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Trip Report Live Reporting Xmas Eve to New Year's

Welcome to the latest Brifraz live trip report. I'm sure there are many of you who have followed along with us in the past - this is our 10th WDW Trip Report (if you include the Aulani report, 11th). But, I am also sure that we have some new travelers along for the ride.

So...we are a team of 3. Our DD is now 11 years old and heading quickly for 12.

Most of the household activities revolve around music. I teach high school band and my daughter is fully immersed in it (she plays euphonium, tuba, and trombone in different bands at her school, plus piano at home and sings in school as well as a community chorus). Mrs. Brifraz is also a teacher, but she teaches English - we are in fact at rival high schools which makes things fun, and in a couple years our daughter will be at a third high school which considers both of ours to be rivals of a sort.

As a youth, I visited the World quite early on. My Great Aunt lived in Orlando as her first husband was a scientist with NASA and I got to visit DW quite early on. Sadly, those visits ended with my youth and it was not until I was out of college that I began to go back. In the 90s I did a number of trips with different friends until I took my girlfriend there in 1999 and to my great shock she has stayed with me ever since. We are approaching 15 years of marriage and this will be our 20th Disney trip together.

Usually, I give a full Pre-Trip report with lots of details of our plans, but this time, I'm going to let the surprises come with the live report that will be starting on 12/23.

But, I can't resist a little overview...coming up briefly...
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Here's a little mid-trip pre-trip for you. Here is today's plan for ALL day at the Animal Kingdom. I'm rather curious and looking forward to seeing exactly how far we stray from/add to/subtract from our plan.

6am drive to Animal Kingdom (first car in the lot? we've been that before)
7am Park opening - straight to Expedition Everest for at least one and possibly two rides
Then over to Dinoland for a couple Primeval Whirl rides (one of our daughter's favorites), and Dinosaur
8:30am A little after regular park opening, we plan to go see It's Tough to Be a Bug
Likely we will do the Pangani Exploration to check in on the gorillas (and others)
9:45am FP+ for the Safari
Then over to Asia for the Maharajah jungle trek
11am ADR for lunch at the Yak and Yeti
12:45pm Flights of Wonder
After the show, take the train back to Conservation Station for a visit
2:45pm FP+ for Finding Nemo: The Musical
This is where we have a pretty open chunk of time to explore and relax, maybe Kali River Rapids
4:30pm Dinner at a counter service...most likely Flame Tree
5:30pm Over to Festival of the Lion King
Another little break that could feature another visit to the Safari
8:55pm Last ride with FP+ on Everest
9pm Slowly exit and maybe be the last car to leave??
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Yup. First car in the lot. First in line. Had great chats with a couple CMs that made the half hour wait for opening go by very quickly.


At opening it was first train on Everest. A lot of people ran, but we just walked back and guess what? We all ended up on first train.


At the gates we had changed the night FP+ for Everest to late morning since the CMs said that by 8pm it should have very little wait. So we headed over to do Primeval and Dinosaur before opening. Just a little before 8am we jut Tough to be a Bug. It's 8:30am now and the girls are enjoying some Starbucks before the new Everest FP+ and then Safari FP+.
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Quick late morning update...
During the enjoying of the coffees, we saw that Everest was down and our FP+ were now generic and all day. So we explored the new Harambe Market area, did the Pangani trail (some great bird pics tonight) and then out safari. Lots of giraffe and elephant action today. Again, pics later! Now the girls are using the generic FP+ for Everest before lunch at Yak and Yeti.
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
How was the food? We have this scheduled twice for our June trip, once with Spring outfits and once with Summer outfits. I'm just hoping they kicked it up a notch for this new dining event! Loving following along with your family!!

Food was nothing special or remarkable. Pretty standard Disney buffet. It's been barely 24 hours since we ate and I don't really remember any of it. That means it wasn't good enough to be worth remembering and wasn't bad enough to feel a need to warn people off of. Having never done dinner there, I can't make a comparison. It was great to get the different outfits, though!
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Alright, let's see how we did!

6am drive to Animal Kingdom (first car in the lot? we've been that before)
Mission accomplished. First car in the lot. First people in line (OK, close - there was a couple there a little before us). Had great conversations with 3 of the CMs who were working the gates. One was a retired teacher who came to FL 10 years ago to work at Disney and live with family. We discussed the parallels to our potential future as well as the current pitfalls of public education.
7am Park opening - straight to Expedition Everest for at least one and possibly two rides
Then over to Dinoland for a couple Primeval Whirl rides (one of our daughter's favorites), and Dinosaur
Pretty close to right on target. We got the back two rows of the first train of Everest. Decided not to repeat and went to Primeval Whirl (again choosing not to repeat) and finally over to Dinosaur.
8:30am A little after regular park opening, we plan to go see It's Tough to Be a Bug
Likely we will do the Pangani Exploration to check in on the gorillas (and others)
Only change from plan to reality is the fact that we moved our late night Everest FP+ to this time slot, but it was down. So, we did Tough to Be a Bug, the girls got some Starbucks, and then the Pangani Exploration.
9:45am FP+ for the Safari
Then over to Asia for the Maharajah jungle trek
Yup, Safari time. Lots of good giraffe and elephant time. Then we used the extra FP+ for Everest again (well, the girls did). But no Maharajah yet.
11am ADR for lunch at the Yak and Yeti
Not sure how this might have changed. Got there at about 10:55am and got a table just a minute or two after 11am. We decided to split 3 appetizers and it was a good thing - lettuce wraps, egg rolls, and pot stickers. Good meal. Also nice to note that the beer prices here are better than most places on site.
12:45pm Flights of Wonder
After the show, take the train back to Conservation Station for a visit
We did the 12:45pm Flights of Wonder show, but there was a little frustration and confusion with the lack of organization and supervision of the standby line. Oh well. Still enjoyable! After the show, we did our visit to the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
2:45pm FP+ for Finding Nemo: The Musical
This is where we have a pretty open chunk of time to explore and relax, maybe Kali River Rapids
Before Nemo we had about an hour to kill, so we went behind the theatre (near the restrooms) and just relaxed for a bit. Then Nemo as expected. After Nemo, we made our visit to Conservation Station to check out some of the goings on back there. As my daughter and I are currently re-reading Kingdom Keepers Book 2, most of which takes place at AK and a lot in Conservation Station, it was fun to note the places from the book.
4:30pm Dinner at a counter service...most likely Flame Tree
Decided to go to the new Harambe Market area to get some food and pick up beers at Dawa Bar and sit back there.
5:30pm Over to Festival of the Lion King
Another little break that could feature another visit to the Safari
Yup, made it to the 6pm Lion King show. In fact, as we walked up to the theatre, a CM stopped us to ask if we were headed to the show. We responded that yes, we hoped to make it in standby and he took us aside and gave us front row seats! Which was quickly followed by me getting picked as the demonstration subject for the Elephant group and my daughter getting picked to do the finale dance/parade (she's a little old for it, but still had a great time). Since Safari closed at 4:30pm, we didn't go there again. Instead it was time to enjoy a Dole Whip from Tamu Tamu and then hit some Photo spots for the night lighting.
8:55pm Last ride with FP+ on Everest
Well, the FP+ had been moved, so about 7:15pm we headed to Everest and went ahead on standby. Wait was about 25 minutes total. Got the front rows of the train (so our daughter got the last and the first rows today, she was quite happy with this).
9pm Slowly exit and maybe be the last car to leave??
It was only 7:50pm when we finished Everest, but a unanimous family vote decided that getting back to the room and to sleep would be a better plan than staying until closing. So we did. Not the last car to leave, but 13 hours in the park. We'll take it. Pictures to come in a couple minutes. Just a big photo blast of the day!
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster



Just in case you are having a tough day, this sign in Harambe Market might help.




Just love the variety of animals at this point of the safari.




Tomorrow we finally find our way to Epcot. Really looking forward to it! The day will feature a couple of our favorite Epcot activities (a pint or two at the Rose and Crown, dinner at Biergarten, all the Future World headliners).
 
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brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It's 8:17 and the girls are doing Sum of All Thrills. They make the most insane coaster that they can so I sit out!

Anyway...Epcot surprise 7am opening. Glad at 6:30 we decided to just come over and not hang out in the room.

So, three Soarins, Test Track, and now Sum. And just 8:17.

This is what the Land looks like when you are the ONLY guests.


And this is us with the CMs.


And this is what being the ONLY people on Soarin looks like. Yes, a whole theater to ourselves.


Now, back to normal Epcot touring!
 

coachwnh

Well-Known Member
It's 8:17 and the girls are doing Sum of All Thrills. They make the most insane coaster that they can so I sit out!

Anyway...Epcot surprise 7am opening. Glad at 6:30 we decided to just come over and not hang out in the room.

So, three Soarins, Test Track, and now Sum. And just 8:17.

This is what the Land looks like when you are the ONLY guests.


And this is us with the CMs.


And this is what being the ONLY people on Soarin looks like. Yes, a whole theater to ourselves.


Now, back to normal Epcot touring!
That is an awesome morning!!!!!!!!!!
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just catching up on your trip. I am very jealous of your morning! That's the best part of rope drop and planning. You guys are really rockin it today!

Not sure how much is because of planning! We usually arrive 30 minutes before rope drop, but all happened to be ready early so we got there an hour before. And the gates were open!

What a great morning at Epcot! And... so much for people saying that AK is just a half day park. You make me proud! :D

Thanks! Spent a full day enjoying AK - never got bored AND we didn't even do Kali, any character meets, or Triceratops spin.
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So...the rest of the day. Relatively normal Epcottery.

Following the three Soarin' rides, Test Track, and Sum of All Thrills, we headed back across Future World to do my personal favorite, Living With the Land. Had a little fun with some panoramic pictures along the way.


We also grabbed a quick snack in the Land pavilion and shopped for a little bit at Mousegear before hitting our FP+. Mission:Space and then Test Track (again). By this point it was close to 11am, so we headed to World Showcase to visit Rose and Crown. We are big fans of the place and make sure to visit Carl a few times each trip. Sadly, he is on vacation this week, so we may miss him. If you have read our trip reports going way back, you will know that missing Carl at Rose and Crown was once the excuse we used for having to go the the World for an extra trip one year. Anyway...we had some pints and some chips and managed to get the last box of jaffa cakes in the tea shop and had ourselves a right good English snack. We also visited with the Father Christmas in UK.


Then it was over to France for Pere Noel there and some ice cream followed by the Impressions de France film. Really, it was a nap break, because I'm not sure any of us remember more than 30 seconds of this viewing. Next over to Japan for some shopping - hoping to find some good Duffy or Shellie May stuff, but no luck. Very happy to see all the Totoro toys and plushes - been a huge fan of that movie for about 20 years and our daughter has a big Totoro that she likes to sleep with. A little more shopping and then it was time for our very early dinner at the Biergarten.



Hmm...bass player doubling on tuba - maybe I've found a good retirement gig. After filling ourselves to the brim with food, we headed out and happened upon all the Illuminations barges coming out from backstage - fun to watch. We then wandered our way back over to Future World to see the Disney/Pixar Short Film fest collection that they are doing at Magic Eye Theater. Fun and certainly better than Captain Eo (sorry, I have never been able to stand that one). A few drinks at Club Cool and then a slow meander back to American Gardens Theater for the Candlelight Processional.


Quite enjoyable and festive and a great finish to a most excellent (albeit long) day. 7am-9pm two days in row. Man, we are crazy. Tomorrow we should take some time off....but, only AFTER we visit 3 parks in three hours. Or at least try!
 
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brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
5:24am. Getting our gear together and ready for what our daughter has termed 'the cray-cray morning.' At some point in the last few months we were discussing our plans and the idea of headliners at all 4 parks in one day came up. Today's plan was to sleep in, do some laundry, then go to Magic Kingdom in time for the 3:30pm parade. Well, now... 7am at Epcot, 8am (ish) at Studios, 9:30am at Animal Kingdom, 11am back to the room. Think we can do it?
 

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