Walt Disney World on Thursday 8 August 2013

This was a fine day at Walt Disney World… not because I experienced many rides and attractions–I didn’t–but because I inaugurated my first Florida resident Annual Pass.

I drove over to Downtown Disney to purchase the pass because parking there is free. Didn’t want to deal with whatever is going on with Marketplace parking so I just parked in the West Side lot and walked over to the Marketplace.

Disney Quest seemed to be about to wake up to makeup of some sort.

Disney Quest

And I enjoyed seeing the various Lego displays when they weren’t surrounded by mobs.

Lego Maleficent

I was at Guest Relations by about 8:40 a.m. and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were already open and nobody in line. Rick from Mexico City assisted me with the pass and Tables in Wonderland.

After that I moseyed over to Earl of Sandwich for a Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwich and coffee, since I hadn’t had anything before leaving the apartment. Yum. While I was eating I pulled the iPhone out of my pocket to check some emails and found that it was quite hot. Why would that be, I wondered… Turns out I had been capturing exciting video with it of the interior of my pocket, some 22 minutes’ worth. And thereby depleting about a fourth of the battery’s charge.

I have a couple of those small portable battery charger thingies but had left them both at home… So now I know from now on to bring at least one of them with me when I come to the World. As it was I ran out of juice long before I was ready to quit taking pictures. Hmmph!

One of my main objectives for the day was to get my hair cut at the Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom so after a little bit of Marketplace walk-about, I went to the bus stop and took the first available bus to whatever resort it was going to in order to catch a bus to the Magic Kingdom from there. That turned out to be a bus to the Art of Animation resort and at that early hour I was the only passenger headed to the resort from Downtown Disney.

At Art of Animation I was the first in line for the Magic Kingdom bus and since there was quite a crowd behind me by the time the bus came I dutifully went all the way to the back of the bus and sat in the window seat where you basically have to keep one of your feet propped up on a bar. Makes for a squirmy ride as you try to manage without your leg and/or butt falling asleep.

Now Thursday is Extra Early Morning Madness day at the Magic Kingdom so by the time I arrived there coming up on 10 o’clock it was quite busy. But a breezy walk through the no-bag opening and no wait at all at what used to be turnstiles but are now the whirly light-up readers. Effortless admission with my new Annual Pass. Hooray!

In order to have sufficient cash for a hair cutter tip, I stopped at Town Hall in Main Street Square to consult with the ATM therein but it was cashless. A double-check of the wallet showed there was no need to traipse over to the Tomorrowland machine so I went right over to the Barber Shop. Got my name on the list and had about 20 minutes in which to meander around in the Emporium before my shearing. Nothing much new there that I hadn’t seen on my last visit except for some pretty neat t-shirts with pockets. The one I liked was white; the pocket was plaid and had Oswald the Lucky Rabbit peeking out from behind it as though it were a door. Meant to photograph it but something must have distracted me and made me forget. There were also two or three other designs but they were 36 dollars plus change if I recall correctly so I was not inclined to acquire one right then and there.

UPDATE: Here is the Oswald tee to which I refer:

Oswald pocket T

photo from Disney Parks Blog

All three chairs had occupants back at the Barber Shop and one of those was a seriously unhappy toddler who was quite vocal about his displeasure with the haircut experience. His trials and tribulations ended shortly after I was seated with Barbara clipping at me and the rest of the session was peaceful and quiet. I used to always get the pixie dust treatment there but this time I would be going home not to a hotel room but to my apartment so I decided not to be vacuuming up glitter for the next few weeks.

After that I did go over to Tomorrowland for my favorite slow, relaxing ride, the Peoplemover. That was in fact the only ride I went on in the Magic Kingdom yesterday. I did walk over to Storybook Circus via the walkway that starts next to Space Mountain. That was a very sunny and hot stroll. Many kids were getting wet in the plaza play fountains and I was thinking that they could just wait for the inevitable rain later in the afternoon. But of course how much fun would that be?

Then I went through (old) Fantasyland and stopped to look at the progress being made on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Work on Seven Dwarfs' Mine Train

Noticed that the Carrousel is closed wrapped up in a wall. Headed back to Main Street Square and the exit passing by the long lines for Peter Pan and the Haunted Mansion. Thought about a raft ride over to Tom Sawyer Island but I decided what I really wanted was the air conditioned comfort of the Polynesian…

So I exited the park and took a launch over there. Again I was the only passenger after a couple disembarked at the Grand Floridian.

At the Grand Floridian on the way to the Polynesian

I’ve only stayed at the Polynesian two different times and now that I live here and their rates have gotten so very high who knows if I ever will again. But I do love it there with all its tropical islandness.

By the time I reached the podium of the Kona Café it was about five minutes til noon and I was looking forward to lunch. After a short wait my pager beckoned me back and I was soon ordering crab cakes and a Kona salad to make my lunch out of two appetizers. Both were delicious!

Kona Café

After lunch I looked around for a bit in the closed and deserted Ohana. Glad I waited to do that until after I had had my lunch so I wouldn’t get all carnivorously hungry thinking about those endless skewers of meat…

Took the monorail from the Polynesian to Epcot, making the obligatory transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center. A really long line for Spaceship Earth; I stopped in at the Art of Disney for air conditioned browsing. I want one of those portraits of Thaddeus J Toad. I didn’t take a photo of it, but it is essentially Mr Toad in this pose:

Toad

On the way to World Showcase I stopped in at Club Cool. I’m not a big soda drinker but when you can enjoy a couple of free little samples of cold soft drink, why not? This time I stuck with the Mexican agua fresca which I like maybe because it isn’t so sticky sweet as some of the others. And speaking of sticky, one thing a person always does in there is step in an area of very sticky floor and listen to sticky sounds from shoes or sandals for quite a while thereafter.

I figured it probably wouldn’t rain…

Won't rain

Probably

Having sampled aguas frescas, I was able to resist margarita temptation at La Cava when I visited Mexico. But I could not do without a Gran Fiesta Tour. Where is Donald?

Norway has bathrooms! It was also beginning to sprinkle. The covered seating area for Kringla was already well populated. By the time I arrived in next-door China it was pouring. That meant a nice interval of Chinese merchandise browsing.

That interval wasn’t really very long.

China

In Germany I thought about those bratwurst mit sauerkraut that I would be having another day…

Some scarlet-clad performers were hamming it up in Italy

Italia

and the fife and drums were at it in front of the American Adventure. At this point my dogs were really beginning to bark so I just kind of marched on through the remaining countries (Japan, Morocco and France) on my way to the International Gateway exit. I am interested in seeing the new food place in Morocco once all those walls come down.

There I boarded a Friendship for the Boardwalk. At Dundee’s Sundries I picked up a bottle of water which I guzzled down in the lobby of the hotel. I’m sure I had perspired away just as much since my last libation at Club Cool. I think I read this notice about the Little Girl Face Chairs for the first time that afternoon.

Nanny Chair

Face Chair

Once rehydrated I returned to the Friendship dock for the journey on over to the Studios. Dinner was at the Hollywood and Vine Café. I know many people are fiercely inimical to H&V but I have never had a bad experience there. I’ve never done the lunchtime Play ‘n’ Dine with characters though. Anyway, I really enjoyed quite a few tasty dishes. Had been thinking all day about having a chocolate shake but decided to put together a dessert sampler there instead, since it was all included.

I guess I was celebrating my first day of my new Annual Pass with all that dining in Disney restaurants–something I won’t be able to do every time I go, even with Tables in Wonderland. Instead I’ll be working on my lunch-packing skills.

If Muppet Vision 3D hadn’t been down, as a sign at the entrance had warned me, that’s where I would have gone right after dinner. Instead, at approximately 7:20 p.m., I figured it was time to begin the journey back to Downtown Disney where the day had begun. So I exited the park just as some Monsters University hoopla was getting underway out on Hollywood Boulevard. This is when I took the last photo of the day as I had run out of battery thanks to my pocket video of the morning.

Monsters U

I wasn’t happy about this since I had decided to get to Downtown Disney by taking the boat from Port Orleans and I like to take pictures during that trip. Ah well…

A bus for Port Orleans was pulling away from the stop just as I got there. At least I was in the shade for the twenty minutes I waited for the next one.

Port Orleans French Quarter was very pleasant that evening but when I arrived at the boat landing I saw that quite a few other folks had plans very similar to mine. Don’t remember how many of those Sassagoula steamers we watched come and go before my forty minutes of waiting were up. But I had no pressing engagement…

All of Downtown Disney seemed to be hopping. Lots of people everywhere, from the Marketplace to the West Side, even in the oddly nowheresville that Pleasure Island has become. The sun was beginning to set when I got to my car.

It had been a great day for me… I kept smiling all the time thinking I live here now and I can come here whenever I want. The experience of Walt Disney World as a local is going to be quite different in many ways from what it was as a visitor who came for a week to ten days by air and who stayed in a Disney resort during that time. As I said, I’ll have to plan meals carefully, and learn what to bring and how to bring it without lugging a backpack around all day. But I am looking forward to all of that.

Didn’t feel compelled to go back again today and tomorrow (Saturday 10 August) I’m not sure whether I will or not. But I don’t think I can go for too much longer without a visit to Typhoon Lagoon for some serious circular floating time…

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