Post-race, I did what I think we all do: immediately hopped in the shower. Thank God the showers at Caribbean Beach get good and hot, because I could barely feel my hands! GLOVES next time, Jenn. Throwaway race gloves. C’mon, you know better than that.
Thus cleansed, I ate one of the only worthwhile snackbox items – giant graham Goldfish crackers, for some reason – and dove under the covers for A Long Autumn’s Nap.
Some of you may feel this is a mistake. It’s okay, I get it. You are stronger than me. But when I try to power straight through the day, I wind up falling asleep on Spaceship Earth or wandering through World Showcase like a zombie. So a nap was absolutely in order.
I woke up to an empty hotel room and a text from Pat that he had gone for a walk and then a drink at Banana Cabana. He returned upon my text back that I was awake, and we got ready for park day #2!
Which was at the Studios, and why? While I had been running, Pat had gotten us Individual Lightning Lane slots for none other than Rise of the Resistance! In fact, the poor kid got up an hour early to do it – neither his phone nor the hotel room clock switched over to the new time. He texted me during the race like “I can’t make this work!!!” I responded “Try at 7am” and he was like “But it’s way past……… oh.” 😂
As part of his accidental pre-7am “troubleshooting,” he also purchased Genie+, so I went ahead and made us a Smuggler’s Run LL reservation as well. Then we headed out for Pat’s first trip on the one, the only Skyliner!
We arrived at the Studios a bit early, so we grabbed a quick lunch at Ronto Roasters before heading into the Smuggler’s Run Lightning Lane line. Tragically, we were assigned as engineers, but I managed to get 100% this time. Not that it matters when Hondo takes your profit anyway, but it’s the principle of the thing. Next time I’ll ask explicitly for pilot, I think. Although I’ve never been a gunner; is that fun?
There was a bit of time to kill before our Rise reservation, so we took a little sightseeing tour through Toy Story Land, as Pat hadn’t been since it opened. Then it was back to Batuu for our Rise of the Resistance Lightning Lane slot!
I don’t think Pat was as gobsmacked as I was the first time I rode, but he was definitely impressed. He particularly enjoyed the in-character rudeness of the First Order Cast Members. “I said ‘immediately;’ get out,” the CM told our transporter group, and later we were berated about our ability to collectively hold a straight line. I’m surprised Disney was willing to take it this far but I’m glad they did! Love the sass.
Somewhere in there I had picked up another Lightning Lane reservation for Tower of Terror, so we grabbed some drinks at the bar by the Indiana Jones stunt show and hung out for a bit before heading there.
Our Tower of Terror bellhop was GREAT. A lot of thing really get into their roles after the same fashion as the Rise CMs aforementioned, but this guy was hilarious and clearly enjoying himself. He had several quips of the general “you’re about to die in this elevator” variety, but my favorite was new. “Pull on the yellow seat belt strap,” he said, before deadpanning, “I really do care.” 😂
While in line for ToT, I made Lightning Lane reservations for Rock ‘n Roller Coaster for a very near time, so we did that next. I will never not miss The Shocker.
It was getting late in the afternoon – roundabouts time to take the Skyliner back to Caribbean Beach. We chilled there briefly before jumping back onto a gondola for the race after party at Epcot. I had bought Pat a party ticket, and we were able to check in and get our wristbands through the International Gateway.
Obviously the gateway dumps you out in World Showcase, so it only made sense to start our evening with some Food & Wine Festival kiosks. I know we definitely got some old favorites of mine like pao de queijo from Brazil and the bratwurst with pretzel bread in Germany.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR HARMONIOUS APPROACHETH
Then it was time for our first viewing of Harmonious! Unfortunately our vantage point was partially blocked by some trees out on those mini-islands, but that’s okay. As for the show itself, after my inaugural experience I tentatively liked it. I think I was just kinda taken aback by how different a direction Harmonious went by contrast to Illuminations. This is not inherently a bad thing, but I feel like the two shows perform very different tasks. Illuminations told an evocative original story, whereas Harmonious is a conceptual celebration of global connection through a heavily Disney-centric lens.
There’s been a lot of criticism leveled at Disney over the last few years about the prevalence of movie IP. Sometimes it’s warranted, sometimes it isn’t, but in the case of Harmonious I think they pulled it off. While the conceit of Disney songs in many languages might lead some to cynical thoughts about Disney’s worldwide domination, it’s nonetheless clever and on-brand for Epcot.
The real clincher though? The soundtrack. I mean, duh, the show revolves around Disney songs in other languages. Visually Harmonious is pleasant enough. But I’m a music person, and after having run to it several times now I can tell you that the Harmonious soundtrack is an absolute BANGER. It fits a ton of movies into a satisfying 20 minute time frame, and every segue and mashup feels organic. The beats are energetic, even during slower portions like “Reflection” that could’ve otherwise bogged down the flow. I’m fond of the “Arabian Nights” -> “I Wanna Be Like You” and Coco/Saludos Amigos parts especially.
Yeah, the infrastructure doesn’t look great out on the lagoon, but ultimately I’m pro-Harmonious. I can’t wait to see it again!
SPOILERS FOR HARMONIOUS END HERE
One of the touted benefits of attending the after party was the opportunity to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure without the virtual queue. Naturally that meant we went straight to the line after Harmonious, and naturally we were told that the ride was down. Ain’t that always the way.
Instead I hustled Pat over to Norway to ride Frozen Ever After, since I figured Pat would never want to wait in a daytime-sized line for that one. But as he turned out, he liked it! I mean, like I said, not enough to wait in a long line, but it really is well done.
Pat was more interested in the Food & Wine Festival than anything in the erstwhile Future World, so we spent some more time hitting up food kiosks. Unfortunately for me, I was getting preeeeetty chilly, which made me approach all cold drinks with suspicion. I did score a chocolate bread pudding from the Mexico kiosk that came with a warm fudge sauce on top, and that was a GREAT decision.
It was surprisingly late by that point, so Pat and I decided we would swing by Remy one more time. If it was up, we would ride; if it was down, we would head back to the resort. And whaddya know, it was up!
THERE BE POTENTIAL REMY RIDE SPOILERS AHEAD
I’ve read mixed reviews of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. I did ultimately enjoy it, with some caveats. Yes, it’s screen heavy, and like many I prefer practical sets to screens. But my primary gripe is the black crescent of floor you can see in front of the ride vehicles for the larger group screens. I find this distracting. When the ride vehicles scurry away to their individual cubby holes, you’re abutted to the screen, and the problem goes away.
That being said, it’s a fun little ride in an area of the park that could really use one. In a weird way, my favorite part is the beginning, as you gently waltz away from the loading area to the accordion sounds of “Le Festin.” I find it so serene.
REMY SPOILERS END HERE
There were still maybe 20 minutes of party left, but we elected to head out. Sadly the Skyliner was not operating, so we trudged to the bus area and were back at Caribbean Beach in short order. We performed our nightly ablutions and headed off to dreamland. More park shenanigans awaited us in the morning!
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