And relaxing. And wonderful. And sorely needed.
That’s what our weekend get-away was. We didn’t realize how desperately we needed to stop our lives and leave town for a breather.
We left Thursday, later than expected; our flight was delayed about two hours. Well first one hour, at which point we called the restaurant at which we had a 9PM reservation. We moved it to 10:30, the latest we could make it. After the next hour delay, we called and cancelled the reservation. Ah well, disappointing, but what are you going to do?
We finally made it to Orlando at 10:30. We grabbed our rental car and drove to the hotel, The Royal Plaza. Very nice. On the Disney property and all. We found a place to eat right around the corner, nothing to write home about, the food was decent, they had a huge beer selection. Lots of beer and drink specials. In the end, it was a far more relaxed dinner than we had planned. Everything works out the way it should.
Got up the next morning and took the first Disney shuttle (8AM) to EPCOT. Got our tickets and stood in line for the opening of the gates. Countdown – 10, 9, 8… Got into the greeting area. Forgot to look for our pic and note on the slabs. At the entrance to EPCOT they have this lovely money-making gimmick, you get your pic taken and/or write some note to go with the pic and then they photo process them onto metal sheets about 1 1/2 inch by 1 inch and affix them to these monoliths, for future generations to marvel at. Last year, we fell prey to the vanity of it and had our pic taken, together of course, and wrote “Kirk and Jamie, Honeymoon January, 2000″. Somewhere on those slabs we are indeed immortalized. We just forgot to find out where. On o’ these days…
So then we went to the entrance to the main park area, where we stood waiting for the next countdown as Mickey, Minnie, Chip ‘n Dale and Goofy, paraded and shook hands from the other side of the red rope. Countdown, 10, 9, 8… And we were off into the park proper.
First things first, got to ride the fav staples, Test Track, Ellen’s Energy Adventure (Ellen Degeneres and Bill Nye – The Sciene Guy – Jeopardy and travel through time. Who’d miss that?!), Figment’s Imagination ride (Eric Idle and a purple dinosaur thing that is definitely not Barney). The big sphere thing was closed so we had to miss that this time. Oh, and how could I forget, “Listen to the Land”, a lovely boat ride through the Disney experimental greenhouses?
By this time, we were mighty hungry. So we crossed over to the World Showcase area to do what we had really come for: eat. And eat we did. We love the EPCOT Food and Wine Expo. All the different countries represented, plus some others that just set up for this event, have tasting plates of their native foods – $2 – $4/plate. With wine pairings. There were so many great things. Jamie, who has a much better memory for the food specifics, will hopefully detail more on his page. Suffice it to say that by 5:30 we needed a food break before our evening’s major event.
And so we paused to hear Starship, yes, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and for years now, just Starship. Honestly, I thought this was going to be a joke. I was not expecting it to be anything I would want to see. I was wrong. Mickey Thomas still has an amazing voice. They did all hits, of course. They even did a retrospective journey though the band’s permutations starting off with a lovely female singer doing, yes, at a Disney park, White Rabbit. Brilliant. They had the place rockin’. I was amazed at how much fun it was. And then it was over, and just in time, as we had to hurry on over to the aforementioned main event of our day, the South African Wine Tasting (with food).
Inside the EPCOT exhibition space, there was a band beating out a jazzy South African beat, there was delicious food, and wine, lots of wine. There were four kiosks around the room. Each kiosk had four sides and on each of those four sides was a different winery. Each winery had several different representations of their product. We tasted a lot. I have notes on the wines we really liked. At some point when I find those notes, I’ll post a list here. So from 6 to 8:50 we ate and drank.
Then we decided that we’d had enough and we should go watch the fireworks. As we paused outside the space, we started chatting with two women, Wendy and Connie, who were also at the tasting. They told us about a fun piano bar on the property and told us to join them after the fireworks. Sure, why not?
So we ohhh-ed and ahhhh-ed at the glorious fireworks display. And then headed on over to Jellyroll’s.
There’s always been this path in EPCOT that we’ve never travelled. We thought that it just led to the resort hotels in Disney proper. Well, it does do that, but it also leads to the Boardwalk, a cool little area with shops and bars. Yes, bars, Jellyroll’s being one of them.
Jellyroll’s. It’s a sizeable but still intimate space. A bar on each side of the room. A stage at the head of the room. Two grand pianos on the stage. And all night, two guys, well four actually, they switch off, playing and singing just about any song you request. They were great. We had a blast, although they never did play Jamie’s request, The Cure’s Just Like Heaven, but we survived; they played a hell of a lot of wonderful music.
And then we wound down and, unusual for us when we get going, left before the bar closed and headed back to the hotel. We had to get up relatively early the next day to drive to Sun City Center (outside Tampa) to visit Jamie’s mom, or MomFLA, as we call her, as opposed to my mom, MomPA. We settled in our very very comfy bed and realized with great amazement that we felt so very far from our daily NYC lives. I mean that in a very good way. In one day, we felt a week away from NYC. It was great and relaxing and wonderful.
And now, I’m up too bloody late writing this and I’ll have to finish the rest of the weekend tomorrow ’cause I’ve gotta get up early and go to my hideous job.
Oh, yeah, did I mention that calm, that relaxing “Ahhhhh”, that giddy smile, lasted about two hours into my return to work today. Gone, all gone.
That is, until I started writing about it tonight. I felt relaxed and happy all over again. Maybe I can make it three hours tomorrow before it fades.
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