Started off the morning packing up some and waiting for the rain to blow through. Decided to venture out to Disney Springs in the late morning and of course arrived as a down pour did. Spent some time roaming around the Town Center then headed to the Rain Forest Café for lunch. After lunch took a look around the Marketplace then headed for the bus stop and made a quick stop at the Boardwalk before heading out to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Walked out to Kilimanjaro Safari and waited less than 10 minutes. After our Safari took the train out to Conservation station then wandered around Africa and Discovery Island before catching an Express Bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Once there roamed around a bit and ended up grabbing a quick bite at the Backlot Express then back onto the Express Bus, this time heading to the Magic Kingdom. Walked through Tomorrowland , around the hub and into Liberty Square. Some got a funnel cake then we went for a cruise on the Liberty Belle. Once back ashore returned to Tomorrowland and hopped on an Express Bus to Epcot. Had about half an hour before Illuminations so walked around Future World then out to use my FastPass+ for the show. Epcot was open late so I made my way to the United Kingdom then France to wrap up my Eggstravaganza hunt. Strolled back to the Boardwalk using the International Gateway, stopping along the way to watch the Star Wars fireworks from the Studios over the resort.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Today the Orlando area received some much needed rain. For those of us visiting it was more of a nuisance than anything. It was a good excuse to start to pack up since it is my last full day. I let the morning storms roll through and during a break decided to head for Disney Springs and have lunch out there. The rain started again as we were enroute and when we reached the bus drop off it was pouring outside. We quickly realized there is not any cover anywhere near the drop off point. There are a couple of covered areas to provide some shade from the sun but they do nothing for the rain. We had to make a quick walk to a breezeway. This was not horrible for adults with umbrellas like my group. But the poor families with young kids and strollers had a battle and were soaked and ready to return to their resort by the time they reached cover. We also noticed that very little of the Town Center, and of Disney Springs in general, is covered. So your choice was to get wet or wait. We opted to wait and watch some small groups venture out in the pouring rain and dart from small cover to cover or store to store.
- We ended up at the Rain Forest Café for lunch since we had some gift cards to use. I had not really paid attention but the discounts there have gotten extremely tight. For Annual Passholders it is only off entrees.. so if you order say chicken strip appetizer you get no discount. Also if you used a discount you could not earn points for the club anymore. Lastly they rolled out a new menu the today. It seemed a little shorter and more simplified than the old. They dropped several items, including one pasta dish someone in our party wanted (that they saw on the menu the previous day at AK). We talked to someone from the kitchen and as luck would have it they still had the items to make that dish since it just disappeared from the menu over night, so they made it for him.
- After the rain cleared and we walked around Disney Springs for a while we decided to catch a quick bus back to the Boardwalk then transferred to the Animal Kingdom. We wanted to drop something off and were on the West Side so this made sense vs walking to Saratoga Springs to catch a direct bus. There really is no efficient way to get from Disney Springs to the parks.
- Animal Kingdom was not very crowded. Wait times were minimal.. for example the Safari had a 10 min wait posted but we just kept walking. Pandora cast member previews were running in full force, unfortunately no regular guest previews so visiting will have to wait until my next trip.
- Went for a final Safari of the trip and it was a great one. There were a large number of animals moving around and we had an entertaining driver.
- Decided to take the train out to Conservation Station since I had not visited this trip. I still wish they would post the schedule for what is going on out there in the treatment room before you board the train.. especially this trip since the room was closed for renovation. The only other item to note is Doc McStuffins has moved in.
- Thanks to the train we arrived back in Harambe about 3 minutes too late for the bus to the Studios we had wanted to catch. One great feature of the Express Transportation that we noticed is the buses left right on time every time we used them. The draw back is if you are slightly late you miss it.
- My idea was to grab a pizza at the Studios but Rizzos was closed for the day and Catalina Eddies was not open either.. so I ended up at the Backlot Express with a burger.. which turned out not to be that bad and had tons of fries with it. As we roamed the Studios realized there was nothing else I wanted to see there so cut the trip short when someone wanted a funnel cake from Sleep Hollow.
- A the Magic Kingdom the crowds were moderate as we strolled through the park. Sleepy Hollow was slow as always to order and get your food. Not sure why they continue to expand and tweak the menu which only seems to slow it down more. When they offered just funnel cake and ice cream it was already backed up and slow most of the time. Now with other options it only seems to add to the delays.
- As the sun began to set went for a cruise on the Liberty Belle. Thought it was interesting they stop sailing at 8pm. Seems there should be no reason to close that early.. guess there is not a demand for night cruises in Orlando? It was nice to walk through the hub and see some Main Street transportation in operation.. only spotted one car but still better than most of the time. It seems between the Trolley show, castle shows, parades and dance party there is very little time the transportation operates.
- Closed out my day at Epcot. Walked around Future World for a few minutes to see how the topiaries were lit this year, not that different/interesting and then arrived at the Illuminations FastPass+ area a few minutes before the show. This evening there were some technical issues with Illuminations. The speaker closest to me was going in/out and the globe did not spin. After Illuminations I noticed a lot of guests heading into World Showcase still. Tonight was extra magic hours. That meant I was able to finish the Eggstravaganza Egg hunt visiting the United Kingdom and France to find the last two.
- As I walked back to the Boardwalk the Studios Star Wars Galactic Celebration got underway. It was not a bad view of the show. The drawback is a large portion of the show is projection or close fireworks so from this distance there were very long gaps of nothing happening. Also the Swan Hotel was in the way a little.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Other Picture sets from today: