What is our other favorite park at Disney World?
Surprise! It's Epcot!
Yes, we love Epcot so much that when we only had 1 and a half days to spend at Disney World, the Magic Kingdom got the first day and Epcot got the second!
Epcot really is fun for the whole family, although for some people it has the reputation as being the park that is the least fun for kids. All of our family believes it offers something for each of us.
There is all kinds of international fun to be had at Epcot. One half of the park is called World Showcase. Eleven countries are represented through architecture, food, rides and shops. As you can see here, Petunia has a grand time, even in the shops. These shops are just one way to get a very special...even exotic...souvenir from Disney. And...we have a favorite one! Can you guess which country? We'll get there in a bit.
In Epcot, there seem to be characters that either you cannot see in other places or that are harder to see elsewhere. Since many of Disney's stories take place in foreign countries, Epcot creates a natural place to see some of these special folks. For instance, Beauty and the Beast takes place in France. So, Petunia has gotten to meet and talk to Belle there. In fact, she was once first in line and Belle walked up to her, took her hand, and walked her over to the photo spot. How special!
Well, since this visit was in October, Duffy (Mickey Mouse's teddy bear) was dressed up in his jack-o-lantern costume when Petunia got to meet him.
As if this trip wasn't already awesome, we got to meet up and spend lots of this day with good friends of ours who we now live far apart from. In fact, these friends re-introduced Disney to us in our adulthood and I can thank them for my extreme love of Disney parks now!
Petunia and their oldest have been friends since birth!
All kinds of amazing sights at Epcot!
Did you guess that our favorite shop was in the "country" of Japan? It is! Read on for the details of how to get a souvenir that I often tell people about and many people have never heard of.
It is one of our very favorite things to do at Epcot. In fact, it was on my Top 3 list for the day.
In the department store in Japan, you can go in, pay a very reasonable fee, and pick out an oyster.
There is quite a to-do made over your oyster selection and anyone in the store can witness the hullabaloo! Fun to have others join in your ceremony and to watch it happen for others, too!
After all the fanfare, your oyster is opened to reveal its treasure. A pearl!
The pearl is yours to keep! I have seen large pearls, small pearls, colored pearls and even twin pearls come out of the oysters. You just take your chance, pick which oyster you want and that's what you get.
At that point, you can take your pearl and go, or leave it there and have it made into a piece of jewelry. On this trip, Petunia and I each picked a pearl and had them set into necklaces. Talk about a special souvenir!
One thing I love about going to Disney World is that there is so much to do that every trip can be different. Each time, I try to repeat our very favorites while also trying plenty of new things. New for this trip was the princess dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Dining Hall.
We were pretty excited to get in there!
And were we ever right to be excited! The food was different...all kinds of food in a large buffet, so no long wait for food once you get in. While you're waiting to get your seat, your family gets a photo with a selected princess and you are given a 5x7 copy of it while you're there. Another special souvenir!
The best part, though, are the conversations and the HUGS with the various princesses that come around to greet you while you're eating. As you might can tell--especially if you're a parent--the look on Petunia's face made the "expensive" dinner worth every penny!
Childhood memories are made from moments like these!
We emerged to the most gorgeous evening! What a magical day, indeed!
We didn't leave before getting a second ride of the day on one of our established favorites--Soarin'! That was also just about the first thing we had done that morning because it was--you guessed it--part of the Top 3 for the day!
We saw, rode, greeted, and ate much more. These are the special highlights, though. It was a short trip, but I hope this helps you see that even with only a couple days, and a little bit of planning, you can pack a lot of magic into your time at Disney World!