Yesterday, on the way to Downtown Disney, we decided to see if we could have afternoon tea at Grand Floridian, so a phone call was made, and we get a 2:05 PM reservation.
The day starts even before it is time to wake up. At 5:30 AM I wake up momentarily and notice that I have received a text message which I decide to look at before rolling over and going back to sleep. It is a message from my daughter - who had sent it last night just as I had gone to bed - and it says, "MK on Saturday?" and is followed by a screen shot which states. "Cast Members may now use their Main Entrance Passes to sign in Guests at Magic Kingdom beginning Saturday, July 13, through Wednesday, July 31, which were previously blocked out." Needless to say, I responded with one word - "yes!" She had been watching for this announcement the whole time we have been here, hoping it might come before we had to head home ... and Saturday is the last possible day for us to go to a park! With that, I roll over and go back to sleep ... happy.
After a relaxing morning, my wife and I head to the Grand Floridian to be there early for our tea reservation. We take the bus to the Magic Kingdom, where we board the resort monorail to the Grand Floridian. As we pass the Magic Kingdom, we are happy to know that this will not be as close as we get to it this trip.
We arrive early enough for my wife to have a look in the gift store before we have to check in. Once we are seated, we find out that the menu has changed since the last times we have been here, but we are quite able to find something we want - even if it is not what we had planned on having.
After tea, we have a choice to make. The original plan was to take the bus to Downtown Disney and take a ride up on the Characters in Flight balloon. Since Iris works across from the West Side at Downtown Disney, she would pick us up after work and drive us to EPCOT where we have dinner reservations at Morocco. However, the weather is a bit windy today with a threat of rain, and I am pretty sure that the balloon would not be flying right now, so we decide to stick around the Grand Floridian until Iris is about to leave work, and then take the monorail to EPCOT and meet her there.
We sit for a while listening to the singer and piano player and then I decide to take my camera and walk around the back of the resort for a while.
After getting quite a few photos - many for the 365 Days In Nature Project that I am doing this year - I come back and meet my wife so I can review my photos and just relax while we wait for my daughter to let us know she is about to leave the office. While we sit, we listen to the band which has replaced the singer/piano player duo.
Soon my daughter sends me a text message that she is about to get ready to leave work, and since we have 2 monorails to take to get to EPCOT, we start our journey. Moments after we get there and go through security, Iris and Jason arrive and we start our journey towards World Showcase and Morocco where we have dinner reservations. A slight drizzle makes us decide to make a quick stop at Club Cool for some free sodas. Then we finish our trip.
Unfortunately, the belly dancer is performing as we enter, and does not come back before we leave, so no photos.
After dinner, I know that Iris and Jason are tired, after a full day of work, and Sandy really doesn't want to stick around for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, so I suggest that they all leave and I can stay, set up my camera and wait for Illuminations.
I find the spot (by Germany) where I want to set up, and it is people-free, so I set up in the exact spot I want. As soon as I am set up, and sit down to wait the hour until Illuminations start, a gentleman and his son (from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) sit down and we spend the next hour chatting - and it makes the time go very fast. Before I know it ... it's show time.
(If you are interested in more shots from Illuminations and want to see the shooting settings that were used, visit my photo blog, Gathered Images.)
After Illuminations I pack up and walk to the bus stop and take the bus back to Pop Century. Tomorrow ... The Magic Kingdom!!
You can see some more photos from today by clicking here.