Started my day before Sunrise this morning with a 5:30am wake-up call. We were in the lobby of the Boardwalk waiting for a cab around 6am and arrived at the Contemporary by 6:30, with plenty of time to spare before our 7am fishing trip. Spend two hours out on Bay Lake fishing then took the Monorail around to the Magic Kingdom. Made our way up Main Street and caught the Philharmonic at the Castle Stage then paid a visit to the Haunted Mansion followed by the Country Bear Jamboree. Crossed the park to Tomorrowland and went for a ride on the PeopleMover. Then some visited the Laugh Floor. Decided to catch a boat over to Fort Wilderness for some lunch then stopped by the Tri-Circle D Ranch before taking the boat back to the Magic Kingdom. Used the Express Monorail to the TTC and transferred to EPCOT. Stopped by Connections then since the Nephews were sleeping walked back to the International Gateway and caught a Friendship Launch to the Boardwalk. Spent some time packing then some set off for dinner at the Castle while others hung around the hotel. I decided to go to EPCOT and watched a set by the Commodores then walked around to the front of the park and went for a round trip on the Monorail. Hung around the front of the park to watch the Beacon of Magic then walked out to the bridge near the International Gateway for Harmonious. After the show stopped by France and waited just under 20 minutes for Ratatouille. After my ride I walked back to the Boardwalk to wrap up my final evening in the park.
Thoughts & Observations:
- This morning we had a 7:00am Fishing Excursion on Bay Lake out of the Contemporary booked. With the early time we did not think the usual route of taking a Magic Kingdom bus and walking over to the resort would work. We spoke to the Boardwalk front desk a couple of days before and they concurred and offered to provide us a Taxi Voucher. They made a note on our room and this morning we showed up at the desk and they issued us one. The cab showed up and we arrived at the Contemporary with no problems and way earlier than needed. I have never understood why Fishing did not include a voucher option for the 7am slot. Golfing includes them.
- The Fishing Trip itself was good. We spend more than half the trip sitting just off shore of the Contemporary near the channel that leads to Seven Seas Lagoon. We later tried two location on the far side of Bay Lake too. The original spot yielded a large number of fish of varying sizes. Our guide said he tends to stay in Bay Lake because the Seven Seas Lagoon has not been good since the Bungalows went in. He said there was an effort to change the water color then and it caused issues with the plants and fish in the lake and they are still recovering so the fishing is not great.
- Another note is there were not bags or handouts for the kids on either excursion this time. The guides we had on both were patient with the kids and tried to engage them and entertain them some. Fishing with two young children (ages 5 and 3) on a boat is a challenge. They are required to wear life vests. The kids had a great time, the reeled in a few fish and took pictures with others as they did. The highlight for the kids though was playing with the bait. Not sure why but they really enjoyed using the net or their hands to catch the shiners in the live well and play with them.
- After fishing we cleaned up and took the Monorail around to the Magic Kingdom. From the Monorail you could get a glimpse of the Golf Course work. No signs of work at the Polynesian yet though.
- The Magic Kingdom felt crowded as we arrived. Wait times were slightly longer than the other day but still not too crazy. Lightning Lane returns did make for slow stand by queues, even with short posted waits. For example we paid a visit to the Haunted Mansion and it was a very slow walk through the 25 minute wait.
- The Main Street Philharmonic is still using the Castle stage for some of their sets, which was great to see.
- For lunch we decided to catch a boat over to Fort Wilderness and get some take out fried chicken from P & J’s Southern Takeout. Arriving at Fort Wilderness is always a huge change of pace after the Magic Kingdom. When we arrived there were very few people in the area. Trails End is not currently serving lunch so it was closed. Hoop Dee Doo does not return until June and the Food Truck was not open yet. So there were plenty of table options to choose from and it was relaxing to eat a big meal there. The chicken from P & J’s is the same as Trails End and Pioneer Hall. By Disney standards the prices are a good deal. We ordered an 8 piece meal that came with 2 sides and a loaf of corn bread for $25 which was more than enough food for three of us. They also let us substitute so everyone could get the pieces they wanted. The only thing is they goofed up the sides and we got French fries instead of coleslaw somehow.
- After eating we walked across the street and spent some time at the Tri-Circle D Ranch. The kids really enjoyed seeing the animals and the cast members brought out one of the ponies for them to pet.
- The kids wanted to ride the Monorail so we took the Express to the TTC and then onto EPCOT for a long way back to the Boardwalk after lunch. Of course they both fell asleep before we reached EPCOT.
- The quantity of EPCOT Entertainment was even worse today. After 6:00pm there was nothing on the schedule except two Garden Rocks concerts. No other groups performing this evening.
- For Harmonious I watched the first half or so from the International Gateway bridge then walked toward and around France a bit trying some different locations that I assumed were not ideal and I was able to confirm that. You could see some of the fireworks but views of the screens, etc.. are not good from around France.
- The reason I choose to try this is this evening the park was open for 2 additional hours, until 11pm, for guests staying at Deluxe and DVC resorts. My plan was to watch Harmonious and then give Ratatouille a try. I watched the finale from France and then walked back and joined the queue. It was posted at 20 minutes and I managed to board in just under that. By the time I exited the attraction the queue had overflowed and stretched down the street and around the corner. It was posted at 65 minutes but most likely longer. So those guests were going to spend the entire extended hours time in line for the one attraction. For those who are curious for extended hours there are cast members at the attraction entrance and they scan your room key or MagicBand to verify your eligibility. There were two evenings during my stay. One at Magic Kingdom and one at EPCOT.
- I have experienced Ratatouille several times in Paris and this was my second visit to the WDW version. I still view it as a missed opportunity and under utilization of the trackless ride system. I am not a big fan of the attraction, there are too many screens and its just not that engaging for me. I would have liked to have seen an updated version or some other attraction added to France. Putting a clone of a seven year old attraction into EPCOT did not seem ideal. Since opening the attraction has consistently had long waits every day though so seems the average WDW guest has different preferences than me.
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