Started off the morning roaming around the Beach Club and the Beach Club Villas taking some pictures of our room, the lobbies, and pool area then heading out to catch a bus to the Animal Kingdom. Walked back and onto the Safari, only about a 10 minute total wait including the hike through the queue. After our Safari stopped by Wonders of Flight followed by the Jungle Trek to see the Tigers. Decided it was lunch time so some stopped for lunch in Asia and others of us in Pizzafari. After lunch hung around Discovery Island taking some pictures including the Rivers of Light construction and the Winged Encounter show before meeting up with more of our group. Made our way out to Pangani Forest and to check the standby line for the Safari. Saw the gorillas then the rest of the group headed for Everest to use their FastPasses and I roamed around Harambe and Discovery Island heading for a bus to Epcot, Monorail to the TTC and Ferry Boat to the Magic Kingdom. Walked up Main Street USA through the crowd waiting for the parade. Watched the Festival of Fantasy Parade from the hub before heading for Tomorrowland and ride aboard the Peoplemover. Once back took in a showing of the Carrousel of Progress. Wandered into Frontierland and caught a trio in front of Grizzly Hall then a showing of the Country Bears before boarding the Liberty Belle for a cruise on the Rivers of America. Returned to Tomorrowland to find the rest of my group and go for a second ride aboard the Peoplemover. Returned to the hub to find a spot for the nightly Castle Lighting show/moment. After the Frozen gang lit the castle I hung around to get some pictures of it before making my way through the crowds and out of the park (it was nearing park closing of 7pm). Hopped on a waiting bus and took it back to the Beach Club. Grabbed something to eat at Hurricane Hannas before heading for Epcot. Watched the opening few songs of the British Revolution then made my way around World Showcase to the American Adventure for Candlelight. After the performance wandered around Morocco and France before searching for a spot for Illuminations. Ended up watching from several spots along the bridge and walkway starting near France and ending up near Canada. After Illuminations returned to the International Gateway and the Beach Club to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Was surprised that the Animal Kingdom was not too crowded this morning considering it was an early morning park and I was not there for opening. The Safari had a posted 20 minute wait but it turned out to be 10 only. The African Painted Dogs were out again and very again just like the other day. Our driver was great this trip. I think she had quite a bit of coffee. She never stopped talking the entire trip and she talked very fast. It was one of the best trips in a long time.
- Spent some time in Asia. Nothing new to report. The Flights of Wonder show is more or less the same with no real changes. The Jungle Trek did not have a lot of activity. The Tigers were mostly out of sight and the one you could see was not moving. Some of the group grabbed lunch from the counter service location and it was very challenging to find a table for four people. There really seems to be a shortage of seating space. The park was not busy and the food lines were not that long but guests still had to wait and quickly move to grab a table.
- The rest of the group ate at Pizzafari. The dining area here has been reduced. The back rooms were walled off as part of the new restaurant construction. Looking at the concept art it seems at least one of those rooms will be part of the new restaurant. The pizza has changed and not for the better. I thought the old pizza (which is the same as Pizza Planet) was better and the others in our group agreed.
- The plan was to head to the Magic Kingdom for the Castle lighting this evening. Waited for the Magic Kingdom bus for a while and none was in sight but an Epcot bus pulled in so I opted to go there instead and take the Monorail and Ferry boat over to the park. I always enjoy arriving at the Magic Kingdom by Ferry. The view of Cinderella Castle across the Seven Seas Lagoon is a great WDW moment that is not replicated at any other Disney park.
- I was pleased to see the PeopleMover was back in operation today. Unfortunately the speedramp up to the load platform was not so you had to hike up. But it was great to be able to cruise above Tomorrowland again. I really do miss this opportunity at Disneyland.
- Continuing my trip down memory lane next up was the Carrousel of Progress. I was surprised by the group size.. it was larger than past trips especially considering it was mild weather out. There were maybe 75 guests in my theater. It would be nice to see an update to the last scene it is quite a ways in the past now.
- I paid a visit to the Country Bears. I am still disappointed there is no Christmas show and the regular show is a shell of its former self but it is still better than nothing at all, like Disneyland has. It was frustrating that I had to go to Tokyo to see a full Country Bear show again. I hope to get there sometime during the Christmas season to see that version again.
- Went for a cruise on the Liberty Belle. The boat really could use some TLC. The audio was very hard to hear in many locations and overall the boat looked in need of some upkeep.
- As the sun set the crowds descended on the park for the Christmas party. Some in our group reported long waits to get to the park and that the Express Monorail was down for some time.
- The Castle Lighting event is the same Frozen Holiday Wish as last year. It drew a very large crowd and the new hub showed off how it could accommodate the large number of guests.
- Grabbed dinner from Hurricane Hannas at the Beach Club tonight since I was heading to Epcot after a brief stop back at the hotel. It was peaceful out by the pool this evening with no one swimming and only a few guests eating… that was until the nightly movie started and it was Frozen and kids were singing along quite loudly on the adjacent beach.
- After dinner made my way to Epcot. Listened to the British Revolution set which opened with several Christmas songs. I still miss the British Invasion group (I enjoy Beatles music over the rock bands).
- Caught the Candlelight again. Someone goofed and at 9pm the Illuminations announcement and pre-show music was played in the area and over top of the Candlelight audio. This was distracting a bit annoying. Seems someone made a mistake. They did correct it but it took several minutes.
Pedometer Information for the day: