Well folks, I ventured out of bed early and made it to WDW, where I spent most of the morning doing the 4-park circuit.
First up, I arrived at EPCOT 10 mins before opening and got to see Mickey and the gang, along with some CMs riding a Test Track vehicle, do a little opening time countdown at 9am. Cute little welcome. Then proceeded to do what I wanted to do which was to buy a DL Musical History CD set at Art of Disney. After buying the cd set, I headed out the door and pondered if I should drive or put myself at the merci of the WDW transport system. I chose the WDW trasport system.
Hopped on the monorail and went to the MK..as rain drops started coming down but it was a very soft and fast moving rain shower. Entering the MK, I noticed the artwork of the new castle overlay now graces the MK guidemaps' cover. Walking down Main Street towards the castle, I noticed some mini sink holes along the way have been somewhat fixed, with a coating of cement. Problem is they forgot to pain them to match the color of the road, so they stuck out like a sore thumb, but that's ok. At least they are trying.
Once I got the castle and hub area, the castle forecourt was blocked off and a seating stand was set up for members of the press. A giant jumbotro TV was also installed to the left of the castle stage, and was on showing the "happiest Celebration" golden castle logo. A batallion of managers could be found roaming this area (who knew there were so many white bread managers at WDW??). The walkway from the hub towards Adventureland was filled with tents, each housing a different press group from radio stations and such. It was here I ran into two of WDW's Ambassadors, Christopher (a white bread good looking guy with gorgeous blue eyes and long eyelashes), and Juan (one of the very few educated Puerto Ricans who has been lucky enough to get out of Resort Housekeeping and achieve some status at WDW) They of course were sweet-talking the press corps. Up on the castle, the Castle Window is now fully functional, as strobes go off as the images rotate in sync, plus the year and name of the resort being shown is also displayed as well. The support legs of the window have also been covered in gold curtains (which are made of plastic) and the whole castle overlay now looks totally complete.
Left the MK and hopped on the bus to DAK. Once in DAK, I stopped at Pizzafari and has a slice of cheese pizza for breakfast. Nothing new here but wanted to take an upclose look at the progress of Everest. Drats! The walkway leading to Everest was closed and no guests were allowed to walk back there. I made a quick detour thru the Flame BBQ restaurant's seating area by the lake and saw that a portion of the construction wall to the left of the mountain itself has been taken down. The newly built buildings off to the left of the attraction (closest to Kali Rapids) seems almost complete. As if they were almost ready to be opened to the public..but from my point of view, I could hardly manage to see better. Maybe they are trying to give the Press a quick overview of the new Everest complex, and I would expect to see the construction walls be back up again once the Press has beat it off the property. With no much else to see there, I left and hopped on the bus to Disney-MGM.
I arrived at MGM to find a woman complaining to the security CM at the Bin Ladden check point, about MGM's abrupt closing at 4pm today. I have to agree with her... Why are the paying guests cheated out of enjoying the park, while the Press gets all the perks for free?? Oh well... it's a hopeless situation for us the little people. Entering MGM, the place looked a bit quiet and that was at about 11:25am. Once in front of the Giant Hat Pin shop, they have erected a stage that has a catwalk sticking out in the front, which I am to presume will be used for tonight's press bash. But why the catwalk?? Are Naomi, Linda, or Cindy modeling on that stage tonight?? Hmm...
Made my way back to the NY street set, or "Streets of America" (pardon) and found the San Francisco facade in shambles. This facade was totally done for christmas but now looks unfinished and torn apart. What gives?? Then... STAMPEDE!!! Thousands of guests started emanating from the "Lights, Motors, Action!" show as a performance had just come to the end. Apparently this was the only Motor show performed for guests today. I inquired about show times but the CM told me "no more shows today sorry". I also wonder if Disney will be changing the name of this show to "Xtreme Stunt Show" since that is the way it's being advertised on some billboards around town and also at the billboard to the right of the MGM ticket booths outside the park. No mention of the show's proper name anywhere, except at the show's theater entrance marquee.
Being caught up in the stampede of guests coming out of "Xtreme Stunt Show", I turned right into the newly reopened Studio Catering Restaurant next to the "Honey I Shrunk the Press" playground. Low and behold. The newly refurbished Studio Catering offers the same semi-outdoor seating but the whole counter and kitchen area has been remodeled and looks quite nice. Spotlights hang over the counter area and gives the restaurant a TV studio feel. The menu also is very similar to the new menu found at The Land's newly reopened Food court. Mediterranean style dishes, tabuleh (sp?) and the likes. By the looks of it, the guests seems to enjoy this. The Studio Catering also now has relocated the registers in front of the counter, so like all other counter-service places... you pay first the proceed to pick up your food once you reach the counter.
Getting ready to leave MGM, I proceeded down Mickey Ave, and noticed that preparations have been made for tonight's press event fireworks show, as the launching cannons are somewhat visible on top of the buildings in that area.
I continue down Hollywood Blvd, and stumbled upon a TV crew interviewing some VIP Disney person by the name of "Tony" on his badge. I could not identify this Tony by face, but I wonder who he is... Hmmm...
Hopped on the bus back to EPCOT, and got in my car and left.
I shall be back around WDW tomorrow and this time, I will bring my camera so I can show you how nicely we the guests were prohibited from enjoying the kick off of the "Happiest Press Celebration on Earth".