Christmas Has Come Early

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Then it was time to head over Camp Minnie-Mickey, which was really the main reason I was at Animal Kingdom. I have to admit that I have never really had a look t this area before. I have seen Festival of the Lion King a few times before, but then I always went straight there and straight back out again after the show. I never stopped to look around. This is such a shame as there are a lot of lovely little details there. Of course, the main reason that I was there was to see the character trees. I did not have to walk for very long until I encountered the first one. Some of them were quite well hidden every time I thought I had found them all, I spotted another one. With some of them it was very obvious which character or film they represent. With others, I am still puzzled now. However, they were all pretty and full of amazing detail. I also made good use of the characters there. As soon as I entered the area where the character Meet and Greets are taking place, I spoofed King Louie and Baloo. Unfortunately they were about to go in. I asked the cast member at was with them when they would be back and he said that he was not sure if they would be back out together, but they should be out again individually later in the day. I was absolutely fine with individually. I headed off to see Donald. There were only a couple of families in front of me. Donald was in his safari gear. He was the only member of the Fab Five that was not in his holiday finest. When I finished with Donald, King Louie was out again. I went to see him. He is a lot of fun. Then it was on to see Chip and Dale followed by Minnie. All of them had a minimal wait. I was on a roll. Next up was Mickey and he had a serious line. I still only waited about 15 minutes and used the time to catch up online on my iPhone courtesy of the free WiFi. Unfortunately when I got to the front of the line, I was told that the Photopass photographer's camera was not working. She took some photos with my camera, but it was a shame that I could not get any professional photos with the only character that I had to wait for a bit to see. Still, this did not spoil meeting Mickey. When I finished with Mickey, King Louie and Baloo were out together again so I headed over to see them before I went in search of some lunch. I think poor Baloo did not know what to make of me. He was my favourite Disney character for much of my childhood and I was not going to leave without a huge. Whereas King Louie was very extrovert, Baloo was not. Still, I got my hug, but I started to wonder if I loved the wrong character for all those years during my childhood.

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  3. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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  4. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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  5. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I went across to Asia to get some lunch. One of the the counter service restaurants that I have eaten at before this trip was Anandapur Local Food Cafes, the counter service location for Yak and Yeti and I had thoroughly enjoyed this. So this was we're I was planning to eat that day. On the way, I took a few photos. Asia is probably my favourite area at Animal Kingdom. Eventually my stomach won out. There was quite a long line at Anandapur Local Food Cafes, but it moved steadily. Soon I had ordered my food. I went for the Honey Chicken, which was served with Rice and Vegetables, a side of Pork Eggrolls that I paid out of pocket for, a Coke and a Triple Chocolate Mousse. The food was great for a counter service. I had a bit of trouble finding somewhere to sit and eventually I realised that the only available table was a table for 8. I felt a little guilty about this, but I was soon joined by other people. After lunch, I walked around Asia for a bit longer to take some photos.

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  6. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    After I had walked off some of my lunch, I headed over to Africa to do the Kilimanjaro Safari. I was really curious about the changes that they had made. My timing was out on this occasion. All day, the posted waiting time was around 30 minutes, but now it had gone up to 45 minutes. Still, I had the time and I was determined to do this. There seemed to be a lot of cranky families and misbehaving kids about so 45 minutes ended up like feeling a very long time. We were nearly at the loading dock when a boy in front of me had a tantrum and was literally kicking and screaming. He kicked me square on the shin. I actually yelped. Not only did this catch me totally by surprise, but it also really hurt. The parents apologised profusely. I am not sure what words were exchanged between the parents and their son as they spoke Spanish, but sometimes a look can speak a 1000 words. They young man was definitely in trouble. He was about 7 or 8 years old. They kept him on a very short leash after this. Shortly afterwards, we reached the loading area and we ended up in line for separate safari trucks.

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    I have always loved the safari and I understand that every attraction at Disney does have to have a story associated with this and nowhere does this seem more true than at Animal Kingdom where even the restaurants and the shops have a backstory. For the most part, I actually really enjoy this, but the race to save Little Red from the poachers had alway left me decidedly underwhelmed. So I was delighted when I heard that this part of Kilimanjaro Safaris would be redone. I could not wait to experience this. This was also the first time I had a camera with me when doing this. I have done this attraction countless times, but for some reason I had never brought my camera. Well, this seemed the perfect day for it as we saw loads of animals even though it was quite late in the day. I even saw the elusive lions. Taking photos of moving animals from a moving truck is easier said than done though. I ended up with a lot of blurry pictures. I was not impressed that the only photo I managed to get of an Okapi was blurred beyond recognition. Still, I got plenty of other decent pictures and you always need a reason to go back. Finally we came to the new part of the ride, the new zebra area. I really liked this. I liked zebras at the best of times and this area had been done very well. They still managed to get a conservation message in there. The story was that this is an animal preserve that has been founded to protect the zebras from poachers and then it went into a bit of detail about how big a threat poaching is in Africa. I am often a bit critical when Disney makes changes to an existing attraction, but they did a good job there.

