Started off with an overcast morning. We arrived on Main Street USA about 15 minutes before park opening so took advantage of the Resort Guest early entry and walked into Tomorrowland. Decided to go for a spin on Buzz Lightyear since there was no wait and then a round trip on the Peoplemover. Wait times looked mild so crossed the park to Liberty Square and visited the Haunted Mansion followed by it’s a small world. Walked through Fantasyland and around the castle to reach Main Street USA. Caught the Dapper Dans going by on the trolley and then Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade. Made our way up to the hub and watched most of the castle show before noticing the Liberty Belle was getting ready to depart so headed that way. We were too slow and missed the boat. Walked back through Adventureland to Main Street USA and decided to catch a boat to Fort Wilderness for lunch. After lunch looked around then caught a boat to the Wilderness Lodge to see the Christmas decorations. Took a boat back to the Magic Kingdom and transferred to a Monorail to the Contemporary followed by the Polynesian and Grand Floridian to see the Christmas decorations. Once back at the Magic Kingdom caught the end of a Dapper Dan performance then made our way to Liberty Square for a cruise on the Liberty Belle. Returned to Main Street USA for the Flag Retreat followed by the Adventurers Cavalcade. Spent some time roaming around Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and the hub taking in the sights before making my way to the end of Main Street to find a spot for Disney Enchantment. As soon as the show finished moved quickly through the crowd to the Express Monorail and boarded the 2nd train to arrive. Had great timing and crossed over and boarded a waiting Epcot Monorail. Arrived at EPCOT just before 9pm as the 40th Anniversary Beacon of Magic was going on so stopped and watched that then walked out to World Showcase. Found a spot for Harmonious a few minutes prior to show time on the bridge near the International Gateway. After the show walked back to the Boardwalk to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- This morning found it interesting that the Magic Kingdom was scheduled to open at 9am on a Saturday morning. That meant 8:30 early entry. We arrived at the park prior to this thanks to no real wait at the bus stop or to get in. For early entry only some of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were available so we spent time in Tomorrowland.
- Started our morning helping Buzz save the galaxy. The attraction really could use some TLC and an update. It would be great to see them invest and upgrade the experience to be similar to the Shanghai version. The old/bolted on guns are really poor gameplay and the attraction just feels run down to me.
- The Haunted Mansion wait time was exaggerated. It was posted at 25 minutes but was not using any of the extended or interactive queue and was moving nicely with not a lot of Lightning Lane returning guests. It took us under 10 minutes from entering till the stretching room.
- It’s a small world was the opposite being posted at 5 minutes but taking us nearly 15 minutes.
- The overall lack of live entertainment at the Magic Kingdom is rather depressing. The Dapper Dans were about it, the Philharmagic was off today so 50% of the groups were gone. Even with just one group the cast members working along Main Street did not have a good handle on where they would be and when. They were much more focused on the parade or cavalcade when we asked about the Dapper Dans (and same thing happened another day when we asked about the Philharmonic). By sunset the park had nothing on the schedule except the fireworks.
- I complain every year about the lack of Christmas for day guests at the Magic Kingdom. Main Street has some decorations and you will see some other random decorations or hear the background music or if you are lucky catch the Dapper Dans. But you cannot enjoy any other Christmas offering unless you pay to go to the after hours party. There is NO parade, fireworks, or stage show. It is rather disappointing compared to the overflowing amount of holiday offerings at the two parks in Anaheim.
- For lunch we traveled over to Fort Wilderness to get some fried chicken. We opted for the to go menu which worked out great last time. This time the cast member was less than helpful with the substitution request and made us order additional pieces instead of a substitution cost. Then to top I t off they still messed up the order. It seems they either cannot identify or just do not care to a chicken breast from a thigh or in one case even a leg!
- When we left Fort Wilderness for the Wilderness Lodge we had to travel by bus, the shuttle boats between resorts have not returned to Bay Lake. The first bus that pulled in was going to the Magic Kingdom. I asked the driver and he said they do not stop at the Lodge but he would since we just missed that bus. It was great luck and saved us some time.
- We visited the Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian lobbies. There were no gingerbread displays at the Polynesian or Wilderness Lodge this year. Other than that the decorations were status quo. The Grand Floridian felt very crowded with a lot of people on the main floor and moving around. There was no live entertainment while we were there and the lines for picture and gingerbread were all long.
- The Resort Monorail was very busy this afternoon with the stations and cars all full as we moved around. We never had to wait more than one train but all were very full.
- I decided to hang around the Magic Kingdom for Disney Enchantment Fireworks. I had not seen the new introduction and tonight was a rare night the show was going on, due to the Christmas party most nights of our visit there were no fireworks. The area near the castle was busy and filled up about an hour or so before show time but Main Street was not. The area closer to Town Square had plenty of availability 15 minutes prior to show time then it disappeared nearly instantly.
- While waiting the cast members were trying to get guests to move up the street and fill in all the space. The theory here is nice but they were basically yelling and trying to herd cattle which was not a pleasant guest experience. And if you did not want to go into the crowd or wanted to hang further back they seemed annoyed.
- The new 50th Introduction for Disney Enchantment was a nice plus and should have been there from the start to try and link the show to the 50th. The show itself is still just an average fireworks show with no real tie in to the 50th.
- I had great luck with the Monorail and made it from Main Street USA to Spaceship Earth in just under 30 minutes. I was able to walk up and board the next Express Monorail and then at the TTC walk across and board the next one there.
Pedometer Information for the day:
||Part 1 - Magic Kingdom
A morning visit to the Magic Kingdom including a trip on the Peoplemover and it's a small world.
||Part 2 - Magic Kingdom Resorts
Magic Kingdom Resort hopping to check out the Christmas decorations and eat lunch. Visits to Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian.
||Part 3 - Magic Kingdom & Epcot
Back to the Magic Kingdom for the evening then over to Epcot to close out my night. Pictures of a Liberty Belle Cruise, Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, Enchantment and Spaceship Earth Beacon of Magic.
Addition Blog Picture Posts from today: