Another week, another date night!!! Hubby and I once again took to the walkway of World Showcase at Epcot for our evening together. This week, we ventured over to the China Pavilion, where we explored some new tastes and enjoyed some tremendous entertainment (I had no idea bodies could do that!). We didn’t realize how quickly the night got away from us!
Disclaimer: All expenses for this evening were paid by me. This post was not requested, nor compensated for its publication.
It was the second week of our Dating Around World Showcase commitment and yet another night where we made a crazy dash over to Epcot after a long day of work. We were so afraid of being late for our reservation! Honestly, I hate being late – with a passion (even thirty seconds late), but the Cast Member at the front gate reassured us that we had no need to worry. They tend to show a lot of grace when it comes to being on time here at Walt Disney World Resort & Parks.
Even so, we walked as briskly as we could across Future World and into World Showcase. Once we crossed the bridge, we headed toward the left once again. China is the third country on the walk around the approximately 1.3 mile stretch. Yes, that means we skipped one, but I promise you I will cover Norway in the near future (that one has a fun ending! You HAVE to read that one!).
I’m Hungry!!! Let’s EAT!
As I said, we headed straight to our dining reservation. Our choice for the evening was Nine Dragons, the table service restaurant located immediately to the left as you enter through the large Chinese Paifang Gate. We were actually only five minutes late (internally I was stressing, but I held it in pretty well…if you can believe that), but we were seated and greeted quite promptly with smiles on Cast Member faces.
When comparing this to our last date night here in World Showcase (I know, comparing is not a nice thing to do), there is a definite difference in the atmosphere here. That’s not to say this is a bad thing! Goodness, no. What I mean is that, while our dinner at San Angel Inn Restaurant in Mexico was eaten under the impression of twilight, China’s Nine Dragons has a much brighter and more colorful decor. It was actually nice to be able to see our meals this time.
However, remember my mentioning in the last post that the ceilings were higher in the Mexico Pavilion and that this helped with acoustics? Unfortunately, Nine Dragons’ lower ceiling, along with its closely placed tables and crowded dining area, made hearing for this slightly impaired gal a little more difficult.
But, I digress….
We ordered fairly quickly – making sure we started off with something to calm the nerves. Walking swiftly across any Disney Park is not for the faint of heart.
Our drinks of choice
We both kind of like our drinks – when we have them – a little on the sweeter side. Hubby’s choice this week was a Shanghai Fusion and I enjoyed the South Sea Breeze, both delicious rum concoctions. They were exactly what we were looking to enjoy that evening and we sipped on them throughout the entire meal (one is the limit for us!).
Well, you can imagine that all the hustling made us hungry! We were famished by the time we were seated, so we decided to order an appetizer to share right away.
For some reason, we never seem to order the potstickers during the Epcot festivals, so we took a chance on them that evening. I loved them. They were packed very nicely and truly the perfect start to the meal. Alongside them was served a side of soy sauce for dipping. This added a lot of extra flavor – yum!
For our entree, we decided to share the special they were serving that evening. In the past, we have tried the Peking duck served at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs and that dish was downright delicious (and expensive!). I actually enjoy a good duck plate and, since we do not eat it that often, we thought this would be a nice way to enjoy something special together.
Unfortunately, the skin was EXTREMELY tough and crispy and almost too difficult to chew. I so wish it hadn’t been – because I do love the flavor of duck meat. The dish was served with bao buns and slaw and we were instructed by our server to create sandwiches with what was on our plate. It ended up working out, but it wasn’t out of this world.
PSSST – Hubby said no more duck for awhile…I’m a little sad.
Did we leave room for dessert? Of course we did! Why do you think we SHARE our meals?
For this visit, we were strongly encouraged to try the banana cheesecake eggrolls. OH – EM – GOODNESS!!! Yup – it was good. It was the perfect way to end that meal, giving us something positive with which to walk away.
Hubby took care of the scoop of ice cream that came with it (ice cream and I love each other dearly, but cannot share the same physical space), but I have to tell you that this cheesecake eggroll saved the day. I loved – loved – loved – the banana flavor and the caramel that was drizzled all over the eggroll. It was unique creation and bursting with flavor. Yum – definitely worth saving some room to share.
Meet Our Cast Member, Feixiang
As always, we love to meet Cast Members. Finding out where they are from and how they like working with Disney always fascinates us and makes us feel like the visit is more complete.
