Started off my morning walking over to the Boardwalk to check out their gingerbread stand. Then hopped on a bus to the Magic Kingdom. Wandered around Main Street and made my way into Adventureland. Back to the hub to find the rest of my group that had just arrived. Made my way into Liberty Square to play Sorcerers and go for a cruise. The river boat was closed for another hour so instead we visited the Country Bears and then hopped on the rail road to Fantasyland. The plan was to visit the Peoplemover but it was down so returned to Main Street. The others went for a funnel cake and I stopped by the Skipper Canteen for pictures then Casey’s for a quick bite to eat. Took the ferry to the TTC and then Star Wars Monorail to Epcot. Listened to a set by the American Music Machine and then walked through Innoventions East and West before strolling through World Showcase. Just missed the Canadian film so continued on and caught the end of a set in the United Kingdom. Some returned to the room at this point and I started to hike to the Studios. Noticed a boat heading for the Swan/Dolphin so turned and hopped on that for the last leg of the trip. Wandered down Mickey Ave stopping at One Man’s Dream. Then into the Launch Bay. Watched the film makers film and then walked through the Launch Bay. Back to Mickey Ave and around the Backlot area (or whatever it is called now). Took the Streets of America back toward Star Tours and then walked around Echo lake and hiked back to the Beach Club by way of the Boardwalk (learned it was 1 mile from the front of the Studios to my room). Changed and met friends then we walked over to the Dolphin for dinner at Shula’s. After dinner said my good byes and walked over to the Swan to see the chocolate display then hiked to the Studios. Walked up Hollywood Blvd, through the dance party and out to the Osborne Lights. It started to drizzle then rain so I ran for cover at the Backlot Express. It let up a bit so moved to the front entrance of the park and waited for the rain to let up. It finally did and I walked quickly to the bridge. Paused again then quickly to the Boardwalk. Then the final leg to Epcot arriving on the bridge as the 5 minute announcement for Illuminations played. As the show started the noticed the wind was in my direction and it was shifting. So I kept walking toward Canada, ending up almost past it by the finale. Then walked back through the smoke and some fog to the Beach club to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Started my morning off with a leisurely walk around the Boardwalk. Stopped by the lobby to see this year’s gingerbread and it was as unimpressive as last year. It is a store covered in gingerbread. It is a nice store with some interesting details but in the end it is just a store and not nearly as interesting as some of the other displays.
- My first park of the morning was the Magic Kingdom. We wanted to go for an early cruise on the Liberty Belle and were denied due to it not opening until 11am. We did stop by the Country Bears and the show had only a handful of guests. A very poor showing.
- The new Skipper Canteen restaurant in Adventureland had a soft opening today. They were allowing walk ups in for lunch and said they would be open for dinner. I took a look at the menu and nothing really jumped out at me. The choices were not very appealing to me. I did get to look around the check in area and into the first dining room. The level of detail and overall look of the restaurant was great to see. I only wish the menu had something I would want to eat on it.
- Wanted to go for a tour of Tomorrowland on the PeopleMover but it was down when we walked by.
- I wanted a light lunch today since dinner this evening was relatively early and going to be big. I really had a taste for a corn dog. Why do they not sell fresh corn dogs at Walt Disney World with the exception of the “mythical” food truck in Disney Springs. I call it mythical because I have traveled over three several times on my previous trips and have never seen it open. On a couple of the trips it did not open until the evening which failed me for lunch then the trips I went in the evening it was not there! So it was not meant for me to try one. While on the topic of complaining about hot dogs at WDW.. when you spend $8 for a plain hot dog why does it not come in a nice bun like the premium hot dogs? For a $1.50 at Costco you get a decent bun. At least the current regular buns do not fall apart anymore but for the price you pay the product is terrible.
- After lunch headed to Epcot. First stop the Fountain Stage for the American Music Machine Christmas show. I had somehow managed to miss it and it was on my to see list. I thought their set was well done. I would have liked to have had a place to sit vs standing out in the open but it was entertaining. I still miss Cast in Bronze at the Holiday time though.
- I walked through both Innoventions buildings next to take a look at the current offerings and they can best be described as in need of help. Most of Innoventions West is walled off. Really the only thing in the building that popped to mind is the Visa Meet and Greet. On the East Side there were several areas open but nothing drew my interest. Overall Innoventions could really use something new and some help.
- Next up tried to catch the Canadian film. Walked up to the theater and was greeted with a rope saying to wait. No cast member or indication of how long. So I took that to mean I had just missed the show and the cast member was doing the introduction. I thought this was a poor impression and not good show to be greeted with a rope. I understand it was done from an operations point of view so only one CM is needed to run the attraction but it is poor.
- My plan was to hike over to the Studios. As I was strolling along the Boardwalk I noticed a boat leaving the Yacht club for the Studios so I sped up and met it at the Swan/Dolphin dock and saved myself some steps with the slow ride to the park.
- My main reason for visiting was to see the One Man’s Dream film one last time. I am assuming it will be closed/gone by my next trip. I think it is a well done film and worth the trip to go see one more time.
- Since I was in the area I made a second pass through the Launch Bay. It was fairly quiet with only 20 minute waits for the characters.
- After circling the park walked back to the Beach Club to meet up with the rest of my group and some friends for dinner. There was a boat just pulling out so I opted to hike. I looked at my pedometer and it was exactly a mile from the Christmas tree at the Studios to my room according to it and it took me about 20 minutes to walk. I cut through the Boardwalk and went around by the International Gateway.
- We left for dinner around 5pm at the Dolphin. To try and save the legs of some of our group we thought it would be good to catch the boat from the Yacht Club to the Swan/Dolphin. This plan backfired due to a queue of 20-30 guests waiting at the dock. The boat showed up and they took 4 guests only. Seems the popularity of the Osborne Lights had once again brought the transportation system to a standstill almost. So we walked to Dolphin.
- Dinner at Shula’s was great, we think the best meal of the trip. The steaks were perfect and the one person who got fish said it was among the best she ever had. The service was solid as always there.
- After dinner I left everyone and headed to the Studios with the plan to get some pictures of the lights. The boats were still really backed up so I walked over. On the way noticed the line for the Epcot bus was crazy at the Studios. It filled two queues and then went down the railing toward the Christmas tree. I am guessing this had to do with guests being directed there to park. It seems Disney did not have enough buses on the route though.
- Once in the park it was crowded but not nearly as bad as past nights. I think the threat of rain helped. Also the park was open later so maybe that helped too.
- I had great weather for the first 6+ days of this trip but that luck came to an end while I was at the Osborne Lights. I had just entered the New York Street area and it started to drizzly. I had a rain jacked with me since the forecast said a chance of a passing showing. I did not have an umbrella though since it was packed already. Of course this was a very poor decision and the rain picked up. I sought cover under one of the facades for a while and called up a radar app. There was a fairly large cell in our area but not much else on the map. So I waited for it to let up then moved to the Backlot Express to be more protected from the rain (camera gear and electronics do not mix with rain well). The rain just kept coming. On the radar I saw a couple small pockets so I used that as an opportunity to reach the park entrance. I had about half an hour until Illuminations was slated to start and I wanted to catch it one last time. So I waited for the rain to let up then walked quickly to Epcot (the boat line was backed up toward the tree again and the bus line the same). I made it to Epcot with about 5 minutes to spare. The rain had let up by the time I reached the Boardwalk so the walk was not that bad.
- I had a FastPass+ for Illuminations but not enough time to make it to that area so I started watching the show on the bridge near the International Gateway. Unfortunately the wind was blowing that way so I made my way down toward the UK and then Canada as the show continued in an effort to stay out of the smoke. After the show the walk back to the hotel was not very pleasant. I had to walk through the smoke that was lingering and mixing with some fog. From the UK all the way back to the room it was pretty dense and not the best visibility.
Pedometer Information for the day: