Started off my day walking across the bridge to the Art of Animation Resort to take a look around at the Skyliner work then the Art of Animation Lobby Renovation Project before boarding a bus to Epcot. Used a FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth followed by one for Living with the Land and then Imagination to round out my first three. Spent some time in the Butterfly Garden then MouseGear on my way out to Mexico to watch the Story of Coco performance. Strolled back through World Showcase and out the International Gateway to the Beach Club. Caught a bus to Disney Springs and grabbed lunch at D-Lux Burger. After lunch walked around the Marketplace then out to the West Side. Caught a Bus to Fort Wilderness then another to Pioneer Hall area. Took a look around and then waited for a boat to the Magic Kingdom. The plan was to take a Monorail to the TTC but the Express was backed up several and the one in the station was not really looking like it was going to go. So walked back around and hopped on the next resort one instead. Transferred to the Epcot Line and made my way back into Epcot. Decided to spend some time walking through the Canada and United Kingdom before ending up in France. Grabbed a bite to eat and then continued on out to the American Adventure area. Watched the Garden Rocks concert (well two songs of the set) before moving on to Germany for some caramel corn. Spent some time taking pictures as I strolled around World Showcase Lagoon, stopping by China on the way. Found a spot near Mexico to watch Illuminations. The show was delayed due to weather and lightning flashes were in the area. The wind started to pick up and I decided to walk quickly for the park exit. Made it back to the bus and Pop Century before the rain blew in, but I missed Illuminations. They show started about the time I reached Spaceship Earth.
Thoughts & Observations:
- All was quiet this morning on the Disney Skyliner system. It appears they take the weekend off from testing right now. Walked by what appears to be a new restroom building at the Art of Animation near the Skyliner. This building seems to be progressing extremely slowly given its small size.
- I walked through the Art of Animation lobby. They are currently renovating the lobby to replace the flooring. Over half of it is blocked off with a temporary barrier for the project. Also the front entrance is currently inaccessible, so you have to use the doors closer to the bus stops to enter/leave the lobby. They have temporarily relocated the Magical Express drop off too.
- Was able to pick up several FastPass+ for Future World attractions this morning as we walked around. This saved us some time.
- I thought the Ralph Breaks the Internet Meet and Greet in the ImageWorks seemed a little out of place and odd. It does bring some life to the area but just seemed odd to me. Also seeing Riviera merchandise near the exit of the shop (near the DVC lounge check in) was a bit odd. Kind of surprised they do not sell the merchandise up in the lounge vs the general merchandise location for the pavilion where it seems out of place.
- Took in a performance of Mariachi Cobre Presenta the Story of 'Coco' along World Showcase Lagoon. I thought this was a great show. The show features Mariachi Cobre telling the story and playing music from Coco. It is very similar to the Musical Celebration of Coco that runs at Disney California Adventure for the holidays. I thought the area for the show was too small and with no shade was brutal for afternoon showings.
- Walked through the International Gateway on my way to the Beach Club to catch a bus and noticed they shifted the walls and walkway as the next phase of construction for the Skyliner, security and park entry gets underway. It is going to be really interesting the final product out here. I really hope they add enough bag check lines and staff them to handle the potential inflow of guests from the Skyliner. The Skyliner has the potential to offload around 10 guests every 10 seconds. Say they do not reach that but average 50 guests a minute coming off during peak times. That going to be a lot of pressure on bag check lines. Really seems to make the case for the system being inside the secure zone so you do not have to recheck guests that are park hopping and for other sit spreads out the waits.
- The Beach Club bus stop had a ton of love bugs. There were very few surfaces not covered or places to stand without them being everywhere.
- Disney Springs was busy as you would expect on a Saturday afternoon. I spent some time walking around including out to the far side of the West side. The area continues to evolve with more restaurants opening and shops too. One interesting recent opening was a Disney World ticket office storefront. With the growing use of apps and other means of ticket purchasing a storefront seemed odd. Wonder if the idea is more of a guest relations type location vs actual ticket sales.
- After lunch I made my way out to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground area to check out the latest happenings there. Construction on the new Reflections - A Disney Lakeside Lodge has begun. This new DVC property has a 2022 opening target. They have started to clear the land where the former River Country was and the area around it including the Backyard BBQ area. The construction will be expanded in the near future and encompass the entire area all the way up to Pioneer Hall. The stables will be removed in the near future and the walls will extend to the beach too with more of that becoming part of the new resort. The new resort appears to be very invasive and the feeling of this entire area is going to be changing drastically. I was really disappointed to hear this. I always find Fort Wilderness a great change of pace and being able to offer different types of vacation experiences I think are a plus for WDW. I do not understand why the new resort was not located closer to Wilderness Lodge, maybe splitting the distance between the two. It appears to be centered near Pioneer Hall. Maybe this is for even more expansion or future plans but I think it will negatively impact the Fort Wilderness area.
- I took a boat from Fort Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom then the plan was the Express Monorail to the TTC. This plan failed as there were several train loads of guests backed up at the station. The Resort line was a walk on so went over there.
- Epcot was busier this evening than others, since it was a weekend. I spent some time walking around and then found a spot for Illuminations. The show was delayed and weather started to roll in. There was lightning and storms all around. As they grew closer and still no show I decided to head for the exit quickly since I did not have rain gear with me and did not feel like being soaked. As I reached Spaceship Earth the show started. The lightning and thunder seemed close so I did not pause for pictures instead moving quickly toward a bus to stay out of the rain. In the end there was a lot of wind, lightning and thunder but not a lot of rain where I was.
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