Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 7 – Saturday 12/08/12: Now It’s Time To Say Goodbye

This was it, our trip was coming to a close.  We had an afternoon flight planned so we could get some last minute park time in.  We packed our bags and dropped them off at the airline check-in so we’d be ready to go.  It seemed Disney World was sad to see us go as well because this morning was incredibly foggy and gray.  We wanted to take the boat to Magic Kingdom, but it wasn’t running because of the thick fog.  Instead we took the Monorail for one last trip.

WDW TR-423 WDW TR-424 WDW TR-425 WDW TR-426 WDW TR-427 – area around the Poly covered in fog

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Moms wanted to see the Country Bear Jamboree, so we took the railroad from Main Street to Frontierland.  Unfortunately, the Bears were acting up and weren’t open yet.  Hopefully they’d be back up before we had to leave.  We wandered into Adventureland where I purchased a Citrus Swirl I had heard so much about.  It’s frozen orange juice and vanilla ice cream swirled in a cup.  It was good, but I still prefer the Dole Whip.  Moms meanwhile got in line for Aladdin’s Flying Carpets since there was no line really.  I was going to join her, but was too busy eating my ice cream breakfast.

WDW TR-431

WDW TR-430  WDW TR-432 WDW TR-433 – Magic Kingdom in the fog

WDW TR-434 – Magic Kingdom railroad cars sit front facing instead into the park like the Disneyland ones

WDW TR-435 WDW TR-436 WDW TR-437 WDW TR-438 WDW TR-439 WDW TR-440 – Frontierland

WDW TR-441 – Orange Bird cup

WDW TR-442 – Citrus Swirl

After Moms experience soaring over Agrabah, we made our way to Liberty Square to see the Hall of Presidents.  The preshow area with the Presidential memorabilia was really neat to a history nerd like myself.  The show itself was also pretty good.  Our patriotism once again topped up, we did the most American thing we could.  Ate a funnel cake.  After a nutritious snack, we went back to see if those Country Bears were back to normal.

WDW TR-444 – Liberty Square

WDW TR-445 – the Presidents of the United States

WDW TR-446 WDW TR-447 – more shots of the grounds

WDW TR-448 – funnel cake

WDW TR-443 WDW TR-449 WDW TR-450 – Haunted Mansion

The Bears were back up and we got a seat in the front row.  It’s been so long since they’ve been gone from Disneyland.  It was great seeing the show again.

WDW TR-455 WDW TR-451 WDW TR-452 WDW TR-453 WDW TR-454 – Country Bear Jamboree

By now it was just about time for us to get going, but I wanted to check out the New Fantasyland expansion in the daytime.  We made our way there and I pretty much just had time to walk through it and walk back before we had to leave.  I’ll save the exploration for next time.

WDW TR-456 WDW TR-457 – old Fantasyland

WDW TR-458 WDW TR-459 – Beast’s Castle

WDW TR-461 WDW TR-460 – Gaston’s Tavern

WDW TR-462 – one last shot of the Castle backside

WDW TR-463 – Cinderella statue

WDW TR-464 – one last photo of the castle

WDW TR-465 – one last shot of Main Street

We made our way back to the entrance and caught our favorite method of transportation, the boats on Seven Seas Lagoon.  What a great last ride to end the trip.  We got back to the Poly with about 30 minutes to spare before our DME bus came.

WDW TR-466 WDW TR-467 – Disney’s Magical Express

The flight home was uneventful.  Neither of us wants it to be another 23 years before we go back.

 

 

I’ll wrap this up with my thoughts on Disney World as a whole.  I was expecting that I’d be constantly lost in Magic Kingdom and going the wrong way to get to stuff.  To my surprise that didn’t really happen (it actually ended up happening to me on my next trip to Disneyland where I got the location of Big Thunder wrong).  Disney World as a whole is hugely impressive.  Driving from place to place the sheer amount of space and greenery around is amazing.  You almost feel like you’re in a Disney city.  You really do lose track of the real world when you’re on property.  One Man’s Dream is obviously a tribute to Walt, but after coming out of that it occurred to me that all of Disney World feels like it’s a tribute to Walt Disney.  I couldn’t give any specific examples, it’s just a feeling I had about the place.  I liked the extra attention the queues get.  Things like Photopass seem to make more sense out there.  Plus they put Photopass photographers all over the place (do they seriously need three in the center of Main Street in front of the Castle?)

I’m not saying it’s better, but Magic Kingdom feels like Disneyland 2.0.  It’s Disneyland, but more.  The things that make Disneyland Disneyland, taken to the next level.  Especially in the ways they try and separate you from your cash.  Cinderella’s Castle.  It is impressive from any angle.

Epcot was probably my favorite park of the four.  That mainly comes down to World Showcase for me though.  Going through that was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  I loved it there.  The rest of the park isn’t bad, but I’m all about World Showcase.

If Epcot was my favorite, Disney’s Hollywood Studios was my least, even though it had the highlight of the trip.  The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  There’s just not enough unique things there that aren’t in Disneyland.  One Man’s Dream is awesome though.  And that Star Tours queue is terrific.

The theming throughout the entirety of Animal Kingdom might be the best of the American Disney Parks.  I’m not saying it’s the best park, but to me the attention to detail everywhere I looked was impressive.  Plus this park has my favorite ride, Expedition Everest.  It’s fantastic seeing all the animals you just come across while walking around, plus the trails and Kilimanjaro Safari.  Definitely the most unique of the American Disney Parks.

I loved it all though.  I’m not going to say which is better between Disneyland or Disney World because I really don’t know.  Disneyland is like a place of comfort for me, I felt more like a gawking tourist in Disney World.  If I got to visit it more frequently, that wouldn’t be the case.  I think each coast does some things better than the other.  Disneyland fans who’ve never been to Florida, should go and vice versa for Disney World fans.  I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to go back, I just know I won’t be waiting another 23 years to make a return trip.

 

That’s it, I only hope this was at least mildly entertaining for some of you.

Link to Day 1

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Random Photo for 03/07/2013

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It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these, I’ve been doing lots of stuff, and been too busy.  Today’s photo is from this year’s Barrett-Jackson.  I didn’t take a photo of the car’s info, so I don’t remember what kind of Oldsmobile this is.  I immediately noticed the reflection walking by the car and it turned out pretty much how I pictured it in my mind.  I converted it to black and white using OnOne’s Perfect B&W.

Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 6 – Friday 12/07/12: On Safari With the Yeti

Today was our last full day of the trip, tomorrow we’d have to go back to the real world.  Today though, we were still in Disney and planning on visiting the park I was most excited for.  Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to see all the Disney World parks, but Animal Kingdom was the one that was the most different from our parks in California.  I woke up early again today and used the time to take some photos around the Poly.

WDW TR-352 WDW TR-353 WDW TR-354 WDW TR-355 WDW TR-356 WDW TR-357 – The Poly at sunrise

For reasons I don’t remember now, we ended up going to the TTC to catch a bus to Animal Kingdom.

WDW TR-358 – Ticket & Transport Center

WDW TR-359 – Animal Kingdom Christmas tree

WDW TR-360 – Animal Kingdom entrance

I wanted to make a beeline straight for Expedition Everest, but as soon as we walked in we were distracted by all the animals in The Oasis.  That’s a really fun area to explore.  Our hunger won out over my desire to ride, so we chose Pizzafari to get some breakfast.  I got the Bounty Platter and Moms got the Kids Breakfast Platter.  It was okay, filled us up.  After breakfast, we headed back to Asia to ride Everest.  We took our time getting there, as we kept stopping to see other animals and all the amazing details they put in the area.  The theming really is fantastic in this whole park.

WDW TR-361 – black swans in the Oasis

WDW TR-362 – the Tree of Life

WDW TR-363 – flamingoes

WDW TR-364 – Mom’s kid’s breakfast

WDW TR-365 – my breakfast bounty

WDW TR-366 – macaw

WDW TR-367

WDW TR-368 WDW TR-369 – gorillas on the way to Everest

Finally, we made it to Everest.  The wait was only 10 minutes so I chose to go through the stand-by queue to check it out since I heard it was amazing.  It was true, the level of detail in the queue is some of Disney’s best work.  Expedition Everest was described to me before the trip as a mixture of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, & Splash Mountain.  It’s a runaway train (Big Thunder), you go backwards in the dark (Space), and there’s a drop (Splash).  I loved it.  Immediately after getting off I was super excited and hopped in the single rider line for another go round.  Now I have a problem, my favorite Disney ride is on the other side of the country.

