Sunday, December 7, 2014: Travel, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT & Garden Grill

We returned to Walt Disney World for our December 2014 trip! On Sunday, December 6, 2014, we stayed at the Embassy Suites in Philadelphia by the airport. We got up at 2:30 AM (yawn) on Sunday, December 7, 2014 and got ready and headed to Philadelphia International Airport where we had a 6:00 AM flight to Orlando, FL. I was taking pictures of the Christmas trees at the hotel as well as the airports on our way to Disney.

For this trip we are staying at Animal Kingdom LodgeKidani Village. We took the Magical Express from the airpot to the resort and when we arrived, which was around 9:30 AM, our room wasnt ready but we ran into our first snag. For some reason our Magic Bands werent connected to our account. The person at the front desk attempted to help us but couldnt figure it out. so we had to go to a concierge. I have to admit that the concierge was not the most friendly cast member I came across as she started off saying it was because we didnt associate our magic bands with our trip. I said that was impossible because I customized the bands through My Disney Experience. We later figured out what happenedfor this trip I had originally booked it through Saturday but due to other plans I had to later change the check out to Friday. It seems when they did that for me, they did it as a whole new reservation which wiped out our prior reservation. So this is what caused the Magic Band chaos as it seems these Magic Bands were for the reservation that went through Saturday and when we asked to leave a day early they changed the reservation number but didnt carry over things from the other reservation.

Once we had the Magic Band issue figured out we went to go to the store in the resort to get our mugswell we couldnt. There was something wrong in the store and they had to close it. Since we couldnt get our mugs and our room wasnt ready we decided to check our bags at bell services and head to Magic Kingdom. We had a decent wait time for the Magic Kingdom bus but finally the bus came and we were literally about to step on to the bus when I got a text message that our room was ready. We laughed and headed back up the sidewalk to the resort. At bell services they said they would just bring our bags up to our room and so we went to the front desk and they gave us our room number. We were pleasantly surprised to see that we had a room right next to the elevator but when we went to enter our room neither of our magic bands worked! So back to the front desk we went and the person at the front desk could not figure it out. A manager had to come out and take our magic bands back to the office to get them to work but then we were finally able to get into our room and get our luggage settled. It was then that I realized another mistake. I had received an invitation for a lunch fast pass for Be Our Guest restaurant. However, I could no longer locate the reservation. I went to the concierge and they said they couldnt help that I would have to go Guest Services at Magic Kingdom.

Before heading to Magic Kingdom we went out on the porch of Animal Kingdom Lodge as there were quite a few animals outside. There were several giraffes and other animals and we got some really great pictures as well as pictures of the Christmas decorations in the lobby. Unfortunately the gift shop still wasnt open so we couldnt get our mugs yet, so to Magic Kingdom we headed! I went to Guest Relations and they said they couldn’t help that I had to go to Be Our Guest. Well guess what…Be Our Guest was a mess. They said they couldn’t help either since I would have to know exactly what day my reservation was on and I could only come on that day for them to look it up. At this point I was a little annoyed and I said you mean to tell me that Disney has no way of seeing what is in their computer system and the cast member said that they weren’t that good yet! She offered to let us in right then and there for lunch but I said that wasn’t what I was trying for so I went to the Fast pass plus kiosk area. There I finally got someone who could help! Although it took a long wait, they were able to figure out that, just like my Magic Band problem, when my reservation was changed it wiped out my Be Our Guest reservation and they no longer had availability on the day I wanted…Tuesday. But they got me a Fast pass for lunch on Thursday. This created a conflict with some of my Fast passes at Animal Kingdom but they cast member was able to help me arrange that. He said for my trouble, he gave me 3 bonus fast passes. One for today (Sunday) at EPCOT and two for Magic Kingdom on Tuesday. The way it works was I could go to any attraction (no characters…shucks, was hoping to get Anna and Elsa) and I could walk right up at whatever time and it would accept me as a fast pass rider. So that was pretty cool.

After getting all of that straighted out I played a portal of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and then went and got my cards for the day. I also associated my new annual pass magic band to my Sorcerers game so that it would work for the next year. At this point, I realized that all I had to eat was half a Subway chocolate chip cooke at 2:30 in the morning at the hotel and the little bag of trail mix on the plane. I was really hungry! So I stopped into the Emporium and used my snack credit to get a rice krispie treat with Olaf on it and ate it while we road the monorail from Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center. We then took the monorail from there to EPCOT.

As we entered EPCOT we took pictures of the Christmas decorations including Mickey, Minnie and Pluto topiaries in front of Spaceship Earth. We also took pictures of the Stitch, Bambi, and Thumper / Flower topiaries. Next we used our Fast Pass for EPCOT Character Spot to see Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. We then stopped into the new Starbucks which used to be Fountain View…I wasn’t impressed. We shared a strawberry smoothie using our snack credit which was alright but I dont see what all the Starbucks hype is about.

At the Chase character spot we had our pictures taken with Mickey and Goofy. They really liked my Christmas Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.

Next we used our fast passes for Soarin followed by Living With the Land which has nice Christmas decorations. We then visited Figment at Journey Into Imagination with Figment.

We then used the fast pass I received from the cast member to go on Test Track. It was then time to use our Fast passes for Mission Space. There were only two of us in our pod so I did three of the roles.

For dinner we had reservations at the Garden Grill in the LandPavilion. We had our pictures taken with Farmer Mickey, Pluto, Chip & Dale. The food was great as we had salad, rolls, and a platter with turkey, stuffing, tilapia, vegetables, mashed potatoes and steak. Then for dessert it was a berry cobbler which was very good.

By this point we were beyond exhausted so we decided to head back to the resort for the night. Our party separated and I stayed behind at EPCOT to go and get the complimentary picture that you are offered at the Chase Character Spot. I had a decent wait for this and by the time I made it to the bus stop they bus had just left with the rest of my party. I had anticipated a long wait but to my surprise my wait time was less than five minutes. As the bus approached I was the only person in line. The bus driver said he was just waiting to swtich out bus drivers. So after a few minutes the new bus driver came on but still no other passengers. He waited a few minutes but still no one so he took off and asked me which Animal Kingdom I was at. I informed him Kidani Village and he drove directly there. As I got off I thanked him as I always do to the bus drivers and I laughed and said I think this was the first time I had a bus all to myself. With that the bus driver stood up, smiled and reached into his pocket saying he had something for me to remember the trip about. He then handed me three cards. Each card had a Disney character on them (I got Mickey, Minnie and Pluto) and a picture of a bus. On the back of the card was a description of the type of bus in the fleet. I thought that was a really cool way to end my day.

And by the time I got back to the resort the gift shop was open and I was able to finally get my refillable mugs. So I called it a night. I came back to the room and transferred pictures from my camera to the lap top and took a shower. I attempted to start writing up this page but I was falling asleep so I set the lap top down and went to bed. I find myself, now, in the middle of the night waking up at 2:15 AM with some energy so I am updating the page now!