Let’s Take a Vacation: Day 4

Our second full day at Walt Disney World had arrived! We woke up at about 6:30 AM, and began the process of getting ready for the day. I was extremely excited to go to Magic Kingdom, and made sure to wear my crazy and colorful hair tie that I always wear to the park.

At around 7:30 AM, we went down to the BoardWalk to purchase breakfast at BoardWalk Bakery. I, again, got a bagel with cream cheese and coffee. While we were ordering, I noticed that the kind cast member Elise that we saw yesterday at Ample Hills Creamery was there!

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Good, cloudy morning!

We went back to our room to eat breakfast and then finished getting ready for the day. I was determined to get to Magic Kingdom on time for its 9:00 AM opening, so a family member joined me in going down to the lobby and while the others were getting ready. As we were walking to the bus stop, we saw that a bus for Magic Kingdom was pulling away. The rest of our family members arrived at the bus stop a few minutes later, so it turned out that we did not have to rush out before them. There actually was a cast member at the bus stop (likely in the Bus Greeter position) who was tracking the busses. We overheard her telling a family that the next Magic Kingdom bus would not be arriving for a while, and it did not help our confidence that the arrival time was not even posted on the screen at the bus stop. We started to get anxious as the busses for Disney Springs and Animal Kingdom kept pulling up within the time between ones for our desired destination, but the bus finally arrived at about 8:35 AM. The bus ride was rather unmemorable, but I am guessing that it was crowded on board.

Once we arrived at Magic Kingdom at 9:08 AM (a bit late for my liking), we saw that there was a ginormous crowd waiting for bag check. It truly was insane. It did move fairly efficiently, though, so we made it through and into the park after not too long. Once we stepped into the park, we headed over to Fantasyland to see the wait times; we hoped they would not be too long at this point. To my disappointment, the line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was too long to even bother going near it, and the wait for Peter Pan’s Flight was already sixty minutes long. As touring Fantasyland is our traditional way of starting our days at Magic Kingdom, I was a bit upset that we would have to change plans, but we kept moving towards Big img_1149Thunder Mountain Railroad anyway. The wait was probably ten minutes long, and I enjoyed the exhilarating attraction. After our experience on the wildest ride in the wilderness, we walked back through Liberty Square and saw that the wait for Haunted Mansion was already around forty minutes long. This is when I realized that Magic Kingdom was definitely more crowded than I expected it to be (all of the crowd calendars said it would be one of the best parks to visit that day). As someone who has visited Walt Disney World during Christmas week multiple times recently, the park felt like it did during that busy time of the year, which was especially alarming since it was only about 10:00 AM at this time.

Anyway, I tried to keep a positive attitude as we walked through Fantasyland to Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid. The wait was short, although it was the first time we ever had to stop walking early on in the queue. Of course, the attraction itself was fun, and we then walked over towards Storybook Circus. The wait time for Dumbo the Flying Elephant was already thirty minutes long, and there were long lines to meet the characters at Pete’s Silly Sideshow. As a result, we switched plans again and walked along the path that is next to Barnstormer to get to Tomorrowland in order to go on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. There were some switchback lines to go on the attraction (and the line grew even more once we were almost at the front of the queue), but we continued to wait for one of my (and my family’s) favorite attractions at Walt Disney World.

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The view from the PeopleMover

I seriously love the PeopleMover, so it was quite nice to be reunited with the relaxing attraction. Afterwards, we walked through Tomorrowland, Main Street U.S.A., and over to Adventureland. On the way, we took some pictures, as one does.

We actually decided to get lunch at this point; we separated for a little while, as a family member and I opted to eat at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. We still had not tried out the relatively new menu, so I was looking forward to visiting this counter-service restaurant that I had seen positive reviews for. I ordered a fajita platter, which I really enjoyed, especially with

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Lunch!

the accompaniments from the toppings bar (salsas, cheese, guacamole, etc.). Once we completed our lunch, our family joined back together, and acknowledged that since it was so crowded at the park that day, it would be a good idea to go resort hopping early in the afternoon before the parade’s start at 3:00 PM. As a result, we walked back through Adventureland on our way out.

Being me, I had to make my family stop to see Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room before we left. We had not seen the show in many years, and this particular showing was starting in just a couple minutes, so we headed into the Sunshine Pavilion.

We saw the last minute or so of the pre-show, and then saw the show itself. A family near us was very enthusiastic and sang along, which was awesome to see. I, myself, loved the show; the audio animatronics are amazing and quite prevalent throughout the entire theater.

I hoped to walk through the recently-refurbished Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, but it was backed up a bit, so we continued out of the park. The Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party was beginning at this time, so we watched it as we walked by. As we were walking out, we wanted to take pictures of the countdown to Christmas sign, and I noticed that Snow White was meeting in the area. Especially since I was wearing a Disney Princess shirt, I waited in the short line to meet her.

The character attendant actually complimented me on my phone case (it is an EPCOT Center phone case, in case anyone was wondering), and soon afterwards, Snow White herself complimented me on my shirt! I pointed her out on my shirt, and she then said that she wanted to color it in, since the shirt has outlines of the princesses on a white background. We then took some pictures together, and we finally exited the park at about 12:35 PM.

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It was time to jump on the monorail and go resort hopping! Since we did not visit all of the resorts on the monorail loop on Sunday night as I had hoped to do, we went through them on this day. Also, as previously mentioned, we realized that it would be a great way to spend time outside of the busy park before seeing the 3:00 parade. We have seen these resorts many times, but they are so gorgeous that it is essentially a requirement of all of our Walt Disney World vacations to visit them.

Since we had already walked through Disney’s Contemporary Resort on Sunday night, we decided to skip it on this day. On the way there, though, there was a cute moment in which a little girl pointed out that Ariel was on my shirt, and was quite excited about it.

Soon afterwards, we arrived at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and we exited the monorail. Our first order of business was to get a Dole Whip, so we headed towards the stairs to go down to the lobby. We did get sidetracked by a gift shop, though.

Once we got to the lobby, we walked around for a bit, I got a lei from a couple wonderful cast members, and we headed outside. We looked at the pool and enjoyed the view of Magic Kingdom for a few minutes, and then purchased the Dole Whip we so desired. We ate it inside so it would not melt too much, and we truly savored every delicious and refreshing bite of this fan favorite treat.

The Polynesian Resort also offers one of my favorite beverages at Walt Disney World: Kona coffee. Since it was so warm outside, we ordered a few iced coffees upstairs, which were so delicious. Once we were done adding various amounts of half & half to our coffees, we noticed that a monorail was about to leave. As a result, we power-walked onto it, and we were promptly transported to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

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Grand Flo. selfie feat. iced coffee

When we arrived at the stunning resort, we immediately went into the various stores and admired the expensive clothing. To continue this trend of gawking, we looked at the wonderful restaurants at the Grand Floridian, such as Victoria & Alberts and Citricos. We then explored the grounds of the resort and took in the gorgeous views and landscaping it offers. I then realized that I wanted to check out some of the Grand Floridian’s merchandise, so we went into M. Mouse Mercantile while walking back to the monorail. I loved a lot of the merchandise, and I could not resist the shirt with Mary Poppins on it; I mean, it is a shirt with some of my favorite colors, one of my favorite Disney characters, and the Grand Floridian!

It was then time for another trip on the monorail, and this time, we stepped off at Magic Kingdom. Some of my family members left to go back to the BoardWalk, as it was already around 2:30 PM, but the rest of us went back into the park. It did not take long to enter, and then we decided to wait for a Walt Disney World Railroad steam train to get to Frontierland (where we were going to watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade). Since one had just departed from the Main Street U.S.A. station, we waited for about fifteen minutes for the next one. Our ride was delightful, and I loved being able to see the Liberty Belle riverboat, which was under refurbishment at the time, backstage. We even saw the Grand Marshals waiting to start the parade; we made sure to wave to them. Once we exited from the Frontierland station, crowds had built up to view the parade, so we made our way around the area to find a good spot. We ended up just outside the entrance to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe and waited for the parade to start.

I had been waiting to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade in person for years, because the Christmas parades were present during my vacations ever since the new parade had debuted. Once the music started, I was so excited to take in the amazing units of the parade and the performers, and seeing others show excitement was quite heartwarming to view. Soon enough, the parade started to pass us. All of the units were amazing to see, especially the Sleeping Beauty one, since the steampunk version of Maleficent breathed fire right in front of us. I did note that the parade overall looked much larger in person than in the videos of it I had watched on YouTube. As a whole, it was amazing to finally see the Festival of Fantasy Parade, and I would highly recommend it to potential viewers!

Once we saw the parade, we were ready to leave the park once again. We walked through one of the cut-throughs to Adventureland, then by Crystal Palace, and finally through the Emporium to reach the exit. The parade was still continuing on Main Street U.S.A. at the time, so we waited to get the all-clear from cast members to cross the street and exit the park.

It was then time to head back to the BoardWalk, so we walked over to the bus stops. A bus for the Swan & Dolphin resorts arrived before one for the BoardWalk, and since the resorts are close together, we walked onto the bus. A minute later, we saw that a bus headed for the BoardWalk actually just arrived, so we switched over to the other bus. I felt a bit bad to leave the Swan & Dolphin bus (we were pretty much the only people on that bus), but our tired feet appreciated the opportunity to be dropped off right by our room.

I believe we headed right back to our room after we arrived at the resort, although we might have looked at the lobby for a bit before resting. Regardless, we took a break in our room for a fairly short amount of time, since our FastPasses for our night at Hollywood Studios that would end at 8:00 were starting early in the evening.

Just like the day before, we walked over to Hollywood Studios. Our first order of business was to make it on time for our Toy Story Mania FastPass, so we walked directly towards the

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Blurry picture of the “red card”

attraction. I received my singular “red card” of the trip while entering the queue for this attraction, which I was excited about. Speaking of the queue, there were little kids in front of us taking selfies with what I think was a GoPro. They were cooler than I ever will be.

As per usual, the attraction was lots of fun and a great arm workout; the lady across from me and I had no problem showing our excitement as we spun around the corners. I earned a better score this time around, which was about 141,000, but I am still pretty bad at the games when compared to others. I have yet to look up cheats or tricks to this attraction, though.

Just like the night before, we had dinner at various locations (the struggles of trying out a counter-service-only trip to Walt Disney World). We all went into PizzeRizzo for a while, but I soon became nervous about possibly not having enough time to see one of my favorite shows, Muppet Vision 3D. Since no one else in my family had a strong desire to see the show, and it was my last opportunity to see it, I took a solo journey to see my beloved attraction. Do not worry, though, because all I had to do was walk across the relatively small area. Luckily, I did not have to wait long to see the show, so I caught the last few minutes of the glorious pre-show video and walked into the theater while making sure to be the last person in the middle row. It was kind of bizarre to be alone, but there was a nice and engaged family next to me that made me feel less alone.

After my viewing of the show, I started to embrace being a solo tourist. I was able to walk through the Muppets gift shop without asking anyone if I could do so beforehand, just because I felt like it. When I noticed that I had to go to the bathroom, I did not have to let anyone know; I just walked right over. Once I was done with these small excursions, I met up with my family at ABC Commissary. We had seen some good reviews for their dinner service, so the dscn9414rest of us had dinner there. There was a bit of a wait for our food, but I enjoyed it. I just had a salad, but it was nice and refreshing. On a side note, I saw that a cup was accidentally spilled at a table near us, and it was nice to see that the cast member and the party at the table all handled it without harshness.

Our next FastPass was for Star Tours — The Adventure Continues. A cast member at the entrance complimented my Osborne Lights shirt (which I had just earlier realized was a weird choice for me to wear, since the holidays were over at this time), which was a nice addition to the record amount of compliments I received on this day. Just like last time, our wait for the attraction was short, and we boarded our StarSpeeder quickly. Our experience was a bit different this time, though. First, the vehicle had to be checked for lost-and-found items for a little while (sadly, they did not find anything), and then we had to go through about four seatbelt checks due to some in-cooperation from others. Once the attraction started, we had a great time, and other guests were very enthusiastic. I believe we had the same scenes as last time, but hearing everyone so excited made it such a great experience. We did notice, though, that the lights were on inside the vehicle for the entire duration of the attraction, which was odd.

When exiting the attraction, I noticed that I felt a little more uneasy than I did last time (probably because I had just eaten a meal), but I would not let it affect the rest of the night. The park was not open for much longer, which was quite upsetting, since I was hoping to get a lot more done in the park. At around 7:15 PM, some family members started to stake out spots for the nighttime show while the rest of us went down Sunset Boulevard to take in the gorgeous view. While walking down the street, it became apparent that Fantasmic! had just ended, as proven by the large crowd walking up the street. While they walked by, we stopped in the bathroom and gift shops to purchase some gifts and candy for our fellow family members.

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We finally went back to where the rest of our family was to watch Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Once we squeezed into the viewing area, the show was a few minutes away from starting. I really enjoyed and appreciated the special effects of the show, and hearing everyone cheer when Princess Leia appeared was bittersweet. My family mostly preferred the previous incarnation of fireworks offered at Hollywood Studios, but we still enjoyed what we saw.

The park closed immediately after the show ended, so we walked back to the BoardWalk. To my pleasant surprise, we saw a movie viewing on the lawn of the resort; I had never seen one playing there before. As it was only around 8:15 PM, most of our family decided to walk around Crescent Lake clockwise. We took a break in the Yacht Club lobby, in which I massaged my tired feet for a bit (sorry, guests and cast members of the resort). We then

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Tree in the Yacht Club

continued our walk through the Yacht Club, past Beaches & Cream outside, and back through the Beach Club Resort. Their gingerbread carousel was still up, which was cool to see. A pit stop was made in their gift shop, and we admired their merchandise and saw the special packs of food for the runners that were offered. Afterwards, we continued our walk back to the BoardWalk. We went inside the new Abracadabar, and although I was excited to order a non-alcoholic beverage there, it was a bit too crowded inside and my family was a bit too tired to wait around to do so. I was quite disappointed, but we went back outside and saw some performers. It became apparent that we wanted some sweet snacks, so we stopped in the Screen Door General Store to purchase a Mickey Premium Bar and a Minnie Mouse candy apple. The cast member there was nice enough to cut and box it up for me to eat later, which I appreciated.

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Another blurry picture…this time of my candy apple in its box, showing a reflection of my “That’s a Wrap!” shirt

It was finally time to head back to our room for the night. I ate some of my delicious candy apple, which was actually my first one from Walt Disney World, and enjoyed watching some of the Walt Disney World channels on the television before getting ready for our last full day at my beloved BoardWalk resort before transferring resorts.

I was definitely excited for our next day, as it showed promise due to our plans to visit Epcot in the morning and then go to Animal Kingdom for our first nighttime visit; stay tuned to see how it all went, and have a magical day!

-Stephanie

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