Started off my morning heading for Epcot. Strolled through Future World to the Land. Soarin had a posted 20 minute wait that turned into a walk on. Next up we had a FastPass+ for Living with the Land, not needed but I needed to use three so I had one and used it. After our cruise went next door to Imagination and used another FastPass+ (again not needed). Wandered around Future World and out to Mexico for the 11am opening. Took the Gran Fiesta cruise then walked next door to Norway to use an 11:15am FastPass+. Walked around World Showcase to the American Adventure and ate lunch at the Liberty Inn then took in a performance by the Voice of Liberty followed by the American Adventure. After the show spent some time in Italy then Germany before catching the band in Germany. It started to rain during their set so ran for cover in Germany. Once the rain stopped doubled back to China and the Shanghai exhibit. Then walked to Japan. Hid from another rain cell then decided to take the Friendship Launch to the front of the park. Stopped by the Electric Umbrella for a bite to eat and figure out a game plan. Some called it a very early day and the rest of us ventured to Animal Kingdom. Walked around the Tree of Life then out to Africa. There was a posted 35 minute wait that turned out to be slightly longer. This worked well so it was dark for the Safari. After our trip back to the buses and this time to Disney Springs. Stepped off the bus as they were playing the safety announcement before the Starbright Holiday show (the drones). Walked quickly to the waterfront near Bongos since the area near Characters in Flight looked jammed. After the show the rest of my group retreated to the room and I roamed around the Town Center then caught a bus to the Beach Club. Walked to Epcot arriving just in time to see the drones 8:30 show from the bridge right after the UK & International Gateway. Walked through the United Kingdom then into Canada. Took in the film then went to use a FastPass+ for Illuminations. After the show joined the mob leaving the park. The Pop Century bus stop was backed up and operating slowly tonight. Charter buses from Mears (Cruise Line buses) were in use. Eventually made it back to Pop Century to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- I was very happy to be heading to Epcot this morning. The Pop Century bus stop for the Magic Kingdom was crazy. We watched four buses pull up, load and the line was still outside the queue. We were heading to Epcot and boarded the first bus that showed up.
- We noticed Soarin had a posted wait of 20 minutes only and some in the group had not seen the WDW version so we decided to give it a go. Turned out to be a walk on and we barely had to pause to give them our group size and lucked out as we walked down the ramp they were looking for a small group so we walked right into the safety spiel area.
- Living with the Land and Imagination were both walk ons too but we opted to scan our FastPass+ so we could use more selections later in the day possibly. The Christmas touches in the Land greenhouses were fun to see. Imagination is still frustrating and a little sad to ride, even after all these years! Our third FastPass+ was for Frozen . Was happy not to get too wet this time.. I sat in the middle of the boat.
- Caught most of a set by Margret Almer & The Bavarian Band before it started to rain and I rain for cover. The band performs a slightly different set during the day.
- The gingerbread display in the American Adventure was great as always. It is one of the few that has expanded in recent years. The Voices of Liberty put on a good performance as always.
- Why did Disney move the Animal Kingdom bus out to the charter bus pick up areas? No cover and a good hike. Seems like no respect for park hopping. Is this part of the plan to sell more Express bus add ons?
- At the Animal Kingdom waited almost 40 minutes to give a second night safari a try. Timing worked out as we boarded just as it was dark. Unfortunately this Safari was our worst of the trip. Most of our truck, I think ever row but ours, was a foreign tour group. They did not seem to know English at all and actually asked the driver to do it in Spanish. The driver stuck to English but basically gave up and said next to nothing. Add to this that there were almost no animals out and visible and it was a long, dark ride through the attraction. We spotted more cast members working than we did animals it seemed.
- We looked at our watches and thought we had enough time to make it to Disney Springs if we had some decent bus luck. Turns out we did and we made it to the Town Center just as the safety announcement for Starbright Holidays was playing. It was more crowded but we worked our way to the waterfront and found a spot just before the show started. It was very close timing but it worked and saved me from having to wait 90 minutes for the next show.
- Disney Springs was very busy. I thought about heading out to see the Christmas Trees at night but decided it was not worth pushing through the crowds, so instead took in some entertainment at the Town Center a couple night pictures from the Coke rooftop then headed for the buses.
- Waited for a bus to the Beach Club which turned out to be a mistake. It took forever for the bus to arrive. It took me a long time to get to the resort then a quick walk to Epcot. I arrived at the International Gateway bridge just in time to catch the StarBright show from there. You could see most of the show and it was interesting from this angle/distance.
- I had some time before Illuminations, and I had a FastPass+ tonight, so stopped by Canada and took in the film. Only a handful of guests joining me at this hour.
- Illuminations from the FastPass+ area is still my favorite view of the show.
- The bus queue for Pop Century was really long and slow moving this evening. They were using Cruise Line buses which load very slowly. Also normally they do not pack them as full, but this evening they were jamming the walkway with guests too. So each bus took a while to load. Our bus had to make an unscheduled stop when the luggage door popped open pulling out of the lot.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Part I: Epcot
A relaxing morning and early afternoon roaming around Epcot.
Part II: Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, & Epcot
Made a quick trip to Animal Kingdom for an after dark safari then quickly to Disney Springs for the drones and closed out the night at Epcot.
Other Picture sets from today: