A few weeks back I set a 4-week goal to visit each of the Walt Disney World parks in turn and try to hunt down a place I had never been to before. It had to be a real location, and it could not be a women’s restroom. I would then share my findings with the world. I first visited Magic Kingdom, then set my sights on Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Like most of my goals, this one was left half finished, like that Volcano Hot Tub I tried to build in the backyard last summer, or the treadmill I purchased in January, which makes an excellent laundry hanger. My mom even called to wonder why she spent $300 on a French Horn if I wasn’t going to bother to learn the chords (which has nothing to do with Parkeology, and actually hasn’t been relevant for two decades, but you know mom).
But I want to assure you that I actually did visit all four parks in four weeks. I just didn’t blog about them, because Teevtee went to Tokyo Disneyland a couple weeks back and didn’t bother to take me along. It’s hard to write when you’re depressed. Hopefully he at least got a few blog posts out of it.
Anyway, I told you up front that I expected Epcot to be the easiest park for me to find uncharted territory, and indeed I was correct. All I had to do was head to World Showcase and invade one of the two restaurants I’ve never eaten at, and I could check this park off the list. I knew it would be easy. I didn’t know it would be weird.
I’m sure all you alcoholics think it is downright criminal that I’ve never visited the Rose and Crown before. Had never even set foot inside. You have every right to flame me, as this restaurant is considered one of the true classics of Epcot and has been there since Day One. But I don’t drink and I don’t eat English food, which has a frightening way of labeling things with unappetizing nouns like bangers, leeks, and shepherd’s pie. I’m sure it’s all very delicious, but they could use some help in the marketing department.
I figured it was high time I got myself inside the Rose and Crown to at least see what the decor looked like, and maybe … play darts and watch soccer? What do people do in pubs? I’m tragically clueless about the whole experience, but I was unprepared to be confronted with this:
This person is known as the Hat Lady, and if I had to guess, it is probably because of the goose on her head. She has a whole corner in the back of the bar, and maybe puts on a show or something? There’s a microphone and a keyboard. I didn’t see the show, but I was enthralled with the idea that this spring chicken had her own performance area in an Epcot restaurant, and is probably some sort of cult Disney figure that everyone has heard of except me. But then, I’m also the same person that for years didn’t know what “Kungaloosh” meant, and would make snarky comments about how the Adventurer’s Club was Disney’s version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Much to my shame.
There’s a giant spread of photos of people with the Hat Lady sprawled out on the counter at her nook. It’s apparently a big deal. I think there was a bigger line for her than I’ve ever seen for Duffy the Bear. There’s a sign nearby that the hats are part of the act. This allowed me to indulge in a fantasy that it is some sort of freakishly fantastic puppet show. But I’m going to assume it’s maybe some lighthearted music and dry British humor.
I do wish I could have stayed for the show, but I felt a little guilty hanging around in the bar without ordering anything, and I really wasn’t in the mood for Two Turds in a Burp or a glass of Donkey Knuckles or whatever they were serving. And I’m 99% sure everyone who might read this has heard of the Hat Lady, has seen the show dozens of times, and are probably pictured in that photo spread up above, so a review of it is pointless. I would like to know more about what happens, so if anyone wants to drop a synopsis in the comments, I would love to hear it.
Now with Epcot off the list, there’s only one park left! Will I succeed? Tune in next week (maybe).
This is part of a series of posts on unexplored theme park locations. You can read about our discoveries in the other parks by clicking the links below: