Met some friends around 8am in the lobby and then we all headed to Epcot for the day. Arrived ahead of schedule at the International Gateway and had to wait until 8:30 when they opened it. Walked to the front of the park with the goal to use a 9:15am FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth. We arrived early and there was no line so walked on and were exiting by 9:15. Roamed around Future World a bit and made our way over to the Land. Went for a cruise on Listen to the Land and then sat around and visited for about 20 minutes waiting for our Soarin FastPass+ time. After Soarin walked over to visit Journey Into Imagination but it had a 25 minute wait. So turned around and found a shady spot to wait about 15 minutes for our Nemo FastPass+. Visited Nemo and looked around the main tank a bit. Used the app to take our unused Spaceship Earth and move it to Imagination starting in 5 minutes.. so finished up the Living Seas and walked over and onto Imagination. Decided it was lunch time so the group made their way over to the Electric Umbrella and I stopped by a FastPass+ kiosk to get Illuminations for this evening. After lunch caught a performance of the Jammitors then took a Friendship Launch over to Germany. Walked through Germany, Italy and into the American Adventure. Watched a performance by the Voices of Liberty then the American Adventure show. Walked through Japan, Morocco and France stopping for Impressions de France and a little of Ribab Fusion. Continued on to the UK where the rest of my group decided to head back to the room to rest a bit. I carried on to Canada to catch a set by the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. Then doubled back to the UK to watch Quickstep. After their performance made my way to China for the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats. Caught the barges for Illuminations coming out then headed for the Liberty Inn and dinner. After eating watched the 6:45pm Candelight and then strolled around World Showcase and into Future World by Test Track. Walked around the East side of the park and made my way to the front to take some night pictures. Eventually ended up in the FastPass+ viewing area for Illuminations to cap off the evening. Walked upstream through the exiting masses to reach the International Gateway and exit leave the park after 13.5 hours returning to the Beach Club to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Today I did something I have not done in a very long time at Walt Disney World. I spent the entire operating day in Epcot. I was there prior to park opening actually and did not leave until after Illuminations. Usually I tend to park hop or go eat somewhere but today it was about 14 hours inside Epcot. This was due to meeting some friends who were visiting just for the day and had never been so played tour guide for them.
- Started the morning off with one of my favorite activities a quiet walk through the park. We entered through the International Gateway as soon as they let us which was just after 8:30am and slowly made our way to the front of the park.
- Since we had first time visitors with us we decided to try and use FastPass+ to ease the day. This was met with challenge right from the beginning. They purchased their tickets through Shades of Green several months ago and I walked them through linking them to their myDisneyExperience account so we can get FastPasses. First issue was they were not staying on property so I had to wait until 30 days out for them. I did ours early as placeholders. The 30 day mark came and I could not get theirs to work. Their tickets only would let me book at the Magic Kingdom and not Epcot. So they had to call guest relations. The CM said that was odd since usually it is the other way around because of the higher MK ticket price but they had never seen it this way. They ended up manually adding the three FastPass+ reservations around the same time as my existing three. Of course this meant I could not manage or change them but we had what they wanted so all was good. We arrived at our first destination, Spaceship Earth ahead of our time and there was no wait at all so we walked on. Our second was Soarin’ so we walked over there and waited around till our time and used it with no problem. Then found out that since our first one did not get used technically we would have to rebook it and use it before we could get another “group A”. So while waiting for our third at Nemo (which wasn’t needed but we needed to use it so had to wait!) I booked one for Imagination. It all looked like it went through and we used the Nemo one then walked over to Imagination to use those. Our three worked but the two guests did not. The CMs over-road the system and let them through since the line was short and it should have. Next I went to a kiosk to book our next one. There was nothing left we wanted so booked Illuminations. My groups linked tickets were no problem. Then I got to the two one day tickets and those did not work. It turned out the three guest relations did had not really counted so I had to do three new ones for them after getting the one Spaceship Earth one cancelled. This was odd.. but in the end got all 5 Illuminations and the other two guests with one day tickets had 2 other random experiences I had to choose to make the system accept the Illuminations one. I found this whole process cumbersome and the rules really tough to deal with. In the end got what we wanted but much more frustration and time than I really wanted to spend on it. Another of example of myDisneyExperience being more hassle than it is worth in my mind. I talked to and overheard quite a few guests on buses and at the kiosks grumbling about the system too. The issues seemed scattered but really boiled down to it being inflexible and not very dynamic.
- My only encounter with Disney transportation today was a boat from Mexico to Germany and we had very good luck.. the CM saw us coming and held the boat.
- The model trains near Germany were disappointing today. Only one train was in motion and it was just an engine moving around.
- Stopped by the American Adventure for a Voices of Liberty concert. The cast members working the entrance were not very pleasant bordering on rude to interact with. The Voices of Liberty were great as always.
- This year the gingerbread display expanded to include the Washington Monument in addition to the Capitol. I really enjoyed these smaller display that change each year.
- I was surprised by how full the show was for the American Adventure. I want to say it was around 2/3 full. For a mid day show when the park did not seem that crowded with decent weather this seemed like a large crowd. I am really surprised they have not updated the film clips at the end. I think Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods are distractions and are people that I hear comments on walking out from others. We stopped by France next and the film there was just as full.
- The afternoon was dedicated to World Showcase entertainment. Listened to a set by the Holiday Voyageurs in Canada. Interesting there are no seats at all anymore. Everyone has to stand or sit on the ground.
- Next saw the new group in the United Kingdom, Quickstep. They are very similar to the McKenna Band they replaced. There set seemed really short and was a bit of a challenge to hear over the area and crowd noise.
- In China caught a performance of the Dragon Acrobats. The show was entertaining but the guests in the courtyard did not listen to the announcements. It was announced that they wanted guests in the courtyard to sit. About half listened, of course the half in front of me did not!
- Grabbed dinner at the Liberty Inn. They had a larger hamburger than the other restaurants. It was not that bad. The service though was terrible. They were taking orders extremely quick but the backup to get food was 3-4 groups in every line. So it took nearly 20 minutes to get my food. Not very quick service.
- Meredith Vieira was the Candlelight narrator this evening. She did an ok job. It was a fairly dry and straight reading. I think this may have been her first night.
- Ended up back in Future World for some evening pictures. I enjoy sitting near the Fountain of Nations and listening to the music and watching the fountains/lights. I did pay a visit to the front of the park and decided to check in on my Leave a Legacy tile.. took me several minutes to remember where it was and locate it. Would be nice if there was an online app or website to help. I am assuming you can go to guest relations and though tell you where your tile is (the kiosk to look it up is long gone) but I thought the memory challenge was better and I was too lazy to hike to guest relations then back.
Pedometer Information for the day: