Started off this cold/overcast morning heading for the Hollywood Studios via Friendship Launch. Arrived ahead of schedule and had to wait about 20 minutes to enter the park. My FastPasses for the day were not together nor what I wanted so we opted to walk out to Toy Story first. It had a posted 20 minute wait so hopped in the Standby line and went for a spin. Continued down Mickey Ave and walked past the former Backlot Tour entrance and stopped by the Wandering Oaken's Trading Post which was a ghost town this morning. Took some pictures then continued on to the Premiere Theater for the Frozen Sing-a-long. After the show Walked back to Hollywood Blvd. and over to the Animation Courtyard. Spent some time in the animation building then walked through One Mans Dream. Decided to take the boat back to the Yacht and Beach Club and grab some lunch at Beaches and Cream. Then took a bus to the Magic Kingdom and walked to the Contemporary. Took some pictures of the Frozen gingerbread display then hopped on a Monorail to the Polynesian. Walked through the upper floor of the lobby and out to the Launch dock. Took some construction pictures before boarding and cruised to the Magic Kingdom then Grand Floridian. Walked to the lobby and took some pictures of the gingerbread house and Christmas tree then took the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Wandered down Main Street USA. Strolled through Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square and into Fantasyland. Doubled back to Main Street and caught the end of the Street Party. Walked up Main Street to Town Square and boarded a train. Took it around to Fantasyland then walked through Tomorrowland on my way to the hub for the Frozen Holiday Wish. Walked through the crowds of Main Street to exit the park. Took a bus to the Hollywood Studios. Grabbed a quick dinner at the Backlot Express then headed out to the Osborne lights to roam around. Stayed past park closing then made my way back to Hollywood Blvd. and out of the park. The boat line was at least two full boats and the bus line was not much better so I opted to walk to Epcot. Took about 20 minutes from Hollywood Blvd. to France. Walked around to the American Adventure arriving as the Candlelight was wrapping up. I heard Thank You and the recessional music started. I roamed around World Showcase stopping by Japan and then taking a few pictures of World Showcase lagoon before finding a spot for Illuminations. After Illuminations walked back to the Beach Club to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- I woke up this morning and checked my FastPass+ reservations and they were still not what I wanted. So I tried a few more times and the system was being really wonky. On my phone I was seeing one thing on another phone another. So I went to the concierge at the Beach Club to see what they could do. Found out they can do next to nothing. Basically they get the same website UI. They printed out what I had then asked what I wanted and said they could not do it.
- Stopped by Toy Story and it had 20 minute posted wait since the park just opened so instead of using my FastPass+ I waited with the rest of my group. We had a less than stellar trip. A couple of the games were out of focus and the glasses were tweaked making it hard to see clearly and hit targets. I still managed to score 200K but it was a challenge and frustrating.
- We stopped by the Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Snow Ground. It was deserted again this morning. More Cast Members than guest. At one point the three of us were the only guests in the area I think. It was great to get some pictures and see the area.
- For the First Time in Forever: A "Frozen" Sing-Along Celebration was taking place in the Premiere Theater. I had a FastPass+ which was not needed thanks to the low crowds this morning. The show itself was different than what I had expected. I did not watch any of the internet videos so going in I knew next to nothing about the show. I was expecting the characters and the movie to be played. What I found was a retelling of the story by two "historians". The Frozen sisters and Kristoff make a couple appearances but they are not the focus of the show. The historians tell the story and at points where the songs are the movie was played with lyrics. There was also a big snow fall finale. Most of the audience did not seem to need the words... they were actually talking along with the dialog even! The parents seemed as into it as the kids since they had seen the film a 100 times too. The two historians were very entertaining and kept the show moving and it was a fun half hour.
- Stopped by the Animation Building and it is really depressing to me. The Big Hero 6 display is best described as minimal. The focus seems to be on the meet n greets. I saw Mickey, Minnie, Baymax & Hiro, and the Incredibles each in their own spot.
- One Mans Dream - The large Fantasyland model is gone and in its place a couple small display cases with props that were in other cases. I was hoping for something on Avatar. Maybe they are saving the space for when a Studios announcement is made? Wonder where the Fantasyland model went? It is fun to go see the Buena Vista Street and Paradise Pier models and listen to the comments of guests who have no idea what they are, even after reading the signage.
- Went back to the Beach Club for lunch at Beaches and Cream. I always enjoy eating there. This trip was great since it was not crowded, we were seated in a booth right away. Also it was not really that loud either as it had been on previous trips. The food prices continue to creep up as they are everywhere on property but the burger and fries were great.
- After lunch went resort hopping on the Monorail loop since it is day 5 and I have not been on the Monorail yet.
- Contemporary - Surprised to see no big Mickey wreath. Wonder what happened to it. The gingerbread display is a Small World/Mary Blair/Frozen mash up. I thought it was well done and interesting to see.
- Polynesian - Not much in the way of Christmas since it is still a construction zone (note most of the reopened the week after we left). Walked through the main building then out by the pool and to the dock to see the bungalows. I am waiting to see the final product but so far I am not overly impressed with them. One person in our group described them as looking like trailers put on the water. They were not overly appealing. I think the view from the bungalows will be great but they have destroyed the beach view and view from the long house out. It is too bad they could not have fit them over on the other side between the resort and the wedding pavilion.
- Grand Floridian - It was on par with years past. I think it may be time for a change. The gingerbread house is impressive but it is the same thing. Yes the decorations change but its the same structure. I would like to see some variation.. or maybe a smaller creation that changes each year.
- After the resorts we went to the Magic Kingdom. The tree has been set up on Main Street. After seeing it I was reminded again how much I do not care for it. After seeing the tree at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure the large trees at Walt Disney World seem lacking in my opinion. They are impressive and big but just not that detailed. The scale is larger and just does not give the same feeling to me. Also I thought it was disappointing this year that the tree was not up anywhere until now. In years past they had it in an alternate location until the filming finished then they would move it. So people who went to the Christmas party the first several weeks this year had no large Christmas tree.
- The Haunted Mansion returned today. I wanted to visit but no FastPass+ available since I had an open one at the Studios still and it was a 35 minute wait which did not fit my patience.
- Returned to the Studios after sunset to meet some other friends and see the Osborne Lights again. It was a nice time saver having the bus stop for the Studios at the Magic Kingdom vs the TTC.
- The Studios were much more crowded this evening and the Streets of America were fairly full when I arrived but it thinned out as park closing came. The purple cat is being moved around this year so it was in a new spot and fun to search for.
- Ended up leaving the Studios around 8:30. The first idea was to take the Boat to Epcot, but that was a several boat wait. So next thought a bus. That was really backed up with a couple tour groups. So I decided to hike it. In the end took just over 20 minutes from Hollywood Blvd. to France. It was about a mile. As I walked I missed the ease of park hopping in Anaheim!
- Arrived at the American Adventure just as Edward James Olmos was walking off the stage from the Candlelight.. so no pictures and I did not get to see any of the show.
Pedometer Information for the day: