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Walt Disney World Day 4 Report

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trip Log:

Started off the morning a bit later so grabbed a quick bite at the Grab and Go and then hopped on the monorail and rode around to the Magic Kingdom where we disembarked and hopped on a launch over to Fort Wilderness.  Spent some time exploring the campgrounds and then took the Back Trail Adventure Segway tour.  After the tour ate lunch at the Trails End Buffet then took the launch back to the Contemporary.   Then we set off via bus to the Animal Kingdom.  We split up and two of us hiked out to Africa and all the Faspasses for the Safari were gone and the other two headed for Asia.  We joined up near the Gibbons, watched them for a while then walked through the Jungle Trek.  Strolled back to Africa, stopping for a snack along the way.  The Safari line was still too long so took the Wilderness Express and then walked through Pangani Forest.  The line was still too long so went to the 6:00pm Lion King Show.  After the show headed back to Africa and on the Safari since it was closing at 7:00pm and there was no line (finally).  After our Safari we were heading over to EPCOT, but once we saw the bus line opted instead to go to Pop Century and grab some dinner.  After dinner took a bus over to EPCOT and watched Illuminations.  After the show grabbed a monorail to the TTC and then around to the Contemporary to call it a night.

Thoughts & Observations:

  • Today started off with a new experience for us, we tried the Back Trail Adventure, otherwise known as the Off Road Segway tour. On previous trips we have done the Around the World Segway tour at EPCOT, twice actually due to how much we enjoyed it, so upon learning about this tour last year it was on our agenda for a future visit. They run this tour two times on select days (I think its now 4 days a week) from Fort Wilderness. The assemble point is actually near the restrooms for River Country, I think the building was part of River Country too, but not sure since I only visited the area once or twice back when it was open. The tour starts off like the other Segway ones, you get issued a helmet, sign the waiver, then watch a safety video. After the video you get an introduction to the Segway and then its time to hop on and start to learn to drive. You spend the next 20-30 minutes learning how to mount, dismount, go forward, backward, turn, etc.. the Segway. Then there is a short break and you are off on your adventure. First you drive through Fort Wilderness and then out on a nature trail along Bay Lake. Circling around and back through the the Circle D ranch for another break. After a couple minutes of stretching your legs we headed for the Wilderness Lodge via the jogging trail. This is a fairly long ride, and was kind of interesting to have the Segway on an open stretch for several minutes. We cut between the lodge and the villas and circled back along the lake using some trails and to the old River Country area. Stopped for a couple minutes then headed back to where we started. We all really enjoyed the tour and the Segways were great to ride and this new generation much easier than the ones we had on our last tours several years ago.

  • We at lunch at the Trails End Buffet since we were right there and it sounded good. This was my first time in the restaurant and I have to say its one of the best deals on Disney property. The food was great, all you could eat, and substantially more reasonable than everywhere else. It was $12.99 only and our Disney Dining Experience card was good here too.

  • We headed over to the Animal Kingdom for a late afternoon visit to see what was going on and we started off seeing some very active Gibbons in Asia and thought this was a great sign of things to come, but it was not. Almost all the other animals were either doing absolutely nothing, were heading in for the evening, or were already in. I found it extremely disappointing that around 5pm it seems animals started heading in. We went through Pangani Forest at least an hour before it was scheduled to close, I forget the exact time and they had already brought in the one bachelors for the evening and the family side was waiting.. Seems to me since they already close the animal encounters several hours before the park, that at least they should keep them all out till that posted time, or change the posted time.

  • We were waiting for a bus to go over to EPCOT when a Pop Century bus pulled up (which is not rare since it seems there is one every 5 minutes), anyways someone had the great idea to pop over there for a quick dinner, assuming it would not be too crowded since it was 7pm and not prime dinner time and people should be in the parks. We were wrong. Pop Century was a mad house with people everywhere and the service was even slower than the last time I was there. It took me almost 45 minutes to get through the hamburger line. The main issue was they just were not cooking enough food. I understand wanting to keep things fresh but with 50 people in line is it not safe to assume that quite a few of those people will want hamburgers so why not start some instead of waiting for people to come up and order them one by one...

  • Tonight was EPCOT late evening for resort guests, which of course I did not even take into consideration when deciding to go see Illuminations, all I knew is I had not seen the show yet and wanted to. So we had a decent wait for a bus at Pop Century and then ran into fairly large crowds at the park.

  • It was great upon exiting to head for the monorail ramp instead of with the masses to the bus stops and since the Magic Kingdom was closed already the line was really short and we walked right on the first monorail that showed up and were off to the TTC within minutes. Once arriving at the TTC we hiked down the ramp and then back up the resort monorail line, since that was the only option (as I mentioned the Magic Kingdom closed at 7pm due to a grad night). Well this began what I would call the most frustrating monorail experience I have ever had. First it was nearly a 20 minute wait for a monorail to show up. Seems they were bringing a new monorail on the line. Then to top it off they were training a new pilot at the same time. Well once it showed up we figured everything would be ok. Well it was not, it took nearly 45 minutes to get from the TTC to Contemporary. We stopped along the beamway several times for various tests, then cruised around to each stop and waited for quite a while (even the Magic Kingdom stop which was closed and they never opened the doors at but we still sat there for several minutes). So much for the monorail resorts being a speedy way to get back to your room...

  • For those who do not know (and we ran into quite a few people on the monorail who did not) grad night is Disney's graduation celebration and many schools both locally and quite a drive away bring there graduates down to party the night away. We were able to observe some of the elaborate logistics that go into grad night at the Magic Kingdom. Where as I have been to Disneyland's as both a graduate and as a chaperone several times over the years I have never been to WDW's or even seen it really. The first question is how to get the kids into the parks. Disney's solution is to stage the busses off in the old air strip area, which they accessed by a driveway right before the Magic Kingdom Toll booths. The path was lit with gas powered temporary lights. The busses checked in and lined up in the lot at the end of the strip and along the way. Then in groups they were released to approach the Magic Kingdom. They used the Disney Resort bus area to off load in and then the busses exited the area and went to the left to circle the Magic Kingdom and return back to parking lot. I was not up in the morning so I am curious how they loaded the busses, if they used the Ferry/monorails or did the same thing in reverse (anyone been to one of these and can share?) Also we heard fireworks around midnight, so it seems they still do a fireworks show as part of grad night.

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