Friday, January 12, 2018

Epic 2017 Walt Disney World Christmas Visit - Part Three


Our third full day of touring felt like a Family Circus cartoon. We walked from our hotel, the Boardwalk, to Disney Hollywood Studios, then to Epcot, then back to the Studios, then back to Epcot, and finally back to the Boardwalk at 1am. The day's scheduled events created this crazy itinerary.

Our morning itinerary for the Studios was to hit a few rides. We were finally making a rope drop and were a few rows back from the rope. We said we weren't going to try to strategically snake through the crowd to get to the front but we did. The woman who was going to be first into the Tower of Terror queue made an unfortunate pivot right at the last second allowing us to take first! While in the park we rode Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours and watched the Frozen Sing-a-long with holiday tag-on. The decorations around the studio were great. 1940's style with lots of silver accents (Tinseltown).

After Star Tours we visited the new Baseline Tap House to grab some beer. We split a flight of four. It was nice that they had a variety of styles vs. a ton of IPAs. We took the cups out of the tray and double-fisted our way to the park exit so we could get to Epcot in time for the remaining Festival of the Holiday shows we had not seen.

Note on the weather: it improved enough to alternate between t-shirt and hoodie during the day. At night it was of course cold, but not as bad as the previous evening.

We fast-walked over to Epcot since we had a small window to make it to Mexico, Since we had to pass the U.K. Pavilion to get to Mexico we stopped in the pub for a beer. It was packed, but fortunately Carl the bartender recognized Holly (we haven't been here since September) and took care of us right away. We even had some bench time and took some video. We caught the full holiday show in Mexico. The gospel ensemble in Future World was excellent! We caught the Canadian band - which included members of Off-Kilter - and they were underwhelming.

When the Canadian show ended we took off for the Studios. Upon entering the park we ran into the Cavalcade of Characters or something like that. Stitch, the Evil Queen, Jasmine and Aladdin, and others were available for photos with very short waits.

We arrived in time to see the start of the Tower of Terror Sunset Seasons show. Projections play intermittently on the building displaying various holiday scenes with fan favorites that include Toy Story and The Muppets.

We were booked for the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! Dessert Party. This event is usually held outside, but due to the weather (hot desserts can't be served outside) we were diverted to a ballroom behind Tower of Terror that used to house Darth's Mall on Star Wars Weekends. The snacks were lackluster as usual, but we did get to have unlimited prepaid beer and liquor drinks, plus special viewing glasses. The party gave us access to the front-row standing area for the show. We were so close to the Chinese Theater that a lot of the views of fireworks were obscured. Our special glasses turned the fireworks and other lights into Gingerbread men. This made us giggle non-stop.

Back to Epcot! We had tickets to a DVC (Disney timeshare) owner free event. Many rides were open, special character meets were available, and some locations had free food. We made it over while Epcot was still open. Dave stood on line for the Clarabell/Horace Horse Collar meet while Holly became one of the last guests to visit the Character Spot for Mickey and Friends photos.

We really did not do much during the party. We rode Test Track, ate hot dogs in The Land, listened to the DJ for a few minutes, visited Duffy (we love Duffy!) and that's about it. We left before the official end of the party making it back to the room by 1am. We packed our stuff since we were driving to Animal Kingdom then the airport the next day.

Dave hates when they hug him - even Duffy.


We decided to skip Animal Kingdom rope drop, which was a mistake. The wait to get through the parking lot till plaza was fifteen minutes. The B-Team was doing an awful job guiding cars into parking spaces. We probably lost a half hour. Today we had one goal: Ride the new Flight of Passage ride in Pandora. The last time we tried the ride was busted after we waited about 3 hours. No issues this time. The ride is fantastic! We met Mickey and Minnie in their holiday outfits. They were extra feisty that morning and decided to mess around with our hats and light-up necklaces. Holly loved it, Dave just wanted the picture snapped.

The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying a few rides, dining at Yak and Yeti, and having beers in Harambe on a stone bench taking in some warmish weather (finally) before heading back to MCO.

We left Florida tired-as-heck but enjoyed the holiday season at Disney more than we thought we would. We are looking forward to finding a way to take a another trip this time of year.


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