We devoted our first full day in Disney World to Epcot because we wanted to experience the the Food and Wine Festival once again. It was so enjoyable to leisurely stroll around the lagoon while sampling wine, beer and food from 40 different countries and regions all over the world.
The food was wonderful but the true highlight of our first day was Soarin'. The ride simulates hang gliding over different cities and landscapes throughout California. I rode it a total of five times over the course of our stay. It was the perfect blend of excitement and relaxation. The ride started with the three tiers of seating being lifted off the floor. Then we were propelled up and into what appeared to be a bank of fog. The suspense lasted for what seemed a long time as we streaked through the misty surroundings. Suddenly, the vapor parted and we were over the Golden Gate Bridge with the Pacific Ocean to our right and all of San Francisco to our left. It was exhilirating, emotional, soothing and beautiful. We passed over rivers, deserts, orange groves, vineyards and mountains. Riders oohed and aahed from being to end.
And the end was quite surprising as you complete your "day" in California by flying over Disneyland during a fireworks display. The sights, sounds, smells and music are so well blended that one element never overpowers any of the others. This is Disney at their best. Immediately after getting off the first time, Juannie and I rushed to get a Fast Pass so we could be sure to ride again that day. Soarin' has quickly become one of the most popular attracations at Epcot. It is now my favorite ride in all of Disney World. And even Juannie, who is very afraid of heights, grew to love it as much as I did after trying it a couple of times.
Another highlight was watching two little girls trying to get close to a pair of rabbits in one of the gardens. I wished that we had taken pictures but I was so busy watching all of them that I didn't even think about the camera until after the bunnies dashed off. There are always lots of birds and flowers to admire in Epcot, too.
We shopped a little in Canada and ate some excellent cheddar cheese soup and maple fudge. Then we had some beer in Great Britain. While waiting for Juannie to come out of the restroom at one point, I sat down on the edge of a fountain and wound up with a wet butt and a soaked hood on my sweatshirt. I was oblivious that I was being goofy until I stood up and realized how drenched my rear end was. I took advantage of the walk to dry off my posterior while sampling Polish potato pierogies with sour cream as well as spanakopitta and karydopita. We had a wonderful lunch at The Tangerine Café in the Morocco Pavillion which included yummy baklava for dessert.
We were very full after lunch so we walked and shopped the rest of the afternoon to make sure we had room for our delicious dinner at The San Angel Inn at the Mexican Pavillion. It's our favorite restaurant at Disney World. It overlooks the water ride, El Rio Del Tiempo, at dusk with a replica of a pyramid sitting in the shadow of a rumbling volcano. It's very romantic and we make it a point to eat there at least once each time we are at Disney. The food is quite something, too. I had Pollo a las Rajas (Chicken with Rags). The rags are strips of grilled onion and peppers in a creamy, spicy cheese sauce that includes many chunks of chorizo. I am a sucker for cheese and chorizo so for me this dish is irresistible. Recipe behind the cut.
Pollo a las Rajas
4 chicken breast halves
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large poblano chile
1 large Spanish onion
1 large red bell pepper
l cup of chorizo (smoky Mexican sausage), peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
-Season chicken with salt and pepper.
-Place chicken in a roasting pan and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cooked.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan, and lightly sauté poblano pepper until skin starts separating. Peel skin from poblano pepper. Make a slit, and remove all seeds.
-Slice onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper into strips.
-Heat remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet. Add chorizo, garlic, onion and peppers. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until onions and peppers are soft. Add sour cream, half-and-half, black pepper and salt. Then simmer 3 minutes.
-On each serving plate, place 3/4 cup sausage mixture and one chicken breast on top. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
-Serve warm tortillas on the side for dipping in the sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
After dinner, we were almost completely sated. We ambled happily back to the car and on to our hotel room. After that, what happens in Disney stays in Disney. ;-P