Trip Report November 2016 – Day 2
Our first day in the parks was one I worked hard to prepare for. On paper it was just a morning in Epcot with a lunch at Garden Grill. In practice it was the shining glory of a chipmunk toddler.
Since the Garden Rooms at the Boardwalk are not located near the Innkeepers Club Lounge I went up and brought breakfast for all of us back on a tray. After finishing that we walked to Epcot. We arrived 40 minutes after park opening and did the Seas, Turtle Talk, Imagination, checked out the DVC Lounge, and Fastpassed Living with the Land in 2 hours.
Our lunch at Garden Grill might be the most magical memory we’ve made in the parks, rivaling baby Goofy meeting Minnie and Pluto. Our little chipmunk had fantastic interactions with the characters and all the staff went above and beyond in making our meal great.
Sometimes the food plays second fiddle to characters at these meals. Although the characters were a big part of our meal the food was delicious too.
Although he can look stoic in photos, I promise that’s just his personality and he enjoyed every minute of it!
After our lunch we stopped by the new Disney Visa meet and greet which is open from 1-7 pm. The new location is in a blue building near the Imagination pavilion. As you walk toward the Imagination Pavilion you go left, walking past the fountains. To the right of the meet and greet is the entrance to the Magic Eye Theater (currently showing Pixar shorts), then the ImageWorks exit/entrance, then the Journey into Imagination entrance.
The queue is infinitely more interesting compared to an Innoventions walkway, but the meet and greet area itself is quite small. I like the backdrop, but it was cramped with a Photopass photographer and two parents trying to enjoy the moment.
We then left the park and headed back to the room. I had a package delivery from the Shop Disney Parks app to pick up and my other half call to scheduled a shuttle pick-up for the Car Care Center. On our last trip we also rented from the Car Care Center. This rental went smoothly too, taking about 35 minutes from pick-up to parking back at the Boardwalk.
Since we had to change our trip dates less than 2 months out we lost the Frozen Ever After Fastpass we originally had. We weren’t able to replace it right away, but after checking many times I was able to get an afternoon Fastpass a few days out. This was a terrible time for us and meant skipping nap. Having to navigate through World Showcase crowds on the last day of Food & Wine Festival was terrible. If Frozen Ever After wasn’t a high priority for us, we would have turned around and left.
Thankfully we weaved through the crowds and made it to Norway in time to experience Frozen Ever After with our Fastpass. The ride is very impressive and enjoyable. It’s over quickly and that may leave you wanting more. Standby lines remain long so Fastpass for this ride is as important as it gets.
After weaving our way back out of World Showcase, we walked to Hollywood Studios. Walked? Yes. Friendship boats are our least favorite part of staying on Crescent Lake so we walked 40 minutes (with one break) rather than take the boat from Epcot to Hollywood Studios.
We had no plans for dinner so we grabbed the most convenient option, which was a fajita platter from Fairfax Fare. I was pleasantly surprised by it and would order it again. It was smaller and cost more than the fajita platter at Pecos Bill, so if you’re expecting that you could be disappointed.
We didn’t stake a spot for Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! until 20 minutes before show time. Therefore we got a bad spot, but we could see the important show components. Out of habit for nighttime spectaculars I’ve called this a fireworks show, but it’s a projection show first, laser show second, fireworks show third. It was a rollicking good time, but did not tug on my heartstrings.
Is this show a replacement for Osborne Lights? No, nothing could be. Is it a good addition to the lineup of Christmas shows at Walt Disney World? Yes.
Would I skip Fantasmic in order to see Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!? That depends. Jingle BAM! ended 2 minutes before Fantasmic started and is scheduled that way for much of the Christmas season. Overall Fantasmic is a better show. If you need something with less commitment, that you can roll up and roll out of easily, Jingle BAM! is a solid choice.
Would I skip seeing Wishes or IllumiNations in order to see Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!? No. Although you may be able to see both in one night if you’re addicting to park hopping like we are.
After the show we enjoyed the falling snow (and actual falling rain) before walking back to the Boardwalk. We grabbed evening desserts from the Club Lounge, then prepared to sleep in the next day!