We’ll head out to Epcot on the afternoon of Saturday June 21st.
Nikon rebranding continues as they take over sponsorship of the Camera Center. PhotoPass photographers switched out their cameras for Nikon D7100s earlier this month, which will hopefully increase picture quality. Granted, they’re still Nikons…
It’s 1:35pm and Spaceship Earth has a 25-minute posted wait, despite a short line that makes actual waits look closer to ten minutes.
Looking over posted waits over the course of the day, Spaceship Earth’s did drop to a more accurate 10 minutes shortly thereafter. For the time of year, these waits are surprisingly reasonable, even given Epcot’s most recommended status.
Future World has a new paint scheme:
I’m not sure anyone:
A. Remembers what it looked like before.
But there you have it. If you’re wondering, “Does WDWMAGIC have at least a 35-page thread about this anyway?” The answer is of course, yes.
Don’t count on much being available for a 4th or 5th FastPass+ selection at Epcot. Here at 1:40pm, the only decent selection remaining is Maelstrom, which will save about 30 minutes in line between 1pm and 7:30pm. Spaceship Earth would be gone if standby lines weren’t already so short. Should you schedule your FP+ for 9am-10am, 10am-11am, and 11am-12pm and move through a quick attraction right at 11am, you may find a FastPass+ selection for a headliner late at night should you visit a kiosk by 11:30am, but that’s going to be about it until the end of August.
Character Spot had a 25-minute posted wait with about 20 people in the standby line. Actual waits are dictated by the number of FP+ returners, but should be closer to ten minutes than 25.
The Walt Disney Company continues to struggle with the concept of water as this area sits bare.
Imagination’s waterfall hasn’t been turned on for several weeks.
The water that’s left has an unfortunate green tinge.
This is all due to what appears to be a problem with the pipes outside Innoventions West.
Walls surround the area where the Flower and Garden Festival’s butterfly house used to sit:
Looking over the walls, it doesn’t look like this area will be cleaned up anytime soon.
Across the water.
Last remnants of Flower and Garden.
Continuing inside The Land Problems, I mean Pavilion, Garden Grill rotates again after a couple months of sitting dormant.
The floor is also replaced. If you’re wondering whether WDWMAGIC has a 20+ page thread swearing up and down that the restaurant would never rotate again, the answer is of course, yes.
Living with the Land moved up to a Tier 1 FastPass+ choice exactly one week ago on June 16th, probably so each Tier offers a gentle experience without a height requirement. Because of FP+ complications, late arrivals heading to Soarin’ first and then ending up here when the wait for Soarin’ is 60+ minutes, and the popularity of Sunshine Seasons for lunch, Living with the Land is best avoided from 11:30am – 2:30pm. Here at 1:50pm the wait looks to be about 15 minutes with 20 minutes posted.
An additional extended queue – hope you don’t visit when this is necessary.
Sunshine Seasons offers two new entree choices for lunch and dinner, one being these Fish Tacos.
The tacos ended up being a fabulous choice.
The advertised poblano pepper aioli has quite the kick and the lettuce and cabbage had a nice crunch.
With a thick slice of fish in each, the tacos ended up being a filling meal. Those with smaller appetites may be able to share, perhaps with the addition of a soup or other side. Very good and highly recommended. Hopefully they will add a scoop of rice instead of the bland potato salad, which doesn’t really fit a taco plate.
The Tacos replaced the Steak and Blue Cheese Sandwich, which was a decent option. The steak was a bit tough and the blue cheese crumbles overwhelmed the rest.
Spicy Thai Green Curry Shrimp replace the Spicy Cashew Chicken.
This is perhaps not the most photogenic dish we’ve seen, but was prepared well.
Another spicy dish, the peppers are visible underneath a couple of the dozen-or-so shrimp spooned on top of the rice with cauliflower and bamboo shoots. The Asian food here is significantly better than Lotus Blossom up in the China Pavilion.
FastPass+ continues pulling down wait times at the headliners as we see a 50-minute wait at Soarin’, which is 20 to 30 minutes shorter than it would have been last year under similar conditions.
With one of Florida’s famous 15-minute rainstorms overhead, we opted to hop in line for Living with the Land. The posted wait had dropped to 10 minutes by 2:30pm and we waited less than five.
While the rotating view of Garden Grill is well advertised, it’s really not all that great even when the restaurant does spin. Your view is mostly reserved to the inside of the second floor of the house and the prairie scene. And then that’s only if you’re seated at one of the tables along the outside of the restaurant.
Living with the Land seems to be getting new and interesting plants more often now that the narration is automated and can be quickly changed to introduce things like monkey puzzle trees:
After a brief (for Disney) refurbishment, the fish poop factory is back on display to everyone’s delight.
With Michael Jackson’s Captain EO purportedly closing around the world, one wonders if its days at Epcot are numbered. Plans on what to do with Imagination abound – everything from leveling the thing, to shuttering it a la Wonders of Life, to putting in a new v4D film and redoing Figment again.
EO amusingly offers FastPass+, something that is entirely useless here. FP+ gets you into the pre-show video before anyone else. WHOOPIE.
But I think we’ll be okay.
Somehow they managed to make a documentary about George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola directing Michael Jackson in what was at one time the most-expensive-by-the-minute-film-ever-produced boring. Don’t ask me how. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, on the other hand, is one of the most interesting looks at a film you’ll likely ever see.
It does reek of the 80s which may bring back some (bad) memories.
Pre-shows generally begin on the half and full hour and you want to time your arrival around there so you don’t end up waiting an extra 10 minutes. The theater and waiting area are nicely air-conditioned, making it a good choice in the summer heat and precipitation.
Figment remains an easy walk-on most of the day, but FP+ has increased wait times on busier days. Here at 3pm, the actual wait is exactly five minutes.
FP+ would save you about 30 seconds as the merge point was right around where the standby line ended.
As long as there isn’t a ceiling on the budget.
You may remember from the wait time data that Test Track was down from 2:15pm-3:15pm. Disney may fire off an email like the one above should downtime affect your FastPass+ return time. Available experiences are usually limited to the original attraction and other attractions that still have availability. You won’t usually see another low capacity/high popularity ride available like Soarin’ because there just isn’t the capacity to handle thousands more people arriving with FP+ priority.
Fortunately the ride reopened in plenty of time for us to use our FP+ during the window we had originally reserved. At 4:15pm, the standby wait was posted at 60 minutes with single rider at 20.
Lisa’s creation. So embarrassing. Remember that everyone in standby and FP+ goes through the full design process, while single riders have the option of selecting one of a handful of pre-made vehicles. With FP+, it was 25 minutes between the time we got in line and were back out front, which is about the minimum amount of time it takes with FP+.
The Odyssey building is showing every World Cup game to anyone that wants to take a moment to watch.
Spaceship Earth is apparently a soccer ball rather than a golf ball.
While it didn’t register at the time, this Flower and Garden scene was obviously built with the World Cup in mind.
La Cava del Tequila continues pre-mixing their margaritas in large quantities where they sit in these jugs until someone orders one. Just about every drink from a quick service or kiosk is pre-mixed. Most of these cocktails are in the $8-$10 range, while La Cava margaritas are $14.50 a pop and it’s the only location where they expect a tip on top of it.
We gave it another shot anyway. Lisa’s Blood Orange was horrifically balanced and tasted like cheap tequila mixed with generic orange juice. Protip: If you come over and I serve you a glass of 25 year Macallan with a smile, it’s probably actually Chivas.
The $14.50 Tamarindo is relatively new – purportedly Ambhar Tequila Blanco, tamarind pulp, orange liquor, and agave nectar with a tajin chili powder rim.
Served from a jug and blended with ice, the flavor was bland and it seemed to contain no alcohol whatsoever, compared to Lisa’s which tasted mostly of tequila. Unfortunately, La Cava’s margaritas remain some of the better mixed drinks available out on the World Showcase promenade, despite not being freshly made. The smart money remains on draft beer where you know what you’re going to get for your $8-$10.
Maelstrom lines continue to pour out of the entrance even with the Frozen characters departing the Pavilion long ago. This is a 30-minute posted wait.
The waterfall is out from behind walls, but water doesn’t currently flow. With FastPass+, it was less than two minutes between the time we go in line and the time we were on the boat. Rumors of a Frozen redo intensify here and it may indeed come to pass. It’s hard to imagine Disney refreshing a tired ride system like this and installing something that will only cause needlessly longer lines, but stranger things have certainly happened.
While Universal has the gall to build new immersive lands and rides like it’s what people want, Disney continues down the path of alternating frozen yogurt flavors.
There it is.
A coconut/pineapple swirl tastes much like a pina colada, here with no option to add rum. It’s a little more interesting than your standard vanilla/chocolate, but not a particularly compelling purchase.
The $9.50 Mango Starr Smoothie with African Starr Rum is a gigantic waste of time, money, calories, and diabeetus.
It’s not a smoothie so much as your standard Disney frozen beverage with a generic, overly sweet orange flavor and virtually no alcohol. PASS.
Should you require a drink here at the Africa Refreshment Cool Post, the smart money is on the Orlando Blond Ale, a crisp, refreshing 4.7% beer. Florida Lager is pretty lousy (if you hate someone get them a four-pack of their Swamp Ape, they’ll never forgive you) and Safari Amber is prevalent at Animal Kingdom.
We’ll have a more robust Epcot menu update in a couple days.
For now, the Leberkase Reuben at Sommerfest is already off the menu.
Schofferhofer Grapefruit is now available on draft along with the Oktoberfest pictured.
At 2.5% ABV, this has the worst money to alcohol ratio of any of the beer you’ll find in the World Showcase based on how ratios work, but it is a refreshing shandy-like drink.
A $12 glass of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne from Les Halles Boulangerie.
Rose & Crown is the United Kingdom’s table service restaurant with the pub adjacent.
The menu board outside the restaurant could probably use an update, but it is at least very authentic.
Rose & Crown seems to switch out its menu more often than any other non-signature restaurant, switching out items that don’t work for other items that don’t work. The tried and true Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips, and Bangers and Mash are your best bets.
The Scotch Egg is also very good, but it’s hard to justify a single egg for nearly ten bucks.
There isn’t otherwise much to the interior of the restaurant, which relies heavily on wood fixtures. The location does get boisterous in the evening with the bar attached, particularly on weekends.
This is why.
Lisa started with an English Rose – English Rose Beefeater Gin, Apricot Brandy, Sweet Vermouth, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, and Cranberry Juice served in a Souvenir Cup – $10.75. At 20 ounces, this is a sizable drink, but it’s dominated by sweet pineapple juice. They would be wise to cut the size in half so they don’t have to fill it with 18.5 ounces of juice.
In typical fashion, I opted for the Johnnie Walker flight. At $12.25 for about a half-ounce pour of Black, Gold, and Green, it’s a pretty good value. A bottle of Gold would run you around $90 while Green is basically discontinued and I’m not real sure where they’re getting it if they are indeed serving Green. They all otherwise taste like scotch.
I ordered the Bangers and Mash – Traditional English Sausage with Colcannon Potatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, Caramelized Onion Jam, and Red Wine Demi – $16.49.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Josh, why do they call them bangers? Is it because English people are silly?” Yes, it is. But perhaps more interestingly, back during the World War season of the mid 20th century, meat rations were so dismal that sausages were packed with water, cereal, and whatever scraps people could scrounge up. And when they were grilled, they popped, hissed, and were liable to explode all together. Thus, bangers.
The sausages were surprisingly flavorful, tender, and spicy with a sizable topping of roasted mushrooms and a rich wine sauce. The mashed potatoes were creamy and the dish was served piping hot. Very good.
Lisa ordered the Shepherd’s Pie – Ground Lamb, Seasonal Vegetables, English Peas, Mashed Potatoes, and McCall’s Irish Cheddar – $18.99. Very similar to the previous Cottage Pie, which featured ground beef.
Another consistent item, a thin layer of creamy mashed potatoes hide the interior stuffed with lamb and vegetables. Very good.
Stick to the staples and you can do quite well at Rose & Crown for not a whole lot more money than quick service. You’re on your own with items like the marsala and steak.
We were in and out in less than an hour.
As is typical, “literally” nobody in line at Spaceship Earth at 8pm.
As is the norm with the Disney Parks these days, not a whole lot going on at Epcot outside food and beverage.