Friday I headed to Epcot with Rhonda after my radiation treatment, with the goal of seeing Night Ranger, who was that night’s Eat to the Beat concert. The concerts are free with admission, as part of the annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.
We met up at Disney’s Boardwalk resort and decided to have a slight snack for lunch since neither of us had eaten that day. We stopped at the ESPN Club restaurant on the boardwalk since they were offering an extra lunch discount for castmembers.
Not wanting to be too full, we split the pulled pork nachos, with the jalapenos and pico de gallo on the side since she won’t eat them. The chips were average bag chips, but the pork was moist with a sweet flavor, and they used both liquid and shredded cheese. The dish was a bit on the expensive side for nachos ($14.49), but was tasty and more than enough to fill both of us up.
After we ate, we took the boat from the Boardwalk to the International Gateway entrance of Epcot (located between the United Kingdom and France pavilions). From there we walked down to Canada, taking in the new lumberjack show. It was ok, but I prefer Off Kilter, which the lumberjacks recently replaced.
We then took the Friendship boat from the World Showcase entrance to Morocco. The castmember was a little rude yelling at us to walk faster or they’d leave without us. Definitely NOT how a castmember should talk to the guests.
As we walked toward to concert area, we were waylaid by the Funnel Cake booth which had a pumpkin spice flavor. With Rhon being a huge pumpkin spice fan, we had to stop and get one. It’s hard to improved on fried dough and powdered sugar, but the pumpkin spice was a tasty change from the regular funnel cake.
We then made it to the American Pavilion just in time to line up for the first set of Night Ranger. And by “in time” I mean an hour and a half before. Seating is limited at these concerts, and Night Ranger is a big draw.
Their first set started at 5:30pm, so they opted to do an acoustic set to, as vocalist Jack Blades explained, “ease the crowd into the rock so early in the day.” Two years ago they put out an album called “24 Strings & A Drummer,” an acoustic album of their hits, and the songs still sound great live acoustic style.
They made me happy that they played my favorite Night Ranger song, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” during this first set, with guitarist Brad Gillis doing a mean solo on the acoustic.
I wanted to stay for the remaining two sets, but the long day caught up to both of us. Rhon had gone in on her day off to work a few hours, so she’d been up since 3am, and the effects of the radiation coupled with the heat and exertion of walking around the World Showcase caused me to have a minor MS episode. So we both decided to call it a day and go home.
Once we got back to the Boardwalk (it’s easier to call for Uber/Lyft from there) we opted to grab a slice of pizza, and enjoy it on one of the tables by the lake as the sun set. Almost like we were on vacation ourselves.
I realized as it got cooler, and we rested a bit, that until I’m feeling better, I need to wait for cooler weather to visit the theme parks. The combination of the radiation effects, the exertion of walking so much, and the sun beating down on me just caused my body to freak out and then the MS kicked in.
But otherwise I had a great time, and it felt good to get out for a few hours. Even if I’m paying for it a bit two days later.
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Tagged: Epcot, ESPN Club, Food & Wine Festival, Night Ranger