Started off the morning grabbing some breakfast at the Mill then hopping on a bus to the Animal Kingdom. Joined the crowd near Discovery Island for the rope drop and marched out to the safari with them. Walked on the first time and then circled around and waited 15 minutes for a second one. Once back in Africa headed across the bridge and walked by the Tough to Be a Bug Exit area and then over to Dinoland to meet up with the rest of my group near Dinosaur. Unfortunately it was down so we went over by Everest so they could use their Fastpasses then we walked through Asia and headed for the park exit. Hopped on a bus to the TTC and Ferry to the Magic Kingdom. Caught the Main Street Trolley show then grabbed a hot dog at Caseys before heading out to the Columbia Harbor House to meet up with the others who were eating there. After lunch some went fishing and the rest of us wandered through Fantasyland and over to Storybook Circus to check out the Pete’s Silly Sideshow. Went through both queues and then stopped by the new Dumbo queue and went for a spin. Made my way over to Tomorrowland and grabbed something to drink from the Launching Pad then headed back through Fantasyland by way of the Castle walkway on the East side. Walked around and then back to Main Street and down the parade route. Caught the beginning of the parade and then hopped on the Express Monorail to the TTC and went round trip on the EPCOT line then the Express line before returning to the Magic Kingdom to rejoin my group. We walked out to Liberty Square and visited the Haunted Mansion then Mickeys Philharmagic before heading back down Main Street and waiting for a launch to Fort Wilderness. Ate dinner at Trails End then took several busses before eventually making it back to the Riverside to call it a night.
Somehow we managed to make it to the Animal Kingdom for the rope drop without even trying. Breakfast and the buses somehow lined up. I was disappointed to find no ceremony/event/or anything really for the drop. Basically a cast member said please wait till the ropes are out the way then walk to your first destination. At that the mass set off through the park.
We ended up doing back to back rides on the Safari with no wait and no Fastpass thanks to the really light crowd this morning. Cannot remember being able to do that at park opening without a Fastpass before.
Walked along the River from Africa to Asia on the Tree of Life side and got to see even more of the netting near the Tough to Be a Bug exit area. Still seems they could have come up with a better plan than this. Hopefully this is a temporary fix, but I would guess not.
A member of our group had not ridden Dinosaur so we tried to visit and it was down. Instead they went over to Everest.
We then headed for the Magic Kingdom for lunch (and some were fishing this afternoon over there). I caught the Main Street Trolley show, which was noteworthy for two reasons. First no trolley today, they were using the fire truck and a car instead. Second the show is running its autumn version which I do not think I have seen before. Here is a video of one of the stops:
The group that went fishing today tried something new. They went out on one of the bass boat instead of a pontoon boat like they normally do. At WDW pricing is the same, the difference is the number of people you can have on the boat. They really enjoyed the smaller boat and cruising across the lake at a higher speed. The fishing was about the same from what I could tell by their stories.
While they were fishing I was exploring more of the Magic Kingdom. Pete's Silly Sideshow opened this morning which is the last piece of the Storybook Circus to open. It is a character meet and greet tent. There are two lines when you go inside. One for Goofy and Donald and the other for Daisy and Minnie. Overall I thought it was a nice little addition and seeing the characters in some different costumes with props was a nice touch. I also liked how the lines were non existent this afternoon and I was able to roll right through both lines in less than half an hour. I found the interior of the tent to be smaller and more sparse than I would have thought.
Next up I headed over to check out the new Dumbo queue. The wait time was only 15 minutes so thought it was a perfect time to stop by. For those who have not followed it the Dumbo attraction features two sets of elephants. One looked to be used for Fastpass returns and the other featured a new queue. For this queue you entered the large tent behind the Dumbo attraction and were given a pager. Then you could roam around inside, kids can play, and when the pager went off you would get in line and head outside with a minimal wait (mine was only one cycle outside). Sure beats standing in the hot Florida weather.
I was really excited about the concept for an interactive queue when I started hearing about it for the Dumbo attraction. I was disappointed by the execution of the concept though. The interactivity was basically a kids play area and air conditioned benches for everyone else. I heard echoes of the Walt story about how he wanted to create a place where families could experience things together. How he dreamed this up while sitting on a bench watching his children have fun. This really put a damper on the mood for me.
On the positive side the wi-fi worked
great so I was able to get caught up on some postings and email while waiting.
As I walked down Main Street I came across the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade... which in my opinion really needs to be retired and the Magic Kingdom deserves something better. It is an extreme disappointment compared to Soundsational out at Disneyland.
I had some time to kill while waiting for the fishing group to finish and since I had not been on a monorail yet I decided to go for a round trip to EPCOT and back. First up a ride on the Express to the TTC. This was all backed up and I noticed the resort line monorail would have gotten me there faster. At least I was able to get a couple pictures of the Grand Floridian DVC work. Once I transferred to the EPCOT line no delays at all and the trip back to the Magic Kingdom from the TTC was only slightly delayed.
We had a dinner reservation out at the Trails End at Fort Wilderness this evening. We left the Magic Kingdom about 75 minutes before with the goal of having some time to relax out at the camp grounds and beat the rain. Well due to some transportation challenges we ended up making it to reservation just a few minutes early. When we approached the boat dock the line for Fort Wilderness was fairly long already and it looked like the boat had left recently (thought I saw it head past the Contemporary). At this point we were hoping for two boats running but still had plenty of time. It was nearly a half hour wait for the boat to arrive and at that point they did something really interesting.. they opened both the Fort Wilderness and Lodge lines and boarded the boat. Had we known they were sharing we would have gotten in the Lodge line which was about 1/4 as long. In the end we ended up being the last group on the boat. What I did not understand is if they had combined the route why not combine the lines so everyone would know what was happening. If you walked up as the boat was arriving and went to the lodge side you got on but the people right behind us that waited as long as we did, did not make it on. The boat first stopped at the Lodge which became a challenge for everyone to shuffle around and those that wanted off to get off. Finally we made it to Fort Wilderness and as we stepped onto the dock it started to drizzle. By the time we made it up to the restaurant it was a steady rain. Then the skies opened and we saw some great lightening displays to the North.
Dinner was great as usual at Trails End. We finished we about 90 minutes to spare before kickoff of the USC game, so plenty of time to make it back to the Riverside to watch the game this evening. Thanks to the storm and a couple bad choices and some bad luck we did not make it!! Below is a long winded version of this... for those of you who swear against the WDW transportation system this evening was definitely a highlight reel of problems and what could go wrong. On average for us though this only seems to happen once or twice a trip and most of the time the transportation is not that big of a deal, that is why I rely on it so much and have not rented a car in quite a few years.
Due to the storm the boats had been shut down so we had to take a bus. Our initial thought was take a bus to the Magic Kingdom or Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom and transfer to the Riverside bus there. The rain was really coming down as we made our way to the bus stop which was had a small lake in it. We waited and bus pulled in saying Wilderness Lodge. We boarded the bus and the driver said their sign was wrong and they were doing an internal route.. so back off the bus we went. Another Wilderness Lodge bus showed up a minute or two later. We boarded and sat down. The driver said they had started Magic Kingdom buses and that would save us all time (by this time there were a handful of groups all trying to do the same thing). So we all exited the bus again and waited (this was our first mistake). A couple minutes later a Magic Kingdom bus pulled up. For some reason it stopped on the edge of the turn around and off loaded vs pulling up to the stop. Then it proceeded to drive right by all of us who were standing there waving and yelling to them. A few minutes later several buses pulled in all for internal routes. So we waited... then a Wilderness Lodge bus showed up. Decided to get on this one and go with it. (again a bad decision because as we were pulling out a Magic Kingdom bus pulled in right behind us). Made it to the Wilderness Lodge which had a healthy line of guests waiting for the Magic Kingdom bus. We waited and talked to some of those who had been waiting. The front of the line had been waiting 10-15 minutes already. We waited another 10 or so and watched bus and after bus for the other destinations roll through. Someone went to use the near by phone to call and see what was going on because by this point there was more than a bus load of people waiting. They said the bus should be there soon and they would let dispatch know about the line. We waited two more EPCOT buses then decided to go to go to EPCOT instead (again bad decision since as we pulled out the Magic Kingdom bus pulled in). Even a worse decision since the Wilderness Lodge EPCOT route then goes back to the Campground to pick up. Finally cleared the campground and were heading to EPCOT. Noticed the bus was empty except for our group so went to try my luck at convincing the driver to stop at the Riverside, since he was driving right by on his way to EPCOT (from Fort Wilderness they drive route past). He said he cannot do that anymore. With the new GPS systems if they go off route they get in trouble (where as the old days they used to do things like this for guests from time to time). So we watched our resort go by and ended up at EPCOT. Of course we were dropped off in the far lot. Made our way to the Riverside stop and waited. And counted hoping to make it on the bus. Eventually a bus showed up and we made it on with about 5 people to spare. As we finally pulled out of EPCOT it was now only a couple minutes to kickoff. Luckily my phone was able to get a signal and I watched the first couple of minutes (of pure misery thanks to my Trojans turning the ball over on the first play and giving up a touchdown) on the bus. We exited at the South Depot and walked briskly through the rain still watching on the phone as my team made its second turn over shortly after so by the time we made it back to the room the game was less than 5 minutes old and we were already loosing by 14 points and it took over an hour and a half to make it there.. what an ordeal... luckily USC figured it out and Utah was not that good and we won the game!