Started off the morning arriving just before 6am at Orlando International Airport. Stopped by the food court for some breakfast then headed down to the Magical Express Bus. Arrived at Pop Century and checked in, the room was not ready so we headed to EPCOT. Arrived at the park about 8:30. Some headed in since it was an early morning and the rest of us went to guest relations to renew our annual passes and purchase a Tables in Wonderland card. Finally made my way into EPCOT about 9:15. Joined the rest of my group as they were exiting Test Track. We stopped at Mission Space next and some broke off to get Fastpasses for Soarin. We all met up again at the Seas with Nemo and Friends. After the ride walked around for a while then over to Journey into Imagination. After Journey we headed for the Land and the Living with the Land boat ride. Milled around for 15 minutes or so and then used our Fastpasses for Soarin. Decided to head back to the Resort to grab lunch and see if the room was ready. After lunch at Everything Pop we found out the room was ready. Unpacked a bit then most took a nap and two of us went over to Downtown Disney and hiked to Crossroads for a grocery story run. Made it back to the resort in a little under 2 hours and woke up the rest of the group. After motivating the troops it was back out to the parks. We headed to the Magic Kingdom. Roamed down Main Street USA and veered into Tomorrowland. Grabbed a Fastpass for Buzz and wanted to ride the People Mover but it was down. So ended up visiting Stitch and then the Indy Speedway before finally making it onto the People Mover. Then used our Fastpasses for Buzz. Grabbed dinner at Sonnys then spent some time taking pictures of the Fantasyland work. Watched Philharmagic and then experienced the new queue for Haunted Mansion and rode the attraction. Continued on through Liberty Square and then Adventureland before finding a spot for the Magic, the Memories and You followed by Wishes. Then headed back to the bus since the park was closing and I have an early wake up call tomorrow.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Arrived at MCO on time more or less, which was great. Grabbed a quick breakfast at the food court then headed to the Magical Express. The check in process was quick as usual at this hour and we were the only ones waiting around for a bus. The bus final showed up after a good 10-15 minutes. We hopped on and had it to ourselves. This has been the first time we had to wait for a bus to show up. Usually there were some waiting outside. All our bags showed up in the room later in the day with no problem at all, so another Magical Express success story.
- After a quick stop at Pop Century to check in (no rooms ready yet which is not a surprise that early in the morning) we changed clothes and headed off to the parks. First stop of the morning was EPCOT and first item on the to-do list to renew my Annual (Premiere) pass. No problems at all, it just took some time, almost half an hour to process all the necessary transactions. I was applying another ticket toward the cost of the pass so it took a bit longer to renew.
- Walked around EPCOT till around lunch time. I thought the park was nice and quiet, was expecting a larger crowd since it was the early morning park and I did not get in until the regular park hours due to my ticket delays. As we were leaving though there were quite a few people streaming in.
- As you will see in the pictures the Flower and Garden Festival was going on, it ran through Sunday, so this was the very end of it. The Toy Story display at the entrance was fun and the scent of strawberries (because of Lotso, not plants) was fairly strong, a nice touch. Seeing the FAB 5 (well guess 6 since Daisy was there) in Future World was a great too. The new Cars Topiaries were impressive and curious where they end up after the Festival.
- In the early afternoon made a quick run to Cross Roads for some snacks and drinks. Took us a little under two hours round trip from Pop Century. This included the bus to Downtown Disney, the 2.1 mile round trip walk to Goodings, and the return bus to Pop Century.
- After waking up the rest of the group we headed to the Magic Kingdom for the afternoon and evening. The park was not that crowded. For example we walked right on the Speedway. Haunted Mansion was a 10-15 minute wait because we went through the new queue section.
- Our first stop in the Magic Kingdom was Tomorrowland and made our way onto the Peoplemover once it reopened it was closed for some reason. I really do miss it at Disneyland. Such a peaceful way to enjoy the park and almost always no real line since it can cycle such a large number per hour. Still holding out hope that someday it will return to Anaheim... knowing it probably will not.
- Since there was no line went for a spin on the Indy Speedway and again was reminded of how poor it is at WDW compared to the extended and interesting tracks Anaheim has. The one nice thing was some views of the Fantasyland work (of course grabbing pictures while the car bounced back and fourth was a fun challenge).
- The Fantasyland Construction is moving along and the Beasts Castle looks great in the distance. Kind of funny to see it on top of a construction area, but it photographs well and is a good indication of detail to come.
- Spent some time in the new queue are of the Haunted Mansion. What a great addition. It really added to the experience. My only complaint is it seems to be pushed into a very small space. I would have liked to have seen it spread out a bit more, but I do understand the constraints the Imagineers had to work with. The interactive elements and tributes were fun to experience and observe.
- They have also recently changed the end of the attraction. It now features animated hitchhiking ghosts joining you. This allowed for a lot more interaction but again I wish it could have been a bit longer.
- I caught the The Magic, the Memories, and You! show this evening. Having the projections on the Castle compared to Small World at Disneyland is much more impressive. The larger canvas and more central location did ensure a larger crowd. I overheard quite a few guests talking and most did not know what to make of it though. Also many had a hard time making out the pictures. I think the projection effects are impressive but have to agree that the images just do not catch on and would venture to guess the show would have the same impact for most with stock images. The soundtrack seemed identical to its Anaheim cousin so that was nice and helped to alert me as to what was coming. Overall I enjoyed the WDW version more because of the projection surface but I thought the visibility of the guest pictures was better in Anaheim.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Walking Time 182