Started off my morning walking over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I arrived a few minutes before the posted 8am early entry opening and the park was open. Walked through security, scanned by band and was in the park and walking up Hollywood Blvd before 8am. 8:04am entered the Rise of the Resistance queue. It was posted at 40 minutes but looked shorter. It was. Took only about 15 minutes to reach the briefing room and total time until I was walking off was about 42 minutes. Next up Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It was posted at 15 min but looked better and turned out to be 5 minutes only. My good luck ran out here.. next up was Toy Story. It was posted at 40 and looked long and slow moving so skipped it and visited the Alien Swirling Saucers which was a walk on. Strolled through Black Spire Outpost and then made my way to Hollywood Blvd. Spotted Chip and Dale near the Brown Derby and then watched Santa in the Merry Motorcade. Caught the 11am Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and then a second pass of Santa before a performance by Sleigh then lunch at Rizzos. After lunch decided to take the Skyliner to Art of Animation and then to Epcot. Walked around World Showcase stopping to listen to the Voices of Liberty and then some shopping along the way. Continued around to Canada to listen to a performance there. Decided to walk back the room to get warmer clothes for the evening. Took a Friendship boat back to Epcot and headed for World Celebration to grab a bite to eat at Connections. Along the way mobile ordered to save some time. After eating hung out at the front of the park watching the Beacon of Magic and then visited Spaceship Earth. Stopped by the Land for the Glimmering Greenhouses and then hiked out to Germany for a performance by Die Couchies. Found a spot to see the 8:30 Candlelight with guest narrator Josh Gad. Then watched Harmonious as I walked around to the International Gateway. After the show walked back to the Boardwalk to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Started the morning off with a nice stroll to Disney Hollywood Studios. It took just under 20 minutes from my room to Hollywood Blvd. I arrived a few minutes before the posted early entry opening time.
- Decided to use my early entry time for a visit to Rise of the Resistance, which worked out well. I spent only 15 minutes from entering the queue until the briefing room. For my second attraction walked over to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and was able to reach the preshow in only 5 minutes. It was just after 9am, so even with minimal waits these two experiences took an hour.
- Chip and Dale greet guests in a distanced way still. They are on the lawns near the center of the park and they play and wave to guests on the walkways. Thought this was great for pictures but a little odd.
- Stopped by to see Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. It had been several years and the show is back to normal. This is a well done production that follows the movie featuring the music and characters. My only complaint with it is the show has been the same since it opened 30+ years ago. It seems the park could use a new show every now and then. The theater was about three quarters full for the showing I attended.
- Santa Clause Merry Motorcade made its way through the park several times. He is accompanied by some reindeer and dancers. It is a nice little cavalcade and there is snow during it. The snow machines are incredibly loud though and drown out the sound!
- For lunch we stopped by Rizzos. It still annoys me how they operate. On mobile order you cannot substitute or remove the salad. So if you want to do that you have to stand in line. For those wanting to order at a register they only open one and make it as slow as possible to try and get you to mobile order. There were only a handful of guests in front of me but it was still sooo slow and by the time I ordered the line was out the door. I also found it poor that they will not let you order without a salad anymore to save some money.
- Several times a day an acapella group named Sleigh was scheduled to perform in front of the Chinese Theater. We waited around for their first set and they never showed. We asked a cast member who was selling bubbles in the area and her response was not helpful at all. She said they do not have a set schedule and show up throughout the day to perform (which contradicts the website and the app that list set times). They did show up for a later set on time. They sing a mix of Christmas carols. They put on an ok show and considering there is no other atmosphere entertainment its them or nothing.
- Decided to take a break from the parks and visit another resort. Went for a relaxing ride on the Skyliner and stopped at Art of Animation. The holiday decorations were on par with previous years so we opted to save some steps and not visit Pop Century.
- Took the Skyliner to Epcot for the evening. The park felt busier than previous evenings walking around but when we stopped by Connections around 5:30 the order area was nearly empty.
- Visited Spaceship Earth and the attraction is in definite need of some TLC. The renovations keep getting pushed back and things just keep on operating. Being the focal attraction for the park it is disappointing.
- Living with the Land was posted at 30 minutes and unfortunately it took about that to board. Seems the glimmering greenhouses were drawing a nice crowd this evening. It was a slightly different experience seeing them after dark.
- A new to me group, Die Couchis, was performing in Germany this visit. I stopped by to see a performance this evening. They play a mix of German music and tell some entertaining stories in between. Not the best group I have seen there but not the worst.
- This evening Disney Legend Josh Gad was the guest narrator for the Candlelight in Epcot. I did not care for the way he choose to do the ceremony. He added adlib/comic asides throughout the reading. I did not find this appropriate for the setting. I have no problem with comedy in the introduction or closing remarks but during the ceremony itself it really felt awkward and out of place to me. The audience reaction did not seem to agree with me as the applause and cheering seemed to prefer the stand up routine. Guess I am too old fashioned.
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