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  7. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Once the safari was finished, I walked through Africa and took some more photos. Again I had to dodge people lining up for the parade. Cast members were just putting the ropes out so I made a quick exit before I got cut off from where I wanted to go. It was like an obstacle course, but eventually I was back at the Oasis and out of the way of the parade. I spotted a Photopass photographer and asked him if he could do a magic shot that I had seen before the holiday where it looks like you are cradling Simba. He said that he could do this and I really like how this has turned out. After this, I did a quick bathroom stop and then I left the park. My next destination was Animal Kingdom Lodge so I headed for the bus stops. This was the busiest I had ever seen the buses. The first bus came and every inch of the bus was filled up, but only about half the people waiting got on. The second bus arrived about 10 minutes later and not only did I manage to get on, but I also got a seat.

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    Having to wait for a second bus threw a slight spanner in the works. My plan had been to attend the Culinary Tour, which normally starts at 16:00. By the time I arrived at Jambo House it was 16:05. I figured this just gives me an excuse for a return visit and carried on with my day. I entered Jambo House through the shop and browsed in there for a bit before heading out to the lobby to admire the Christmas decorations. In the end it turned out that they were not offering the Culinary Tour that day anyway. I took some photos around the lobby and then I spotted a Photopass photographer in front of the tree. I had a few photos taken before heading down to Mara to get some Zebra Domes with a snack credit. I also filled up my refillable mug with some Orange Soda and sat out near the pool for a bit.

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  8. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Once I had finished my soda, I headed over to Kidani Village. The cast member that I talked to at Mara told me that there is a shuttle, but I could not find any evidence of this so I walked over. The walk did not take very long, but it goes through the car park. I had planned to go to one of the animal overlooks at Kidani and hopefully see Red River Hogs and Okapi, but by the time I arrived, the sun had gone down. So I had a look at the decorations there and got myself another Orange Soda in my refillable mug. When I came out of the shop, I spotted Graham. He had got to Kidani early, too. We both felt hungry so we decided to head over to Sanaa to see if we could seated earlier.

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    We went up to the podium and initially they told us that they were really busy and did not think they could fit us in early. We were perfectly OK with this and we walked away from the podium. We were then called back and given a pager. We were told that they could not make any promises, but they may just be able to fit us in a bit earlier. We headed out towards the Savannah overlook just outside Sanaa. We saw some animals in the distance and then we saw an animal very close by. Something was running around right by our feed. Graham said that this was a rat. I corrected him by saying that at Disney they are not called rats, they are called Remy. It was quite a big one, too. The Savannah Guide that was on duty by the outlook came over to say "hi" and she was not impressed at all when she noticed what we were looking at. We talked to her for a couple of minutes and then our pager went off.

    We went back to the podium and we were seated. I was a little surprised that they seated us at a table for four even though there was an empty table for two right next to us. We ordered something to drink. Graham had a beer and I had the Malawi Mango Margarita, which was a frozen blend of Tequila, Van der Hum Tangerine Liqueur, Mango Puree and freshly squeezed Lime Juice. I am not normally a fan of frozen Margaritas and prefer mine on the Rocks, but this was very tasty. We also shared a bottle of water. Our server had just taken the order for our food when another cast member came up to us apologising that we had been seated at the wrong table. We were quite happy to move, but instead they moved the second table making up our table of four across. Shortly afterwards, our food arrived. Graham had chosen the New York Strip, a Coriander Chutney rubbed Strip Steak served with seasonal Vegetable Wat. I went with the Slow Cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well Seasoned option with Basmati Rice. I got to choose two dishes and went with Butter Chicken and Beef Short Ribs. We both enjoyed our food. For dessert, Graham had the Warm Rice Pudding with Mango, Pistachio Tuile and Cinnamon Ice Cream. I had the Dessert Trio, which consisted of Chocolate Cake, Tropical Fruit Kulfi and Chai Cream. I had been quite torn about this reservation as I was not sure if we would enjoy Sanaa, but we both agreed that we actually prefer this over Jiko.

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    We had settled our bill and were just leaving when something quite amusing happened. A bunch of cast members with drums approached the table next to ours for a celebration. The people at that table had obviously no idea what this was all in aid of. Graham made a comment that we needed to make sure that we never have anything to celebrate when we are there. I just smiled sweetly. Then it dawned on him. Even though we had never moved, essentially we had swapped tables. Every dining reservation also had a note on it that I was celebrating my birthday. They were actually there for me. We both laughed and got out of there as quickly as our legs would carry us.

    I had mentioned to Graham about the Photopass photographer and that I had wished that we had met up over there so that we could have some photos taken together. It was still relatively early so Graham asked how we could get over there. By then it was completely dark and I did not fancy the walk back so we headed out towards the bus stops and took a bus over. We both had a look around the lobby at Jambo House. I will never get enough of this. We had our photos taken. There was one family ahead of us and it was so funny. The little boy in this family was not in a very cooperative mood and just generally silly. Eventually they did succeed in getting a family photo taken and it was our turn. Then we headed back to the bus stops to catch a bus to one of the parks and from there back to Old Key West. The first bus that turned up was for Magic Kingdom. We got on this. Graham asked if I had collected my spell cards for the day, which I had not. So he waited for me near the bus stops while I was quickly going in to get my spell cards. I have to admit I was tempted to stay a bit longer as it was only 10 minutes until the Main Street Electrical Parade. I have previously seen this in California and loved it. I decided that this would not be fair on Graham and headed back to where he was as soon as I had my cards. We then walked over to the bus stop. We did not have to wait long for our bus. When we got back to Old Key West, I put the Zebra Domes in the fridge, got ready for bed and called it a day. I was really tired and I knew that I would have a long and truly magical day ahead of me.

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  9. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

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    Lovely update! The magic shot with Stitch was perfect as you had him on your shirt!
     
  10. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Yes, that was a lovely coincidence. This was the shirt I had made for our Hawaii cruise.

    Corinna
     
  11. dgbg100106

    dgbg100106 Missing the Tag Fiary

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    That was a very busy day and a wonderful update.

    I like the photo of you cradling Simba also. It was very cute.

    So sorry to hear that you got kicked by a kid, that was awful and I am sure the parents were beyond embarrassed. So, glad that you got separate trucks to ride in. A little less awkward.

    We really like Saana and it is fast becoming a favorite over Jiko also.
     
  12. irongirlof12

    irongirlof12 <font color=blue><marquee>Am I the only one who lo

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    What a fab day, such great photo opportunities and they turned out so well, I love the simba ones :goodvibes
     
  13. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    Great update! I love all the Christmas trees in Camp Minnie Mickey, they are all so cute!!! You really got some fabulous pictures on the safari. Sorry about the uncontrollable child, how awkward.
     
  14. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    WOW!!! Finally caught up.
    You have had some busy days.
    What exactly are the spell cards? Are these what you use for the Sorcerer Mickey thing or just something to collect?

    So was this rat you saw... ICK....just a scavanger stealing food? I don't like the thought of that at all. Where there is one, well you know...he has an extended family somewhere. :eek:
     
  15. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I am the kind of person who never really stops and when I try to, I get sick. So my vacations are usually nice and busy.

    The spell cards are used for The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, but they are also collectables. There are 70 different cards that each feature a different Disney character.

    I really don't know what the rat was doing there, because I cannot imagine that it would have found much food where we saw it. The cast member told us that they see them quite often on the Savannah and that makes more sense as there will be plenty of food around there.

    Corinna
     
  16. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 18

    I got up around 8:00 and headed out to the bus stop about 20 minutes later. I had to wait about 15 minutes for the bus and with the Old Key West buses being as far away from the entrance as you can get, I arrived in the park about 5 minutes after opening time. I headed straight to The Land where Soarin had a posted waiting time of 20 minutes and for once, this was pretty accurate. I got a seat in the first row so I was happy. My next stop was the temporary Character Spot. I had walked past there earlier in the trip when I was looking for a restroom and I really liked the backdrops in there. The posted waiting time was 30 minutes, but as you only line up once for three characters this was only 10 minutes per character and seemed very fair. I was slightly amused waiting in line for this. All the kids around me were very well behaved. The parents were a different story. Some of the behaviour I encountered from adults is best described as a tantrum. Pretty much exactly 30 minutes after joining the line, I got to see Mickey, Minnie and Pluto in quick succession.

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    I made use of the bathroom that is right opposite the exit to the Character Spot and then I went around the corner to Club Cool to get some more Mezzo Mix and Watermelon Soda. I then made my way across towards Mission:Space. On the way, I stopped at the Pin Trading Station to get some special pins that they just had released. I missed out on the Thanksgiving pin I really wanted by waiting too long and I was not about to make the same mistake again. I got a Candlelight Processional Pin, a Holidays Round the World Pin and a pin with a Gingerbread House and Duffy. Then I carried on towards Mission:Space. The posted waiting time for the green version was 35 minutes, but as this was my last day at Epcot and I really wanted to do this ride, I had no choice. I started to doubt this assessment when I was actually in the building. The end of the line was closer to the pre-show than it had been on a number of occasions when the posted waiting time was 20 minutes. It also seemed to be moving very quickly. What made this even better was that they made an announcement that they needed single riders. I let them know that I was a single rider and was sent straight to a ready room so my total wait time was about 10 minutes. That is what I call a result. I really enjoyed the ride again. After the ride, I had a quick look on how the building work on Test Track was progressing. This still looked like a major building site and it was hard to believe that this would reopen in less than two weeks.

    After a quick look in MouseGears, I crossed over to the World Showcase. I had an early lunch booked, but I still had some time to see Duffy. Also I always found it a bit strange that Disney set out to create a new character that is not linked to a film or an attraction just because they could, I have to admit that I rather like Duffy. He did have hardly a line, but it still took a while until it was my turn to see him. The reason behind this was that he spent a fair bit of time with everybody. Duffy was wearing his Santa outfit. I now have photos of him in his Halloween costume and his Santa outfit, but I have yet to catch him in his sailor suit. That is on the to do list when we are at Disneyland in May.

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  17. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    When I had said goodbye to Duffy, I headed straight over to Canada where I had a reservation at Le Cellier. I had tried to get a normal lunch reservation there, but there was none available for my entire time at Walt Disney World. I then saw a link for the Candlelight Processional packages and decided to check it out. I was planning to see the Candlelight Processional anyway. Sure enough, there was availability for a Candlelight Processional Lunch Package atLe Cellier. I jumped on this. This included a three course meal, a non-alcoholic drink and a ticket for the Candlelight Processional. I was not too confident if I could eat all three courses, but I figured I could always pass on dessert. I had the Cheddar Cheese Soup for my starter. I had this a number of times before both at the restaurant and at the Food and Wine Festival and have always loved it. This was the main reason why I wanted a reservation at Le Cellier. This time round it was not the stuff of my dreams. It was way too salty and had very little taste apart from salt. I don't know if they meddled with the recipe or if the chef had a bad day, but this left me disappointed. The rest of the food was utterly delicious though. I had been considering the Wild Mushroom Filet Mignon, but I was pretty sure I would end up with steak for dinner so I went with the Grilled Pork Chop with Baked Cheddar Cheese Pasta, Tomato Chutney and Bourbon-Chipotle Glaze. The Pork was melt in the mouth and the mixture of flavours was amazing. After this I had essentially enough, but I could not resist the Chocolate Moose, which was very cute and absolutely gorgeous. When I finished my lunch and paid, I got my sticker for the first showing of the Candlelight Processional that day.

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    After this big lunch, I had to walk it off. I had a closer look around the Canadian pavilion to start of with. For some reason I always thought that the pavilion just consisted of the area where Le Cellier, Kidcot and Oh Canada are plus the various carts on the promenade. I never realised that there was more to it. I had a wonder around and enjoyed looking at all the different buildings and browsed at the shop before moving on to the United Kingdom. As I went past, I also heard Off Kilter for the first time. I stopped for a few minutes and listened. It was impressive, but not really my thing.

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  18. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I wandered around the UK pavilion for a bit and took some photos. I know many people think this is the least impressive of the World Showcase pavilions, but I have always liked this. I love all the clever detail. What was a real shame though is that the area where the holiday storyteller for the UK could be found was very much hidden. I had not spotted this on my earlier visit on my trip. In most of the other World Showcase pavilions, the storyteller locations were very prominent. I am sure that a lot of people will have missed this.

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  19. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    On my way to France, I stopped at the Agent P World Showcase Adventure recruitment station to see if they needed any help in France. This was the only mission that I had missed the previous time. I was in luck and soon I was on my way again with my F.O.N.E. A lot of the tasks used the same locations than the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, but there were some new ones as well. One of them was a little unfortunate as this was behind the outdoor seating for the bakery. I hope that this has now changed as the bakery has moved, but it was somewhat strange weaving around people sitting down to have their lunch. When had I finished my mission, I walked around and took some photos. I also spotted a Photopass photographer by the fountain and made good use of this.

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    Next up was Morocco. This is another pavilion I have always neglected a bit. I can't really understand this as I love the Arabic architecture and culture. I have had a wander around the shops and had a meal at the Restaurant Marrakesh many years ago and that is about the grand total of my exposure to this particular pavilion. This time I had a good walk around and appreciated all the beautiful architecture and intricate mosaics. This is another seriously underrated pavilion.

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    There was one tradition that I had to take care of and this was picking a pearl in Japan. They have changed the set up a bit and this is now much user friendly. You used to have to go to another till to pay for your oyster, got a ticket and then you waited your turn. I could never understand this as they always had a till for selling settings. Now you pay there and are given your number. The person before me got a beautiful light blue pearl. I was so jealous. If I had got this pearl, I most certainly would have had it set. In the end I just got a plain white one and just took it away in a little bag. I walked around Japan for a bit longer and took some photos. By then I was quite thirsty and decided that a Melon Kaki Gori would deal with this quite nicely.

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  20. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    With my snack in hand, I slowly walked over to The American Adventure. I found myself a seat and while I was enjoying my Kaki Gori and managed to listen to at least one storyteller. The American Adventure has two storytellers, one for Hanukkah and one for Kwanzaa. I managed to catch the one for Kwanzaa. I have to say I had never heard about Kwanzaa before this trip. It is a harvest festival that is celebrated for 7 days starting on the 26th December by African-Americans and people of African ancestry around the world. It was fascinating to learn about this.

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    Apart from the two storytellers, The American Adventure also had a little Christmas Market. The highlight for me there was the Precious Moments Disney dolls. I so wanted to take one home. They really looked precious. After I had a good look around the Christmas Market, I got in line for a photo with Mr and Mrs Claus. That is something else that I learned that day. I never knew that Santa was married. Once I had finished with them, I had some photos taken in front of the beautiful Christmas tree and had a quick look at the gift shop before moving on to Italy.

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    Italy is another pavilion that I normally tend to bypass. So I decided to have a bit of a look around and take some photos. This is also a very pretty pavilion and I can't really understand why I never really had a look before. By then I could see long lines forming on the standby side for the Candlelight Processional. So even though it was still nearly an hour until the first showing was due to start, I figured that maybe I better think about checking out where I needed to be. I went to the wine shop in Italy and got a glass of Roasa Regale to sweeten up the waiting time a little and then I headed back towards the America Gardens Theater.

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    There were some cast members near the entrance to the America Gardens Theater and I checked with them where I needed to be. They checked that I had a dinner package ticket and asked me to put this on. The ticket was actually a sticker and apart from a guaranteed seat for the Candlelight Processional, it also provided access to a special viewing area for Illuminations. I had other plans for this evening, but this is a nice little extra. I was then directed towards the correct line. When I got to the end of the line, I was nearly in Morocco. I had my doubts that everybody in this line would get in nevermind anybody from the standby line, but I got talking with a cast member who was doing crowd control and he was optimistic. He told me that the dinner package line the previous day had gone all the way past France and they still managed to get most people in the standby line in. I enjoyed my Rosa Regale and them took a few more photos across the lagoon.

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  21. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,261
    Once they started to let people in, the line moved very quickly. Even so I was so far back, I got a perfect seat. I ended up in the second row behind the VIP seating and pretty much right in the middle of row. I had a fantastic view. Our narrator that day was Geena Davis. Originally it was supposed to be Isabella Rossellini, but this was changed a couple of months before Geena Davis was amazing. I had heard a lot of hype about this before I went, but this always makes me a little suspicious. Almost without exception if there has been a lot of hype about something Disney-related, this has left me hugely disappointed. So I went to this with an open mind. Well, within seconds I was absolutely bowled over. From the choirs filing in with (electric) candles to the music and the scripture readings, everything was truly moving. I just about held it together until the sang the first verse of Silent Night in German and then I was done for. This was so beautiful. It was only a wile afterwards that it sunk in that was really amazing was not the performance, but that thousands of people take time out of their vacation to essentially attend a Carol Service. The video was recorded the previous day, but this was exactly how it was for us, too.

    http://youtu.be/8LjKHVtBkL0

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