Woke up to a foggy morning at the Boardwalk. We started off our morning slowly with some still recovering from traveling. Ate some breakfast in the room and then hopped on a bus to the Magic Kingdom arriving around 10am. Spent some time roaming around Main Street USA checking out the 50th & Christmas decorations. Saw the Dapper Dans pass by and worked my way into Tomorrowland. The People Mover was having issues so we did not ride but waited around a while. Then found a place to sit at the Tomorrowland Terrace. I went to Casey's to grab lunch and caught a cavalcade while waiting for my order. After eating caught the end of the Philharmonic performing at Cinderella Castle then strolled through Adventureland and out to Frontierland. Circled back and watched the 50th Cavalcade in Frontierland and then caught it a second time on Main Street USA. Next up the Dapper Dans performed a short set at the Train Station. Saw the Winnie the Pooh gang go by on the horse drawn trolley and then walked up Main Street and through the Castle to Fantasyland. Wandered out to Storybook Circus and took a look at the TRON work, returned to Main Street and saw the band march. I kept checking and the peoplemover line did not shrink so I bit the bullet and went and waited. It took 20 minutes to board. After my trip around Tomorrowland walked over to Liberty Square. Caught the Celebration Cavalcade again and then stopped by the Hall of Presidents. As I was exiting the Magic Kingdom Cavalcade was passing by. Spent some time in the hub and the Princess Cavalcade went by. Then watched the Philharmonic perform at the Castle. After their set stopped by Mickey's Philharmagic. Ordered dinner from Cosmic Rays and then went for a second ride on the Peoplemover. This time waited just under 20 minutes. Walked around the hub waiting for it to get dark and saw the first Beacons of Magic of the evening. Then returned to Liberty Square for an after dark cruise on the Liberty Belle. Once back on shore hung out in Frontierland for a while then made my way to Main Street to find a spot for Enchantment about 30 minutes prior to show time. After the show walked quickly and hopped on a waiting bus to the Yacht Club. 23 minutes from Main Street to Yacht Club lobby only so I was well ahead of schedule. Took a look around the lobby at the Train display and Christmas decorations then found a place to sit for a while and post some pictures before moving on to the Beach Club lobby. All was going good until I stepped outside and it was raining. Checked weather.com and it said another 20 minutes or so of rain. So I hung around waiting for it to blow through. It did around 9:20pm. I set off for Epcot as soon as the skies cleared. I arrived in World Showcase at 9:30pm and found a spot for Harmonious near the International Gateway. Watched Harmonious then walked back to the Boardwalk to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- This morning the group was moving slow after traveling and a full day in the parks yesterday so we did not make it to the Magic Kingdom until 10am.
- It was another foggy morning. The view from our room was interesting with the Swan and Dolphin removed from sight. While we were getting ready we noticed a life guard training session going on. Those cast members looked rather cold standing in the water this foggy and cool morning.
- Our day was off to a good start as the Magic Kingdom bus pulled up with little wait for us and we got a seat.
- As we walked around the Magic Kingdom the park seemed busy for mid morning on a Wednesday in early December. As I said yesterday at EPCOT it felt more like a weekend than weekday.
- The Magic Kingdom has some Christmas decorations, mostly on Main Street, as well as Christmas music in some of the performances and background tracks. But overall the park does not have the same holiday feeling as the Disneyland Resort parks do.
- The performances of the Main Street groups still felt truncated except for the Philharmonic Castle set that seemed full length. As I roamed the park there were very few characters out greeting guests. Seems your best show to see any was one of the numerous cavalcades still or wait in line to visit in Town Square Theatre or Princess area in Fantasyland.
- The Magic Kingdom is the main park to see the Fab 50 statues with a majority of them in the hub area. Most statues would draw an occasional guest to stop and take a picture, but the Mickey and Minnie ones had a line and a PhotoPass photographer several times I passed by.
- Speaking of PhotoPass. I am still bothered by how they take over Main Street and make it a congested challenge to travel up or down the street.
- I was disappointed to find most of the Tomorrowland Terrace seating closed off. They had one section open during lunch but that closed mid afternoon too as the area was reserved for a number of dessert parties in the evening. The park could really use more seating, especially covered outdoor seating which this offered plenty of.
- Speaking of seating for several visits now I have commented how benches seem to be going extinct at Walt Disney World theme parks. There are very few and finding one in the shade is like finding a needle in a haystack much of the time. This visit I overheard a number of guests commenting to each other the same thought.
- Casey's Corner was mobile only. There were cast members helping guests to use the app if needed. I thought this would speed up the process, but it was still fairly slow for a quick service location with such a limited menu.
- The Peoplemover was having issues throughout the morning. It would run for a while then stop for a while. There were also some large gaps between trains. Finally after lunch it seemed more stable and I waited to go for a couple rides. The waits were longer than usual too in the 20-30 minute range most of the day.
- The TRON construction seems to be moving ahead at a good clip at the moment. Crews were working on the walkways, canopy and train path. It would be great to see the Walt Disney World Railroad reopen sooner rather than later. They were working on the walls for the tunnel through the TRON site today. I am really curious how TRON will fit into Tomorrowland. In Shanghai the attraction is the center piece of the land and the entire land is an integrated show at night with lighting effects throughout. Hopefully the WDW version comes off to be impressive too and not shoe horned into a corner of the park and isolated.
- I visited the Hall of Presidents since it has been updated since my last visit. No major changes to the show except for Trump being added to the role call and Biden performing the oath of office. There were a number of rude people from both sides of the political aisle that decided they had to yell something out as the couple modern presidents were introduced. Interesting to note they did not have additional visible cast members inside the theater as they have had for the past several years.
- Mickey's Philharmagic has been renovated and now features a digital version of the film and a new Coco scene. The movie looked sharp and I really appreciate the larger screen that the Magic Kingdom has over Disney California Adventure. I did notice one spot that looked a little dark or seemed a tad off on one of the "seems"/corners where the image bends.
- Grabbed some chicken strips and fries from Cosmic Rays for dinner this evening. I was surprised to receive some very large chicken strips and a ton of french fries this evening and both were fresh and hot. It turned out to be an unexpectedly good meal.
- I found a spot to watch Cinderella Castle come alive this evening as a Beacon of Magic. It turned out to be a brief projection moment an then fairly static projections on the castle. It was not nearly as impressive as the Spaceship Earth lights. I thought it was rather understated for the parks 50th anniversary. I found the Christmas projections that alternated throughout the night more interesting and impressive to watch.
- Went for a night cruise on the Liberty Belle. It was nice to hang out on an uncrowded ship on a comfortable evening. The sets have some lights so you can see them. They were not using a spot light like they do at Disneyland.
- With no entertainment choices after sunset and attraction wait times longer than my patience I went in search of a place to sit in Frontierland and post some pictures. This was a bit of a challenge with few options. I ended up on the large boxes along the parade route.
- As I went to find a spot for Disney Enchantment the hub area was really busy and guests everywhere. Crowd flow was not optimal and a number of guests were ignoring the cast members who were trying to guide them to keep the traffic moving. Once you got further down the street it was busy but much easier to move around and find a spot for the show. I choose a spot near the Cinema so I could see the projections, be out of some of the heaviest crowds and be closer to the buses to leave.
- Disney Enchantment replaced Happily Ever After for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. Overall the show is an average Castle Park fireworks show. There are projections along Main Street which are new for WDW but have been at Disneyland for years. Other than that nothing too new or unique jumped out to me. If the show was launched in a regular year I would say its adequate, but this was to big 50th anniversary show so it fell flat to me. There was nothing in the show that celebrated the park. It was the typical medley of movie music. When the show was announced I was hoping for something along the lines of Remember Dreams Come True that Disneyland had for its 50th or even the 60th show Disneyland Forever. Instead the show was a standard show. Even on that scale it was not at the top, I enjoyed it more than Wishes but not nearly as much as Happily Ever After. To me it seems Walt Disney World missed a great opportunity to celebrate the park and anniversary.
- With Enchantment at 8pm and Harmonious at 9:45pm I had plenty of time to see both so decided to take a bus to the Yacht & Beach Club and see the Christmas decorations on my way to EPCOT. It took me just over 20 minutes from my spot on Main Street to the Yacht Club lobby this evening.
- Upon arriving at the Yacht Club there was little in the way of Christmas outside. Inside was the same as usual with the village/train set and Christmas tree with the ships on it. The Beach Club was decorated as usual too with the gingerbread carousel. This year it celebrated the Little Mermaid.
- As I stepped outside the Beach Club to walk to EPCOT it was raining. There was a small chance in the forecast but I did not think much of it. Checked the radar and the cell looked to be blowing through in 20-30 minutes. So I hung out on the covered patio waiting since I had no rain gear with me and had no desire to get soaked. After about 20 minutes I saw the clouds breaking up and the rain stopped so I set off for the park.
- I choose poorly on my walk to EPCOT. I like walking along the water under the bridge. This was great until near the end. The smoking area for EPCOT has taken over that spot. So the last 50 yards or so of the walk were a number of people smoking on a narrow walkway. This was not pleasant.
- With the rain delay and stopping to see the decorations I still arrived at EPCOT 15 minutes prior to Harmonious. This evening I decided to try the show from the bridge closest to the International Gateway (partially in case the rain came back I would be in a spot to get out quickly). The large LCD screens looked good from here as did the fireworks. But you could not see the center ring projections at all, you are looking at the side of it, nor could you see any of the laser effects. The view was adequate to experience the show but not optimal by any stretch.
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