Started off my morning walking through Pop Century and over to the Art of Animation Resort. Caught a bus from there to the Animal Kingdom and walked around the Oasis and Discovery Island waiting for some relatives to arrive. The kids (there was a 2 & 4 year old in the group today) participated in the Wilderness Explorers program so we stopped for some badges along the way to Dinoland since the kids wanted to play. Went on triceratops spin and then decided to grab an early lunch since we were there. Walked out to Africa and used a FastPass+ for Kilimanjaro Safari. Once back walked through Gorilla Falls and then stopped by the dance party before using the walkway by the Tree of Life to walk over to use a second FastPass+ to see Mickey and Minnie. Explored Asia including the Jungle Trek then hiked back to Africa and were among the last groups let into Festival of the Lion King. After the show ate dinner at Pizzafari then walked around Discovery Island a bit waiting for the Tree of Life Awakenings. The plan was then to go see the drones but heard the 7:00pm was cancelled so caught a bus to the Beach Club and walked to Epcot. Along the way caught the Jingle Bam fireworks. Once in the park walked around World Showcase past France, Morocco, Japan ... all the way to China then decided to circle back and watch the new band in Germany. After their set caught the end of the Dragon Acrobats in China then went to the see the Candlelight. After the show walked around toward the entrance and decided to watch Illuminations from Canada
Thoughts & Observations:
- We had some extra time this morning before meeting relatives at the Animal Kingdom so took a leisurely walk over to the Art of Animation Resort to see the Christmas decorations and catch the bus from there. The bus stops at Art of Animation were quiet this morning, no long lines like Pop.
- I spent most of the day at the Animal Kingdom with relatives including an almost 3 & 4 year old. It was very interesting seeing the park through their eyes. For example we spent some time in the Boneyard, which they really enjoyed. They also were extremely engaged with the Wilderness Explorer Badges even the almost 3 year old.
- Ate lunch at Restaurantosourus and the cast member could not get the register to ring up chicken nuggets only.. no fries/side. Eventually she figured out how to do it for a Chili Dog so we got that with no fries and the nuggets with fries).
- Used a FastPass+ for the Kilimanjaro Safari after lunch and had a subpar experience. Our driver was not engaged at all. He spoke monotone and basically said animal x or y is on the right or left. And many times not even that. So we filled in the narration for our guests.
- Next up the animal exhibits. First Gorilla Falls. Not sure if I like the new/old name over Pangani Forest. I guess it conveys to people what is on the trail but they are only part of the trip. On the positive side there was a lot of gorilla activity on both sides when we were there. We then headed to Asia for the Jungle Trek. The new apes area looked great but with the setting sun and glass pictures did not come out well. The tiger area only had two, one on each side and not a lot of activity. It is no where near as nice as it used to be in terms of the animals.
- Made it into the Festival of the Lion King by only a couple guests. We opted to use Standby before our FastPass+ time to go a show early. They seated us in the 4th row on ground level. I had not sat down there so it was a new angle. The view was tough for the opening and some of the dancing but the stage is elevated enough to have great views. The kids were able to participate in the finale so they loved it.
- On the way out of the park watched the first Tree of Life Awakenings of the evening. The transition and first awakening were well done.
- As Animal Kingdom was closing and the energy level of our group was near zero so most called it a day. I headed to Epcot via the Beach Club to meet another friend for the evening. The bus ride to the Beach Club was surprisingly quick and good timing. I walked right on a bus before it pulled away. Plan A was Disney Springs to see the drones again but the 7pm show was cancelled so I figured a good shot at the 8:30 being cancelled too so I skipped that trip.
- Caught a performance by Margret Almer & The Bavarian Band in Germany. This trio puts on a fun show and drew a good size crowd.
- Robby Benson was the guest narrator at the Candlelight this evening. I thought it was fun how he ended his remarks with a quote from the Beast in the Beasts voice.
- I watched Illuminations from the steps in Canada this evening. I do not recall ever watching from up there. The view was ok. For people who have seen the show it was good. For a first time viewing I would not recommend it, there are better angles and distances to be. The nice thing was I showed up just about show time and had a great view.
- Ended my night on a disappointing note. There was a voice mail in the room again. I listened and it was a sales call for Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party. As if the signs at the Magic Kingdom, ads on the buses, in the room, in the lobby, at the park entrances were not enough now a call too. Also the call was not very polished. I found it tacky and annoying to have a sales call.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Other Picture sets from today: