bathroom now.


6) Next time you're in Orlando, give me a little more warning than a week, and I'LL totally call in sick. Or just request off.


7) Now I'm just numbering, to be numbering


8) I miss you.

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You nighttime pictures are great. Mine tend to suck (unless I set the camera on a stone pillar, lightly press the button, and back slowly away to avoid any excess vibration of the ground).


I ate the Mexican restaurant a few years ago and thought it was great--had some awesome pork-roast concoction.

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^^You ate the Mexican restaurant?! I was wondering where it went in October? Good think they were able to build another one before Natalie arrived. But thats the Mexican people for you. Work hard, make great food, and breed like rabbits.


Great TR Nat. I love the shots of IllumiNations!


I look farward to the rest of your report.

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1) Yeah, Mexico's the prettiest! Cause Mexico (and all Mexicans) are the coolest people ever.. EVER!


5) Where did number 2 go? Oh, that's right, I have to go to the bathroom now.


8) I miss you.


1) Yeah, Mexicans are okay. But I like to think that people of Swedish/German/Croatian decent are best. I dunno, maybe I'm a bit partial.


5) I'm offended that you skipped 2. It's my favorite of the numbers 0-9.




WONDERFUL night time pictures...what type of camera are you using?


Thank you! I use a Canon Rebel XT.


You nighttime pictures are great. Mine tend to suck (unless I set the camera on a stone pillar, lightly press the button, and back slowly away to avoid any excess vibration of the ground).


Thanks, but don't feel too bad. For every "great" nighttime photo I take, I have about 200 photos that look like this:


Eh, it keeps me modest, anyway.

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Sounds like yall had a good time, and my family went to Epcot on Thanksgiving day as well. We went to the Boardwalk to watch the Cowboy game at the ESPN Zone so we missed some time to spend at the park.


Where did you see the fireworks from? Because we saw them from the outdoor Mexican restaurant and it looked liked you had the same vantage point as we did, judging from your pictures.

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Amazing as usual, Natalie!

You take some of the prettiest pictures that I've ever seen, and as everyone else has said, your captions are super fun to read.

I'm looking forward to the rest of your TR.


P.S. I'm VERY jealous that you we're there for Thanksgiving. I had a terrible Thanksgiving. I would have much rather been there wandering around the Disney parks!

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LOL Nat, your TRs are always fun to absorb. I didn't realize how much EPCOT has changed until I read your and others' reports. Not having been there since '85 (or so), kind of weird to see it now. I cant remember Horizons, though. If I do, though, I'll will the memories to you. Sigh...Figment...you fueled my acid dreams for decades...


Fun read, and great to see another TR by you



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Natatomic wrote:

To whomever made the official call to take down that horrid wand - let's make out.
Well it wasn't me, but if that's the prize I'll gladly accept credit for coming up with the idea .


As always, Natatomic TRs just make my day !

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