November Trip Report, Day 7
Friday, our last full day, was unique compared to our typical park days. Tom slept in and I spent the morning in the Animal Kingdom area. I planned to visit the park first and then the Lodge and Villas, but as I walked to the bus stop at the Contemporary I changed my mind. Instead, I walked over to the Magic Kingdom bus stops, and missed a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge by about 30 seconds. Luckily I only had to wait about 15 minutes for the next one. I got off at Kidani first to see their tree. We stayed here during the Christmas season previously, but I enjoyed revisiting.
Next, I got on the first park bus I saw and took it to Jambo House. Their lobby was bustling, but I took a few photos of the tree and had some taken by a Photopass photographer too.
Then, I was off to Animal Kingdom! Our friends were here and my intention was to meet up with them, but we were always in different places, stuck in different lines. The first thing I did after entering the park was meet Dug and Russell from Up.
Next, I got a Fastpass for Expedition Everest. Then I stowed my bag and camera in one of Kali River Rapids’ free lockers and donned my poncho for the ride. The people in front of me in line carried their Unofficial Guide on the ride, which I would not recommend. Special note to those who prefer to stay dry, the queue here is about 100 times better than the actual ride.
I went to Camp Minnie Mickey in an effort to see our friends, but a Lion King show had just let out, and the area was crazy. I bailed and walked through the Pangani Forest Trail.
My Everest Fastpass had come due, so I wandered back to Asia. After using my Fastpass, I jumped back into the single rider line and was on the ride again in no time. The single rider line is joyous if you just want the thrill of the ride, but for your first ride, I recommend walking through the queue for the full experience. I tried to do single rider again, but the line was several deep, and Tom was ready to meet for lunch. I got out of the line and raced back to Dinoland to ride Primeval Whirl.
After I was whipped through that, I left the park and took a bus back to the Contemporary. Tom was waiting for me at the bus stop, and we walked to the Magic Kingdom to eat lunch at Cosmic Ray’s.
The Christmas Day Parade taping was happening this day and the next day. There was a stage on Town Square for Nick Cannon’s spots (which we never saw), and a stage in front of the castle for musical performances, and is where Maria Menounos filmed most of her spots. The first day is performance taping, the next day is the parade taping.
After lunch, we walked to the hub and surveyed the stage show taping that was going on. At that time, there were just two people on stage warming up and entertaining the crowd.
Then Colbie Callait came out and sang one of her Christmas songs.
There were about 5 different tapings, each with a unique production focus, and even one without Colbie!
On the last “crowd shot” take, we went up to the crowd area and cheered and whatnot, but we weren’t in any of those final cuts. Instead, we actually snuck into the top of a frame when we thought we were outside of the camera’s range!
We also were part of the crowd for Maria Menounos and Samantha Brown spots. We were too far back to be in frame, but we still had fun cheering.
Notice that the clock is one minute to midnight all the time.
All of this was out in the full sun, so I was battling between enjoying the fun and unique experience and being wiped out. We reluctantly decide to leave the Magic Kingdom and tried to make it to Hollywood Studios. We rode Tower of Terror twice and ate snacks on Sunset Boulevard. This trip I discovered the magic that is a chocolate covered pineapple skewer, so I found every excuse I could to have one.
It was late enough now for Osborne Lights, so we walked over to Streets of America. This was the busiest we’ve ever seen the Lights. We both have some aversion to crowds, so we didn’t stay long. I wanted to do another drawing class, so we headed to the Animation building.
As we walked up to the gift shop, we noticed some familiar faces sitting on a bench outside. Coincidentally, our friends were right there taking a break! We hadn’t even known they were in the park. We caught up on each other’s activities, and then decided that 4 of us would go to the drawing class together. This time we drew Piglet. Our friends’ three year old even had her Piglet displayed to the entire class!
We were in the last class of the night, so by the time we were out the park was closed. We all decided to go back for the night, but didn’t want to do the buses with the stroller situation. Instead, we decided to walk to Epcot’s monorail. Yes, we decided to walk from inside Hollywood Studios to the front of Epcot, which my feet would guess is 10 miles. Of course it’s not really, but it did take us an hour and required a potty break halfway through! This was one of those times where “it’s the journey, not the destination” that matters.
Right before we left Hollywood Studios, I was tempted by one last glimpse of Osborne Lights. In Epcot, I was again tempted to wait for IllumiNations with the holiday tag. My sacrifices there were rewarded on our way back, as we stepped off of the resort monorail just as holiday Wishes started for that night’s party. I dashed down the escalator and ran up a few flights of stairs to get these photos.
We had enjoyed our time at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party so much earlier in the week, we thought about buying tickets to this night’s party too. We decided against it, so this was a nice way to end the day instead.