Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter Break at Disney World - Day One

December 24, 2011 - We get an early start on our 1100 mile (1800 km) drive from New York City to Orlando, Florida and Walt Disney World. The roads are practically empty, as expected.

December 25, 2011 - Thanks to nice clear roads all the way from NYC, we arrive in Kissimmee very early in the afternoon. My daughter is working from home, so we stop for some food on the way to her apartment and have lunch with her ... and the cats. Later in the evening when her husband comes home from work, we go out for dinner. Then we head for our room at Port Orleans - Riverside.

Forty years ago today, on December 25, 1971, I made my first visit to a newly opened Walt Disney World.

December 26, 2011 - Today we will meet my daughter and her husband at Sanaa for lunch. My wife and I have breakfast at the food court at the resort, and then decide to head over the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village a bit early so we can see the animals on the savannah, the lobby and (of course for my wife) the gift shop.  We have been here before, and eaten at Sanaa, but that was a while ago and this will give us a nice opportunity to take in the ambiance, and for me to play around a little with my camera, and test a new lens. My wife heads for the lobby, and I head for the small porch over the savannah. There are a few zebras out at the moment, and vultures, but as the morning moves on, other animals are let out until there are quite a few of them on the savannah.

I soon head into the lobby myself where I can take some pictures there, all decked out in it's holiday decorations. Soon it is time to move downstairs to Sanaa and wait for my daughter and son-in-law as the time for our lunch reservation nears.

(More pictures from Kidani Village can be seen here.)

After lunch, my son-in-law had to leave to get ready for work, but since my daughter had the day off, she would be joining my wife and me at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

As we arrive at the Studios, the parade is about to start, and since it is now impossible to walk into the park (yeah, I know ... go through the stores), we make ourselves comfortable and watch. The current parade is based on the Pixar films, although Cars and Cars2 are not represented in the parade for some reason. However, all of the other Pixar favorites are part of the parade. (See the bottom of this post for a link to more photos of the parade.)

Once the parade is over We head into the park. One of the attractions we wanted to see, was actually from the days that Pleasure Island was a working night club. One of our favorite things to enjoy was the Comedy Warehouse, which along with the rest of Pleasure Island has not operated in quite a while. However, for the holiday week, Disney has assembled many of the original case of the improv group, and set up shop in the theater where Sounds Dangerous was the last occupant. We headed over, and enjoyed seeing it again.

Next on the list is another old favorite, although this one has been around continuously ... The Great Movie Ride. It's a short hop from the Comedy Warehouse show we have just seen, and as the sun is setting, a chilly day is starting to get a bit cold, so the ride in a warm show building sounds like a good idea, so we head on over. Once in, we find ourselves in the back train, ready for our trip through the classic movies.

Our final stop before the sun sets and the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights can be seen in all its glory, is the Animation building, where we always stop to participate in a class - drawing one of Disney's classic characters. Today will be no exception, as we head through the souvenir store and directly into the Animation Academy. Today we will be drawing Chip (of Chip & Dale).

When we finish our class, and have our pretty good looking Chip drawings in hand, it is now dark enough to head over to the Streets of America to see the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.



(As promised - if you follow this link, you will be able to see more photos of our day at the Disney Hollywood Studios, including more of the parade, and of the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.)

After seeing the lights, we decide to head out of the park and go for dinner. Tomorrow we will spend some time in the Magic Kingdom before driving out to spend some time with my dad.