Started off the brisk morning taking a stroll over to Epcot and enjoying the tranquil World Showcase. Eventually made my way to Future World and hung around the Fountain of Nations for a while. Then walked over to the Land and onto the Listen to the Land boat tour. Followed that up with Journey into Imagination with Figment. Then headed back to World Showcase. First stop Mexico and the Gran Fiesta Tour. Mariachis and Dancers for the Holidays Around the World performance. After they concluded walked along the World Showcase lagoon to the American Adventure. Grabbed a quick lunch at the Liberty Inn and then enjoyed the 12:30 Voices of Liberty performance. Circled back to Italy for Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro (the flag throwers). Then to China for the Dragon Dancers. Made my way around to the United Kingdom and caught a song from the Paul McKenna Band before returning to the Beach Club to meet some friends and head to Downtown Disney. Walked through the Marketplace and took a look at the Co-Op and Disney Springs construction. Walked through the former Pleasure Island and out to the West Side. I circled all the way out to the far end then back along the water. Paid a visit to the new parking structure then walked back to the bus stop and caught a bus to the Contemporary. Walked to the Magic Kingdom and strolled down Main Street USA. Walked through Cosmic Rays and then Tomorrowland. Circled back to the hub and found a spot for the Frozen Holiday Wish. After the show walked by the Harbour House deciding it was too busy to eat there I continued on through Frontierland to Pecos Bills. Nothing looked interesting so tried the Golden Oak stand, again nothing.. so ended up back at Cosmic Rays. Then returned to Frontierland for the Country Bears. Walked along the Rivers of America and back through Liberty Square to Fantasyland. Along the way stopped at the new Haunted Mansion store. Then circled the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (70 min wait posted) and returned to the Harbour House to meet some friends. Walked the parade route and found a spot in Town Square for the Main Street Electrical Parade. After the parade made my way to the hub for Celebrate the Magic. As Wishes started I worked my way toward the exit arriving at the bus stop as the finale was going off. Took a bus back to the Beach Club to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- It was another cold morning. The rest of the group was still getting ready so I walked over to Epcot for opening. I found myself alone walking through United Kingdom and Canada except for an occasional group running by to head to Future World which was open. This is one of my favorite times in the park, when you can sit down, relax and just enjoy the atmosphere without the crowds. I spent a good amount of time just relaxing and taking some pictures of the empty area.
- The forecast today was to be the coldest day of the trip with the highs in the low 60s. Thanks to nearly complete sunshine and no real wind it turned out to be a great day!
- Eventually I made my way to Future World. I always enjoy my time in Epcot and used to be able to spend hours upon hours in Future World exploring and experiencing the attractions. The current slate of offerings seem a shell of themselves to me. I think Future World peaked back in the early 90s, maybe around 1990. You could visit Communicore, Wonders of Life, World of Motion, Horizons, the original Journey into Imagination, etc.. Come to think of it this trip in 8 days I never made it over to the east side (Energy, Mission Space, Test Track).
- My goal today was to the entertainment in World Showcase. I started off with the Mariachis and Dancers that are part of Holidays Around the World at Epcot this year. I thought this group brought a lot of energy and really engaged the audience through the song and dance which fit the story telling better than a traditional single person telling the stories.
- I made my way out to the American Adventure to catch the Voices of Liberty. I always enjoy their sets and at Christmas they wear Dickens costumes and perform Christmas Carols.
- Stopped by Italy and caught the end of a performance by Sergio. He had a good size crowd and was entertaining as usual. Then the Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro group arrived to perform. This is a new flag throwing and music group. The first minute or so was interesting then it became repetitive to me. I would have liked to have heard more variety in the music. After a few minutes it sounded the same and it really did not engage me that much and judging by the way the crowd around me came and went I do not think it did for them either.
- Stopped by China to see the Chinese Lion Dancers perform as part of Holidays Around the World. This is another new addition and I thought was done. It was a single two person dragon performing to a sound track. As the performance went on the narrator talked a little about the customs and what you were seeing. Overall it was a nice addition and again a lot of energy, just like Mexico.
- As I passed through the United Kingdom on my way back to the Beach Club to meet some friends I caught a song from the new group that performs there, the Paul McKenna Band. I enjoyed it and will stop back on a later day for a full set. They are a great addition to the UK.
- Spent the late afternoon at Downtown Disney. The construction of Disney Springs is well underway and some new areas are slowly opening up. In the pictorial update you will see what I mean. Getting to and from Downtown Disney has always been a bit of a challenge and with all the construction and now only one bus stop in operation it is even worse so be sure to plan ahead.
- Frozen has a heavy presence here too, as it does everywhere now a days. As soon as you enter the Marketplace from the bus stops you see Frozen Banners and hear the sound track. The first door on the left (the far room of the Christmas Store) has been converted to all Frozen merchandise. So it is the first store you pass on the way in and last on the way out.
- The Co Op opened right after my last visit, replacing Team Mickey in the center of the Marketplace. I spent some time roaming around and found it to be a very well done store. There was a variety of merchandise displayed in a different fashion than your traditional Disney store. The segmentation and layout of the store into distinct sub areas worked well. Also I thought it was great in the Trophy Room the first display had USC gear! FightOn!
- I always enjoy watching Disney projects come to life and looking at the construction progress and concept art so that part of this trip was great with so many projects going on. Others in our group that were more interested in food and shopping found this to be a challenge and were not as entertained.
- I was extremely frustrated again by the Food Trucks. I believe this was my third time looking for the Magic Kingdom truck to try a corn dog so I could compare to the ones at Disneyland and once again I came up empty. There is a Food truck park now and it only had two trucks. I found a third hidden behind Santa near World of Disney. No sign of the 4th which was the one I wanted. So it meant leaving Downtown Disney hungry again since I did not have time to go sit down and eat.
- I would not be much of a Disney Geek if I did not go see the new parking garage. It was on the my photo list for Downtown Disney of course! The new garage just that a new parking garage. It is only partially complete and a lot of construction still going on around it. Many of the features including the parking space indicators, walkways, entrances are not complete yet. So I am not going to comment on it yet. Also I did not have a car so not sure if it helped or hurt the parking situation. Based on the backup I do not think its helping that much yet.
- The bus stop at the Marketplace is the only one open, so this meant longer queues and more chaos there. Given the small space it felt really crowded on a Wednesday early evening/late afternoon. Wonder how it is come a weekend or evening?
- I next made my way to the Magic Kingdom. This was one of the few (3 of 8 I think it was) nights there was not a Christmas Party so it was open later. This of course meant it was very crowded. I have complained about the parties for years and their impact on the average guest and how it is not positive and this is just another example of it. Since there are few evenings with the park open late meaning you can see the Main Street Electrical Parade, Celebrate the Magic, or Wishes, this means those not attending the party have to cram into those evenings and even those that attend a party during their stay have to if they want to catch any of those offerings. So this makes for some very crowded evenings.
- Caught the Frozen Holiday Wish event, this is the new Castle Light show. As with anything Frozen it was extremely busy. I showed up during the 5:35 Dream Along with Mickey and the hub was packed. After the show it seemed no one left and they were there for the 6:15 castle lighting. I was about the trolley tracks and looking around it was full as far as I could see. The general reaction from the families around me was they enjoyed it. The kids went crazy for Olaf, Anna, and Elsa. I was a little disappointed with the show. I thought the dialog was written for the lowest common denominator and not that strong. The actual lighting event consisted of a lot of projection/animation and then the lights just came on. I thought the old lighting sequence where it built was more impressive. I was expecting to hear more music from Frozen in the event and there really was not.
- Watched Celebrate the Magic from the hub. Was surprised not to see the Frozen segment in the show.
- I made my way out of the park while Wishes was going on. I still do not know why but I am not a fan of that show. Seems like the Magic Kingdom is due for a new fireworks show.
Pedometer Information for the day: