This morning walked over to Epcot just after 9am park opening and made our way to France for breakfast. After eating walked through a quiet World Showcase and into Future World. On the way picked up a FastPass+ for Living with the Land so headed that way first. Used it and while in the queue booked a Seas with Nemo and Friends. After our cruise walked next door and used the Nemo one then spent some time walking around the Pavilion. Took a quick look in the Ralph Breaks the Internet Meet and Greet and then a look around Future World before heading for the park exit and a bus to Saratoga Springs. Disembarked at the Congress Park stop and walked over to Disney Springs. Spent some time on the Christmas Tree Trail and then walked through some stores including the World of Disney before meeting friends for lunch at the Boathouse. After eating and visiting took a bus back to the Boardwalk, picked up warmer clothes and then set off for Epcot. Took a Friendship Launch to the park and then walked out to catch the Candlelight Processional. Continued on past Italy to Germany and stopped for a snack. Took a look around China on our way to Norway to use a FastPass+ for Frozen. Once back thought about visiting Mexico but the app said the attraction was down so made our way to Future World and walked around a bit before heading toward the International Gateway to catch Illuminations from the bridge. After the show joined the march of guests back to the Epcot resorts and called it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- I always enjoy walking around some of World Showcase at park opening when it is not crowded yet. This morning we walked over to France for breakfast and as usual it was a peaceful experience. We have noticed over the years that it is getting slightly more crowded but it is still not that bad. I am expecting this to change dramatically once the Ratatouille attraction opens.
- Spent the morning visiting Future World west starting with the Land. Living with the Land has some Christmas decorations in the greenhouses which make for something new to look at as you cruise through. Several years ago there was a gingerbread display in the land, It was only around one year I think, it is too bad it never resurfaced as it was interesting to see and added a little to the pavilion.
- Stopped by the Seas with Nemo and Friends to see if anything interesting was going on. Not really. There was a dolphin doing a matching game and a lock out chamber demonstration was going on. There were a fair number of guests roaming around too.
- I took a quick look into the Ralph Breaks the Internet temporary meet and greet in the Innoventions building. It looked rather temporary and the location was kind of awkward to get to. There was a 20-30 minute wait it appeared so guests had no problem finding it and did not seem to mind.
- We were meeting friends at Disney Springs for a late lunch so headed that way. Decided to take a bus to Saratoga Springs and walk over vs having to transfer. Disney Springs has added a lot of dining choices but if you rely on Disney Transportation like we do it is not a convenient place to visit. No buses run from the parks until after 4pm and no buses run back to the parks so you have to transfer through somewhere.
- First stop once we arrived was the Christmas Tree Trail. The trail looks more impressive to me after dark but the crowds during the afternoon are much more pleasant to walk around and take pictures of the trees. There are a handful of new trees this year. The Haunted Mansion and WDW trees jump to mind as interesting. Overall it is the same experience as year’s past. We did see something different this time through. A wedding party showed up and was taking pictures by some of the trees.
- As we walked through Disney Springs it felt very busy for lunch time on a Friday in early December.
- This was my first visit to the newly remodeled World of Disney at Disney Springs. The feel is very similar to its Anaheim counterpart. The store feels extremely large and was very busy adding a chaotic feel to it.
- For lunch we dined at the Boathouse and had a great meal and service as usual. We have found the restaurant to be very consist and try to visit each trip.
- A performing arts dance group marched through the central walkway of Disney Springs. This was the first time I had seen a mini parade. It drew a healthy crowd wanting to see what was going on. Seems they should have stopped to perform somewhere and not just marched by.
- The bus trip back to the Boardwalk took a very long time. Upwards of 45 minutes travel time and the Boardwalk is one of the closer destination. In total we spent close to two hours traveling to/from Disney Springs. This is a very large time investment and seems like it should be less. Disney has tried some things such as the bus lane, but the bus lane does not help when your bus hits every red light.
- Made our way to Epcot for the evening. Stopped by the Candlelight and then made our way to Frozen FastPass+. It was much easier to get a Frozen FastPass+ this trip than past ones. Even some same day ones popped up from time to time. The standby waits were still long the couple times we checked.
- As I walked around Epcot this evening I noticed after 8pm your entertainment choices went to only a couple and as 9pm approached there was nothing until Illuminations.
- Watched Illuminations from the bridge near France & the International Gateway. I noticed there were no fireworks cruises. I did not see one the entire trip. Not sure if they were not being allowed out due to the construction or if they just did not offer them or if they were not booked (which seems unlikely).
- No signs of construction for the Skyliner tonight either but the Friendship boats closed early as announced.
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