Started my morning meeting friends at the International Gateway and heading to France for some breakfast. By the time we were done it was past 11am and the rest of World Showcase was open so we strolled toward the American Adventure. Stopped to watch a performance of the Voices of Liberty and then main show. Grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Liberty Inn then headed for the United Kingdom to watch the Paul McKenna Band. Then the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. Made our way around to World Showcase and watched Joyful. Walked through Innoventions then toward the park exit. Hopped on a Monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then took the Ferry across to the park. Wandered down Main Street USA and into Liberty Square. Continued around to Fantasyland and circled the Mine Train. Passed by the castle and into the hub to find a spot for the Street Party. After they wrapped up made a poor decision to head for the Hollywood Studios. Had to wait for the third bus to show up and of course they had to switch drivers. I was one of the last ones to make it on and had to stand. As we exited World Drive traffic stopped. The driver opted to try Epcot Resorts Blvd. which also stopped. We spent just over an hour on the bus. Arrived later than planned at the Studios so opted to head to Epcot. The boat line was back toward the Christmas tree so we opted to walk instead. Along the way passed through the Boardwalk and grabbed some food and took in part of a Christmas concert on the lawn. Eventually made it to Epcot and walked around to the American Gardens Stage to see the Candlelight. Had some time so continued on to Germany for caramel corn then then circled back for the Candlelight. After the show walked back toward the International Gateway stopping by France along the way. Found a spot for Illuminations to conclude my evening. Walked back to the Beach club to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Started off with a leisurely morning enjoying breakfast with friends in France (we met at the International Gateway and then walked over). It is nice that the bakery opens early now before World Showcase.
- As we made our way around World Showcase stopped for the Voices of Liberty and then the American Adventure show this time. It seems it is time to update the film again.
- Continued on around the World Showcase and enjoyed a full performance by the Paul McKenna Band today. The music is a nice change of pace and great to experience.
- Caught a performance of the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs and the show was just ok again. It is the same as last year. It is not bad it just seems to be lacking something. Not sure what though. Maybe it is my found memories of Off Kilter that get in the way. I was disappointed to miss the new lumberjack show since it was not being performed during the holiday season.
- Walked through Innoventions to see if there was anything going on and it was really really quiet inside. It seems this space needs something to bring some life to it. Innovations turned 20 this past summer (hard to believe it started in 1994.. I happen to be there opening week I think it was and saw Roy Disney even).
- Took the Monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center then Ferry Boat to the park. One of the main drawbacks to the current Magic Kingdom bus stop set up is many guests do not get to experience that first time approach to the park. It is one of those Disney moments to see Cinderella Castle across the Seven Seas Lagoon and watch it grow as you slowly travel across the water. For first time guests I highly recommend trying to arrive that way. It is more time consuming and right now it means a bus from you resort to Epcot then Monorail but it is a great first impression and the way millions have arrived over the years. It is much more magical than being dropped off at an expansive bus stop and walking over.
- The Magic Kingdom was much more crowded today. Some wait times, Peter Pan 110 minutes, 120 for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and 120 for the Frozen sisters.
- Caught a full performance of the Street Party and the current version makes the old one seem better in my mind, and I was not a fan of the old ones. The new music choices just do not interest me. Having the fab four on the top of the floats is a nice touch but the selfie craze is a bit annoying to me. Using the screens to show guest submitted photos is an interesting idea but the execution seemed lacking to me.
- The original plan for the evening was a quick trip to the studios to try and see the Great Movie Ride and maybe the Osborne lights then over to Epcot for Candlelight. This failed due to the buses and traffic. It was just after 5:30 when I left the Magic Kingdom and I did not see the Christmas Tree outside the students until a little after 7:00pm. It started with a long bus line for the Studios at the Magic Kingdom. We were standing on the 3rd bus.. and one was just pulling away as we arrived so maybe 4th bus depending on how you count. So that took quite some time. Once we got rolling no problems until we reached Buena Vista Drive.. it stopped dead just before Epcot Resorts Blvd.. Our driver cut across traffic and tried to loop around the resorts. This failed and we stopped for a long time on the road right past the tunnel. It took over an hour on the bus to get to the Studios. Once we arrive dit was after 7:00pm and the boat line for Epcot was at least two boats and we did think we had time to go into the park. Since we were dropped off at the furthest stop looked across the lagoon the walked to Epcot grabbing a bite to eat at the Boardwalk on the way. We arrived with some time to spare this way vs rushing (about 15-20 minutes).
- The Candlelight Narrator this evening was a new person this year, Joe Morton (from Scandal). He has a great delivery and fit the bill perfectly.
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