WDW TR-370 WDW TR-371 WDW TR-372 WDW TR-373 WDW TR-374 WDW TR-375 WDW TR-376 WDW TR-377 – Expedition Everest

Since we were close by, we decided to check out the Maharajah Jungle Trek.  This is another area you walk through and see animals.  Despite them just lying around, it was cool to see the tigers.

WDW TR-378 – Komodo dragon

WDW TR-379 WDW TR-380 – tigers

WDW TR-381 – I loved this shirt, should’ve bought it

We continued our way around the park and headed to Africa to ride the Kilimanjaro Safari.  This is awesome.  You board a vehicle that takes you around an African Savannah and see lots of animals.  Some of them are extremely close to the vehicle.

WDW TR-382 – Tree of Life

WDW TR-383 – black rhinoceros

WDW TR-384 – hippopotamus

WDW TR-385 – Nile crocodile

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WDW TR-387 – giraffe

WDW TR-388 – elephant

WDW TR-389 – white rhinoceros

WDW TR-390 – zebras

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WDW TR-392 – gorilla

Moms headed to the restroom while I walked through the Pangani Forest Trail, another walk through area with animals.  At one point I enter a room with lots of people crowded in a corner looking into water through glass.  I find an open window and all I see is a bunch of fish.  I’m wondering to myself is this all there is here, when I hear a dad close by tell his family “here it comes”.  Next thing I know a hippopotamus comes swimming through the water.  It was crazy how graceful that thing was underwater.

WDW TR-393

WDW TR-394 – hippo swimming with the greatest of ease

WDW TR-395 – this gorilla turned his back as soon as I put my zoom lens on

It was feeling like it was time for lunch when I met back up with Moms, so we chose Flame Tree BBQ.  I had the chicken & ribs, while Moms chose just the ribs.  It was delicious.

WDW TR-396 – chicken & ribs

WDW TR-397 – ribs

WDW TR-398 – Everest again

Our bellies full, I quickly walked through Dinoland USA while Moms did some final shopping.  We left back to the Poly to take a break.

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WDW TR-400 – Dinosaur the Ride

After a nap, we visited Downtown Disney.  The World of Disney store there is great.  I like how the different departments are actually labeled instead of just going from one to another like the Disneyland World of Disney.  Moms had seen Pollo Campero online before we left and wanted to eat there.  We both got fried chicken, and really liked it.  We walked around some more just checking everything out.  Moms was tired after a week of Disney, so she found a place to sit while I went in search of D-Street.  The Disney World Downtown Disney is really big.  I eventually found D-Street and bought some of the Passholder exclusive Vinylmations. With our shopping done, we headed back to our room.

WDW TR-401

WDW TR-402 WDW TR-403 – Mickey& Minnie window decorations

WDW TR-404 WDW TR-405 WDW TR-406 – World of Disney store

WDW TR-407 – LEGO sea serpent

WDW TR-408 WDW TR-409  – Pollo Campero chicken

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WDW TR-412 – Downtown Disney Coke machine

We got off the bus as the Grand Floridian and walked around for a bit before catching the Monorail back to the Poly.

WDW TR-413 – 1929 Cadillac in front of the Grand Floridian

WDW TR-414 – tile work on the floor of the Grand Floridian

WDW TR-415 – this staircase seemed so regal

I got off at the TTC to get more photographs of Wishes, this time from the ferry dock, while Moms continued on to the room.  The ferry dock at the TTC has to be one of the best places to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from since they pipe the music into the speakers over there and you can see the whole thing.

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Afterwards I went back to the room and got some sleep.

WDW TR-420

WDW TR-421 – Poly hallway

WDW TR-422 – our room

Tomorrow we were going to visit Magic Kingdom one last time for some last minute stuff.

Link to Day 1

Link to Day 7

Walt Disney World 2012 Trip Day 5 – Thursday 12/06/12: Time and World Travelers

Today we broke our “tradition” of visiting the park we visited the previous night. We had an ADR for Le Cellier for lunch, so Epcot was the plan today. The first ride of the day? Spaceship Earth of course.

