Saturday, December 2, 2006

Day 4 - Regis & Kelly & Crowds, Oh My!

Click on the images to make them larger. The rest of today's photos are here.

This morning we ventured back to the Magic Kingdom, thinking that if we got there early the crowds wouldn't be too bad. We didn't realize they were still taping the Christmas Day Parade. Main Street was a zoo. Those volunteer cast members I mentioned in yesterday's blog were there lining Main Street, cheering and waving as bands and floats went by. It took a while to get through the throngs of people. We were routed through the Emporium and finally we made it into Tomorrowland where it was much easier going. We started out on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and rode that around twice because when we went through Space Mountain the lights were on inside and we were trying to get some photos through the Plexiglas shield.

After that we saw the Carousel of Progress, a ride that Walt designed for the 1964 World's Fair. It's one of the remaining original Disneyland rides and it is still a delight. There is a little-known path between Tomorrowland and Mickey's Tune Town Fair that skirts the more congested walkways and we took that to get to Fantasyland where we watched the best 3-D movie in Disney World - Mickey's PhilharMagic. After that we stopped for lunch at Columbia Harbor House, where we know about some upstairs seating that overlooks the walkway between Fantasyland and Liberty Square and never seems to be crowded. Then we trekked over to Frontierland to ride another of our favorites, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, followed by the Haunted Mansion. Along the way we ran into a trio comprised of two banjos and a sousaphone playing the Andy Griffith Show's theme song. Since mr. lo is a brass player, we had to have a picture, and a cast member kindly offered to take it so we could both be in it.

By now it was around 1 pm and the crowds were noticeably thicker. It was time to get out of this park. On our way out, taping for the parade was still going on and we realized that it was Regis and Kelly doing their commentary. We had a pretty good view of them from the upper level of the train station. You can see them quite clearly if you click this image to enlarge it.

After leaving the Magic Kingdom we stopped by Old Key West for a break and I was finally able to fix a problem I've been having uploading photos to my blog, so I put back a bunch I had removed.

We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening back at Epcot. We started in France and caught several of the holiday storytellers as I sipped a glass of wine and we slowly made our way around World Showcase. This is the way I love to spend the evenings at Epcot. Japan had a neat exhibit of 1950s and 60s tin toys. Mexico was our planned destination for supper.

After eating at the Cantina de San Angel, we finished the World Showcase loop, ending up in England to watch a set by the British Invasion (a Beatles knock-off group) and to hear a story told by Father Christmas.

We closed the night with front-and-center seats for IllumiNations and then walked back through the Beach Club lobby to see their chocolate carousel and other decorations.

What a great day! The weather continues to be warm and the crowds - except for those around the taping in the Magic Kingdom - are moderate.

The rest of today's photos are here.

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