The morning after I was vehemently craving a greasy burger. My Mom asked, “Hungover, huh?”
Yes Mom, I am.
It started off with just one innocent Yuengling tall boy. Followed by one inconspicuous lunchtime melon drink. Then a margarita in Mexico. Sake in Japan. Then somewhere along the way came rum, vodka, and more beer.
For most of us born and raised in Orlando, Disney is just sorta there. It exists and we nod our heads to its looming shadow, but that’s about it. While the tourist traps have undoubtedly played a vital role in shaping Orlando into an international destination, you won’t see us walking around in Mickey ears. We avoid International Drive like the plague. Yes, most of us have been to Harry Potter World. However no, I’m not “always at the parks.”
But it’s the most magical place on earth! Nah. I may be bitter sure, but after welcoming nearly 113 million (MILLION!) sunscreen lathered, fanny pack festooned tourists who cut you off on the highway virtually every. single. day. the industry that created your home begins to take a toll on the ambiance.
That said, I’ve also had an on again, off again relationship with Orlando. I loved it during childhood, loathed it in my teenage and college years, now I’m somewhere in between. I think more of an appreciation for Orlando has evolved during my early adulthood.
However there was still one thing on the hometown bucketlist I had yet to achieve: drink around the world at Epcot.
BEST TIME TO VISIT EPCOT
While Disney is always busy no matter the time of the year, avoid visiting during the months of July – September if you can help it. It’s mad hot. I’d by lying if I said I haven’t seen tourists pass out at the parks. Don’t be that tourist people.
However more importantly, try to book your Disney getaway when there are no conventions or special events happening at the parks. When we went there was a Star Wars 5K that morning evident in the Princess Lea’s and various Star War pajama laden park goers we saw (yes there was more than one person dressed in Star Wars jammies). Unless you’re participating in an event, try and avoid these weekends as the lines for rides become unbearably long.
INTERNATIONAL FLOWER & GARDEN FESTIVAL
Celebrating spring each year, Epcot hosts the International Flower & Garden Festival from April – June. Unlike the larger International Food & Wine Festival, this one focuses on loading the entire park with vibrant flowers and topiaries. We’ve had some record breaking heat (wuddup global warming) so I wasn’t sure how great the festival would be this year. But leave it to Disney to always go balls to the wall. The perfectly manicured flowers and shrubbery pruned into various Disney characters became more and more *magical* with every drink.
Besides flowers and gardens, additional food stalls pop up around the park offering cheaper alternatives for guests than the traditional sit down restaurants. However if you happen to be at Epcot during the regular season, I highly suggest booking a reservation at the Coral Reef Restaurant. While expensive, it’s pretty darn good seafood for a Disney restaurant AND it overlooks a dope aquarium.
DRINKING FESTIVITIES BEGIN
Drinking around Epcot is not cheap. Expect to spend close to $100 on drinks alone. The cheapest one I got was a pint in the English pub for $6. Most liquor drinks were between $8-14. If you love wine you will be disappointed, I spent $8 on the saddest shot glass of wine I’d ever seen. Every cocktail I got was delicious though, they definitely have their liquor drinks on point.
A few tips for you fellow first timers:
- You can’t drink around Epcot without getting a margarita in Mexico. Folklore has it that if you start off the loop of countries (Epcot makes a figure 8) with Mexico, you won’t make it to the end. They are known to be a bit lethal. Be forewarned. But when the time does come, get the Hibiscus margarita. Not only does it taste heavenly but it’s the cheapest one they offer. Double win.
- Skip the shot in Norway, expensive and tastes like ass.
- Don’t get beer at the outside food stalls, that $5 beer might look appetizing but once you see the Seven Dwarf sized cup you’ll think otherwise. No fear though beer lovers, DO get beer at the pub in England. They come in pints.
- The sparkling filtered sake in Japan was awesome! Plus the sake bar was right inside a gift shop where we modeled kimonos… to ourselves. The alcohol may or may not of had something to do with this. No cultural appropriation here at all folks.
- So this is one I wrote in my notes yet can’t actually remember. But if you’re trusting me enough to read this far, get a Canta Loop at the food stall in China. If I wrote it down you know it has to be good.
- Suggestions from the squad:
- Hard root beer float in America
- Orange Grand Marnier with Grey Goose, I quote, “It’s the titties.”
- Sangria in Mexico
It was hot, it was sweaty, the lines were long. But it was damn sure worth it. Granted I got a free ticket from my friend who works there (thanks Kylie!) so it made the experience even sweeter. Overall though, I’d probably do it again even if I had to buy my own ticket. I mean where else can you hit up Africa, Germany and China in one afternoon?
P.S.: Shout out to the random person I gave my number to, please stop texting me.