As I mentioned in the last post, July is crowded every day of the month. One area that isn’t as crowded is the World Showcase in the early afternoon on a “recommended day.” It really is a breath of fresh air compared to the crowds in Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
One thing that always amuses me at Epcot is the two banks of turnstiles at the entrance. You’ll see the turnstiles closest to security in the first image, with about ten people in every line. The second image shows the turnstiles further down to the right, where there are a total of eight people in line over two turnstiles. I’ve heard from various people that you should always take the left…or right…or whatever it is side because it’s human nature to head in a certain direction. My advice is to use your eyes and get in whichever line is shortest.
Unfortunately, you’ll also find peak crowds in Future World around 12pm, as it is now. Arriving for rope drop at Epcot isn’t quite as important as Hollywood Studios, but it’s close. Your only opportunity to ride Soarin’ and Test Track in the standby line without a 30+ minute wait is first thing in the morning. Afternoon peak waits are almost always 60+ minutes, regardless of overall crowd level. There just aren’t enough major attractions (read: rides) at Epcot to keep up with demand from the, “Where are the rides?” crowd.
This is where the “private” IllumiNations viewing is for the Candlelight Processional Dining Package. You can also rent it out privately for about $10,000. That’s a party I would go to. Just saying.
This family looks like they have the run of it to themselves.
Not a ton going on in France.
So here it is. The “Kabuki Cafe” is located to the left of Yakitori House as you look at the two buildings. There’s a path directly to the right of Kabuki Cafe that will take you conveniently to the outdoor seating at Yakitori House, which is nice. An early menu I saw floating around included additional food items like sushi, ribs, and deep fried meat. I was surprised to see that because there was no provision in the plan to serve hot food and as far as I could tell, no way to actually cook it on site. As it turns out, those items are decidedly not on the current menu now that Kabuki Cafe is up and running.
Kakigori is the clear favorite and just about what everyone orders. For the uninitiated, it’s basically a shaved ice treat, traditionally flavored with syrup and condensed milk. You’ll recognize it as very similar to a traditional sno-cone from the county fair. It’s one of my favorite snacks because it’s nice and light. One can only rationalize so many Cloudberry Horns from Kringla Bakeri og Kafe each week. Other than high fructose corn syrup and sugar, the Kakigori doesn’t have much to it other than ice.
Here’s what I ordered – a rainbow kakigori and a Ramune (Japanese Soda). I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the Ramune, but I was thirsty. I was somewhat displeased when it turned out to be just over six ounces large. I was a little more displeased when I realized there were six steps to opening it. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a carbonated beverage that came with an instruction manual any longer than one step.
This is what you have to do:
1. Take off the plastic wrap around the lid.
2. Remove the top.
3. Punch out the opener from the top.
4. Place the opener at the top of the bottle and press down firmly.
5. “Drink with the indented neck side facing down to trap the marble.”
6. Enjoy the drink.
Yes, there is a marble involved. Apparently, when you “press down firmly” in step 4, you are pushing the marble down into the beverage. The marble is then caught in a sort of reservoir in the middle of the bottle. There are odd slits at the mouth of the bottle and it’s indented on all sides, making step 5 somewhat confusing. Apparently, the marble is to block the flow of liquid out of the bottle should you spill it. But keep in mind the bottle is glass. If you drop it, it will shatter. I suppose if you gently knocked it over, maybe the marble would protect some of the 6.76 ounces of liquid inside. At $3.25 a bottle, I guess the marble is some sort of insurance. Personally, I would prefer that you keep your marble and charge me 50 cents less. That way, I can afford to buy a new one for every seven bottles I consume and we can hope I only knock one out of every eight bottles off a cliff. It’s sort of a fun beverage though and they run about $2 in a regular grocery store, so $3.25 isn’t exactly highway robbery in the grand scheme of things. And it is very authentic Japan and somewhat rare to find in stores, unlike a lot of the other beverages around World Showcase (looking at you, Jarritos).
The edameme is served in small plastic containers. I want to say three or four ounces for $3.50. The miso soup is also a very small portion. I didn’t order either, but I’ll be back in the next couple of days to try them out along with maybe a smoothie or the latte.
Overall, it wasn’t quite as exciting without the additional food items. It’s basically just a more permanent kakigori stand. Nothing wrong with that, though.
As I mentioned before, directly to the right of the Kabuki Cafe is a stairwell that will take you up to the outdoor seating at Yakitori House. This is one of the most serene locations in all of Walt Disney World, complete with waterfalls and gorgeous ponds. Take your snacks up here if you’re looking for a table. Unfortunately, they’re not the most comfortable stools in the world, but the setting more than makes up for it.
Always a pleasure to run into the Fife and Drum Corps.
Looks like we have the Mexico Pavilion to ourselves.
Overall, a very pleasant early afternoon in Epcot, as it should have been since it was our most recommended Park.