Walt Disney World Trip
Day 7 (Wednesday, Dec. 8)(Click on any image to see a larger version of the photo. Click on links to see additional information or photos.)
Breakfast at Boma Chocolate decorations Afternoon tea Christmas music by candlelight Pool time at AKL
This was the day that some friends and I had set aside to see the Christmas decorations at WDW resorts. Mindy, Debbie, and Linda came over to AKL at 9:00 a.m. to join me for breakfast at Boma.
While we were waiting for our table, I took some photos of the delightful African village made from chocolate--AKL's contribution to the tradition of creating edible Christmas decorations at the WDW resorts. According to the sign accompanying it, the village required 80 pounds of sugar and 50 pounds of chocolate, and took 500 hours to create! Inside the restaurant was another edible display, a chocolate version of the genie from Aladdin.
Linda then left to go to Universal Studios, where she was joining Barb and Brenna for the day. Mindy, Debbie, and I went out to Arusha Rock for a few minutes to see the animals. We also looked for the Hidden Mickey in the rock. We think there's also a Hidden Simba there, but maybe we're just imagining things.
We left AKL in Mindy's rental car just after 10:00 a.m. Our first goal was to visit all three Boardwalk resorts. We dropped off the car at the valet parking stand at the BoardWalk Inn, admired the beautiful garlands adorning the porte cochere, then went inside to see the hotel's amazing chocolate replica of a boardwalk. From Santa on a roller coaster to the miniature seaside buildings, it was just amazing.
We then took the boat across Crescent Lake to the Beach and Yacht Club resorts. We took a few minutes to watch swimmers enjoying the elaborate water slide at Stormalong Bay. Then we continued on to the Beach Club, whose lobby featured an incredible, nearly life-size gingerbread and chocolate carousel. Each of its four horses was uniquely and beautifully decorated, and Mickey Mouse reigned over the very top of the carousel.
The next stop was the Yacht Club. The lobby display here was different from the others we'd seen, in that it wasn't edible. Nonetheless, it was a charming reproduction of an alpine village.
Unfortunately, Mindy was getting a bad headache that she feared might turn into a migraine, so she and Debbie left at this point. I decided to go over to Epcot for a while.
I took the boat to the International Gateway and walked over to the Canadian pavilion to settle the beaver tail question once and for all. I had heard that beaver tail pastries had recently been discontinued at Disney World, so I inquired about their status at one of the Canadian kiosks.
The two women on duty there (one from Kelowna, B.C. and one from Halifax, N.S.) verified that Disney's contract with the beaver tail distributor had expired and had not been renewed. Drat--guess that means I'll have to go back to Ottawa sometime and get one there! I've been looking for an excuse to visit that charming city again.
I continued to Future World and went on Journey into Your Imagination. I enjoyed Eric Idle as Dr. Channing, but preferred the "in the flesh" Figment from the original version of the show over of his current video incarnation.
By now it was early afternoon. Mindy and I had reservations for tea at the Grand Floridian at 2:00 p.m., so I started leisurely working my way toward that hotel. I got on the monorail at Epcot, and because I had never seen Epcot itself from the monorail, I stayed on for 1.5 trips before getting off at the TTC and transferring to the resort monorail. I still had plenty of time until our tea time at the Garden View Lounge, so I got off at the Poly and relaxed in the upstairs lounge by the waterfalls for a while. I then walked back outside and caught the monorail to the Grand Floridian.
I was hoping that Mindy might have gotten over her headache and would be able to come for tea as we had planned, but as the clock got further and further past two o'clock, it was obvious that she wasn't going to make it. So I finally let the hostess seat me.
I chose the Buckingham Palace combination, which consists of tea sandwiches, scones, tarts, and a choice of tea (I went with the house blend). For dessert, there's a choice of strawberries and cream or a couple of small pastries. I went for the pastries, selecting a miniature éclair and a cream-filled swan from the pastry tray that was brought to my table.
The aptly named lounge does indeed look out on the well manicured gardens of the Grand Floridian. A few tables were occupied by about 20 women from the Red Hat Society in their distinctive purple dresses and red hats, looking like they were having a lot of fun.
By the time I finished tea a little after 3:00 p.m., it was time to start heading back to Epcot for our Candlelight Processional dinner package. Sometimes I feel like I'm going from meal to meal on this trip! But there are worse ways to spend one's vacation...
I had promised to meet Mindy and Debbie at the dinner package attendees' line by 4:15 for entry to the 5:00 show. By the time I caught a bus from the Grand Floridian to Epcot, hoofed it as fast as possible through Future World, just missed a boat to the Italy pavilion, started walking quickly around World Showcase, got stopped while an Illuminations fireworks barge went under the bridge, and sprinted to the American pavilion, it was about 4:20. But Mindy and Debbie were already in line with our reserved seating badges, so all was well.
Tonight's narrator for the Candlelight Processional was Marlee Matlin. She signed the story while her colleague Jack Jason spoke it. The show's usual signer interpreted the songs, but then stood quietly during the main narration. She was very expressive, and I enjoyed watching her during the songs.
I had never seen the Candlelight Processional before; it's beautifully done. I'm amazed that they can bring in students from different schools (to make the mass choir) and get them all performing together so well on what must be a very short rehearsal schedule.
For the dinner portion of our package, we had chosen Les Chefs de France, so after the show ended, off we went to the French pavilion. Les Chefs is a bright, cheery restaurant with many enticing menu options. Our package covered an appetizer, entrée, dessert (profiterolles, yummm!), and a non-alcoholic beverage.
Since I'd been "on the road" since morning, I headed back to AKL after dinner, even though it was only early evening. The weather has been hot and humid for the past several days, so I figured a dip in the beautiful AKL pool--followed by some time in one of the spas--would feel great. I paddled around the pool for maybe 15 minutes, including some time just floating on my back with my eyes closed. The "deep" (only about five feet) part of the pool wasn't at all crowded, so there was plenty of room to float around without running into anyone. There weren't even all that many people in the shallower part of the pool.
As I was walking from the pool to the spa that's near Uzima Savanna, I noticed a few flashes over the trees in the distance and realized I was seeing "IllumiNations" from Epcot. Luckily, the finale had a lot of high-altitude fireworks, so I had a good (albeit faraway) view of it. I then spent about half an hour in the hot tub chatting with other WDW visitors and soothing my feet with the water jets. A relaxing ending to a busy day!
Pre-planning | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 |
Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Days 11-12 and Tips for Solo Visitors
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Last updated 2/5/06