This time, we met Feixiang (sorry, I cannot even attempt to create a “sounds-like” for this. He doesn’t deserve my butchering that for him). But, oh my. Such a sweet smile and kind heart. I admit I had a difficult time hearing him with the acoustics, his accent and the crowd, but his Disney personality and customer service spoke for themselves. At the time we met him, he had been in the area for six months, but had worked for Disney on and off some time. He was actually involved in the training of new Cast Members coming in from China, preparing them as they go through the various stages of learning the language, learning the customs, learning the Disney culture.
Sadly, Feixiang does not get to see his family too often while he is in the United States, but he does love the fact that modern technology allows him to stay connected. Whether through Facetime or Skype, he makes sure to stay in touch while he is here living out a Disney dream.
QUICK NOTE: If you are looking for a quick service option, The Lotus Blossom Cafe has some great options!
Time to Explore
After dinner, we made our way over to the main building found within the pavilion. The ginormous red and gold building is meant to be a one-half scale replica of the Temple of Heaven. According to UNESCO, the Temple of Heaven is meant to represent the relationship between earth and heaven. The original temple had been the site of the annual pilgrimage made by Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, during which they would offer prayers for a good harvest.
On the way into the Temple, I took some time to capture some fabulous photographs of the courtyard with its ponds, bridges and lush green gardens. To be honest, this is one of my favorites sections of the World Showcase to photograph ~ such gorgeous landscaping and architecture.
Temple of Heaven
We walked immediately into a room that is said to have extraordinary and perfect acoustics! Even the slightest whisper is meant to be heard.
Everything inside the Temple is meant to be symbolic – from the four central pillars representing the four seasons to the twelve outer pillars representing the twelve months of the year, as well as twelve years in the Chinese calendar. It’s absolutely and stunningly gorgeous inside – breathtaking and majestic.
Circle-Vision 360º Movie
While gazing upon the artistic perfection surrounding us, we noticed that they were just closing the doors to the theater for another showing of “Reflections of China.” We raced in to the standing-room-only theater and found ourselves right in the middle. This film showcases China in all its 360° glory, sharing both its history and scenery. It’s a fabulous way to “travel” there and introduce yourself to the culture and landscapes China has to offer.
I do need to warn you, though. If you experience motion sickness, there is the possibility for some vertigo. Unfortunately, I felt victim to it and had a very difficult time focusing on the film. I did make it through, however, and did enjoy as much as I could. China is spectacularly gorgeous!
Back in 2007, when we visited Walt Disney World for the first time as a family, this was one of the highlights ~ watching the Chinese Acrobats out in the courtyard. Our oldest son was fascinated with them at that point and watched with such intent! A few years later, on a cool New Year Eve’s morning, we had watched them again, but inside the Temple of Heaven. Sadly, they were not as entertaining there.
This go round, they were FABULOUS! The crowd was thick and energized with excitement. The temperature was perfect and we found ourselves a great seat right up at the rope. The things these acrobats can do are phenomenal and the entire audience loved every minute of the performance.
Time to Browse
At that point, we were ready to browse through the shops before calling it a night. It was far past the time to snap a picture with Mulan and the sun was beginning to set.
We pushed our way to the back of the pavilion and first roamed through a section dedicated to Shanghai Disneyland. It was fun to look at the map and cast member costumes they use over there.
Moving on, we started to browse through the merchandise and found tons of absolutely gorgeous items. From exquisitely crafted statues, gorgeously designed lanterns, various cat and panda figures and……yes, of course, hats, we found ourselves spending a great deal of time exploring and trying things on.
Another Ending To a Magical Evening
It was dark by the time we were ready to call it a night. Illuminations was just about to begin and, to be honest, the park was nearly empty. With Flower & Garden having just finished and the walkways emptied of the outdoor kitchens, it seemed, at times, as if there were only a handful of people there.
We watched the fireworks as we made our way to the front of the park. It had been another full night of fun, exploration, meeting new people and trying new things. We were reconnecting, enjoying each other’s company and experiencing Disney Magic in our way.
Our Next Date Will Be…
Well, next time, I plan to go backwards and cater to my OCD. Skipping a country was tough for me – lol, but we weren’t ready to experience Norway and I’m okay with that. The time we did spend there ended up being an adventure in and of itself.
Oh, now I can’t wait to share! Stay tuned!
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