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Walt Disney World Day 3 Report

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Trip Log:

Slept in a bit then packed up.  Dropped our suitcases at Bell Services and we walked over to the Beach Club Resort to check in and drop our carry-ons off there.  Then set off for EPCOT arriving just before 10am.  Strolled through a quiet World Showcase on our way to the Land.  Thought about Soarin’ but the queue jumped on us from a reasonable 15 min to 50 min so instead visited the Glimmering Greenhouses on Living with the Land.   After our cruise stopped by the Journey of Water then spent some time exploring the World Celebration Gardens in the daylight.  Received a text our room was ready.  At lunch at Connections, picked up the Wish Annual Passholder print then headed back to the Beach Club to check out our room and unpack a bit.   Set off for Disney’s Hollywood Studios just before 3:00pm and decided to take the Disney Skyliner, arriving around 3:30pm.  Spent some time on Hollywood Blvd and Echo Lake area before venturing down Sunset Blvd.   Found a seat for the 4:00pm Beauty and the Beast show then visited One Man’s Dream.  Strolled through Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.   Took in a showing of the Muppets 3D then the tree lighting in Echo Lake.  Spent some time watching the Sunset Seasons Greetings before making my way back to the Skyliner to EPCOT.   Stopped by France to pick up a snack then walked down to Germany to get some caramel corn.  Doubled back to the American Adventure to see the gingerbread and then Candlelight Processional.   A few minutes after 9pm left early to go find a spot on the bridge by the International Gateway for Luminous.   After the show walked back to the Beach Club to call it a night.

Thoughts & Observations:

  • Today was moving day for us.  Checking out of the Swan Reserve and into the Beach Club Villas.   The checkout process at the Swan was quick and easy. The bell services team took our suitcases and said they would transfer them over to the Beach Club for us. They would have done the carry ons too but we opted to move those ourselves.    We thought about dragging the suitcases but decided not to put the wear on the wheels.
  • Walked over to the Beach Club to drop our bags and check in. I did the online check in but we still usually stop by the desk and make sure they know we are there and to get room keys, our Magic Bands have been less than ideal over the years.   A cast member came out from behind the Beach Club front desk with a tablet and greeted us. They were not very friendly and when I asked for a key they were bordering on rude saying no you have to use your MagicBand.  This was a tad off putting and not a good first interaction.   The bell services cast member we drew was not that friendly or careful either.  We have a few rather heavy bags with laptops and other electronics and I always point that out to them and he did not seem to care and then was not overly careful with them.    So 0 for 2 with cast members at the Beach Club.
  • I always find it interesting the notifications from Disney on the room. I get a variety of emails and text messages throughout the morning/day.  I ended up receiving one as soon as the CM marked us as there and then another about an hour later via text and I had three emails spread throughout the morning all saying our room is not ready yet. 
  • Walked over to EPCOT to take a look around in the daylight since my previous two visits were after sunset.  There seemed to be a good number of people in the park already and it was only about 10am.  Wait times were going up fast as we walked around.  
  • We spotted Soarin’ at 15 minutes so headed that way since the original California Film was playing. Entered the queue and turned the corner and saw it backed up and not moving so exited and by the time we did the signed jumped to 50 minutes.
  • So we walked across the pavilion and went on the Living with the Land Glimmering Greenhouses which had an under 10 minute wait still.  This year there seemed to be more Christmas decorations as the tradition continues to grow.  They make a lot of holiday references.  I still think it could use some holiday music to go with the cruise.
  • Spent some time visiting Journey of Water in the daylight.  The experience was different with more people and being able to see the area more fully.  My first impressions still hold that it is well done and the water cycle does fit into EPCOT but Moana seems a bit awkward/shoe horned in and the placement of the attraction is less than ideal to me.
  • I roamed around the World Celebration Gardens. During the day they look less impressive than at night.   The lighting and Spaceship earth lights make the area much more interesting after dark.     It will be interesting to see how this area evolves once the festivals take it over.  Right now it is a fairly peaceful and features some character interactions and places to sit an relax.
  • Right before lunch I received a text that our room was ready.  This was the earliest I can remember getting a DVC villa in years.. typically its mid afternoon.  
  • Decided to grab a bite to eat in Connections Eatery since I was in the area.  In terms of quick service burgers I think theirs is the best Disney has to offer right now. 
  • Annual Passholders can pick up a print celebrating the animated film Wish at Creations.   There were again plenty of signs and cast members, just like we encountered yesterday at Animal Kingdom for the magnets. The line was short and moved quickly too.  The print is an odd shape, but I did manage to get it back to the hotel with no damage.    They were distributing it by the door toward Test Track but the signs had you entering on the World Celebration side which seemed a tad odd unless the plan was to have you walk through the store in hopes of buying something.
  • At the Beach Club stopped by Bell Services to get our bags and check on our transfer. We again drew the same cast member as the morning and they were once again not friendly or helpful. I really should have gotten his name.   He did get our bags but they were just kind of thrown around.    He did not even check on our luggage transfer saying those do not happen until later in the evening especially coming from the Swan.   This was the opposite of what the Swan had told us when we dropped the bags off. 
  • This trip we  had a 1 bedroom Villa at the Beach Club. The new furniture and other tweaks were nice updates to the room.  We had a third floor room looking toward EPCOT. There were a number of trees and the roadway between us and the park but you could hear the UK band and some other audio from the park.  The fireworks were blocked for the most part by the trees.   The room was adjacent to the elevators so it was a quick walk out and to the park.
  • We were not in our room long before the phone rang and it was bell services saying our suitcases were there and asking if they could bring them up. The cast member on the phone was different than the one we talked to and when they arrived they were friendly and helpful as you would expect from a Disney Cast member.. so 1 for 3 now with cast members at the Beach Club out of four encounters. 
  • After unpacking we looked at the wait times and none of the parks seemed overly inviting so we decided to take the Skyliner to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We always enjoy the ride and it was a peaceful flight over.  From where our room was the walk to the station at International gateway was less than 5 minutes.
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios we took a lap of the park and found almost nothing going on and waits longer than our patience.  We did go see Beauty and the Beast since there was nothing else that drew our attention.   I did walk through Walt Disney Presents. The “Wish” items they had on display were underwhelming.    The other new to me item was the Disneyland opening day model that used to be at Disneyland.  Everything else looked to be the same as my spring visit.
  • Walked through Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the land felt more crowded than Anaheim usually is, especially for the time of day.   I found it odd that Rontos was closed for the evening already.  It closed at 5pm.  Seems early to be closing a dining location, but I guess people do not like to eat at the Studios?  Rizzos also closes before 5pm.
  • Stopped by the Muppets 3D.  There was a healthy crowd. I would say between 2/3 and ¾ full.  The show is the same as always which is entertaining, but dated feeling.  The seats have been replaced since my last visit and they were comfortable. 
  • Arrived in the Echo Lake area as the Christmas tree lighting moment was taking place. It is a recording but slightly longer than the less than a minute Disneyland has.   The decorations in that are of the park are always great to see.  I did not spot any substantial changes this year.
  • I was on Sunset Blvd for the start of the Sunset Seasons Greetings. This year no LCD screens. The lasers were back and the projections and snowfall as always. I stuck around for a handful of segments and nothing new jumped out to me.  The snowfall between segments seemed shorter than previous years.
  • Took the Skyliner back to EPCOT for the evening. No wait to board but it did stop a number of times for several minutes. Not sure what was going on but it was a long and choppy flight.. It was just under 40 minutes from leaving the Studios until walking into EPCOT.  Still faster than the Friendship boat but slower than walking.
  • Stopped by Les Halles in France for a snack. The wait was slow going and of course when we got up there to order the sandwhich someone in our party wanted was the only one they were out of already for the day.  
  • Caught the 8:30pm Candlelight Processional. This evening Neil Patrick Harris was the guest narrator. He did a good job as usual, I have seen him a number of times over the years. He plays it very serious for the most part and does the reading justice. 
  • This evening the rest of my group was with me so and to minimize steps for them we watched Luminous from the International Gateway bridge which was not ideal with the wind blowing some smoke our way, but they all found the show a big improvement over Harmonious.

Pedometer Information for the day:

Steps 21,529
Miles 9.85
Walking Time 3:36
Total Time 13


WDW Pictures Part 1 - Swan Reserve & Walk to Beach Club
This morning checked out of the Swan Reserve, before doing so took in the view from our room then walked around the hotel a bit before walking to the Beach Club.
WDW Pictures Part 2 - Morning @ EPCOT
Spent the morning at EPCOT including my first day time visit to Journey of Water Inspired by Moana, an extended look around World Celebration Gardens and a cruise through the Living with the Land Glimmering Greenhouses.
WDW Pictures Part 3 - Disney's Beach Club Villas
A look around a 1-Bedroom Villa at the Beach Club Villas.
WDW Pictures Part 4 - Disney's Hollywood Studios
A walk around Disney's Hollywood Studios as the sun sets including Christmas decorations and Sunset Seasons Greetings..
WDW Pictures Part 5 - Evening @ EPCOT
Closed out my day at EPCOT including the Candlelight, American Adventure Gingerbread House and Luminous the Symphony of Us.

Addition Blog Picture Posts from today: