Woke up and grabbed a quick breakfast in the room then set off for the Magic Kingdom. Walked over and arrived around 9am. Decided to go for a ride on the train and took it to Fantasyland. Strolled through Fantasyland to Tomorrowland and went for a ride on the PeopleMover then visited the Carousel of Progress. Walked back through the hub and out to Frontierland. Wandered around the area until 11am and the first Country Bear Jamboree show of the day. After the bears returned to Main Street USA and grabbed an early lunch at Casey’s. Then headed for the park exit. Took the ferry boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon and boarded a Monorail for Epcot at the Transportation and Ticket Center. Once at Epcot walked around Future World (the east side) and then out to World Showcase. Stopped by China for the film and then continued on to the American Adventure for the Voices of Liberty. After their set watched a performance in France then the film there. Boarded a Friendship Launch in Morocco and took it across to Future World. Strolled through Canada, skipping the film since we were starting to run out of time. Passed through the United Kingdom then exited the park. Took a boat to the Boardwalk and walked over to the Dolphin for dinner at Shula’s this evening. After dinner boarded a bus to the Magic Kingdom. Wandered around Main Street USA and then through the Castle to Fantasyland. Out along the train tracks then back to Tomorrowland where I hopped on the Peoplemover for a sunset ride. It was past 8:30pm so decided to find a spot for Happily Ever After. Then stuck around for Once Upon a Time. Opted to walk back to Bay Lake Tower to wrap up my last full day at WDW.
Thoughts & Observations:
- This morning we met our first substantial line at the Magic Kingdom security check point on the walkway from the Contempoary. Other days at most there were two groups ahead of us. Today there was a line. We were near park opening, but had done that other days too. As we approached the park the bus security lines were just as bad. Also noticed buses dropping off guests from the Transportation and Ticket Center. Seems the Monorail was either down or overwhelmed so they had buses running. Guess today was a popular day to visit the Magic Kingdom for some reason.
- Once in the park the crowd did not feel bad. So guess they were still trying to get in or everyone arrived at once.
- Stopped by the Country Bear Jamboree and it had a later opening… 11am vs the 10am previous days. A fairly large crowd gathered outside the theater. Shortly after 11am a cast member started wandering around the area and eventually opened the doors. We quickly learned that opening at 11am did not mean first show at 11am.. it meant a cast member would think about opening the front doors at 11am. By the time the show finally started the theater was mostly full. One of the busiest showings I had been to in years.
- Mid day we decided to travel to Epcot and opted to take the ferry across to the TTC. They had three running but only using one dock on each side and with the timing that meant one had to sit and wait for the TTC dock to open up. It was nice to hang out in the middle of the Seven Seas Lagoon for several minutes, but I was surprised they were not using a second dock so you could just alternate between boats and be more efficient.
- At Epcot spent some time walking around the east side of Future World. It is kind of sad to walk the area. Two of Four pavilions are shuttered (Energy and Wonders of Life). Mission Space was relatively quiet as usual not drawing a crowd. So that left just Test Track. Innoventions is also a ghost town.
- Stopped by China and watched the film. It had been a while and it was a little more engaging to view now that I have been to a couple of the places highlighted in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
- Spent the afternoon at Epcot World Showcase enjoying some of the entertainment and films.
- Dinner this evening was at Shula’s Steakhouse. The meal did not disappoint and was as consistent as previous visits. We have always had great meals there. The price point is on the expensive side but you do get what you pay for there. If you were curious on ways to save a little there they have a birthday club that is good for a free entre. Also they run gift card promotions for various holidays/events throughout the year. There is also a frequent dining program for the Dolphin/Swan restaurants where points can be used to get gift certificates.
- After dinner decided to return to the Magic Kingdom for my last night in the parks. The weather was good so that was a plus compared to most evenings this trip. The park felt quiet but long lines. Speaking of wait times I found an announcement I heard while walking through Fantasyland from the Dwarfs Mine Train funny. The cast member was saying how those just getting in line would have a 95 minute wait and that was 2 hours. Not sure if they were rounding up or really did not know how many minutes in 2 hours. They said it twice as I was in the area.
- I found a spot on Main Street USA for Happily Ever After then realized that they shifted the show later this week so my wait turned into 45 minutes. Oops..
- After Happily Ever After I stuck around for Once Upon a Time. The guests exiting the park after Happily Ever After are not a friendly bunch. I felt like I was back in Shanghai almost as they were basically running me over as they marched toward the exit! Moral of the story is do not try to stay on Main Street.. I did find a spot to sit out of the way and let the crowd disperse then moved back into the street.
- I thought the projections for Once Upon a Time looked better than Happily Ever After in many cases. Not sure if this had to do with the scale and animation or just my impression. I really think the show should run before the fireworks. It would work better as a preshow than a post show, especially with the name! But also with the feel of the show.
- After Once Upon a Time I decided to call it a night and headed for the exit. First choice was the Monorail but the Resort Line was backed up (as was the Express and Ferry boat), so many of those guest rushing by me to exit after the fireworks had not really gotten that far. I opted to walk back to the room and while walking only two resort monorails passed overhead. I was guessing I would have been on the 3rd or 4th with the queue so it was a much quicker option to walk.
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