Started off my morning heading to the Animal Kingdom. We arrived at the park around 8:45 and made our way out to Africa. The posted wait for Kilimanjaro Safari was 50 minutes, ended up taking us 44. After our Safari stopped by to watch the bird show in Asia then walked the Jungle Trek to see the tigers. Continued on around to Dinoland, pausing for KiteTails along the way. Walked back through Discovery Island and made my way to the front of the park. Caught a bus to the Wilderness Lodge. Took a look around the lobby then boarded another bus to Fort Wilderness. Order take out from P and J's and found a table in the shade to relax and eat some fried chicken. After lunch walked over to Tri-Circle-D to see the stables which are new to me. Took a launch to the Magic Kingdom the Ferry Boat to the TTC and finally a Monorail to EPCOT. Stopped by the Seas with Nemo and Friends and then wandered around World Showcase for a couple hours. Stopped by the United Kingdom and listened to the Piano Player. Next up stopped by the American Adventure to check out the gingerbread and Jazz displays. Wanted to see the Lion Dance in China but the bridge was up for firework barges to pass and I missed it. Spent some time in Norway, China, and Germany finding Olaf. Rain clouds were gathering and the forecast said rain possible within the hour so I decided to walk quickly back to the Boardwalk to relax for a couple hours and let the storm blow through. The storm never showed up in our area so after almost two hours I returned to EPCOT. Decided to grab a snack in France at the bakery then ate it in Morocco. Strolled around World Showcase and into World Celebration. Walked by the new Creations gift shop and stopped by Club Cool to check it out. Made my way to the front of the park and went for a ride inside Spaceship Earth then spent some time watching the lights. About 20 minutes before Harmonious returned to World Showcase and found a spot for the show. After the show joined the crowd leaving the park and walked back to the Boardwalk.
Thoughts & Observations:
We arrived at the Boardwalk bus stop around 8:10am, the estimated time for our bus to the Animal Kingdom was about 20 minutes. Luckily this was wrong and a bus showed up in about 10 minutes.
- Decided to start our day with a Safari since the wait times would only get worse. It was posted at 50 minutes, and it took us just under that to board a truck this visit. The line was moving slower than usual due to a good number of Lightning Lane returns. It turned out to be worth the wait. We had a great driver. She peppered her spiel with Disney references, holiday references and jokes even. We also saw a baby hippo as well as five cheetah. All in all it was a great experience. I only wish I had gotten her name to submit a cast compliment.
- Stopped by to see a Feathered Friends in Flight! performance. It was very similar to the version of the show from January, which was good. They had a large number of birds and the cast members did a great job. Hopefully this version sticks around and they do not try to bring back the UP! characters. They were more a distraction than plus for the show.
- The Maharajah Jungle Trek was next on my list since I had not visited yet this trip. It was fairly disappointing. There were a couple of tigers out but neither was really in view.
- As we walked around we thought about visiting a couple other attractions in the park but then decided to go to Fort Wilderness by way of the Wilderness Lodge instead as the park was starting to get more crowded and we were ready to move on.
- The Wilderness Lodge Christmas decorations were nice as usual, unfortunately the gingerbread display did not return this year.
- We caught a bus from the Wilderness Lodge to the Settlement and ordered lunch from P & K's Southern Takeout. They feature the same fried chicken as Trails End and the Hoop Dee Do did. Also by Disney pricing its a very reasonable meal. Our total was just over $30 for 10 pieces of chicken, two sides, and a loaf of corn bread. This was plenty of food for three people and less than one meal at many restaurants. Plus there was plenty of tables in the shade and a nice quiet atmosphere to eat in.
- Paid a visit to the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. In January we arrived too late in the day and it was closed already so this was my first visit inside the new stables. The facility looks great and the way it is set up for guests to visit to see what is going on plus learn some of the history is great! If you can stop by during a WDW visit it is a nice relaxing place to check out.
- With construction stopped on the Disney Vacation Club project the area is still rather depressing with land cleared and construction fences. It would be nice to see the area turned into more open space or something even if temporarily while no construction is going on.
- Noticed the small launches that would circulate between the Lodge, Campgrounds and Contemporary have not returned to service yet.
- By luck of the draw the newest boat in the Magic Kingdom area fleet the Tradewinds pulled up to take us to the Magic Kingdom. It was nice to see the new vessel and go for a ride. The experience, including the noise, was the same as the other boats so no real change from the guest perspective.
- The Ferry boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon was very relaxing and we had the boat mostly to ourselves.
- The Monorail to EPCOT was another story. It was full as usual. They seem to only operate two trains on the EPCOT line.
- Stopped by the Leave a Legacy tiles and found the new location of my tile. It was quiet a ways off the beaten path for resort guests. It was near the break room on the far east side of the entrance/exit area. The solution of moving the tiles to walls in the entrance plaza keeps them around and is less imposing than the original stone placements inside the park.
- There is now a PhotoPass Super Zoom location at each park. For EPCOT it is at the front of the park so Spaceship Earth is behind you. There was no line so I gave it a try and the photo was ok. I am not a big PhotoPass person so it is usually not a draw for me, but it is included in my pass for one more year so figured I would give a couple a try.
- Stopped by the Seas with Nemo and Friends. The attraction was backed up with a healthy wait time posted so I just walked into the Sea Base instead. All the exhibits/pods were open and a fair number of people inside, unlike January where several were closed.
- I decided to spend some time in World Showcase checking out the Festival of the Holidays entertainment and look for more of the hidden Olafs. I started in Mexico and worked my way around.
- Stopped by the American Adventure to check out the gingerbread display and the Jazz exhibit. Both are in the main waiting area. The gingerbread this year consists of three creations each in their own display case. No signage or information on the display. It was rather low key and disappointing. They were front and center when you walked in though. The Jazz display is on the left as you enter, opposite the gallery. It had a couple interesting items. I was disappointed to see some of the original artwork throughout the area covered for the display though. I wish they could have figured out a way to do both. Or put the Jazz exhibit in the gallery space instead.
- I walked quickly in hopes of catching the final Lion Dance performance in China. I was going to make it until I rounded the corner by the Outpost and traffic was halted. They were floating out the fireworks barges for Harmonious. So instead of seeing the show I watch a couple of barges go by. By the time I reached China the performers were just leaving.
- As I did the sky to the north and west looked to be getting darker and darker. I checked the radar and it showed rain moving into the area in an hour or so for a couple hours. So I sped up my pace and walked back to the Boardwalk Resort. I did not feel like spending time out in the crowds and rain. The rain never game to be. It all stayed north of us. The skies did get rather dark for an hour or so though. I figured if I would have stayed in the park it would have poured but since I played it safe and retreated to the room it would not rain a drop.
- We were all still fairly full from lunch so decided instead of dinner to visit France and get some snacks. I went to the bakery and others went to the crepe shop for ice cream. They texted after 30 minutes and said after waiting they got up to the front of the line and they were out of ice cream! So they were leaving the park and go to the Boardwalk. I was almost to the front so I waited it out, got my snack and then found a place to eat it in Morocco again. The issue was very few cast members were working this evening. It seemed as though there were only three or four total servicing both sides. This meant the queue moved even more slowly than usual.
- I continued my scouting of Harmonious viewing locations. I walked by the central viewing space and as I had thought it looked terrible with a good portion of the water blocked by the stage for Joyful!
- Took a walk through Creations Shop and the views of Spaceship Earth through the glass were nice, it will be great once the construction walls are gone. Also walked through Club Cool. It was a fairly plain shop, just like the old one.
- I had not visited Spaceship Earth yet this visit so that was on my list this evening. I was really surprised to find a 10 minute wait. I spotted several empty vehicles going by, so not sure if they were out of service or why they were not being loaded.. but the line seemed to move slowly. I did see a handful of Lightning Lane guests but not many.
- This evening for Harmonious I choose a spot in front for the Refreshment Port. This turned out to be a poor choice. The audio in this area was miserable. It sounded like a blaring AM radio almost. Also this evening the LCDs did not work properly at the start of the show. They did not turn on until the Aladdin segment. On the positive side though from this angle you could see many of the laser effects well and they added a little to the show.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Addition Blog Picture Posts from today: