Started off the morning arriving at MCO a little before 6:30am. Grabbed a quick breakfast at the food court then hopped on the Magical Express bus to Pop Century. Checked in and luck would have it a room as ready. Unpacked a bit and was on my way to Downtown Disney by 8:30am.. Hiked out to Goodings for a grocery run then back to Pop Century to drop it off and rejoin the rest of my group. We all headed for the Magic Kingdom, but since there was a long bus wait decided to go there via EPCOT. So walked right on the EPCOT bus and then hopped on the Monorail to the TTC. The TTC was jammed but as luck would have it the Resort Monorail line was empty so used that to reach the park. Walked through the turn stiles around 11:30am. Stopped by the Firehouse to pick up a set of sorcerers cards and then made our way down Main Street and into Liberty Square. Decided to eat lunch at the Columbia Harbor House. After lunch took my time walking through Fantasyland and out to Storybook Circus. A cloud burst open so ran for the train and took it round trip. Now the rain had passed so took a bunch more photos of the area before walking on down the trail to Tomorrowland. The plan was to ride the People Mover but it broke down right before we boarded. So reversed course back down the ramp and went to the Carrousel of Progress. Afterwards the People Mover was still stopped so I headed for Frontierland to play Sorcerers, by way of Adventureland. The others headed for the room to rest. Noticed a large storm approaching to headed for the express monorail the TTC then over to EPCOT. The plan was to beat the storm but due to some monorail delays I failed and the down pour came as I disembarked the monorail. So I hung out under cover at the station for close to 45 minutes as it passed. The storm included lightning, hail, a lot of rain, etc.. After the skies cleared entered EPCOT and roamed Future World a bit then walked World Showcase starting with Mexico and ending up at the American Adventure. Watched the first Turtles set at the Flower Power Concert then the American Adventure Show. Watched a little of their second set then grabbed some dinner at the Liberty Inn. After dinner strolled through World Showcase in the rain, it drizzled to rained on/off for a good hour or so. Went for a boat ride in Mexico then stopped to watch Illuminations. EPCOT had Magic Hours so walked by Test Track and over to the Seas with Nemo and Friends. Spent some time there then backtracked to Mission Space. Decided to call it a night at this point and head to the buses and back to Pop Century.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Nothing of note from the flight in. We arrived a few minutes early which is always nice. Seems they are padding the flight times a bit now a days with the scheduled times taking longer than before.
- Walked down to the Magical Express and right onto our very own bus with no wait at all and we were on our way to Pop Century within minutes.
- Upon arrival at Pop Century our luck continued with no wait to check in and our room was even ready!
- We were checked in and I was on my way to Downtown Disney for a grocery run by 8:30am. Buses seemed to be far and few between to get to Downtown Disney this morning. The theme parks buses were back to back as usual at this hour. Heading back to the resort after hiking out to crossroads and back was a long wait too. I saw a half dozen Saratoga Springs buses go by in the time I waited. Also several other resorts.
- We headed to the Magic Kingdom first. There was a two to three bus wait for at Pop Century and the EPCOT bus was loading with room so we hopped on that and then took the monorail to EPCOT. Our plan was working perfectly till we arrived at the transportation and ticket center (TTC) and saw the Monorail line was down the ramp and into the extended queue and the ferry boat was was an extended queue too. We quickly noticed no wait for the resort line so bee lined it up that ramp before the masses noticed it.
- Caught my first glimpse of the Avenger wrapped monorail. I am not too sure of this. I was not a huge fan of the Tron-O-Rail or the Nemo Rail @ Disneyland. And this seems even a larger stretch. It seems too commercial for my tastes. Also just seems odd to see the Marvel characters cruising through the Polynesian and Grand Floridian or pulling into the Magic Kingdom stop. I never made it onto it, but I am assuming the wrap is like all the others and it partially obstructs your view too.
- Once in the Magic Kingdom I had two objectives...try out the Sorcerers game and see the Storybook Circus addition to Fantasyland. Both were impressive.
- First up the Storybook Circus area. The detail that is in the area is great and something that I felt was lacking from much of the Magic Kingdom. There are several layers and everywhere you turned something new to see. It definitely made me more excited about what the new Fantasyland will offer.
- The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game looked very interesting to me. I think the concept and technology is going to give the Imagineers something to build upon. I did not have that much time to play on this first trip but plan to complete the first level over the upcoming days.
- Wanted to go for my traditional ride on the People Mover but it broke down/e-stopped right as we were on the ramp up (which the sudden jolt/stop on the speed ramp was fun!). I was a little disappointed the Cast Members did not communicate what was going on with those of us in line on the platform. I could clearly see they were going to go out and walk the track since they were putting there IDs in the case and locking out the attraction. It would have taken a minute for one of the several CMs to tell the couple dozen of us that it was going to be a while or something. I reversed course and headed out, to the complete amazement and confusion of those around me. Seems they all assumed it was only going to be a couple minutes. I went down the ramp and over to the Carrousel of Progress, went for a spin and it was just coming back online as we exited.
- The others in the group wanted to go rest for a bit before we went to EPCOT for the evening. I hung around the Magic Kingdom a bit then decided to try and beat a rain storm to EPCOT and seek cover there. They had issued storm warnings for the afternoon. Due to several delays on the monorail I arrived at EPCOT the same time the skies opened. So I spend a good 45 minutes hanging out under the EPCOT monorail station trying to stay dry. My rain gear was still in my suitcase which had not been delivered yet. It was the biggest thunderstorm I have had to deal with at WDW for a while. Also surprised that it brought some hail.
- While waiting out the storm received a call from the rest of the group that the Magical Express luggage showed up and there was a slight problem. Seems three of the suitcases were not ours. They called the number and it appears when they delivered them to the room they mixed ours up with someone elses. It took them a half hour or so to swap the bags and in the end no harm/no foul but the first time that had happened to us.
- This evening there were extra magic hours at EPCOT meaning the park was open till midnight. Was surprised to see they were no longer requiring wristbands. You just had to show your resort room key to enter the attraction queue. I had not really stuck around for evening hours in December so I do not remember if this was the policy then either.
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