We bounced around a lot today …
This morning while eating breakfast at the Contemporary, a departing family gave us three Super FastPasses for Epcot! They were heading to the airport and hadn’t had a chance to use them and since they had three, and we are a family of three, they gave them to us. Very nice! We’ve done this ourselves in the past, so it was nice to have karma pay it forward. After eating, we crowded onto the bus (barely making it on) bound for Hollywood Studios.
First my daughter and I used our FastPasses to ride Star Tours (still no new movie sequences, although my daughter found a hidden Mickey on C3PO’s arm). The Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land construction continues, so that whole back area of the park is still closed off. It’s sad to see the old New York City street buildings disappearing. The Great Movie Ride is also closed now, to make way for a new Mickey Mouse-themed ride. Next we used our FastPasses for Toy Story Mania and then waited in line to meet Star Lord and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Back at the front of the park, we used the single rider line to get onto the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (my favorite ride there, even ahead of Star Tours). We had FastPasses next for the Tower of Terror but decided to cancel those out (we just touched our MagicBands at the ride entrance but didn’t actually get into line) so we could schedule a new one over at Epcot. I was going to see if we could just let three other people into the FastPass line with our FastPasses (to keep the karma from this morning going) but most rides have the second touchpoint later on in the queue so that wouldn’t work.
Ready for lunch, we walked over to Epcot (via the Boardwalk Hotel) through the International Gateway entrance at the back of the World Showcase. Time to sample the Food & Wine Festival! We walked clockwise around the lagoon this time, starting at France and heading back towards Future World. Like Hollywood Studios, there are changes going on at Epcot as well. Ellen’s Energy Adventure is now closed to make way for a new Guardians of the Galaxy ride (my daughter is looking forward to that one). Also, Mission Space is now (temporarily) branded Mission Space RELAUNCHED as it has been re-done with high definition video. My daughter and I rode the orange (more intense) side and were sad to see that Gary Sinise has been replaced with Gina Torres in the pre-show videos. The ride to Mars itself is basically the same, except for the clearer video (and replaced voice-over). Also, the green (less intense) side is now an Earth orbit experience which we may try tomorrow.
We wanted to spend some time at the hotel so we hopped back on the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Last night we took the resort monorail back to the Contemporary, but from the TTC that line goes clockwise so the Contemporary is the last stop (which is why we missed most of the fireworks yesterday). This time, we took the express monorail from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom and then just walked back to the hotel (I said we were going to take advantage of that, and I meant it!)
It wasn’t supposed to rain today but it’s summer in Florida and was a little overcast. Still, my daughter and I had some time to play around in the hotel pool and ride the water slide. Then it was back to Epcot (again, via the monorail) for dinner at the Food & Wine Festival. My daughter had heard that specific booths had special Annual Passholder collectible buttons (in addition to the normal Annual Passholder commemorative button, which was a bit of a downgrade from past years’ wine and highball glasses). While this part was true, and we each collected a set, the other part of the rumor that you could turn those buttons in for a keychain or something turned out to be incorrect. There were quite a few new booths at the festival this year, including the Light Lab which had black light-inspired glowing drinks (and snacks). We tried the T=C2 (vanilla tonic water and cotton candy) and it was actually pretty gross (an unusual occurrence for the festival).
Tonight we wanted to make it back to the hotel on time for the Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. We left Epcot at 8:00pm and made it back to the Contemporary in time to see the whole show from our balcony while sipping warm drinks. My wife found a channel on the hotel TV that re-broadcast the audio portion of the show so it was like we were there, just without the crowds.
Tomorrow’s going to be an early day … we’re going to Pandora at Animal Kingdom for the first time.