Our spontaneous trip to Orlando during 4th of July weekend was not only fun, but not as crowded as we expected. We visited the Vineland Premium Outlets at 8200 Vineland Ave and a full day at Epcot Center, which we haven't visited since it opened in 1982.
First I looked up a hotel on my Hotel Tonight app and found a Best Western on Lake Buena Vista for $77 a night. I was a bit skeptical, since first never stayed at a Best Western, but decided to give it a try since my friend Manny Ruiz from Hispanicize is always promoting it on social media. To my surprise is was pretty damn good. Beautiful room, clean, comfortable and best of all free transportation to Epcot.
We felt very safe after all the negative publicity the area has received as of late. At Epcot center they had a finger print security feature for everyone entering the park. All our bags were thoroughly checked and then we were off to discover all the countries and various cultures.
Our research before tackling 4th of July weekend in Orlando, started by downloading the My Disney Experience app on our iPhone and registered a few rides. Best thing is to schedule your rides so you avoid the long lines. Because of this we were able to enjoy the park without all stress of theme parks. At the suggestion of a long time Epcot source, we headed to Norway for the Frozen Ever After Ride, which he said was a "MUST". Definitely you can bypass this overhyped suggestion.
The best of Epcot is that its the only Disney park that serves alcoholic beverages, so we did partake. Whether having fish and chips in the British pavilion, or sushi dinner in Japan, freshly baked croissant and desserts in France, oversized pretzels with Bavarian beer in Germany and lunch at Marrakesh, Disney really knows how to make all these destinations authentic in Orlando.
Being that it was 4th of July, we went to the USA pavilion, where we were greeted an amazing choir of old Americana hymns, followed by a theater presentation of America's history, that despite it being a robotic show, in did fill us with pride of being an American, including the Starbucks on site.
The main reason we visited Epcot was for the 4th of July firework show, which was pretty intense and synchronized for 25 minutes. Definitely worth the wait.
Epcot is different. We loved it and will return, but its not a theme park for the rides, but for getting a taste of other cultures, before going to the real thing.