Getting It Right For The-Oldest – Epcot – Vacation Day 5

The-Oldest with the Spaceship Earth growing out of his head.

Getting it right for The-Oldest is NOT easy.

See, Disney World for The-Youngest is a no-brainer. Candy. Rides. Loud sounds. Bright lights. More candy.

But for The-Oldest, it wasn’t the way he wanted to spend eight days. For him, being away from his music was like me being away from my girlfriend at that age.

He was an amazing sport, though, and went on all the terrifying rides with his brother, even enjoying a few, but there was nothing super special about the trip until the Biergarten in Epcot.

No, he didn’t have a beer, again, but it did have an oompah-pah band.

And a buffet where he could choose what to eat. 100% his choice. No potatoes he didn’t like. No gravy that someone poured onto something that shouldn’t have gravy (like peas). No spices cooked into the pasta sauce or meat flavoured with too much flavour.

Instead, he could have a plate full of wieners if he wanted. With a side of peas kept very separate from the wieners. And buns. Lots of buns. With butter.

Plus, while he ate, he could listen to Oktoberfest music (and dance if he wanted to, but that was as likely as me wanting to sing naked in front of my high school French teacher while dancing on a red-hot grill.) The music, I have to say, was fantastic, but stopped us from talking (which was also a HUGE plus for The-Oldest.)

Now THIS was The-Oldest’s idea of fun.

There is a video here.

Literally dripping wet, we all had a great time. I ate so much food, I think I gained 40lbs before I left the restaurant. Think Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. But then, I LOVE German food. Sauces. Sauerbraten.  Spätzle. Strudel. Red cabbage. I think in a former life, I was German. Or at least starving.

Nothing like good fireworks

With darkness falling and the rain letting up, we decided to stay for the fireworks and what a great decision that was. The-Oldest had the best reason why this is the BEST fireworks in Disney World (and that will be a part of his Top 10 list coming soon), but from my perspective, nothing beats a good fireworks show.

I don’t know why. I’m like a little kid seeing a puppy for the first time. If there is a heaven, mine will be filled with fireworks. And German food.

For some reason, it didn’t rain at all as we watched the sky explode around us, as the crowd oooh’d and aaah’d, as the air filled with the smell of explosives.

A great picture of a great day!

Everything had simply come together for this evening to make his adventure amazing.

Despite the rain, we got to ride on the Test Track.

Because of the rain, we went inside to a sitdown restaurant where The-Oldest had his best experience.

With no rain, we got to enjoy an incredible fireworks show.

I couldn’t wait to see what the next day would bring, not knowing at the time that I would get to experience one of my real-life nightmares.

Unexpected Fun – Epcot – Disney World

epcot in disney world, orlando florida, the spaceship earth
Epcot in Disney World. Unexpected fun awaited

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – the best thing about traveling is that you can never completely predict what will happen. This time, at Epcot, we had some unexpected fun.

So, our plan, with rain already spitting down on us, was to get to our Fastpass ride, the popular Test Track, (weather permitting) grab some food, and see the fireworks (weather permitting).

Unlike the other parks, Epcot was not filled with Dumbo rides or Splashy rollercoasters. It’s a showcase for pavilions from around the world. Back in Joe 1.0 life, I loved this park more than the others since it was like visiting Norway, or China or Mexico in a bottle. But The Boyz, well, I could drag them there, but it would be like giving a cat its bath.

So it would be rides, food, and fireworks. Weather permitting.

But that rain bit us in the ass right away. When we checked our Disney App, we found that the Test Track was canceled.

Doh.

However, when a Fastpass ride is canceled, Disney gives you a free Fastpass to any other ride in that park. Any ride. So we changed our plans and decided to see Soaring.

But upon entering the park, the boys had an odd reaction to the big dome, the Spaceship Earth. Like fangirls crushing on Beiber, they gaped at it in wonder. They wanted to run around it, take pictures of it, and go inside it (and do the ride.) The ride itself was a journey through time. Not a rollercoaster. Not a thing that flipped you around until you wanted to throw up. Not even a ride that got you wet.

It was information. Like a museum.

Like the little kitten who comes close to you for the first time, I didn’t want to scare them off with all sorts of Joe-information (of which I have a ton!), so we just got on the ride. It was a little worn, a little outdated, but The-Boyz loved it. Yes, they loved learning something.

What the f…?

Then, just as we got out, the rain stopped and the Test Track was back on. We ran to the ride (or rather, The-Boyz ran, and I waddled like a very pregnant woman in need of some pickles and ice cream.) We got inside, hoping the weather would hold.

And let me tell you, there is a reason this ride is so popular. Like Avatar: Flight of Passage, it has so much to do while you wait in line. In fact, it’s THE BEST ride for the line-up since you actually design your own car!

The-Boyz made something out of Sci-Fi, while The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, (a car-girl at heart), put in quality-time making it look aesthetic, making it as ‘green’ as possible, and ensuring that it would run like a bat out of hell. Pictures on Instagram here.

This monstrosity designed by The-Boyz for the Test Track ride in Epcot won? Really? It looks like something out of Tron

Such fun! Unexpected fun.

The ride itself was blazingly fast, but we all took our stats from the car and on the test track, got to see who had actually designed a better car. The-Boyz won twice, we won three times, which made The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World as happy as a lion getting to eat a tourist.

The car that won for the fastest was The-Boyz car, so they were super braggy about how well they’d done, but jeeeez, look at the thing. That race was rigged!

As soon as we got off, the rains came, hard and heavy, like a movie rain so wet that it soaked through our raingear.

Sopping wet, we chose to eat in Germany. On the spur of the moment, we decided upon the restaurant, the Biergarten. I mean, why not? German beer. A buffet with wieners. And a band!

Little did we know it would become The-Oldest’s most unexpected fun.

Blizzard Beach – Disney World – Vacation Day 5

Disney Castle, Orlando Florida
Everyone is smiling and shiny at Disney World’s Blizzard Beach.

What do you do when you’ve set a time to meet and no one has watches? And worse, when you’ve solved that problem by telling everyone to keep an eye on a fake clock at Disney World’s Blizzard Beach?

Now, if it was “Do homework until 4, then you can play the piano,” or “school ends at 3,” you know The-Boyz would have kept track of time like an atomic clock.

But barreling down exciting waterslides, splashing in wavey pools, or even slowly floating down a lazy river? No hope they’d see the sunset, nevermind realize in any way time had passed.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I realized our error almost the moment The-Boyz got out of our sight. I waddled after them like a duck with ten meth pills up his butt, but I failed to catch them. Like my dreams, they had vanished.

We looked at our phones. 11:00. We HAD to leave by 3:30 to get home, change, then head off to Epcot for our Fastpast (Test Track) at 5pm.  That’s 4 1/2 hours at the waterpark. Sooner or later, we thought, The-Boyz would HAVE to get hungry. Right?

Right?

Since we didn’t want to wander the whole park yelling, “Squishy Cheeks! Smoochie Face! Where are you?” we decided to do the only adult thing we could do. We got into an inner tube and rode the lazy river, praying it would all work out.

This was supposed to be a relaxing day at Blizzard Beach

After two laps, I went to write to stake out the restaurant area. I pried my laptop out of my locker like a doctor extracting a baby, minus, you know, the mess and screaming, then set up at a table in the restaurant, in the shade, but close enough to keep an eye on everyone walking by. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World continued to float, though I suspect she secretly went to have 40 drinks and wonder why coming to Disney World was a good thing.

At around 1:30, The-Boyz showed up, as the clouds overhead loomed with stormish-intensity. See, it wasn’t the hunger that drove them back to us, but the idea they might be killed by lightning.

Works for me.

As we all ate, The-Boyz regaled us with stories of terrifying drops, of great waves swallowing them up in the wave pool, and how few bees the rides had (a problem, it seems, that plagued our local waterpark).

They had a great time.

I aged another 20 years waiting for them, imagining having to run through the park at 3 with the police, a search dog and a megaphone.

But after a few more rides, we all made it back to our resort, Pop Century, as the clouds continued to gather overhead.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World rocking her raingear

See, in Florida, at least in this part of Florida, there’s something the tourist websites do not tell you. At this time of year, you sometimes get all the possible weather conditions in one day. Sunny, clouds roll in, they roll out, hot sun, humid, then suddenly black clouds and tropical rain, then sun, again, then thunder and lightning, then sun, then darkness.

As we took our bus off to Epcot, though, rain began to fall, which for most parks would not be enough to stop the rides, but at Epcot, the Test Track ride was mostly outdoors and if the track was too wet, the ride would be canceled.

But by the end of the night, it wouldn’t be the ride we remembered but something else entirely, something completely unexpected.

50’s Prime Time Diner Disaster – Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Hollywood Studios 50's Primetime Diner
And the rains came to Hollywood Studios, Disney World

We still had a lot to see and do at Hollywood Studios (Slinky dog ride, watch the Star Wars show and maybe sneak into the 50’s Prime Time Diner, then see the Fantasorgasmic Show.)

None of us napped back at our Disney World resort, but we did get off our feet for a few hours, me writing, the boyz watching YouTubes, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World doing laundry.

The whole laundry thing became absolutely necessary due to us going through at least 2 sets of clothes a day. I mean, who wants to put on a sweaty, suntan-lotionie shirt, again? Or slip into a used pair of underwear after a shower?

With our clothes restocked, our bodies mostly rested, we bussed our way back to Hollywood Studios, again. About 5. We’d planned to eat at the resort, but the bus was right there! Right there!

So we lept on it.

For once, we’d be early. We’d get a chance to see the Star Wars show, grab some food at Hollywood Studios, hit up our fast pass ride, The Slinky Dog, and see the evening show.

It was a good plan.

But we missed the 5:30 Star Wars show by 15min. 15 min. Again.

So we decided to ask if my #1 Disney-World-Bucket-list restaurant could squeeze us in. The 50’s Prime Time Diner – A place where they made sure you had good table manners and called you out for not eating your veggies.

To my surprise, they had room!

I was super excited.

50’s Prime Time Diner. We watch old TV on an old TV

We wandered around in living rooms with old TVs, old kitchens, and stood near a 50’s bar serving drinks with flashing ice cubes. Each room had all sorts of 50’s memorabilia that I basically remembered from my childhood (though that was in the 60s, lots of our furniture and stuff was definitely from the 50s.)

We were called to our table by a woman with a mom-voice, you know the type – she could yell dinner and you heard her 4 blocks away in an underground bunker with music playing. She sat us down, gave us menus and told the kids to behave.

The table had a TV, a cool old toaster and was, of course, all chromie. Our waiter was called Uncle Chris. He reminded us not to put our elbows on the table. I had a very hard time with this as my elbows are no longer well-trained.

I ordered mom’s pot roast. I mean, it was mom’s! The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World ordered ribs, The-Youngest got a Caesar salad, and The-Oldest went with Cousin Megan’s Traditional Meatloaf.

I was so excited. So nostalgic. This was the height of white male dominance, a time when a house cost $8,400 and your salary was $3,200. A new corvette cost $1,500. A razor 25cents. Even though I hadn’t lived through the time, so much of what was on display was a part of my childhood.

We watched clips of I Love Lucy, of Reagan introducing Walt Disney, of the original Mouseketeers, and of Car 54 Where Are You? Just to name a few.

But then things started to go pear-shaped, in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Uncle Chris came by often to give the boys a hard time. “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” “Sit up straight.” “No phones at the table.” That kind of thing. All in good fun. Really.

He called The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World ‘Peggy Sue’, The-Youngest, “Spanky”, and The-Oldest, “Trouble.” All in fun.

The-Youngest, however, didn’t really like Uncle Chris much. The guy may have pushed the whole 50’s thing too far, and The-Youngest no longer had fun. In fact, the opposite of fun.

It took a while to calm The-Youngest down, but eventually, he did, and he made sure to clean his plate (and keep his elbows off the table). The-Oldest however, did not eat his beans, so when Uncle Chris came around, he took the plate and shouted for the whole restaurant, “Do we waste food?” “NO!” they all shouted back. The-Oldest laughed along with it all. He even laughed when Uncle Chris brought back the beans covered in whipped cream “for dessert”.

The-Youngest didn’t have as much fun at the 50’s Prime Time Diner as I did. I got to scowl like a dad in a 50’s TV show.

He didn’t eat them, though.

For the rest of the entire meal, The-Youngest lived in fear of Uncle Chris coming by and yelling at him. He realized how easy-going we are in this modern age and he vowed never to go in time to the 50s. Ever. I don’t know if Uncle Chris crossed a line, but it made the experience less fun for sure.

Full, the dinner almost spoiled by a little too much ribbing, we looked outside.

That weather forecast of showers, lightning, and thunder was coming true.

Doh!

We had one ride to do, one show to see, and the Fantasmic Light Show.