Started off this cold morning packing up and checking out. Once we were all done with that (3 rooms, 9 people so it took a while) we checked the suitcases in and dropped the carryons then ventured out. Some hopped on a boat to the Studios. Others walked to Epcot. I went to the Studios to grab some lunch and visit a bit then caught a bus to the front of Epcot to get some pictures of the entrance topiaries then walked around World Showcase starting at Mexico and working my way to the International Gateway. Along the way catching some of the entertainment and exhibits. Took a final look at World Showcase Lagoon then strolled back to the Boardwalk to join the rest of the group and prepare for the Magical Express and to wrap up our trip. Our bus stopped at Caribbean Beach Resort so I was able to take a look at that construction along the way.
Thoughts & Observations:
- The final morning of any trip is always a little depressing. This trip was a day shorter than I normally do and not feeling well for several of the days really made it feel like a short trip to me. The Boardwalk checkout process seemed a little off today. We did not receive anything in our room. Our airline check in paperwork finally showed up around 8am.
- The airline checkin and dropping our carryons off went smoothly. It would have been nice if someone outside would have told us where to drop the bags vs going inside then being told to go back outside to valet. So if you are staying at the Boardwalk note that on check in your bags go to bell services inside the lobby. But on the day of checkout your bags go to the valet outside.
- I opted to go with the group returning to the Studios this morning. They wanted to save steps so we took the Friendship Boat. This made for a long boat ride to the park. The park felt busy for a Sunday morning. We ate lunch at Rizzos which had a healthy line/wait to get food but plenty of seating open. Using mobile order would have been nice again but with no real customization options I was stuck in line.
- Realized I had not gotten any pictures of the topiaries at the front of Epcot so decided to take the bus from the Studios. Again this process was painfully slow then I encountered some of the longest security lines of the trip so it took a very long time for such a short transfer. I really miss the Express Bus option.
- El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia takes place several times a day in Mexico and features a band playing music from Coco. I thought this was a nice tie in to the movie and well done. But due to the awkward placement of the show it did not seem to be a big draw. The show takes place in the photo spot between Mexico and Norway where Donald usually is. So it is off the beaten path.
- Inside Mexico is a new exhibit Remember Me! La Celebración del Día de Muertos. I thought it was interesting how they still had several displays not complete and the exhibit opened in October and the movie in November yet in early December it was still not finished.
- Stopped by the American Adventure to check out the gingerbread, they had the same monuments as last year. Then took in a performance by the Voices of Liberty. They sung an interesting mix of songs, most non-traditional this set.
- Our Magical Express bus back to the airport arrived a few minutes early and we boarded with no problem. Note buses are now scheduled 4 hours before departure because of the longer security lines. It seems like they should switch to scanning Magic Bands on departure too. Instead they rely on the paper still.
- Our bus made one stop on the way to the airport and that was at the Caribbean Beach Resort. This meant I got a good view of the new Riviera Resort Tower that is rising up.
- At the airport we grabbed a bite to eat then headed for the gates. The security lines were long 30-45 minutes depending which side you went to. We all had TSA pre-check which meant no delay and it saved a lot of time.
- I was lucky to be traveling with someone who belongs to the Delta Sky Club so we were able to spend some time in there. This was my first time in the Orlando one. It felt small, crowded and old to me. There were signs up about renovation so it will be changing but overall I was not impressed with it. It was better than being in the crowds in the main terminal but only slightly better.
- Our flight was late, the plan landed about 15 minutes before we were scheduled to board. So that meant we were going to be delayed. The rest of our group was on Jet Blue and their flight was delayed even longer. Their plan was coming from an international destination and was held in customs for about an hour after landing. So they arrived in Los Angeles over an hour after us still.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Other Picture sets from today: