I just got back from a two day trip up to Walt Disney World. Now that I've settled in, checked my email, and sorted through all of the photos I took, its time to bring you guys a trip report!
One word of warning however, this is a very long post and features 85 photos. The photos average around 270kb each and will thus take some time to load. Just wait for the first few to load and then start reading, by the time you reach the end all of the photos should have loaded. Please be patient!
Ok, onto the trip report.
After arriving at WDW, having drivev three hours from where I'm staying in West Palm Beach, we first headed to the Transportation and Ticket Center, in order to check the validity of some park hopper passes left over from previous trips.
As one might expect, the TTC was fairly busy, this being around noon, and the lines were long for both the ticket windows and the auto ticket machines.
The tickets being a-okay, we headed over to Shades of Green, where we were staying. I'll be writing a more in depth review of the hotel for the DIG tomorrow. In the mean time, here are a few pics:
Hotel was recently refurbished and enlarged from its former alias, the Disney Inn. Now its is Shades of Green, a government-owned hotel specifically for active and retired members of the military. The hotel is self-funded, and no tax dollars are used to pay for it.
I noticed some minor touches being applied here and there still:
As nice a hotel as it is, I was eager to get to the parks, so a quick bus to the TTC and then a ride on the monorail got us to the Magic Kingdom.
As the first attraction of the day, we headed over to Tomorrowland, and, after getting fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, went to the Carousel of Progress, what is without a doubt my favorite attraction.
As some of you may know, the CoP has faced almost constant romours of closing over the past years, but I'm happy to report that it attracted a pretty good croud.
MousePlanet also reported last Tuesday that some refurbishments were being done to the seats. Fortunetly this did not entail closing the ride.
Its not easy taking pictured on the CoP, it took me most of the first scene to figure out the correct way to do it:
As I mentioned, I quite like the CoP, but I was a bit annoyed when John reffered to "Uncle Orville". Its Cousin! Cousin!
Then it was off to Adventureland to complete the first of the three VMK quests. The questions were more difficult than I had thought, the entail mostly counting and finding various things. I was particularly annoyed with the last question on the Adventureland quest, which entailed multiplying the number of keys on Pirates (3), by the number of carpets on the Magic Carpets of Aladin (16), by "the number of ships on Zanzibar seas". What?! Not a single Cast Member I asked knew what/where Zanzibar seas was/were, including CMs on Pirates, Jungle Cruise, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse AND the Zanzibar gift shop! How frustrating!
Ah well. Then it was back to Tomorrowland to ride on BLSRS. We then went on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, aka the Peoplemover, before heading over to Fantasyland complete the second VMK quest.
While there, I caught some snapshots of the construction work on the new Pooh and Friends playground to go in what was formerly the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Lagoon:
After completing the Fantasyland quest, we were about ready to collapse from the heat. It must have been at LEASt 95 degrees out there and extremely humid. We stumbled into Liberty Square to find a 45 minute wait for the Haunted Mansion. Wanting to escape the heat, we went instead to the Hall of Presidents, and has no problem waiting a half an hour for the next show while in the ice cold air conditioned room. We weren't alone either, plenty of people were using the same stratedgy.
Its not easy taking photos in the Hall of Presidents either, its a very wide shot and you cant use flash. Out of about 15 shots I took, this is the best:
After that, we left MK and went back to the hotel. After some dinner at the buffet it was over to Epcot, where we just caught Illuminations, and got a GREAT spot next to the margarita stand in front of the Mexico Pavillion.
Then we ran out of the park and caught the monorail back to the TTC, then got on another monorail back to Magic Kingdom to catch Wishes. After strolling the park for a bit, now near empty, we headed out, only to come face to face with a HUGe line for the express monorail. We opted instead for the resort monorail, and three monorails later finally got back to the TTC to catch out bus back to the hotel.
I didn't take any photos during that time because I was more concentrated on the audio recorder I had with me, which I had forgotten to bring to MK.
Now would probably be a good time to stop by the MC Snack Bar, get that Diet Coke with the Dark Chocolate M&Ms, plus a Jello shot for the heck of it.
Thursday morning found me at the Disney MGM Studios.
First we headed up to MuppetVision 3D, passing down the Streets of America...
...were they were finishing work on the new San Fransico facade:
After MuppetVision, we headed over to Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey, shortly after obtaining FastPasses for the next Indy Show.
In the mean time, lets play everybodys favoride game show...
SPOT THE DISNEY-MGM STUDIOS LOGOS
Who knows, this could be the last time we see these, we'll just have to wait and see.
So after Sounds Dangerous, we headed over to Indy, this being 12:05, the show being at 12:30.
I couldn't remember exactly how long the show was, so we formulated a plan to see Indy, and then run clear across the park to catch Lights, Motors, Action! at 1:00. This of course, didn't work; we got out of Indy at 1:06.
Our MGM portion of the day being done, we took the bus back to TTC.
After a quick lunch at the hotel, we headed back over to Epcot. This time we had a plan, which first entailed getting a FastPass for Test Track.
However, there were no more FastPasses left for TestTrack, and a Standby line wait time of 110 minutes!
Well, we weren't going to wait in that, especially given the fact that we would have the Extra Magic Hours that night after the park closed.
So, we headed over to Ellen's Energy Advenure, which is always a favorite of mine.
Then, it was over to Innoventions East, including a quick look at the new Fantastic Plastic Exibit. When we got there, a CM was doing a small prensention behind some ropes. I didn't see the point in waiting for the next one, so we walked up and ducked undeneath the ropes. Now the next portion of the exibit involcved designing our own robot in teams on the computer, and then racing them using special pads in the floor. We would be devided into teams based on the team number we had recieved. Of corse, due to my imatience, we had sneaked into the group and thus never recieved any. I asked the CM who asked how we had gotten there. I told him we had walked up and asked if we should simply wait for the next group, to which he said yes. We had lots of other things to do, and it was alrady 5:30, so we walked the rest of Innoventuons East and then headed over to Innoventions west, which we also walked through.
Then we headed over to the Living Seas, which I noted now has a lot of Finding Nemo influences. After watching the short film "The Sea" and checking out one exibit, showing the real fish counterparts of the characters in Finding Nemo.
We decided to move on, and went straight to Kodak Imageworks. We played around in there a little bit, before heading to get out wristbands for the Extra Magic Hours. Then it was over to the World Showcase.
I noticed on the way that construction work continues on Ice Station Cool:
We decided to take the 7:15 boat across the lagoon, the last of the Day.
The Illumniations barges were of course on the lagoon at this point, but I took some photos of the Showcase Pavillions anyway:
And why not take photos of the barges themselves? Below you can see two of the firework barges, as well as part of the barge housing all of the fire and flamethrower effects way off to the left.
A few more showcase shots:
The Spaceship Earth Geosphere peeking over the trees:
As we walked over to the American Adventure, I took some shots of the Banners that are all over WDW advertising the new attractions for the 50th:
Yes that is my finger in the corner. Hey, no one's perfect.