Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Trip Report Tuesday - WDW Day 13 | Hollywood Studios and My Solo Late Night at Epcot!


To all who come this happy place, welcome!  We just returned from another 17-day family vacation filled with Disney magic and more!  I look forward to recapping all those sweet new memories here after I finish up with our November 2017 trip reports.  Let's get back to those Disney deets, shall we? . . . 

Day 13 - Wednesday, December 5, 2017

Throughout our trips we plan "resort days", days in which we'll be able to enjoy the lovely home away from home we've booked for that week.  On this mid-week morning/afternoon break we enjoyed a leisurely lunch from its newest restaurant addition, Geyser Grill.














I've said it before and I'll say it again, the burgers and fries here are amazing!  If you find yourself at Wilderness Lodge and you're a fan of tastiness, give them a try!



Soon it was time to hit the parks, we made our way down the hall to the elevator, over the cute lobby bridge and out to the buses.  We were once again short a Platt.  Little One was feeling pretty rough with her cold once again and opted to hang back at the room.  Don't feel too sorry for her though.  Once during these times where she stayed back resting she texted asking me when we'd return.  I told her that it'd probably be about an hour and she replied, "Can it be three hours?" Ha!  She really enjoyed having the run of that spacious villa.  The kitchen was fully stocked, she had Disney Channel to keep her company and in "Disney mode", and she was quite comfortable.  While we missed her during the park visits that she remained back "home" at the resort, she was resting comfortably and enjoying a relaxing vacation the best she could.


























Hollywood Studios



A girl with big love for Star Wars like her father before her!


She got the sparkliest, cutest Star Wars hat! Love it!



"3...2...1" then 0-57 mph in 2.8 seconds!


Princess and I on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster


Tower of Terror Time!


After several drops, we dropped by to say hello to "Bell Hop Stitch" at The Hollywood Tower Hotel.  






Dinner at Fairfax Fare



I ordered the fajita combo platter (pulled pork, grilled chicken, and flour tortillas served with black beans, cilantro rice, peppers, onions, sour cream and fire-roasted corn medley).  It wasn't the most flavorful dish, but it wasn't bad.



Any guesses what Princess went with?  Hot dog #2,056.  All joking aside, she ate many hot dogs and enjoyed each of them.  If she's happy, mama's happy!



























Sunset Seasons Greetings

This year Disney added a fun new Christmas "show" that's projected directly onto The Hollywood Tower Hotel (aka:  Tower of Terror)!  It includes multiple overlays, each of which repeat all throughout the evening.  

"Snow" falling as The Hollywood Tower Hotel is transformed into a Muppets themed gingerbread house!







I asked Jason and Princess if they'd like some father/daughter time while I strolled the streets of Hollywood and lingered around the lovely lit Echo Lake to take all the photos my heart desired.  We agreed to meet back up in an hour and I was off with a light heart and eager to capture the Christmas beauty all around!































The glowing ornaments floating on Echo Lake are absolutely stunning!






Bambi's friends lighting up the night ;)









After we met back up I decided that I'd enjoy spending a bit more time solo soaking up the magic rather than returning to the resort.  I wanted to go to the Epcot as they were open a few hours beyond Hollywood Studios' closing.  First, I thought it'd be fun to see the Christmas display at the Beach Club.  The best way to go about doing both was to board a Friendship boat at Hollywood Studios and get off at the Beach Club and Yacht Club stop, enjoy a bit of time there, and then walk to Epcot from there.  While everything didn't go quite as I had planned, it was a perfect evening!

There were a couple boatloads of people in front of me.  As I awaited room for my departure I texted with Princess.  She and Jason were awaiting a Disney bus back to the resort.  We decided we'd race to our destinations which added a lot of fun to the waiting process!  





I was so footloose and fancy free that when I got off the Friendship boat I neglected to look too carefully at which resort I was entering.  During daylight it's easier to distinguish the Beach Club from the Yacht Club, but in the cover of night with everything aglow (and the resorts located so closely together) without realizing it I went with the flow into the Yacht Club rather than my original destination of beach design!  

















The funny thing is I've spent time outside of these resorts for several trips and have dined at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, but have never been inside either, so I really didn't know even while inside I was at the wrong resort!  I went in expecting to see their traditional gingerbread carousel but only found a Christmas train display.  However as soon as I spotted the display I saw some other familiar faces from YouTube so I disregarded my thoughts about missing the gingerbread display, not thinking much more about that, but instead went to tell those sweet YouTubers hello.  




Amy and her family use to be WDW personal shoppers.  You could place an order for park merchandise and they'd mail it to you.  Since they've had a channel where they show each season's current Disney merch.  I've been watching those videos before each trip for years now.  It was fun to tell her how much I've enjoyed and appreciated the content she's created and shared over the years.  When she complimented my ears (made my my bestie Chrissy at AdventuresinDIYShop on etsy) I noticed that she was sporting some extra special ears herself!  I had met her on her birthday!  How special is that?!  I took a selfie with her photogenic family, enjoyed a brief conversation, wished her a happy birthday evening and walked out of that resort with a smile and a happy heart!


So now comes the part that looking back at still surprises me!  I, with a complete lack of any sense of direction, made my way (in the dark) from the (wrong) resort to Epcot!  I'd say it's maybe somewhere between a quarter and half mile to the park.  This stroll came with a stunning view looking out at the resorts lit along the water!  





I entered through the International Gateway Entrance that leads right into World Showcase.  I've always loved this quiet entrance!  


I adore Disney window displays!  Oh so cute!




The lampposts look so "sweet" decked out in Christmas candy decor!




As I passed through the France pavilion I couldn't resist ordering my favorite sip in World Showcase, a Grey Goose Lemon Citron Slush, from the outdoor slush kiosk.


A darling drink in hand, I noticed that Illuminations was just about to start!  I strolled along the emptied pathways and stopped here and there to watch along the way.



















Italy Pavilion at Christmastime

When I arrived at the Germany pavilion I decided to order my (first ever) batch of their fresh caramel corn.  The aroma has tempted me many times before and this evening was meant for taking in all the sights, sounds, and tastes of Epcot (and to take all the photos I wanted along the way too, of course)!

















I'm not typically a huge caramel popcorn fan, but this stuff is delicious!  I found a somewhat hidden empty bench near the water and sat for a moment munching through a bit of this then saved the rest to enjoy later.  I put it back in our pantry at the resort and had a handful here and here throughout the rest of the trip. Yummy!




China Pavilion



Norway Pavilion












Mexico Pavilion






















The World Showcase Christmas Tree








As I made my way across the completely empty pathway to Journey into Imagination a sweet cast member pushing a refreshments cart approached me with a pretzel in hand and a smile on her face.  She offered it to me for free!  It was her last pretzel and she used it as a way to make this guest's night!  I didn't really need it after all I'd eaten, but it truly did add joy to my evening!  I enjoyed a salty sampling of it as I continued my sweet stroll through the park.








One of the main things I wanted to do during my solo evening at Epcot was ride Living with the Land and take pictures of all the Christmas touches throughout the ride.




While this scene doesn't change for the Christmas season, it's always been my favorite!








I love the special light touches throughout the ride at Christmastime!









Hidden Mickey!


































After exiting the boat ride I went over to peek at the wait time on Soarin'.  Fifteen minutes in the stand-by line?!  Yes, please and thank you!
















What we call the magical sidewalk!  I love this pixie dusted pavement!



I will forever adore this Mickey and Minnie in their retro finest!

























Goodnight, Epcot!


When I entered Disney's Wilderness Lodge a bit after midnight, I thought it'd be the perfect (quieter and emptier) time to take photos in and around the resort.


This place has classic Christmas written all over it!  It truly made it feel like the holidays were at hand!











The window displays were gorgeous here!














This display was easily my favorite!  Even though I already have a set of Disney Christmas mugs I was tempted to buy these as well as they looked like hot chocolate holding perfection!  Well done, cast member who created this display!



















Wilderness Lodge Mercantile shop entrance



How beautiful is that grand fireplace with ample rocking chair seating?!







I loved each and every tree in this resort, but the main lobby tree stole the show!













These lit reindeer above the entrance/exit doors were such a pretty touch!



Couldn't you just sit chatting here for hours?  The perfect home away from home at Christmastime!




Here's a closer look at the ornaments on the lobby Christmas tree.























This bridge over the "springs" was one of my favorite touches in this lobby!



A bit hard to see in this photo, but this bench at bear scene was too cute!  You know I'll be snagging a photo of my girls on that bench before the trip concludes!


















How inviting does this sitting area look?!






































Here is the view from the floor we stayed on looking out towards the lobby...



















A sweet spot to have a seat near the elevators.




This was such a memorable evening, jam packed with magic! I'll never forget these adventures I enjoyed and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to share them with you today!   

Hope you'll be back next week for more Disney fun!  I only have a few more days of magic left to recap from this Thanksgiving and Christmastime trip and then it'll be on to the fun fall/Halloweentime details from the vacation we just returned from!  Thanks for being here to share with, sweet readers and cherished friends!  See ya real soon!



Also, don't forget to check out the video footage from this day at my family's YouTube Channel, 
Direct Links to Previous Trip Report Tuesday Blog Posts:

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