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Old 05-03-2012, 07:46 PM   #1
BillBrasky
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Flower and Garden and Beer Festival! 3/20-3/25 TR at the Pop! (UPDATED 8/27 AGAIN!!!)

Trip Report Guide

1: INTRO
2: 3/20: ARRIVAL IN FL/DISNEY/START OF DAY AT MK
3: 3/20: NIGHT 1 IN MK
4: 3/21: DAY 2, PART 1 AT HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
5: 3/21: DAY 2, PART 2: BACK TO THE MAGIC KINGDOM
6: 3/22: CORAL REEF AND THE BEGINNING OF MY DRINKING AROUND THE WORLD ADVENTURE
7: 3/22: DRINKING AROUND THE WORLD, PART 2 OF 3
8: 3/22: DRINKING AROUND THE WORLD, PART 3 OF 3


Welcome aboard, folks!

This is my first attempt at a trip report. I had toyed with the idea of doing a trip report leading up to this trip, but I also toyed with the idea of going to law school... and my mother will be happy to remind you how that turned out. Anyway, now we've been home for over a month and I can't stop thinking Disney, so consider this my therapy. As a result of poor pre trip report planning, keep the following in mind:

We flew down to FL on 3/16 to visit my parents first, but I have almost no pictures until we arrive in Disney. And none from the morning of 3/20, and only 4 from 3/21! Despite this, there are a TON of pictures. When we bothered to take photos, we took a lot. If you're into topiaries and butterflies, you're in luck! And I just threw up in my mouth a little from typing that! I reserve to right to use stock footage/past trip footage when necessary. Also, I'm writing this TR from memory, the few notes I have on my phone, and pictures... so bear with me here and remind me if I missed something.

Here's the Disney background. I'm from Massachusetts and have 3 older brothers. All significantly older. Growing up, I went to DL once, and WDW many times. I had great memories of it, but as of 2009, the last time I had been was 1996. My wife (then fiance) and I decided to visit while in Florida to see my Parents over Thanksgiving in 2009. We only stayed for 2 nights at Port Orleans, but we fell in love with Disney. We returned in January of 2011 and stayed at Pop Century for 6 nights. This was a commando trip. We spent pretty much all day, everyday at the parks with no breaks, experienced every attraction, and became Disney experts. I lobbied long and hard to come to WDW again when visiting my parents for Christmas 2011, and eventually won out. Due to our schedules though, our Christmas visit got pushed to March.

Our itinerary: Boston Logan to West Palm Beach 3/16 at 6:55 PM.
Staying with my parents for 4 nights, and driving to WDW on the morning of 3/20.
5 nights at Pop Century, with Park Hopper and Disney Dining Plan
Orlando to Boston Logan 3/25 at 7:00 PM.

Here's the cast!

Me... Casey... 30

I live, eat, breath, and eventually digest and pass Disney through my system. I work in the insurance industry. My other hobbies include craft beer, running (when in shape), and generally being awesome.

Wife... Liz.. 29

My first wife, Liz, is an after school teacher and nursing student. She went to Disney a few times as a kid, and has fallen in love with it too... though not to the point I have. She insists this is our last trip until we have kids.

Dog... Margo... 2... She stayed with her grandparents


Richard Kiel... 72... 7'2" actor best known for his role as Jaws in the James Bond films, he had nothing to do with this trip and was never once mentioned or even thought of while we were in Florida.


The report will start soon. Follow me or perish, sweater monkeys.

Last edited by BillBrasky; 08-27-2012 at 09:52 PM. Reason: Flower and Garden and Beer Festival! 3/20-3/25 TR at the Pop! (Updated 5/4 at MK)
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #2
BillBrasky
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Flower and Garden and Beer Festival! 3/20-3/25 TR at the Pop! (UPDATED 5/18! READ!)

The story begins on March 16th. I work from home most of the time, and DW's parents were driving us to the airport, so to make the day easier, I worked at their house. I cut out of work at 4 to head to Logan for our 6:55 PM flight. Margo the dog came along for the ride to say goodbye. We took a wrong turn on the way and ended up in a traffic jam in Chinatown. Margo is an anxious dog and this didn't sit well with her. But we eventually made it to the airport, boarded our plane, and made it to West Palm Beach on time, just before 10:00 PM. Got our rental car from Alamo and drove to my parents home in Singer Island.

My parents moved to Florida just a couple years ago. My brother and his wife and daughter also live just half an hour from them. Visiting family makes a great excuse to visit WDW. Our time in the West Palm Beach area isn't the crux of this report of course, so I'll just post a couple highlights from our 3 days there.

This is my parents building... they live on the 8th floor. What a dump.


Their view from the condo. Meh.


DW and I explored West Palm a bit. Spent some time on Clematis Ave. Whenever I was here I kept saying we needed to move. Awesome area. This picture is taken at World of Beer, which has a ludicrously large beer selection AND hot waitresses! I decided that's a plus of the poor economy in Florida. Bar owners can be picky I guess.


Ate lunch at Grease Burger Bar. Sooooo good. And I got a free beer for checking in there on Foursquare. This is literally illegal in Massachusetts. You're not allowed to have drink specials at all. Happy hour here means discounted apps. Again, I need to move to Florida.


Beyond this we spent a lot of time at the ocean, the pool, catching up with family, going out to dinner with family, seeing our niece, etc. Finally on Tuesday morning it was time to head up to WDW. The night before, while on the throne , I noticed something on Touring Plans. Our plan for the first day was to do MK, though the crowd level was a 9.1. Suddenly, the night before, the crowd level plummeted into the 5s. WHAT? Could this be true? Had we found the magical Spring Break sweet spot? We would find out soon enough.

We rose Tuesday morning at about 4 AM. Seriously, I'm crazy. It was a 2 hour drive to WDW and I wanted to check into Pop and be at MK for rope drop. The ride went fine and when we got to Pop, they actually had a room for us already at like 7:30 AM. But, we were in a rush, so we just left our bags in our car and hopped on the bus to MK, where we arrived about 8:20. We jostled and watched the opening show and finally, we were in the Magic Kingdom, and I was a happy man.

Our first pic of the trip. I was being weird and telling DW, "let's not take pictures, let's just soak it in". I don't know what I was thinking. This wore off by afternoon, and by day 3 we were taking pictures constantly, but this is our lone picture from the morning of day 1.


We got right into hustle mode and started hitting attractions. I was anxious about the new fastpass rules. I found that the new rules require you to do more walking, backtracking to pick up and then use various fastpasses... but in the end, they seem to give out more fastpasses, so you have the opportunity to get more done if you hustle.

We entered the park at 9 AM and had an ADR at The Plaza at 1:00. Here's what we got done before the reservation. Rode Splash Mountain standby. Peter Pan standby. Space Mountain standby. Buzz Lightyear standby. Rode Splash Mountain with fastpass. Haunted Mansion. Rode Space Mountain with fastpass. Rode Jungle Cruise with a fastpass. Pirates of the Caribbean. For those counting at home, that's 9 rides, 2 each of Splash and Space... not bad.

At The Plaza for lunch, I had a burger and a milkshake for dessert. Not too bad. Really good service. After lunch we did Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and the Peoplemover and then headed over to Splash to use a fastpass again. While waiting for our time to come up, I had an idea though. It was 2:30 or so and it was starting to get hot and crowded. We had never tried a midday break before, despite the fact that many guides and WDW vets advocate them. We figured we had already done a commando trip in the past, so let's try to take it a bit easier. We decided to head out of the park, riding Winnie the Pooh on the way out. We headed back to Pop to get into our room, swim, go to the Petals Pool Bar, and relax a bit before heading back to the MK around 6:00. This midday break would become a daily routine and it was awesome! Definitely the way to go, at least if you're a bit of a veteran, and not on a do or die mission to do every last little thing in the parks.

We would return to the MK that night, and finally start taking pictures. Meaning this TR MAY FINALLY BECOME INTERESTING.

Last edited by BillBrasky; 05-18-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:57 PM   #3
BillBrasky
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Flower and Garden and Beer Festival! 3/20-3/25 TR at the Pop! (UPDATED 5/11 at HS!!)

Let's continue the most popular trip report ever! Let me try this. Sparkles, princesses, and wholesome humor!

Anyway, after our first ever midday break, we hopped back on the bus and returned to Magic Kingdom reenergized. Our first stop was one of our favorite attractions.


In the past I've been known to spin a teacup fast enough to make DW sick. Maybe I'm just softening from old age, or maybe I'm learning it's best to avoid conflict during vacation, but either way, I allowed for a somewhat more tranquil experience this time.


Before we had left the park earlier in the day, we picked up more Splash fastpasses, which were good for that night. It's always a good idea to ride Splash at least 3 times per day.










We love taking pictures on Splash. It really is special for me... certainly a top 5 WDW attraction for me.

Next up was the Haunted Mansion. This is one ride I could do over and over again all day. When you think of a Haunted Mansion you don't necessarily get a sense of relaxation... but for me, it's a great respite to share a doom buggy with a loved one in the cool and dark and just sit back and relax. And I love the corny humor in the grave markers outside. I'm glad they preserved these when they added the new queue.


Next up was It's a Small World. I always enjoy it more than I think I will. Great kitsch value. We always find something to laugh at in here.


Then we headed to the Carousel. Here we see DW heeding the advice of all high school guidance counselors and staying off the pole.


So the crowds had really dissipated by this time of night. It was great! We were finding that our midday break was keeping us fresh and we were enjoying the park as a lot of people started to filter out. So we figured, why not punish ourselves and go on Dumbo! It claimed a 15 minute wait, but this ended up being our longest wait of the trip I think, definitely over 30 minutes. Still, I wanted to do it as it was our first time seeing the new Dumbo and I wanted the vantage point to peek over the construction walls.


From there we decided to spend the rest of the night in Tomorrowland. This is totally the best place in MK to be at night. There's really no argument here. First stop in Tomorrowland was one of DW's favorite attractions. Between this and being married to me, it's clear that she's a sucker for recycled jokes.


I really tried to be "that guy" by sitting in the middle of the theater, but no luck. Then it was time to visit Buzz Lightyear! I'm truly awful at this game. I think maybe I might be too tall to get a good perspective on where I'm shooting. Generally I just can't tell where I'm shooting and if the laser dots I see pop up are mine or somebody elses. DW always beats me. She says "just keep shooting and don't worry about it". Poor guidance counselor advice here.


After using a fastpass to ride Space for the 3rd time of the day, we had time for one more ride. There's really no question what's the best ride for the end of the night at MK. Astro Orbiter! Great view at night!








Sadly, a wonderful first day in MK had come to the end. We made our way out slowly, grabbing these pics along the way.





The plan for the next day had been another full day at MK. 2 in a row to start the trip seems a little much, but they were the only 2 days in the week that looked to have manageable crowds. After doing so much at MK in the first day though, would we change our plans? Stay tuned. Or don't.

Last edited by BillBrasky; 05-11-2012 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:33 PM   #4
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Great report so far - looking forward to hearing more!
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:23 PM   #5
BillBrasky
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Flower and Garden and Beer Festival! 3/20-3/25 TR at the Pop! (Updated 5/4 at MK)

I've got a follower! And y'all said it couldn't be done.

Anything is possible!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wcz_kDCBTBk
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:00 PM   #6
BillBrasky
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Alright let's get this thing back going. And let's do it with my 100th post! Woohoo! Only averaging half a warning point per post thus far.

So when we left off I was saying that for Wednesday we had another day at the Magic Kingdom planned. But the night before, as I realized how much we had gotten done at MK that day, and knowing HS was an abnormally low 4.3 crowd level the next day, I said, let's go to HS in the morning and take it from there. Liz was like "OK".

So Hollywood Studios. I remember coming here as a kid shortly after it opened. It was great. Now not so much. Probably my least favorite park. This is despite the fact that Tower of Terror is my favorite ride in all of WDW, and I also love Rock n Roller Coaster. I just hate the layout... it always seems crowded... it doesn't have the theming or atmosphere of the other parks... it's just lacking. But hey, a day at Hollywood Studios is still better than any day not at WDW.

We arrived bright and early anticipating the unofficial early rope drop. This time, as we weren't going to MK, we drove the rental car. This was the plan... drive our car unless we were going to MK... because when you go to MK I think taking the bus saves time with the whole satellite parking situation. We waited in line for a while at the gates and got in around 8:45



So we know the whole deal with everyone rushing to TSM. But as the gates opened and we got to the center of the park we saw the board stating TSM already had a 30 minute wait. So we decided to head to RnRC instead. Looking back, I know they just put 30 minutes up before the park even opens, and the real wait was probably 5 minutes... but I probably was just looking for an excuse to avoid the stress of TSM. We headed to RnRC and grabbed fastpasses and then got in line to ride.



Problem though. The queue was backed up all the way to where you take the right into the RnRC plaza. They weren't letting anyone into the actual ride queue yet. After a few minutes a CM came out and said RnRC was down. Lame. But hey, this gave us a reason to head to my favorite attraction!


STOCK PHOTO DANCE!

After another amazing ToT experience we headed to the Great Movie Ride while waiting for our RnRC fastpasses to come up. I love GMR. It could probably use some freshening up though. After getting out of there we decided to see what the TSM fastpass situation looked like. The return time was already like 2:00 PM and we planned on being out of HS by then, so no dice. We headed back for RnRC.

Great thing about RnRC. The opening video in the recording studio. The recording tech guy with no speaking lines is played by Ken Marino, who might just be my favorite actor. You wouldn't be familiar with him unless you're into David Wain movies (Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten) or the old MTV skit show The State... he also wrote Role Models and Wanderlust. Basically one of the funniest men on Earth. And the Test Track video has John Michael Higgins who is pretty funny too. Anyway, RnRC is great... certainly the most thrilling coaster at WDW, but over way too quick.

After this we rode Star Tours. This was my first time riding it since I was a kid. We never made it in 2009 and it was being renovated when we were there in 2011. It was pretty good, but I'm just not that much of a Star Wars freak... I do like that the storylines change to keep things fresh now though.

Then we had a snack at the Writers Shop. Bigtime hidden gem here. Good pastries and cool books and stuff on the shelves. Nice relaxing environment. I ate like an entire cinnamon bun and also maybe half of Liz's apple danish? I'm a glutton.



Next up was Muppetvision 3D. Liz and I are Muppet fanatics. We saw the new movie the night it came out. I cried during "Pictures in my Head". I got the DVD and have watched it probably 5 times. I'm seriously obsessed with the Muppets. I wish Muppetvision could be updated now that there's renewed interest though. Of all the unbuilt WDW attraction ideas, the one I'm most bitter about is the Great Muppet Movie Ride. Would have been incredible.

After this we used another RnRC fastpass we had collected and then decided it was time to leave Hollywood Studios. We knew we would be back on Friday morning, so we didn't feel the need to do too many things. It was probably 12:30 and we wanted to get some lunch and then head to the pool back at Pop for the afternoon before going to MK for the night.

Where to eat though? We had reservations for dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern that evening, but still had our counter service credit to use for lunch. Being that we had the rental car in the HS parking lot, I said to Liz, "the world is our oyster, we can eat anywhere in WDW and get there quickly"... she probably said "ummmm..." and then I suggested why not go to one of those fancy hotels we can't afford to stay at? Liz always had wanted to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge one day, so we decided to head to Mara, the quick service restaurant there.

We pulled up to Animal Kingdom Lodge with chips on our shoulders. Who do these deluxe resort guests think they are? I'm not good enough to stay at a Deluxe Resort? Well maybe I'm not "the norm", I'm not "camera friendly", I don't "wear clothes that fit me", I'm not a "heartbreaker", I haven't "had sex with a woman", I don't "know how that works", I guess I don't "fall in line", I'm not "hygienic", I don't "wipe properly", I lack "style", I have no "charisma" or "self esteem", I don't "own a toothbrush", or "let my scabs heal", I can't "reach all the parts of my body", when I sleep I "sweat profusely" but I guess I'll keep dropping by these upper crust resorts for lunch until the bigwig whitebread families there decide they can't deal with someone who "frightens children", or "eats their own dandruff", or "pops their own whiteheads with a compass they used in high school".



And now you know why I have that solid .5 point per post average.

Anyway, lunch at Animal Kingdom lodge was OK. The resort is OK. I think we decided that if we can ever pay for a deluxe, it won't be AKL though, unless we have kids who are obsessed with hyenas or something.

Next up was the Hippie Dippie Pool and Petals Pool Bar. I became mayor of Hippie Dippie pool on foursquare by week's end. I had several beers, swam, and we sat near a girl who was so large with such a small swimsuit that you really couldn't see much of the swimsuit.

I shall return with an update of our night at MK and beyond! Thanks for reading! Tell your friends!
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:04 PM   #7
BillBrasky
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Hey, I'm back!!! People need to start reading this. Am I the kind of artist whose trip reports are only appreciated posthumously? Feel free to go off topic, ask me anything. Let's play truth or dare. Anyway, on with the TR.

So I'm now up to the evening of our 2nd day. Another period of time where we didn't take a lot of pictures... the next day would kick off the heavy picture taking for the trip.

After our afternoon break we got showered and dressed and hopped the bus to the Magic Kingdom. It was only day 2 of a 6 day ticket, but this would be our last trip to MK. We arrived about 5:10 and immediately headed over to Tomorrowland and picked up Space Mountain pastpasses before heading to Liberty Square for our 5:30 reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern.

This was our first time dining at Liberty Tree, and I loved it. There's no doubt is is the best table service in Magic Kingdom (not saying much?). Just good hearty American food, meat and potatoes, and all you can eat of it. Can't beat that. I also enjoyed the atmosphere. Each room I guess is themed after a different president. We were in the raised area off to the left that was themed to George Washington. Lots of interesting stuff on the walls.

After getting out of Liberty Tree we walked over to Splash and picked up fast passes and then hopped on the train over to Fantasyland.



Me with my namesake. I really like the new theming and all the work they've done in the back of Fantasyland near the train station. Great stuff. I can't wait to see all of new Fantasyland when it's complete.

Now it was time for a personal highlight of every Disney trip for me, and a lowlight for Liz. Carousel of Progress! This has such amazing nostalgic value for me. It brings me right back to being 6 years old and being in that theater with my brothers. I hope it never leaves. There is more of Walt himself in that attraction than anywhere else in the entire park. Plus you have the voice of Jean Shepherd of Christmas Story fame that is just pure Americana. And the song! Amazing.

From there we used our fastpasses and enjoyed our 4th and final Space Mountain ride of the trip. One of my personal favorite parts of Space Mountain: waving to the animatronics in the "control tower" set as you head up the hill before being plunged into darkness.

Next we walked all the way across the park to use our Splash fastpasses. We walked so much this trip. Especially in Magic Kingdom. We'll never be able to pull off this touring style when we have kids, they'd plop down in the middle of the concrete and refuse to go any farther before the 10th mile of the day I'm sure. Anyway we rode Splash and picked up another set of fastpasses for late in the night and then started walking back towards Fantasyland again.

While in Fantasyland we first rode the Carousel. Funny thing... both time we rode this on this trip, my horse stopped right at it's very highest point. I'm pretty tall but when it's at its highest point, it's still a bit of a stretch to get off at the end. How are you supposed to pull that maneuver off if you're small, not overly mobile, etc?

We continued towards Tomorrowland stopping for a ride on the Tea Cups.



We made it over to Tomorrowland after this and hopped on Buzz Lightyear so I could lose again. After this we were hungry and tried to make our way to my other park namesake, Casey's Corner. But we ran into the nighttime parade and were totally blocked. We thought we found a path towards the hub we could weasel through to get around but it dead ended. It got super claustrophobic for a while there but we eventually reversed course, headed down Main St., and crossed after the parade finished. And finally it was time for Casey's Corner.

I love Casey's Corner. It's named after me. It has hot dogs. It has chili. It has chili dogs. And it has the disgustingly delicious plastic cheese at the toppings bar. This makes it possible for you to have a chili cheese dog with chili cheese fries. Just an absolute calorie bomb. So good.

We were finishing up at Casey's Corner and it was nearing the closing time of 11:00. We had a set of Splash fastpasses we could use before leaving, but Liz just wanted to leave as she was tired. Every part needs a pooper. We made our way up Main Street cutting through the stores as the crowd was in full exodus mode.

I said a sad goodbye to the Magic Kingdom for the trip, but there was a huge silver lining. The plan for the next day was my favorite park, EPCOT! Specifically, the plan for the next day called for drinking around the world! Are you ready to see pictures of me in various themed lands holding various beers? I thought so!
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:46 AM   #8
BillBrasky
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Heyyyyyy... look who's back! I've been busy the last couple of months. I opened a new restaurant with my business parter Rep. Akin, it's called Legitimate Crepe. More recently I've been bartering a deal to trade the entirety of the Red Sox roster for a used Laserdisc player. In non fictitious news, I was back down to Florida at the end of June! Unfortunately it was because my dad passed away.

You probably didn't think this trip report would get finished. That's probably why you never started reading it in the first place I bet. And that's why you can't read this now. Nonetheless, I'm back and ready to continue. Where did we leave off?

Our 3rd day in Disney, Thursday, 3/22, was maybe the most anticipated day of the trip. We had spent 2 full days inside of Disney World but had yet to visit my favorite park... EPCOT!



If you don't love Epcot, you should probably just move back to Latvia, you darn dirty ape. Why is Epcot so special to me? A few reasons. World Showcase is my favorite place in WDW... I could spend entire days just wandering around, drinking, eating and soaking in the atmosphere. Spaceship Earth is an amazing icon externally, and one of my top 5 WDW attractions internally. I do miss the Future World of old... the other SE style rides like Horizons and World of Motion have given way to trendier, more thrilling experiences, but Epcot remains unique among theme parks. It engages you more than any other theme park experience I know of.

We decided to let ourselves sleep in a bit on this day. We had 1:00 reservations at Coral Reef for lunch, and the main focus of our day was World Showcase, where we would head after lunch, so we missed rope drop for the first time and arrived at Epcot about 11:00 AM.





As is customary we headed directly for Spaceship Earth and rode. Afterwards we killed some time over at Club Cool, which we had never checked out before. It was a fun diversion. And now I've got an entire refrigerator stocked full of Beverly at home. I can't get enough of the disgusting garbage. After Club Cool we tooled around Innoventions for a while where we played the game where you spot fire hazards throughout a home... we lost to some little girls.

Then it was time for our reservation at Coral Reef, one DW had very much been looking forward to. We checked in and when we were seated, were pleasantly surprised to receive a table up against the glass all the way to the left.







Early in our meal, this turtle swam over to us, rudely stared us down, and then proceeded to go to sleep directly next to us. I'm actual 70% sure it just dropped dead, and for the rest of the day continued to find new ways to blame DW for the death of this majestic creature. Our waiter said this was the turtle's favorite sleeping spot, but I don't buy it.



In memory of our departed turtle, I ate a chocolate wave for dessert. It was as advertised.

After Coral Reef it was time for the real fun of the day to begin. It was time to partake in an ancient and sacred tradition, one that I honor every time I visit WDW. Drinking Around the World!

On our way over to World Showcase, we enjoyed the lovely Flower and Garden festival scenery.





We arrived in Mexico where I would start my vision quest. Each time I have done this, I have started in Mexico. One reason is laziness... it's the first thing you come to so why travel further before starting. Another is the fact that we LOVE this pavilion. We could spend hours inside the pyramid, riding the Gran Fiesta Boat Tour (amazing corny fun, we ride several times every trip), perusing the wares, and picking up drinks at La Cava. But, next time, I think I would start in France and head counterclockwise, so to end in England.





Along with the pictures of my travels, you will be subjected to my thoughts on beer. I'm a huge beer geek. Name a craft beer and I've probably tried it or at least heard of it. Along with WDW fandom, it's probably my top hobby. World Showcase does not feature top notch beer, but it does feature beers authentic to each country represented, which I much appreciate.

In Mexico you have a few choices. At the Cantina outside, you can get Dos Equis or Dos Equis Amber. Despite what you may have heard, drinking Dos Equis will not make you the most interesting man in the world. It is an American adjunct lager along the lines of Budweiser. Dos Equis Amber is a step up, a legitimate Vienna Lager somewhat similar to a Sam Adams. Inside, at La Cava de Tequila, you have a few more options: Sol (a really nasty adjunct lager), Tecate (see Sol), or Bohemia (a pilsner brewed by the same company as Dos Equis). Bohemia was my choice. It's not bad. I'm not a huge fan of pilsners, but it blows away anything else offered in the Mexico pavilion, because they don't have my favorite Mexican beer, Negra Modelo.

Next stop was Norway!



The Norway pavilion is lacking folks. It's dated, and it's not keeping up with the times. The movie old. Look at the expansion and hot new happenings in pavilions like Mexico, Italy, France... Norway is aging and could use an infusion of energy. Still, I'd rather spend all day in that pavilion than nearly anywhere else in the world, since it's still in World Showcase. Maelstrom is solid, and the unload village scene is a favorite spot of mine, but it's not the E-ticket it was once perceived as.



In Norway, you don't have as many beer choices as Mexico. In fact, you have only one, Carlsberg. Carlsberg is an average European pilsner, and is actually headquartered not in Norway, but in Denmark. They do have a brewery in Norway though, and Denmark is pretty much a suburb of Norway, so I give them a pass.

Next was on to China!



I don't get as into the China pavilion as some of the other pavilions in WS, though I wouldn't criticize like Norway. It's just not as much my style. It is nice to walk through and gaze upon the pond. Later in the week, we would have some fun wildlife encounters around the China pavilion. In China you have two beer options I believe, Tsingtao, and Tsingtao Pure Draft (I believe this is the equivalent of Tsingtao Light). I had a Tsingtao. It's a slightly below average adjunct lager. Nothing I'd choose to drink willingly, but drinking around the world is a something you have to sacrifice your principles for.

After enduring 2 of my lesser favorite pavilions, I was ready to take on Germany! But wait, as we came into the Outpost, my wife pointed something out to me. There were temporary booths set up for the Flower and Garden festival and one cluster was themed to a particular country. She told me that my drinking around the world attempt would technically be incomplete and illegitimate without a stop at... HAITI!

I said, "but we live in Boston, I'm surrounded by Haitians everyday"... still we headed over towards the booth, which had somehow survived the earthquake and I ordered a beer. There was one choice. Prestige. Caribbean made lagers are a truly detestable subcategory of beer, so I was prepared for the worst. And the worst happened. This was one of the worst beers I've ever had.



With that, I must end this update, as I've reached the image limit for one post. I had to delete some dancing bananas and santas, which I really think would have tied the update together. Stay tuned for the conclusion of my drinking around the world adventure, which may actually take 2 more posts thanks to this newfound image limit. Would my stomach lining survive the onslaught of the Prestige? Would any topiaries be harmed in the making of this trip report? Find out, next time!
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:10 AM   #9
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When we left off, I had just not enjoyed a Prestige Lager in Haiti. Soon we escaped and headed to one of my favorite pavilions, Germany.



Here is Sleepy in front of the Germany pavilion (the other dwarves and Snow White were represented too of course). The Germany pavilion is great for many reasons. The merchandise in the shops is clever, and the architecture is great, and there's bratwurst! Another reason is Biergarten... I love the idea if not the execution... the idea of sitting at the communal tables and the German band and everything. It's an adventure if nothing else. But it wasn't on our list of ADRs for the trip because DW isn't as big of a fan. Would that change in the future...?



Germany has a small but unique beer selection, and I think it changes semi-frequently. When we were there I believe the options with Radeberger Pilsner (a solid, readily available pilsner throughout the US), Hovels (a darker Altbier I would try later in the week), and my choice for the day was Altenmunster Oktoberfest. This is actually a rather new and unknown beer, so it was cool seeing something so off the beaten path in Epcot. It was lighter than a traditional Oktoberfest, which seems to be a trend among German Oktoberfests now... it was pretty good though.

I made one purchase in Germany. A hoodie that says Germany on it and has a bottle pouch on the front for hands free beer enjoyment. Great idea.

After Germany we moved on to the other Axis power, Italy.



Italy has always been kind of in the middle as far as my list of pavilions goes. It's cool but there's nothing great about it. No real attraction, but it does have great theming and the great waterfront area. When we were there, the old Tutto Italia restaurant was closed for refurb, and now that this is done, I think Italy will move up my list of pavilions thanks to the addition of Tutto Gusto. It looks to have a cool casual menu and craft beer too... really looking forward to trying it out next time. Back in March though, the only beer available in Italy was Moretti, a pretty average Euro Pale Lager.

From Italy it was of course onto the United States!





The back area of the pavilion had a really cool thing set up for Flower and Garden. It was a Toy Story themed garden with toy blocks from A-Z and corresponding plants to each letter. It was fun to walk around and learn about the plants and to see the Toy Story topiaries. The US pavilion is also lower on my list of favorite pavilions. It's a tough situation, trying to represent the whole country so they went with the American Revolution time period thing. Kind of reminiscent of Liberty Square though. Plus the dining options are limited and not very good. Beer is a plus though, as you can have Sam Adams spring seasonal, Alpine Spring, a unique and tasty unfiltered German style beer.



Next was on to Japan. A lot of people really love the Japan pavilion. Going into the trip it wasn't a favorite of mine, but after the trip it really shot up for me. We experienced more in Japan than we ever have before. For one, I treated my wife to something that I had always thought was a cool activity, Pick a Pearl...



The person before us got a different colored pearl, which was kind of unique and cool. DW ended up with average color, average size. We put it on a ring which she does like to wear. It was really fun, though... they do a great job with the whole pageantry of the thing. It'll be a lot of fun to do with kids one day too. We explored the shop in detail, which is a bit of sensory overload for me, and took in the nice view from the second level balcony. We had reservations booked at Teppan Edo for another night, so we would get more of the Japan experience in the future too.

Beer in the Japan pavilion is rough. There's Kirin Ichiban. This is actual brewed for US consumption by Anheiser-Busch. It's terrible. I checked around and found that indoors, there was another option, Sapporo. Sapporo is brewed for US consumption in Canada I think, and it's a Japanese rice lager. This means it used rice as an adjunct fermentable rather than corn, like cheap US lagers like Bud/Miller/Coors do. It's not very good but I was glad to have something other than Kirin available.

Japan is also the point of no return for any drinking around the world expedition that starts in Mexico. It's when you reach Japan that you really start to feel the effects. This, coupled with the fact that Japan's beer is not very good, can really make this pavilion feel like the last steep ascent to the peak. I'd venture to guess that Japan is the most common pavilion for drinking around the world attempts to fizzle out at. In the past I've definitely felt woozy and started to have doubts in Japan, but on this day I was trying to take things slow and solider on.



It's lunch break time, so I'm going to cut this short here, but may post the next update today. 8 beers down, 4 to go...
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:50 PM   #10
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Next up was Morocco. I like the Morocco pavilion a lot. I don't have the palette for the food there, so I've yet to experience that side of things, but I really love the architecture and layout. It really brings you into a whole different world, with all the pathways and the courtyard in the back. You really get a sense of adventure exploring the Morocco pavilion that I wish was present in more of World Showcase.



Casa Beer is the only option in Morocco. A mediocre Euro Pale Lager. By this point, it all tastes the same anyway. Isn't drinking illegal in Morocco? Was it wrong for me to ogle and make comments about the belly dancer in Mo'Rockin? DW said yes.

Next was France. The landmark of this pavilion is of course the Eiffel Tower... yet somehow I never really notice it much when I'm in World Showcase. France is a weird pavilion for me... when I'm there I'm usually ready to move on to England or Morocco. We had also never dined in this pavilion, but that might change later in the trip?



This is one of the topiaries I enjoyed the most.



The beer in France is Kronenbourg 1664, a not half bad Euro Pale Lager. By this point in drinking around the world, though, you're salivating for the next stop, which is a truly special place.

ENGLAND!



I love being in the Rose and Crown pub. The best thing about the place is walking in and finding so many middle aged men drinking alone. It's like a daycare center for disinterested fathers. There's nothing quite so magical as drinking alone all day at WDW. Other reasons I love England: the shops, the hedge maze thingy, the streets, the World Showcase players. It's all awesome. And of course... the PHONEBOOTHS. I picked up a call just before Rose and Crown and got into a long argument with some teenaged kid looking for "Andrew" or some such name... he either thought I was his father, or maybe he was in on the joke, I don't know? After returning from WDW, I called the phonebooths many times. My favorite bit is to pretend I'm calling a roommate asking them to pick up milk. One guy got really into it and we got into a fun drawn-out argument over our whole fictitious living situation.



It's hard to make out in the picture, but they do put a Mickey head in the Guinness (sometimes a shamrock instead). Good beer options in England. Bass, etc... but when I'm in England I'm certainly drinking Guinness. Because Ireland is in England, right? It's not my favorite stout in the world, but it's classic... they pour it right and it goes down just right.

Finally, we approached the end of our journey. I had survived, and as nighttime fell it was time to celebrate a successful drinking around the world adventure. It always makes for such an incredibly fun day. Eating, drinking, taking your time and perusing the pavilions, peeing a lot. Canada is a capper and it's a good one. I wish this pavilion had more to it though, more shops, more dining, etc. I love walking up the steps to the hotel and watching the waterfall, and there are great vantage points for Illuminations there, which was our plan. Oh, and it has Off Kilter! I like Off Kilter. Here's a guy who likes Off Kilter almost as much as me.

Dancing Off Kilter Fan



Moosehead drinking a Moosehead. Moosehead is a decent Pale Lager. Much better than the other option in Canada, Labatt Blue. Wish they would sell all the great Unibroue beers outside that they sell in Le Cellier.



I'm drunk! Look, fireworks!



Perfect ending to a perfect day. We strolled out of Epcot and headed to bed back at Pop. The plans for the next day were for us to spend the morning at Hollywood Studios to finish up our touring there, and head back to Epcot at night. Because why wouldn't you go to Epcot every night?
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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I read your TR. I was interested in the beers around WS, and hubby and I both love a good beer.
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