Started my morning off catching a bus around 8:!5am to the Magic Kingdom. Arrived at the park just after 8:30 and made my way up Main Street. The wait times in the app still looked good so decided to visit the Jingle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Then walked through Frontierland and Liberty Square to reach Fantasyland. The crowd here was slightly more, but still reasonable, for example Peter Pan was posted at 35 min. We opted to walk onto the Little Mermaid instead. Walked out to the Train Station to see a train and TRON and then through Tomorrowland. Went for a ride on the Peoplemover then made our way to Main Street USA where we spotted the Dapper Dans on a Street Car. Walked around Cinderella Castle and into Fantasyland. Paid a visit to PhilharMagic then returned to Main Street for the Philharmonic. Decided it was lunch time so made our way to Columbia Harbour House and find a quiet table on the 2nd floor with a river view to eat. After lunch returned to Tomorrowland for the Carousel of Progress then one last Peoplemover trip before calling it a day at the Magic Kingdom. Decided to take the Express Monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then transferred to the Epcot line. After disembarking decided to catch a bus to the Animal Kingdom. Walked through Discovery Island stores and then out to Africa. The Safari wait was longer than my patience at an hour so walked through Gorilla Falls and the line was not shrinking so wandered around a bit and then caught some of the Flotillas before exiting the park. Took a bus to the Yacht Club to check out the lobby Christmas decorations then walked next door to the Beach Club to do the same. The weather was getting worse and the drizzle was picking up so walked quickly around to the Boardwalk reaching my room before the rain really picked up. This gave me some time to pack and then as the rain let up set out for Epcot. Since was still drizzling a bit I boarded a waiting Friendship Boat to the park. Entered the International Gateway and walked by France and Morocco. Spent a little time in Japan and then hung around the American Adventure and watched the Candlelight. Continued on past Italy and into Germany to catch a performance. After the set continued on around World Showcase and then into World Discovery. Roamed around taking some pictures then walked through World Celebration. Found a spot and watched the Beacon of Magic show for a while then headed out to World Showcase for Harmonious. Due to the wind choose a different spot near the Refreshment Port and watched the show from there. Afterwards took my time exiting to listen to the post show on my way back to the Boardwalk to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- We took a leisurely morning and arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 8:30am, well after earl entry and park opening. The wait times were still favorable and we were able to visit several with a minimal wait this morning. Including the Jingle Cruise where we had a good skipper and walked onto Pirates of the Caribbean and the Little Mermaid.
- We talked to several cast members along Main Street trying to find out where the Main Street Philharmonic was set to perform or were they just marching the parade route. Turns out cast members knew nothing about the entertainment. The first one we asked did not know so she asked a few others at her stand, they did not know and one insisted the parade was not for a while still. I said I was not interested in the parade I wanted to know where the band was going to be and that confused them all. Finally I found someone who sounded like they knew but they ended up telling us the wrong information.
- For lunch we decided to visit the Columbia Harbour House. We were again annoyed by the mobile order options. One member of our group wanted just shrimp and another just fish. Well you cannot order that on the app.. you had to order the trio or just chicken. If you wait in line at the register they will sell you the single option.. they ring it up as chicken and substitute what you want. This does not seem like progress to me compared to the old way of ordering. In the end we all got what we wanted and did not have to pay for the trio but it took time and effort. We also managed to get a nice table with a view of the Rivers of America and Haunted Mansion.
- Stopped by the Carousel of Progress and was surprised by the decent crowd. I would say the theater was at least half full. The preshow and show could really use updating. For example the preshow video references something happening 30 years ago at the World’s Fair which is now almost 60 years ago.
- We opted to take a round about route to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this afternoon. I wanted to see Epcot from the Monorail a last time this trip so we took the Express Monorail from Magic Kingdom, transferred to the Epcot line then walked down and caught a bus from there. This was inefficient but much more fun than a direct bus.
- I was really surprised by the crowd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We arrived after 3pm and there were a large number of guests leaving but wait times were still high. For example the Safari stayed in the 60-70 minute range and when we walked by the return queue was backed up and standby was not moving much. So we did not get a final safari in this trip.
- The forecast showed some rain possible in the early evening so we left Animal Kingdom in an effort to stay dry. It drizzled a bit as we were walking to the bus. I opted to disembark at the Yacht Club to see the decorations there and then over to the Beach Club. It was not raining so I walked quickly from there around to the Boardwalk. The decorations at both were the same as usual.
- The rain showed up and came down at a good rate, not the complete downpour rate like spring rain but still a good rate. It lasted about an hour with several bands blowing through. I used this time to pack up in the room.
- Once the weather had cleared I walked over to Epcot to take a lap around the park. The rain had not really dented the crowd as there were still a good number of guests moving around the park.
- Stopped by the Candlelight to see Gloria Estefan as the guest narrator.
- I watched Harmonious from near the refreshment port. The view of the center screen and even some of the laser effects was not bad but with all the trees the fireworks were hard to see.
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