After quite a few straight days in the park and shopping with Daisy, we all felt like a break today. It was wonderful to have a lie-on in bed instead of getting up early!
The weather has returned to hot-hot-hot so we spent the day by the pool here at the Grande Vista, just swimming and reading. It was a very welcome change. I made a late lunch/early dinner in the villa.
In the evening we drove into the Magic Kingdom for their night time shows which are a particular favourite of mine because of the fireworks. I really love fireworks. We had a funny journey to the park. It normally takes us about 35 minutes to drive there but the fates were against us! Traffic was quite heavy for some reason (Saturday night maybe) and then we had to queue through the parking payment booths. I was a bit surprised that Disney charge you a full day’s fee if you arrive after 5. Or maybe not…… Then, having gone through the booth, we got lost around the set up for Sunday’s Disney Marathon. I don’t know how we missed the turning to the carpark but we did and then had to totally circle around and come through the booths again! Having parked, we discovered we had to walk in rather than take a tram. They have really cut down on the tram service this year – another cut! It used to be that all parking areas were covered and both ends of every parking line. Now, you have to walk from some areas (not just the ones that are bang up against the entrance) and only one end of the row (which is very long) is serviced. Anyway, we trekked in and got through security and ticket check and found the monorail was out of action and we had to take the ferry. Not a favourite of mine as you are very crowded in. By the time we got into the Magic Kingdom it was 630 and we’d missed our first fastpass.
We didn’t actually mind at all as we discovered that the Magic Kingdom is now also decorated for Christmas and it looked so beautiful it was just delightful to walk slowly through, admiring the decorations. The park felt pretty crowded. All of the rides had long wait times. We took pictures on Main Street and wandered through Adventureland and had the Dole Whip ice creams in there. They are light whipped ice creams flavoured with creamy pineapple. Not too sweet at all and very refreshing.
Just ambled about taking in the atmosphere till 720 when we had a fastpass for the Haunted Mansion. Really enjoy that attraction. Very clever special effects. Came out of that and managed to get onto the Little Mermaid ride with only a 20 minute wait. By now it was after 8pm and we decided to get a drink and take up position for the fireworks which were at 9. It was really, really crowded in the front of the castle so we found a seat in a café behind the castle and sat there. Just before 9 we came out to get a pretty full view of the castle and therefore the fireworks. It was a good view but we couldn’t see the projections on the castle as they are only on the front and also the fireworks were being let off from 2 different directions ie in front of us (around the castle) and behind us which made it very difficult to film and meant we were spinning like tops trying to keep up!!!! Anyway, it was an amazing firework display to music and lighting effects and it must have been over 10 minutes. Incredible. One of the best we’ve seen there. I did film some of it but if you watch on my FB page, i apologise for the jumping around but that’s what I was doing!!!!!
After the fireworks a lot of people went home and lots of others took the opportunity to try and ride the big attractions before the lines built up again. We moved around and found really great positions for the night time lighting spectacular Happily Ever After, in front of the castle. This is just an amazing show Disney do. The entirety of Cinderella’s Castle (a massive structure) becomes the screen and set for a very high tech lighting show complete with music and some more fireworks. This is a new show, and replaces the one we saw two years ago, Wishes. That was similar in concept but this new one is sooooo much better. The theme is that Mrs Potts (from Beauty and the Beast) is trying to put her son, Chip, to bed and he wants some bedtime stories. So she tells him some (Disney film plots of course!) and the castle is transformed to illustrate them. When, I say transformed, I mean exactly that. The lighting effects are extraordinary and as well as projecting the story on areas of the castle, the entire structure of the castle is transformed, recoloured, rebuilt, collapsed and rebuilt again. Amazing. At one point, she tells him about Alice in Wonderland and the castle becomes as massive house of cards – hundreds of them – then as the story ends, they all collapse. I can’t post video onto this blog, but my FB friends can see it. I have a lot of pictures though.
The show ended with a short burst of fireworks. A great 15 minutes! I highly recommend you go and see this show if you are here. Well worth staying on for. Many people then started to leave the park but we headed into Frontierland again for our final fastpass on the runaway mining train attraction, Big Thunder Mountain. I particularly like this ride at night, the theming is fantastic lit up. Thoroughly enjoyable. After that we walked slowly back towards Main Street very much enjoying that the crowds were greatly lessened. I can’t imagine what the parks must be like nearer to actual Christmas and Tnanksgiving. Too crowded for me, definitely. When we got to the bottom of Main Street, Bob and Daisy went into the ice cream parlour to get ice creams. They are fantastic. I’ve had them before, just delicious, not sure what actual brand they are selling. I stood outside and watched the crowds stream towards the exit and just enjoyed the decorations which are at their most “Christmasy” here.
Disney are currently filming their Holiday Season trailers – they were doing it in Hollywood Studios the other day – and they had set up at the end of the street to film here after the park closed. Took some pictures of the lights and decorations and – yes, had a couple of spoons of ice cream!!! – and then we made our way to the monorail which was thankfully working again. And a tram was available for our area of the parking lot! Got home just before midnight, quite uneventfully.
A really good day and a spectacular evening!.