Discovery Day: Take Two

To anyone who has ever been an Epcot Cast Member, you remember Discovery Day. (Probably.)

You know the drill–a run-through of the Four Keys Basics (repeat after me, class: Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency!) and a mostly-walking tour of Future World, followed by a boat ride around World Showcase and a visit from your respective Coordinator of Training.

And the magical secret Epcot initiation that I want so badly to share but swore not to, with my right hand raised and the oath “So help me, Mickey!” ringing in my ears.

This is my second Discovery Day, which is to say I have been re-Epcot-ized. No more Magic Kingdom for me! Not for the next few months, anyway.

And boy does it feel good to be back. I love Epcot, love with a capital LOVE.

There are some things I was reminded of on today’s walking tour, a refresher course in the magical world of Walt’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. For example, there are over 11,000 triangle tiles on Spaceship Earth (the actual number seems to vary depending on who you ask or which website you use) and Ellen’s Energy Adventure is 45 minutes long. And Innoventions is a really awesome way to get out of the heat.

The best part about Discovery Day is arguably the ride portion. A quick trip to the past and future on Spaceship Earth provides air conditioning, a good synopsis of what Epcot is all about (uniting the world through technology, without forgetting our past) and some good fun facts.

“I can smell Rome burning from here,” one girl behind me said, inhaling deeply in the queue line. This is a reference to the piped-in scent featured on the ride, the smell of smoke (faintly like bacon, really) pouring from the scene where Rome burns the scrolls of Alexandria.

That launched the group into a discussion of other piped-in smells, like the Main Street sweets and confections scent and the popcorn in Storybook Circus. This, as most conversations do when speaking with other Cast Members, turned into a fact war. Who has the most information? The craziest Guest story? The most magical moment? (Cast Members are both defensive and territorial, and the ‘True Believers’ all like to out-magic each other, a rather angry defense system I think comes from smiling day-in-day-out).

“Have you had Beverly?” someone asked in a challenging tone as we walked past Club Cool. For the uninitiated, Club Cool is a Coca-Cola sponsored store in Epcot where you can taste various carbonated drinks from around the world in shotglass-sized portions. Beverly, an Italian aperitif with a horribly bitter aftertaste, is a bit of an initiation for Cast Members. It tastes gosh-awful, and it’s a running joke to not warn people about the taste and laugh at their reaction.

“I once chugged five portions of Beverly on a bet,” the girl I was with said. We all made respective disgusted faces, because most people refuse to even finish a single sip.

We strolled past all sorts of landmarks and discussed important facts at length. We made friends with our fellow Cast Members and checked out our costumes for the Festival.

Most of all, though, we got to high-five each other for escaping our respective locations for the next five months. Because everyone loves Food and Wine! (And those Hollywood Studios Cast Members were relieved to get away from Frozen.)

Actually, during the introduction portion of the day we were asked to list our name, location and favorite Disney song. When we’d gone around the room, our guide applauded and said, “I noticed not a single one of you mentioned Frozen. That’s how I can tell you’ve all been Cast Members for a while!”

(For the First Time In Forever, we do not want to Build a Snowman and think it’s time to Let It Go.)

No matter the reason or season or how we all ended up in the same room, there was a tangible zip of enthusiasm in the air. It’s a new season! A new Festival!

Hello, Food and Wine 2014! Bring it on.

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