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Thread: Sue (Holland) Rayford, Boardwalk Villas, Dec 7-9, 2018

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    Sue (Holland) Rayford, Boardwalk Villas, Dec 7-9, 2018

    Who/When/Where:

    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    Dates: December 7 9, 2018
    Resort: Disneys Boardwalk Villas Resort (BWV)
    Experience: Very Experienced 26th stay at BWV

    INTRODUCTION:
    This is a short trip, but itll give me the chance to see the holiday stuff at WDW particularly the things that are new since my last holiday season visit. In 2016 and 2017 I had cruises booked at time (and lengths) that didnt allow for a holiday season trip to Disney and the same is true for 2019. So, this is it! I have seen the Magic Kingdom castle lights many times but always enjoy them theyre so pretty! In Epcot I could care less about Candlelight Processional (huge yawn for me), miss the Lights of Winter that were discontinued years ago, but look forward to some of the food booths at Festival of the Holidays. Animal Kingdom doesnt really matter this time of year, on a short trip. Hollywood Studios is where the new (to me) stuff is, except that I did see (and was seriously underwhelmed) the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam thing once. This trip Im interested in the stuff that started last year, which Ive never seen.

    With that in mind, the only logical place to stay is Boardwalk Villas, for the easy walk to the Studios (and Epcot). I hadnt counted on Disney totally screwing things up with the gondola construction, but since this is a solo trip its no big deal. I dont mind walking, and since SB isnt here I dont have to worry about any bitching about how far it is <g>. Its also cooler now, so no bitching from me!

    I made no dining reservations, preferring to eat smaller. A Disney newsgroup called RADP has an annual meet and this year it falls during my trip. I checked their itinerary, and I wasnt planning to be in the same park as them on any day, but the big meet is at the Boardwalk on Saturday. So, I booked my fastpasses for later and will show up at the designated time/place. Itll be fun to see some old friends, and perhaps meet a few people in person for the first time.

    With all the separately-ticketed Christmas parties (aka huge money-makers), my only option for Magic Kingdom is Saturday. Itll be mobbed, but I have 3 fastpasses and dont have to do anything more than that. On the other days, I can easily walk between the Studios & Epcot as I feel like it, so thats more flexible. Initially Id been told the pedestrian entrance at International Gateway would be closed, so I made my fastpasses at the Studios for both of those days (planning to skip Epcot). But, that later changed and is no longer true, so I do expect to visit both Crescent Lake area parks on multiple days.

    Unfortunately, the weather forecast doesnt look good clouds on Saturday and rain most of Sunday. Ill be sure to get whatevers important to me seen/done on Friday & Saturday, in case Sunday is a washout. Im not a fan of traipsing through the parks in the rain not at this stage of the game.

    The plans so far are:
    Friday 12/7: Drive to WDW, Epcot
    Saturday 12/8: Pool, RADP Meet, Magic Kingdom
    Sunday 12/9: Pool, Hollywood Studios
    Monday 12/10: Drive to Gainesville



    DAY 1 Friday 12/7/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Epcot

    Actual: I worked half the day, leaving at noon to pack up the car and begin the drive to WDW. During the drive I got the email that my room was not quite ready yet, but once on property (at the red light on Western Way) I saw the email with my room number. I parked at Boardwalk and went straight to the studio without any issues. I like my location, although I would have preferred a dedicated studio, which doesnt connect via a door in the sleeping area to the 1-bedroom villa next door. Hopefully I have quiet neighbors!

    I quickly unpacked and since I was hungry I headed over to Epcot for the Festival of the Holidays booths. Entering the park went very quickly, and I was pleased to see the Friendships running to and from Epcot, contrary to the original reports. Once inside the park I picked up a Festival Holidays passport and found the location of the LChaime book between France & Morocco. I turned right and headed over there.

    There wasnt really any line, although the area with tables was pretty full. I ordered the pastrami on marble rye with house made pickle and deli mustard, and took it to an empty high-top table. I was very pleased with this it was the perfect size for a sandwich for me! I would never order one in a regular restaurant, because theyre just too big, so this was a treat. I thought about the black & white cookie, but Im glad I didnt order it since the sandwich basically filled me up. I asked what the potato knish was, and learned its mashed potatoes inside pastry dough, topped with herb sour cream. That also sounds great, but they look so big for a solo! This is the first year for this booth, and its where most of the items that appeal to me can be found, so Ill likely be back.

    While I ate my pastrami sandwich, Zachary played music and told the story of Hanukkah on the stage in this area. I didnt stay for the whole thing, but several people stopped to watch & listen. I continued walking a short distance, then decided since I was full I might as well head over to the Studios. I turned around in Morocco and exited via International Gateway. The Friendship boat was at the dock, so I decided to ride over. I had to sit inside until the first stop, and then was able to move to a seat outside for the rest of the trip. As expected, when we arrived the line of people waiting to board was easily at least 2 boats full of people! Ill be walking later!

    Entering the Studios was very quick, and arriving by boat is the shortest walk (by a long measure) compared to the buses. I enjoyed the holiday dcor as I made my way up Hollywood Boulevard, and did some wandering around before heading to Toy Story Midway Mania for my fastpass. I felt like I was slower than usual, but I scored 140,000 points and had 40% accuracy. Normally I score a little less than that, but have around 30% accuracy, so I think I was slower today. In any event, it was fun and today SB didnt get beaten since he wasnt here, lol!

    Slinky Dog had a 90-minute standby wait, so I didnt give that any consideration. I have a fastpass there late in the afternoon Sunday, so depending on the weather I may be back then to ride it. I wandered around some more, basically just walking to and fro across the park a couple times. At one point at Backlot I thought about sitting at one of the many empty tables with a glass of wine until my Star Tours fastpass, but their only white was a Woodbridge chardonnay. I cant see paying $9 for a glass of that, when I wouldnt pay $9 for a bottle of that! The other places I found either sold chardonnay or just beers, other than the Brown Derby Lounge. Id checked the standby time at Star Tours and it was 25 minutes. My fastpass was 25 minutes away (20 since you can get in 5 minutes early), so I just wandered.

    I got back to Star Tours just a couple minutes before my fastpass time, so I was able to enter the queue. I have another fastpass on Sunday, but I may skip it. I like the attraction, but its not something I have to do twice in 3 days. I dont watch the movies and frankly could care less about Star Wars, but for those who do I had scenes of snow (very pretty) and then under water. Dont ask me what any of it means.

    After Star Tours I returned to Sunset Boulevard and took a seat at the corner by the ice cream stand across from Tower of Terror. That ended up being a great spot, as a billboard was just across the street to my right, and I had a close-up view of Tower and Terror. I passed the time watching the brave people screaming on that ride when the doors would open and I could see their elevator car bouncing around before plunging to the ground no thanks!

    I thought the Flurries of Fun (or whatever its called) would start at 6:15 (after checking the website this morning), but it actually started before 6! They have around 5 or 6 different songs, where first the billboard shows a short movie, then the images are projected on the Tower of Terror for about a minute, then it snows before they start with the next song. The whole thing doesnt take more than about 15 minutes or so, and in my opinion is definitely worth seeing. I stayed partway through seeing it for the second time, and really enjoyed it.

    On my way out I saw that people were watching from all along Sunset Boulevard you can see it from anywhere on that street. I had a fastpass for Fantasmic, but had decided not to use it no point subjecting myself to something I really didnt think was worth my time the other 2 times I did it (many years apart). I also knew I had zero interest in sticking around for the 8:30 Jingle Bell Jingle Bam thing. We did that a couple years ago and were seriously underwhelmed. So, I exited the park and walked back to Boardwalk, making a pitstop in the studio to drop off the camera & sunglasses and put on my Mickey/Minnie holiday jacket (maybe this year I can wear it more than once, lol).

    I walked back over to Epcot, and it was busier at the entrance. Nights are always busier than afternoons! I decided to turn left this time, and checked out the festival stands as I walked. Most have a kiosk with pictures of the food items, which I find helpful. Theres not much that really appeals to me, though.

    In America, the 6:45 Candlelight Processional had already started, narrated by Whoopie Goldberg. It seems every time I book a trip during the holidays, shes the one doing it. We even ran into her at lunch (Grand Floridian Caf) one year, so we must be on a similar Disney cycle. With the camera back in the studio, I didnt take any photos. I sat back in America and had some wine and listened to the music, along with several others.

    Just before Candlelight ended I went to the festival booth in America to check out the chocolate pecan tart. I saw a couple women eating them and asked one of them how it was. She told me it was great, and that last year theyd shared one but this year they each got their own, lol! That sounded good to me, so I got in line and ordered one, taking it over to a shared picnic table. This was SO GOOD to me I loved it! One of the ladies saw me and asked what I thought, and I told her she was right. I couldnt eat it all, and was really glad I hadnt found some real food to eat or Id have barely made a dent in it. The tart is plenty for 2 people to share, and they top it with a big blob of whipped cream and then drizzle it with caramel omigod! I managed to eat 2/3 of it and took the rest back to the studio for later or tomorrow. As I exited the park the entrance was still busy.

    Back in the studio I settled down to work on the report, and soon the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam fireworks were partly visible through the big tree outside. I knew I wouldnt get Illuminations, so this was a pleasant surprise. So far I havent heard any noise next door (as of 9pm), so lets hope that continues!

    Today was a great first day, and I love being back here! The weather was perfect today nice and cool for walking, but not cold. One nice thing about being solo is I can walk as much and as quickly as I want. If SB was with me, theres no way he would have been willing to do all that walking, and I loved every step!

    Tomorrow I have fastpasses booked at Magic Kingdom for late afternoon, figuring Ill see the castle lights after that. However, I may check fastpasses elsewhere since that park is sure to be an absolute zoo. Id hoped for a morning by the pool, but I think itll be too cool for that. I do plan to attend a Big Meet at 1:30, so need to work around that. However the day plays out, Im sure itll be great!


    DAY 2 Saturday 12/8/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, RADP Meet, Magic Kingdom

    Actual: Last night I slept really well in this comfortable and (most importantly) quiet studio! Im thrilled to not hear neighbors up to this point, and know the resort is sold out, so somebody must be in there. I got up just after 5, made my cappuccino, and took it back to bed while I got online and watched the morning news.

    Shortly before 7, I got dressed and walked over to the Boardwalk Bakery. Quite a few people were sitting outside eating breakfast, but there was no wait to order. I ordered the Oooey Gooey sandwich again, which I loved last trip. They make it to order, so once it was ready (wrapped and in a paper bag) I took it up to the studio to enjoy. It was delicious, but too much for one sitting. I ate more than half, and wrapped the rest up for later.

    Around 9 I took my shower, figuring it was cool enough and cloudy enough that even sitting by the pool later this morning I wouldnt be sweating. I decided to tour the Crescent Lake resorts, and I dressed in jeans and a shirt (rather than shorts & a tank) since it was still cool and cloudy outside. I came to regret that decision not too much later!

    I took a staircase down to the ground level and walked over to the Swan first. Theres really not much to see here, except for the big Santa display they make entirely out of chocolate! Unfortunately, it has over 5 million calories not that theyd be offering it to me after the season anyway <g>. I walked across to Dolphin, which I remember in the past having a big (ugly) tree in the middle of the upstairs level. Thats no longer there they have hanging lights over the fountain, and an average looking Christmas tree off to one side. It wasnt worthy of taking a photo.

    On my way out I stopped to look at the menu at Blue Zoo (Todd Englishs place) and discovered they do a happy hour there from 5-7. I doubt itll work this trip, but its something for me to keep in mind for the future when staying in this area. From Dolphin I walked over to Yacht Club, which always looks festive! The big garland strung in the lobby is so pretty, the tree looks nice, and they have the big train display with the locations in the village all named for places at the Yacht or Beach Club resorts. None of its really changed from what I remember in the past, but thats ok.

    Finally, I continued to Beach Club, where they have a couple small trees and the gingerbread & chocolate carousel lots of people looking at and taking pictures of that! When I came back outside, the sun had pretty much burned away all the clouds, and it was MUCH warmer too warm for jeans & a shirt! I walked back to Boardwalk, seeking shady spots whenever possible. Once back at the studio I changed into a swimsuit and went down to the main pool getting there just after 10:30.

    It was warm, but not hot enough to really sweat. When the breeze blew it was great, and so nice that its not humid! The pool wasnt terribly busy, so I had my pick of chaise lounges and nobody came too close everyone spread out nicely. At noon they started blaring (on a microphone) pool games, which happens here because its NOT the quiet pool <g>. I lasted another half hour or so, then went inside.

    I changed this time into shorts/tank, figuring I could carry a light jacket for after dark. I finished the chocolate pecan tart, enjoying every bite! While checking email I discovered the concert lineup for the Flower & Garden Festival had just been released. I have an April reservation that conflicts with my April HAL cruise, but Ive held on to it thinking I could drop it from 4 nights to 2 nights and spend the weekend here if the group performing was worthwhile. This time I got very lucky its the Spinners! I saw them last year or the year before, and they were excellent. So, tomorrow I need to call DVC to make another reservation (using only banked points from multiple contracts, so not something I can do online) and Ill have them modify the April trip at the same time.

    The RADP Big Meet was happening at 1:30 in the Bellevue Room here at Boardwalk, so I put my sneakers on and headed down there to see everyone. Several people were already there and Mark greeted me & told me to come sit down. Eventually more people arrived, but it seemed like unless you already knew the person, you didnt get to know the person. There werent really introductions. But to be fair, this meet has been going on for years and Ive attended maybe once before today (years ago). For years I used to come here over Thanksgiving weekend, so I couldnt take time off again a week or so later. The last couple years I havent been here during the holidays at all.

    Still, it was a nice event and the people who knew each other reconnected and I didnt feel out of place at all. John Hayes came with his gorgeous granddaughter (15 weeks old), and I got to hold her for a while shes adorable, and smiled at the nonsense I was telling her <g>. After everyone was there we took the group photo, sitting on the stairs since it otherwise would have been impossible to get everyone into the same shot. Afterwards, I got to meet a nice couple (Rick & Ginny) who have read my reports for years. He asked if I was trip report Sue, and I figured I was, so I said yes (I think Im also the only Sue, other than Johns wife). I also saw and spoke to a couple people I havent seen in a long time, so Im definitely glad I was able to attend the meet this year.

    After the photo I headed up to the studio to grab my camera and backpack, then headed into Epcot. My plan was to get a potato knish from the Jewish stand (Lchaim??) and then head out the front entrance to ride the monorail to Magic Kingdom with a detour to some of the MK resorts to see the holiday dcor. I was so foolish thinking Id be able to do all that, lol!

    First, Epcot was definitely busier than yesterday, and when I got to the food booth area, the line was ridiculously long. I really didnt have time to wait in line, so I turned around and headed towards Future World. Interestingly, in Canada I could have walked right up to the registers if I wanted anything they were selling (no cheese soup, so nothing there for me). The other booths I passed werent that busy either, so this new booth of Jewish food is a definite hit I know I love it! I hope I get to try more tomorrow, when it should be less crowded.

    The Joyful (might have something else in their name) were performing on the stage behind the fountain as I passed, and they were high energy. They sounded good, but I didnt have time to linger. Spaceship Earth had a huge line, but the standby time was posted as 10 minutes. Theres no way that line was only 10 minutes! I left the park and walked up the ramp to the monorail, just missing the one that arrived in the station as I was passing Spaceship Earth.

    The monorail arriving was packed full of people, and ours filled up as well. I was near the front, so I at least had a seat for the ride to the Transportation & Ticket Center. Once there I was the first one off the monorail and down the ramp, crossing over to the resort monorail so I could see some holiday dcor. I just missed that one as well sigh. Eventually the next one came, and I had a seat once again. At Poly I was shocked to see the monorail platform completed full of people and the line extending into the resort! I decided to skip this, as they traditionally havent had much of anything for the holidays.

    The next stop was Grand Floridian, and the line of people waiting for the monorail was just as bad as at Poly. I got off, thinking (foolishly) that maybe once these people cleared out, I could get back for the next monorail without a big wait. That was really stupid thinking on my part. Inside the Grand Floridian it was mobbed with people coming to see the tree and the gingerbread house. I would seriously NOT recommend staying here or anywhere on the monorail at this time of year it takes forever to get anywhere, due to all the tourists gawking. Its really not fair to the people paying to stay there, but Disney allows it.

    I took some quick pictures of the tree and gingerbread house, then went back upstairs to stand in line INSIDE the resort! They had 2 lines running, and both were back almost to the railing looking over the atrium. It took a couple monorails before I finally got on one, and this time I stood. A young man holding a small child stood up to offer me his seat, but I declined. I absolutely think it makes no sense to give a seat to someone based on gender, and if Im too old or frail to stand then I can simply wait for another monorail. I did thank him for offering, though.

    About the only good thing thus far in the journey is since we did the stupid bag check stuff at Grand Floridian, once we got off the monorail there wasnt any wait to get into the park. The entry areas didnt have a line, which surprised me. Main Street was busy, and as I got past there the rest of the park was mobbed as well. On my way down Main Street I saw the new Dooney & Bourke pattern that was released today I liked it better online than in person.

    I was in my fastpass window for my first fastpass, which was Space Mountain. I headed over there, fighting my way through the mobs of people. When I arrived, I noticed no standby wait posted and soon realized it wasnt operating. I checked my email, and about 8 minutes after my window opened the email came saying it was down. It listed all the other places I could substitute, but I didnt want to throw away a good fastpass on something lame, and I already had booked what was important to me.

    I decided to ride People Mover and see if Space Mountain came up in the interim, but found it was so damn crowded the line for the People Mover was longer than Ive ever seen it in my life! I checked the time, and it took 17 minutes! That may not sound like much, but this is the People Mover you should be able to walk right on! Try sitting still with a stopwatch for 17 minutes to see just how long that is, lol! As we entered Space Mountain the lights were on, so I snapped a few photos. Id already decided (in the People Mover line) that once I got off this attraction I was getting the hell out of the Magic Kingdom. The heck with Big Thunder, Seven Dwarfs, and the castle lights none of that is worth this nightmare of crowds and lines.

    The crowds thinned out down by the train station <g> and I exited the park. As I approached the bus stops, my luck was continuing and my bus pulled away before I got there. After about 10-15 minutes a Swan/Dolphin bus arrived at the bus stop behind us, so the woman behind me and I took that. I walked back to Boardwalk and went to my studio to change back into the jeans & shirt, drop off my sunglasses, and add my kindle to my backpack.

    Id decided since Epcot was also very busy, happy hour at Blue Zoo was in order! I walked over to the Dolphin and took a booth in the bar area. Several of the booths were occupied, but nobody was sitting at the bar. Happy hour here is from 5-7, and they have 4 food items at a reduced price, as well as certain cocktails and the house wines at a reduced price. The house wines were $5 and I learned the white was a blend, but primarily sauvignon blanc. That works for me, and it was very good. Theres only 1 food item Id eat, and thats their classico flatbread (roasted tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil) so I ordered that. The flatbread was delicious, but bigger than I expected. Its $14 normally, but $8 during happy hour. The other choices are crab nachos $9, calamari $9 and fried green beans $5.

    Service was good, and I did some reading while I enjoyed my happy hour dinner. I ended up taking almost half the flatbread to go, so after settling the check I walked back to Boardwalk to put it in the fridge. I left the backpack and camera in the studio as well, just taking my phone and a gift card, then headed for Epcot. My objective was to get the chocolate pecan tart for the fridge, but along the way I stopped in Morocco and got the beignets. They were basically 2 donut holes filled with a warm cream, and chocolate and some sliced almonds were on the plate. They were ok not something Id get again.

    From there I continued to America and since the Candlelight was going on I got in line to get my tart. I figured if I waited the line would get worse. I was able to get out of the area before Candlelight ended, and I continued the loop of the countries. Unfortunately, carrying the tart meant I really couldnt stop to do anything but since it was so busy thats probably just as well. When I got back to International Gateway I left the park and walked back to Boardwalk.

    I stopped to watch one of the entertainers on the boardwalk, then went up to the studio. Several people were on the fake lawn watching tonights movie, and it was a very pleasant evening. Back in the studio I got to work on the report, since I had a lot to catch up!

    Today had some challenges the crowds were really disappointing, and are a big negative that didnt exist a few years ago. Since my trips are mainly weekends (to stretch vacation time), I need to lay off park plans on Saturdays instead, pool time and happy hour sounds good. It was nice seeing the RADP people this afternoon not sure when Ill be here during another meet!

    Tomorrow the weather looks to be an issue, with rain forecast from 9am until 4pm. That ruins any plans for the pool, but hopefully Ill have a nice evening in Epcot to wrap up the trip! I do have a Slinky Dog fastpass at 5:35, but well see whether I feel like trudging over there just for that.


    DAY 3 Sunday 12/9/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Hollywood Studios

    Actual: It was another silent night Im so thankful to have neighbors without kids! Last night I also took care of the future reservations online, deciding to come in a day earlier for the last one so I could book it last night and use up all of the banked points. Now my next reservation will be made on November 12th a treehouse villa for grandson Aris 3rd birthday next July.

    Once again I slept well, today not waking up until after 5. I made my cappuccino and relaxed online, watching the local weather regarding the rain expected today. I was on the fence as to whether or not to keep the plan in my head going to the outlets when they open at 9. Initially it sounded like a good idea, when the rain was due to start around 10, but now theyre saying 9. Its a long walk up from the Boardwalk parking lot to get inside the building, too. But, I dont have anything else I need or want to do this morning, so in the end I decided to pull up the big girl panties and go for it.

    I took my shower, then heated up the rest of the breakfast sandwich in the microwave. Its best on the original day, but it was still very good and a decent breakfast. I left the studio around 8:15, which is earlier than necessary. But, I figured this way I could get there and be all parked and waiting for the Character Warehouse to open up at 9 trying to beat the rain at least one-way. I brought my kindle, so I can always read in the car or in the food court to pass any waiting time.

    It was sprinkling a little bit as I walked down the hill to the car, but nothing major. I got in the car, and of course since I had time to kill, just about every light I hit was green. There was no traffic, and the free parking lot was mostly empty. Im glad I brought my kindle, lol! I walked through the interior (under cover) and waited outside Character Warehouse. There were a handful of people waiting at each of the 2 doors, but not nearly as many as my last visit, thank goodness! I did some reading to pass the time, and promptly at 9 they unlocked the doors and welcomed us inside.

    Unlike last time, the crowd was smaller so you could actually wander around the store seeing and touching the merchandise like a normal shopping experience. Theyve rearranged the store, with the adult clothing on what used to be the kids wall, and all the toys & little kid stuff in the corner closest to the food court next door. I found future gifts for both grandsons, a different Epcot 35 hat for SB and a Harambe Village crossbody that will come in handy when I dont want to carry the backpack including in port on HAL cruises. So, the trip was a success and it was worth my while to come over here.

    I was back at the car just after 9:30, and it was raining more steadily but not heavily. I drove back and settled in (sitting under the covers in bed) to stay warm and dry for the rainy part of the day. Its supposed to be finished by 4, so well see. At times it was like a wall of water outside my balcony, and it looks like the system is passing a little faster than expected now it should be done by 3.

    I uploaded the photos to Snapfish and added titles. There arent many, and its mostly holiday dcor stuff. I also sent the link to Facebook, so if you saw it there, these are the same ones. The url is https://www.snapfish.com/photo-gift/...52060/SNAPFISH

    For lunch I finished the flatbread and the first half of the pecan tart from last night, and by 1pm the sky was getting brighter. A quick check of the weather showed it wasnt raining, and the thunderstorms were due to be finished by 1:45. By shortly after 2 the sun was definitely starting to shine, and housekeeping called on the phone to ask when they could come empty my trash (I had the room occupied sign on the door). I told them to wait 30-60 minutes and Id be out by then.

    It was only 70 degrees, which is great for walking around. I walked over to Epcot, turning left after I entered, to make a full loop of the countries. My first stop was in Port of Entry to pick up the passholder magnet Id forgotten about the past 2 days. Its Goofy, with snowflakes. Itll go on the refrigerator with the other passholder magnets. When I came around to LChaim, I decided to try the potato knish since it had been recommended by a few people. The park wasnt nearly as crowded as yesterday, and I had my choice of stand-up tables. I picked the driest one, lol! The knish was ok, but not something Id order again. It was basically a block of mashed potatoes, and the herb sour cream was the only thing giving it flavor. It was also very heavy, being basically a block of mashed potatoes, lol. I couldnt finish it so I threw the rest away. Im glad I tried it, but dont need to repeat it.

    I continued to International Gateway and walked back to Boardwalk to drop off the magnet, add the kindle, and somehow some wine (not chardonnay!) found its way into my ice water container. I walked over to Hollywood Studios, which was busy but not mobbed. It started to sprinkle a little, but didnt last long thank goodness! I planned to skip my Star Tours fastpass and had about an hour or so before my Slinky Dog fastpass, so I went to Backlot Express (since its so big) and found a nice outside table. I had some wine and read my kindle, Christmas music playing in the background. The only distraction was when the Indiana Jones show next door was blowing stuff up and shooting guns not exactly relaxing.

    Around 5:15 I headed over to Toy Story Land, arriving about 5:25. The Slinky Dog standby queue was only 70 minutes, although it soon increased to 80. Still, thats not bad for this attraction not that Id wait that long! I waited until 5:30 and joined the fastpass queue (my time was 5:35) and got right in. I ended up riding with a mom who hates roller coasters but she was doing it for her 2 sons (who rode in the row ahead of us). It was a fun ride, but its over so quickly! I was leaving the area at 5:40, so only 10 minutes to wait in line, ride, and walk away.

    After Slinky Dog I stopped by Sunset Boulevard, but decided not to wait for the Flurries of Fun. Id already decided Id try to squeeze in a weekend next December, so I can see it then. I wont be going anywhere near the Magic Kingdom or MK resorts!! I left the park and decided to check the line for the boat. The boat had just arrived, and the line looked like Id be able to get on this boat I didnt care if I had to stand.

    Sure enough, I made it on the boat and chose to stand outside on the back rather than grab one of the last seats inside. A young man offered me his seat, but I assured him I was fine standing. I got off at the Swan and walked over to Boardwalk, swinging by the studio briefly before walking back over to Epcot.

    This time I turned right, and went to America. The 6:45 Candlelight was about 5-10 minutes away, so I took a spot on a wall outside American Adventure and read my kindle while listening to the Christmas music. Once it was about to end, I got up and continued walking to complete the loop of World Showcase. Earlier Id decided to try the chocolate dessert item from the stand in France, so I passed International Gateway to get there.

    In a spur of the moment decision I decided to get another pastrami sandwich first, so I went to LChaim. The sandwich was smaller than the one the other night, but that was ok with me. It wasnt busy, so I had no wait to order and was able to sit at a table near the stage. When I finished eating, I noticed the booth had closed. I checked my phone and it was 8:05. I walked back to France and that booth was closed as well! The park is open until 9:30, so why the hell do the festival booths close at 8??? That was a real surprise to me not what I ever would have expected!

    So, I continued to International Gateway, left the park, and walked back to Boardwalk. Since I didnt get the chocolate, I ate the other half of the chocolate pecan tart from last night. Id packed up most of my stuff earlier, so I was able to just relax the rest of the evening.

    Today was a nice day, despite the hours of rain. Once that cleared out, it was great! The whole trip, other than the massive crowds in and around the Magic Kingdom yesterday, has been wonderful. I hopefully can squeeze out enough points to come back before my pass blocks out next December, for another short weekend. Ill be sure to put the lessons learned on this trip into play!

    My next trip is finally another HAL cruise next month! Im actually spending 2 nights at the Disney (DVC) resort in Vero before the cruise, then set sail January 20th for the 10-night itinerary to the southern caribbean Ive done a number of times. Ill post the Vero nights here, then switch over to the cruise trip report list for the rest. The next WDW trip will be a quick weekend (like this one) in March.

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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