Wednesday 22 June at Pop Century

Didn’t arrive at the Studios until about 9:20 am or so, thus, not having broken my fast yet, I was feeling pretty peckish when I finally entered Starring Rolls bakery for my chocolate croissant and milk. It was difficult to postpone that for the time it took me to walk to the end of Sunset Boulevard to get my Tower of Terror Fastpass. Fortunately it wasn’t all that hot yet when I got back to Starring Rolls and there were plenty of tables available. And it was delicious.

After that my visit to the Hollywood Tower Hotel was as thrilling and exhilarating as always. In the elevator I sat next to a youngster who was riding for the first time; he repeatedly apologized for his scaredy behavior.

On my way from Sunset Boulevard to Star Tours I dawdled and lolligagged, gawking and window shopping.

Sunset Boulevard

When I got to Star Tours I saw the standby wait time suddenly switch from ten minutes to twenty. Don’t remember why I didn’t want to get a Fastpass; in any case, I joined the standby line and for the first time ever I wound my way round and round under that big “tree” and was pretty glad the queue was mostly in the shade as by that time morning coolness had become but a memory.

Now I am not really familiar with the three most recent Star Wars movies: I saw the first of them when it was released and was underwhelmed and never have seen the other two. But the new Star Tours ride features enough of what one is familiar with from the three original films that I don’t feel out of it at all. And I really enjoyed having a different setting for the adventure each time I experienced it. And I was the rebel spy a second time. And yet again I resisted the temptation to purchase the t-shirt on my way out. (I have no explanation for why I resist some temptations so steadfastly and succumb so willingly to others…)

And speaking of that through-the-gift-shop exit, I continue to wish that they hadn’t eliminated the heavily breathing Darth Vader at the turn in the down ramp… I miss him still. But I assume he was a major traffic stopper.

Wandered around the Motorcars area (that show doesn’t appeal to me) and then backtracked up the New York street, stopping to look at details of the phony façades.

New York Street

When I got to the walk-through into the plaza with the rotating Miss Piggy Liberty fountain, I followed my irresistible impulse to experience multiple Muppet dimensions.

Had no trouble giving in to the urge to purchase two Muppet t-shirts on my way through the Stage 1 Company Store after being reassured by Kermit that the theatre had suffered only minor damage. One Beaker and one Muppets as a group. I love the Kermit mouse ears cap but never get it even though I always get a kick out of seeing it.

For the first time since they’ve had Toy Story Mania there, I took a walk along the Avenue formerly known as Mickey and noticed the entrance to Journey into Narnia. Funny how there are some things that just don’t speak to me… I did read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a million years ago but have never seen any of the Disney films in the franchise and do not feel compelled to do so…

I have enjoyed Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream many many times so I didn’t feel I had to again now; at the entrance to Toy Story Mania the standby wait time was, of course, ridiculous and the Fastpass machines were wearing their all-done-for-the-day cloaks so I figured it would be some other time for this one. But I did spot a black t-shirt with the Pixar logo on it that did want to be mine and so it was… Love that resort delivery system and the passholder discount.

The plan was to lunch at Sunshine Season in Epcot and on my way back down Hollywood Boulevard I made my way through the shops on the right-hand side of the street, thinking that perhaps I had not really made enough purchases yet. A fetching paper fedora caught my eye and I wore it out of the park.

The Reuben panino at Sunshine Season was better–not so dry–than the last time I had had it but even though I was feeling soda’d out, I had a Coke with it since that iced tea they have, even the unsweetened, just repulses me. Is it the central Florida water?

Another visit to the Living Seas followed lunch. In that first zig-zaggy part of the queue I always wonder whatever happened to those old diving costumes that used to adorn the area before Nemo moved in. And I always get kind of confused there in the underwater dark as I try to remember which area was the wait for the movie and which was the sit down for the movie before taking the “hydrolator” down to Sea Base Alpha. That funny jiggling ride down beneath the surface is another little experience that I miss.

At the Universe of Energy I was really surprised that we had to wait outside for several minutes before being admitted to the big dark pre-show room. That big room was really full? Luckily I was among the very first in the line, right at the entrance, where the wee bit of shade was. I was still perspiring profusely by the time we were let in. But I always enjoy this show, in spite of the ghastly corporate presence. Especially the part where Ellen is attempting to fend off the “large snake-like creature” with a stick. “If you can’t say anything nice, then… you can’t!” I don’t think that particular animatronic figure is a very good likeness at all. Funny how the Johnny Depp in Pirates is spot on and Ellen in this scene just looks like somebody totally different to me.

Seems like I can never get out of Epcot via the front without a spiral up into Spaceship Earth. The first ride I ever experienced at Walt Disney World.

Making up for my lethargy of yesterday, I take the monorail over to the third theme park of the day. But I make a stop first at the Polynesian to browse the shops and just to sit around a bit in the air conditioning with a bottle of water.

The Grand Floridian is a short monorail ride away and there I stop in at their souvenir and sundry shop where I find the perfect pin for my new fedora.

Fedora with pin

Then it’s a stroll around the grounds and by the pool. It really is beautiful there but somehow I never seem able to get over the premium deluxe price. I would rather be able to stay several days longer than stay just a couple nights in flagship luxury.

The sun is really beating down when the boat arrives at the dock.

Strolling up Main Street I pause in that little side street on the right–there used to be one on the left as well before the Emporium gobbled it up. With Main Street behind you, there’s a building on your left that has a window on the second floor that advertises voice and singing lessons. I took a seat on a bench and listened to the student doing her vocal exercises up the scale. Wow, it seemed to go on forever! Then the maestro asked her to work her way back down. I decided to stay and hear how it all turned out. As it happened, she went way down into the basso area and the maestro complimented her, “That’s quite a range!”

I hadn’t had my fish and chips at the stand in Epcot’s United Kingdom, so I had my dinner at Columbia Harbour House. I sat on the upstairs “bridge” over the walk-through between Liberty Square

Liberty Square seen from 2nd floor of Columbia Harbour House

and Fantasyland

Fantasyland seen from 2nd floor of Columbia Harbour House

and enjoyed people-watching during my meal.

Over in Adventureland I muster the energy to make my way up and down the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. My reward, naturally, is a Pineapple Float from Aloha Isle.

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