Started off the morning arriving at MCO a few minutes early, grabbed some breakfast at McDs then headed for the Magical Express and Pop Century to check in. Dropped our bags and were on our way to the Magic Kingdom. Arrived on Main Street as they were filming a performance in front of the castle. Watched a couple of takes then ventured around and into Fantasyland which was deserted. Went for a ride on Dumbo followed by Snow White. Took a bunch of construction pictures then walked around to the Haunted Mansion. Before heading back to Main Street to check out some of the taping. They were starting to film parade segments. Ended up watching from the Train Station for a while then headed out to Liberty Square for lunch at Harbor House. Wandered around to Tomorrowland and went for a ride on the People Mover then back to the Train Station for more of the taping. Some in our group headed for the room and a nap, I opted to stay in the park. After Santa had passed I decided to head for the Express Monorail then bus to Animal Kingdom. Total travel time was near record setting at about half an hour only. Once in Animal Kingdom wandered out to the Safari to grab a Fastpass then strolled through Pangani before finding a spot for the Jamin Jingle Jungle Parade. Once the final float had passed used my Fastpass and then headed for the Studios to rejoin my group for dinner followed by the Osborne Lights. Waded through the masses and headed for the exit. Some took the boat to EPCOT (I stayed behind and took some pictures then walked. Along the way stopped at the Boardwalk for some shots and then met the others at the EPCOT boat dock, actually beat them by a couple minutes. Once in EPCOT worked around to the American Adventure and caught the final part of the 6:45 Candlelight then hung around taking some pictures and killing time till the 8:!5 one was to start. Watched the Candlelight and then made my way around the lagoon to one of my favorite spots to watch Illuminations. Joined the masses heading for the exit. Made it on the first bus to Pop Century and then managed to find the room (had not been there yet) and called it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Started off the morning arriving at MCO during the 6am hour on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles. The arrival process was smooth and we were clear of the airport by 7am after a breakfast stop. There was a slight delay at the Magical Express pick up as there were no buses. Usually you walk right on but we had to wait 10 minutes or so for a bus.
- The bus dropped us off at Pop Century and check in was a breeze at this hour. Our room was not available and we did not like the location of the alternate they had available so we changed, checked our bags, and headed for the parks.
- First stop of the grand circle tour of the parks was the Magic Kingdom because I wanted to see some of the Christmas Parade taping and check out the Fantasyland work.
- I was able to see one castle performance and then quite a few of the units on the street as I wandered by the taping area several times throughout the day. It requires a lot of patience to watch the taping and my attention span is limited so I checked in a handful of times throughout the day. Its always fun to see the behind the scenes things and watch how the show comes together. Also it is a great game to try and piece the show together because they film it out of sequence.
- The Fantasyland expansion is moving along with the first phase opening in 2012. Disney has been very vague as to what that means so far so your guess is as good as mine. Looking at the progress it seems Little Mermaid and Belles area are the furthest along followed by the new Dumbo area. The Mine Coaster will be last as right now it is just a pit and some foundation work. From what I have read online it appears that one of the Dumbos, Goofy, and the Train Station are slated to open first, which sort of makes sense from an access perspective.
- The scale of the expansion is large and impressive but it is dwarfed when compared to the work I have been witnessing out at California Adventure. I know you should not compare but its hard not to.
- Since Snow White's Scare Adventure was a walk on I went for a spin. I have to admit it has been quite a few visits since I took the time to ride and seeing it go does not bother me too much. Seeing it go for a Princess Meet and Greet does bother me though.. why cut attractions? I can see why this one was chosen though.
- Dumbo was also a near walk on so went for a spin to see over the construction walls. Also for one last ride since it is slated to be closed and removed in early 2012 as the new location will be opening soon after. They are much more efficient at loading and unloading than the Anaheim version.
- Visited the Haunted Mansion and just wanted to mention how much I enjoy the animated ghosts at the end.. I wish they could get some more time because if you blink you miss it!
- I made near record time from the Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom it was just over half an hour from when I left Main Street till I was walking through the Oasis. That included the Express Monorail ride, some TTC pictures, then the bus ride over to AK. Guess it was because I had no where to be so everything worked smoothly.
- Nothing too interesting to report from Animal Kingdom. The Christmas decorations looked to be about the same. The large cats were fairly active on the Safari so that was a great plus!
- My good transportation luck ran out when it was time to move to the Studios. It took about 45 minutes to get from Animal Kingdom there and this should have been a much faster trip but it was a three bus wait!
- After grabbing a bite to eat we went out to the Streets of America to view the Osborne lights and the streets were packed. It was wall to wall guests. Among the busiest I have experienced at the lights. Not sure if it was bad timing or what. The lights themselves were impressive as usual and there were several updated elements this year, most impressive the LED canopy on the San Francisco street is now multi color LEDs.
- Hiked over to EPCOT making a brief stop at the Boardwalk along the way after the lights. The board line was probably a one to two boat wait. The rest of my group left 20 minutes or so before me from the lights and took the boat. I managed to beat them to International Gateway by a couple minutes.
- Saw the end of one Candlelight and then the entire final one of the evening. Geena Davis was the guest narrator and she was really into it compared to many of the ones I have seen. She was singing along. It was kind of weird to be at WDW while the show as also going on at Disneyland. This last show of the evening overlaps with the first one from Disneyland. I was talking with some friends at Disneyland which just seemed interesting to me.
- Walked around the lagoon and caught Illuminations from the Future World side of the lagoon. The opening comet was not in use which seemed odd and lacking to me. My understanding is this is because of the work going on at Canada which is its normal launch point. (By the last evening it was back as the scaffolding was down by then).
Pedometer Information for the day:
Walking Time 172