This is part of a series on our days at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I recap each day, the park we visited, where and what we ate and drank, the very best parts of each, and what we'd do differently or skip altogether for next time.
Here's What's Been Covered:
The overview of this trip to Orlando
A Decoding Disney Guide that helps you understand the many terms and features
Day 1: a little warm up at the Magic Kingdom, at night, just for a few hours, and just for the girls
Day 2: a full day at Universal Studios, which was the highlight of the trip for the guys - my husband and his brother
Day 3: a full day at the Magic Kingdom, the best day for me, my sister-in-law, and my niece!
Day 4, it's Epcot and the Best Food!
Day 5 is Hollywood Studios and the new Toy Story Land
If you're visiting Figs and Flights for the first time, please stay a while and take a look around. Start here if you're looking for all things Disney.
Magic Kingdom is my all-time favorite park but Epcot is a close second! Epcot stands for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and the park is marked by the HUGE silver ball, called Spaceship Earth. The vibe is futuristic and innovative, Epcot is filled with connection, nature, and technology. It's a park for the dreamers and the thinkers, the nature lovers and the foodies.
You're able to visit different countries around the "world" in the World Showcase. Each country is filled with restaurants, stores, food, drinks, and Cast Members (Disney employees) from the host country, creating a pretty-close-to-authentic experience.
Our 4th day in the parks was a full day at Epcot. We really made our way around the park throughout the day. While we ate very well everyday, our day in Epcot included two stellar meals in the park. Everything we ate was amazing!
The big silver ball - Spaceship Earth
You should absolutely ride Spaceship Earth, it's my favorite in the park. Get yourself a FastPass and admire the giant sphere from outside until your time to ride arrives.
The ride focuses on humans' communication throughout the years and takes you on a journey from cave paintings and the invention of paper to watching the moon landing via TVs in our homes up to the way we communicate now (Hello, internet!). It pieces together our growth and connection to one another over the decades, it's so interesting. Plus the ride is long, you're seated the whole time, and it's nice and cool inside!
We actually got stuck on this ride inside the Sistine Chapel, watching Michelangelo paint his masterpiece above while listening to the church music. While the painting is a historic and artistic masterpiece, it was ironic and hilarious to me, a 14 year veteran of Catholic school, to be made to sit in church against my will!
Living with the Land
Living with the Land is another one of my favorite rides, and a FastPass attraction. It's a ride about growing plants, FOOD, nature, and our Earth. If you appreciate learning where your food comes from, keeping a yard or garden, or nature at any level, this ride is for you. You coast through the greenhouses on a boat and take in the beauty of Mother Nature's bounty.
Lunch at Via Napoli, in Italy
We kicked of our eating at Epcot at Via Napoli Restaurante e Pizzeria, in Italy. This is one of the few meals where we didn't chose a buffet and our group of 6 people all loved the vibe and food at Via Napoli.
While we were waiting for our table, my niece and I had a chance to speak Italian with the Cast Members. I stumbled through a few sentences while they patiently humored me. I've been teaching my niece a few words and phrases over the years and watching her light up when our new Italian friends understood what she was saying was magical. "Aunt Ang" sounds so gross to me and I've been begging this particular child, my oldest niece, to call me Zia for as long as I can remember. Zia means Aunt, in Italian, so we started with that word + pazza, which means crazy, so we could all giggle together in honor of my Crazy Aunt status, then chat about her other words like "io capisco" which she proudly translated as "I understand!" I first spoke Italian aloud, outside of a classroom, to a taxi driver when I was 30. I'd never actually used another language before and I am SO proud to have been able to help my girl with that at age 8. This is the magic of Disney at Epcot, it's brining the world to Florida.
That all being said, here are some Italian words I'm sure that YOU know: calamari, pizza, eggplant parmesano, espresso, tiramisu, and cannoli. You name it, we had it. I'm a believer that bread served with olive oil, rather than butter, is a good sign in an Italian restaurant and we were dipping crusts into olive oil within minutes of sitting down at Via Napoli. The calamari and eggplant parmesan were shared by my husband and I and we carefully divided and devoured every last bite. The pepperoni-Mickey-cluster and the joy on my (picky) nieces face says it all. Don't miss the photo of the pizza ovens named for famous Italian mountains. Our meal was great and the desserts were exceptional, both tiramisu and cannoli, finished perfectly with espresso drinks.
I've read good and bad reviews of this restaurant, and the other one in Epcot's Italy, and would go back to Via Napoli again in a heartbeat.
Dinner at the Biergarten, in Germany
For dinner we had another amazing meal at the Biergarten Restaurant in Germany. We were just starting to get hungry again, after our Italian lunch, when we took our first trip to the Biergarten's buffet. Even for my pescatarian diet, this buffet is amazing. I had salmon with dill, German cucumber salad, spatzel, cheesy potatoes, green beans, and so much more. They've also got beer, of course, and tons of desserts!
There's a stage in the center of the restaurant and you'll love the entertainment. There's live music and dance parties, which will usually get the kids onto the dance floor for a few minutes!
This was my second time at the Biergarten. I knew it would be a winner for my brother-in-law's huge appetite, since it had been for my tween-aged nephew with a similar appetite a few years ago. This place is a real gem.
The Frozen Ever After Ride, in Germany
If you time things carefully, you can do your time in Germany just right. Get a FastPass for the Frozen Ever After ride just before or after your Biergarten meal. The World Showcase is a long walk around a lake so you'll want to be strategic with your time to minimize how many laps around the lake you'll do.
This is the newest ride in Epcot and IT'S GREAT! Even if you haven't seen Frozen, or you've seen it too many times, you'll love this ride. Even the experience while you're waiting in line is entertaining. You'll see your gals, Elsa and Anna, Sven, and my favorite, Olaf, and there's a great surprise on the ride! It's one that all ages will love.
Cronut with Ice Cream, in Canada
Visit the Refreshment Port in Canada if you've got room for dessert. This time we actually didn't save any room for dessert so these photos are from a visit in 2017.
Who cares, we're talking about a cronut topped with ice cream! If you missed the trendy food combo a few years ago, a cronut is a croissant + donut hybrid. This beauty is shaped like a donut but has the many, flaky layers of a croissant. It's surrounded by cinnamon and sugar and then sent over the edge with cold soft serve ice cream. This is a masterpiece and it's so hard to eat without making a huge mess of yourself! You'll survive, though!
Be careful with timing here, I tried to eat this for breakfast (uh yeah, it's a croissant/donut, that's breakfast) and the Refreshment Port doesn't open as early as the park does.
Our day at Epcot was great, especially for me as a foodie. The food, my handful of favorite rides, shopping, and option for drinking make this park so interesting and different from the others. The park has less rides than some of the others and we were happy to get back home and into bed early after our Epcot day.
Epcot holds two festivals each year: The Flower and Garden Festival and the Food and Wine Festival. We experienced Flower and Garden a few years ago and I'd LOVE to go back for the Food and Wine festival some day!
Hello, I'm Angela.
Figs and Flights is all about traveling near and far & eating great food both at home and away.