WDW TR-272 – another shot of The Dome

WDW TR-273 – one of the many flower beds in Epcot

After another trip through history, we made our way to The Land. Living With the Land had a short wait so we rode that. Living With the Land is a slow boat ride through a big greenhouse where Disney grows food and plants in various forms of hydroponics. It’s pretty neat seeing all the ways they can grow food. Made me hungry.

WDW TR-274 WDW TR-275 WDW TR-276 WDW TR-277 WDW TR-278 WDW TR-279 – ride photos from Living With the Land

Since we had an early lunch planned, we decided to split a small breakfast at Sunshine Seasons. This time we opted for the breakfast panini and potatoes. I really enjoyed the panini. I don’t know if it was the bread or what, but something was kind of sweet which was a nice compliment to the savory nature of the bacon, egg, & cheese. Not like a McGriddle from McDonald’s, much better. The wait for Soaring was longer than we wanted to wait and we didn’t want to come back over here from World Showcase if we got fastpasses, so we skipped it this trip. Next on our agenda was a date with a little purple dragon. While I do have a vague memory of Figment from our previous trip, I don’t really remember the ride. I enjoyed this version and the catchy song.

WDW TR-280 – breakfast panini & potatoes

WDW TR-281 – duck family that was enthralling everybody around

WDW TR-282 – Imagination Pavilion

WDW TR-284 WDW TR-285 – Figment and his merchandise

WDW TR-283 WDW TR-286 WDW TR-287 WDW TR-288 WDW TR-289 – the grounds around the Imagination Pavilion

After taking some pictures around the Imagination Pavilion, we made our way to Canada for lunch and to start our trip around the World. Le Cellier was already on my list since I love cheese soups, but then once I started hearing about the filet, this became my number one spot to try and eat at. The only reservation I could get was with the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package for that evening, but I booked it anyways. The Canada Pavilion around the entrance to Le Cellier is incredibly beautiful, one of the best parts of World Showcase in my opinion. After a brief wait for the restaurant to open, where we got to see the cast members opening ritual of singing the Canadian theme song, we were seated and served our basket of bread. I of course ordered the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup while Moms ordered the Fried Rock Shrimp. The soup was excellent and Moms enjoyed her shrimp, if not a little spicy for her. We both got the Wild Mushroom Filet Mignon, Moms kept the risotto and I opted for the Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes on the side (thanks to the folks at WDWMagic for giving me the idea). I loved the filet, I thought it was great. For dessert, we both ordered this chocolate pecan pie on the rocks dish (I don’t remember the name and can’t quite find it online). We were both so stuffed we took the dessert to go, but before I boxed mine up, I had a spoonful and it was amazing. I wish I would’ve eaten more. Thoroughly stuffed we explored Canada a bit and then made our way to the United Kingdom.

WDW TR-290 – Victoria Gardens

WDW TR-291 – area around Le Cellier

WDW TR-292 WDW TR-293 – outside and inside of Le Cellier

WDW TR-294 – Le Cellier bread basket

WDW TR-295 – Canadian Cheese Soup

WDW TR-296 – Fried Rock Shrimp

WDW TR-297 – Wild Mushroom Filet Mignon with risotto

WDW TR-298 – Chocolate Pecan Pie on the Rocks

WDW TR-299 – another shot of Victoria Gardens

WDW TR-300 – Moms & I

WDW TR-301 WDW TR-302 – Canadian Pavilion

We both thought it would’ve been more authentic if the signature red telephone booths smelled of bodily fluids and were covered in adult magazines as that’s how all the ones we saw in London seemed to be. The UK Pavilion was cool with all it’s little nooks and crannies, even saw some Doctor Who stuff there.

WDW TR-304 – my favorite kind of character meeting, the kind with no line

WDW TR-303 WDW TR-305 WDW TR-306 – United Kingdom Pavilion

We continued our trip in France. We looked around in the stores & thought about getting a snack in the cafe, but the line was too long. I did stop at the drinks stand for a Grand Marnier Orange Slush. It was delicious, I wish I had one right now. The France Pavilion definitely had me missing Paris.

WDW TR-307 WDW TR-308 WDW TR-309 – France Pavilion

WDW TR-310 – Grand Marnier Orange Slush

Morocco was next on our itinerary. Walking through the shops was cool, but we didn’t buy anything.

WDW TR-311 WDW TR-312 WDW TR-314 – Morocco Pavilion

WDW TR-313 – Fez’s are cool

After a quick trip stop in Africa, Asia was calling us. Japan would be our next stop. I’ve wanted to go to Tokyo for at least a decade now, and the store in the Japan Pavilion is basically everything you could image that’s Japanese. It was awesome. I wanted to be real adventurous and try a bunch of different snacks, but the only we bought were some chopsticks. I guess I’ll save the Japanese snacks for when I visit. Moms went to find a place to sit and rest for a bit. I walked around the rest of the pavilion before joining her in front of the Katsura Grill for a bit. We both thought the food looked good and wanted to come back for dinner.

WDW TR-315  WDW TR-317 WDW TR-318 WDW TR-319 WDW TR-320 – Japan Pavilion

WDW TR-316 WDW TR-500 – store in Japan Pavilion

We left Japan for a quick stop back home in America. We had reserved seating for the first showing of the Candlelight Processional and a small line was already starting to form. Since the show was in front of the American Pavilion, we continued on to Italy, where we looked around very briefly. Our hotel in Venice gave us a free bottle of Prosecco upon check-in and I loved it, so now I order one whenever I get the chance. The drinks cart in front of the Italy Pavilion just happened to have Prosecco. Score!

WDW TR-321 – American Adventure Pavilion

WDW TR-322 WDW TR-323 WDW TR-324 – Italy Pavilion

WDW TR-325 – Prosecco in Italy

We sat for a minute while I drank my wine and just looked out over World Showcase Lagoon. We noticed a crowd behind us, so when I finished up we went to investigate. Turns out everybody was checking out the train set in the Germany Pavilion. We walked though that before making our way back to America to get in line for the Candlelight Processional.

WDW TR-326 – World Showcase Lagoon

WDW TR-327 WDW TR-328 WDW TR-329 – miniature train set in Germany

The Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the birth of Jesus by a celebrity narrator. There is an orchestra and a choir performing music between breaks of the narrator’s story. Our celebrity narrator was Blair Underwood and he was fantastic, as was the whole show. I didn’t really do a good job explaining the show beforehand to Moms, so she didn’t really know what to expect going in, but it ended up as one of the highlights of the trip for both of us. Between the Osborne Lights & the Candlelight Processional, it will be hard not to go back during Christmas for us.

WDW TR-330 WDW TR-331 WDW TR-332 WDW TR-333 – Candlelight Processional

After the fantastic show, we were both getting hungry. Katsura Grill in Japan still sounded good to us, so that was our choice. I had the chicken & beef teriyaki, while Moms had shrimp tempura udon. We both thought the food was very good, & marked it as a place we’d go back to if we get back to Disney World.

WDW TR-334

WDW TR-335 – chicken & beef teriyaki

WDW TR-336 – shrimp tempura udon

Moms was about done for the day, but still wanted to finish up our world trip. We stopped back in America to get inspired by the American Adventure show.

WDW TR-337

Freshly patriotic, we visited Germany. Moms bought a teddy bear suitcase for her Build-A-Bear back home, while I pretended to drink out of seemingly every stein in the store.

WDW TR-338 – Germany Pavilion

WDW TR-339 – drinking from a stein

WDW TR-340 – some expensive cuckoo clocks

WDW TR-341

We returned to Asia once more for a quick look around the China Pavilion. The store had some really neat things in there, but we were too tired to really shop properly.

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WDW TR-343 WDW TR-344 – terracotta soldiers

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Since we had already seen Norway & Mexico, our trip around the World was finished. After a whole day without a break, we were too exhausted to take advantage of the reserved viewing of Illuminations, especially since we had already seen it.

WDW TR-346 – Norway at night agian

WDW TR-347

We made our way back to the Monorail and went back to the Poly.  As we got back to, the Electric Water Pageant was going on, so I watched some of that before watching Wishes from the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon to end the night.

WDW TR-348 – Electric Water Pageant

WDW TR-349 WDW TR-350 WDW TR-351 – Wishes

Oh, and our desserts from lunch.  The cups they gave us to keep them started to break, and the desserts started melting and we ended up throwing them away.  It was quite possibly the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, and I regret it still.

Tomorrow, we visit the last park.

Link to Day 1

Link to Day 6