I had no big plans this spring to go to Walt Disney World. In fact, I actually decided against going because I have three trips planned in the fall (including Disneyland!). But I keep up on events at the World for obvious reasons. I noticed that they were doing a rehab of El Rio Del Tiempo, otherwise known in my circles as the "Mexican Small World". They’re changing the storyline and calling it "Gran Fiesta Tour" starring The Three Caballeros. Our heroes, find themselves running around Mexico looking for fellow caballero and Fab Fiver, Donald Duck. "Interesting", I think. And although I’m glad that the people at the swim up bar will finally be going home pruney after their LONG vacation, I’m still not compelled to plan a trip. I can see it in the fall.
Then there’s the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival from April 5th through June 3rd. I love, love, love this festival. There’s nothing better than coming from the cold, wet weather at home and seeing Epcot in full bloom. I’m a topiary fan. Plus I marvel at how healthy everything is; I got a flowering plant for Valentine’s Day and it’s already dead. I envy the horticulture department’s talent. Every year I tell my friend who lives in Florida how I envy him and every year I see his taunting photos of the topiaries as he rubs in the fact that he hasn’t seen snow in over five years. But even this, does not motivate me to plan my trip.
Obviously it is going through my mind. I even look at the performer line-up for "Flower Power" Concert Series. Yep, Davy Jones is there. I hate to admit that I was a Monkees fan when I was a kid. I can’t say that Davy Jones’ music is under my "Can’t Admit Favs" iPod playlist (really!). But if you ask me, I can sing every word of Daydream Believer.
Then, I read that L’Originale Alfredo di Roma is closing at the end of August. I know there are people who aren’t fans of the Italian restaurant in the World Showcase. But I have some wonderful memories there. Most of them involve my Sicilian dad interacting with the waiters and speaking Italian. And the waiter flirting with me and calling me "bella" to get a better tip. Not to mention their cannolis taste almost exactly like those my little Sicilian grandma used to make. Once Alfredo’s goes, I wonder if the memories that tasting those sweet cannolis conjur up won’t be as strong.
So, I’m planning to head down during the middle of May with my parents and a friend for once last experience at Epcot’s Alfredo di Roma. Oh, I could go to their restaurant in Rome or New York. Somehow, it seems much more magical in Central Florida. We will dine once more, toast one of our favorite Epcot experiences "arrivederci" and look forward to the Italian restaurant that Disney says will replace it. As much as I hate to see Alfredo’s go, I would like to think that the reason it is, is a testament to this place Walt imagined, this "World’s Fair". It is always changing.
I think Alfredo’s just tipped the scales on the "theme park on my mind". Truthfully, I’ve been thinking about "Soarin" for weeks. It’s not as if I need an excuse but maybe a way to rationalize my draw to this place. And if I happen to be eating my cannoli to the sounds of "Daydream Believer", well, all the better. Just one more memory that I can think about when I come home to the rest of our slushy, blustery spring.