Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The World Today

This is the first time we have visited Walt Disney World in January. We picked this week because of the historically low park attendance - and that has certainly proved to be the case so far. The Magic Kingdom was as uncrowded as we have ever seen it when we arrived around 9:30 and still seemed empty when we left at noon. The crane that went up over the castle last night after Wishes was still there this morning.

Chad was the funniest skipper we have ever had on the Jungle Cruise. His ad libbing was off the wall and I don't think he said one line from the standard script. Maybe because there were so few people there, I noticed the radio controlled boats at the ride exit for the very first time.

We had a couple of firsts today: We ate at The Wave, the new restaurant at the Contemporary. We were practically the only ones there not wearing business attire. We had a very nice butternut squash soup to start. It came with a mini grilled cheese sandwich. Rick enjoyed his Reuben, but my spice crusted chicken salad was just so-so. Decor was great, the menu is unique, and our waitress was efficient, pleasant, and chatty, but it did feel more like a convention place, at least at lunchtime. After lunch we checked out the progress on the Bay Lake Towers, the new DVC resort next to the Contemporary.

We decided we'd try again to ride Toy Story Midway Mania at the Studios. We promised each other we would only stay if the wait time was 30 minutes or less. It had started raining during our long bus ride over from the Contemporary (we dropped off guests at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian first) and we thought that might help make the queue shorter. The posted wait time was 50 minutes, but the queue wasn't out the door, so we got in line and about 35 minutes later were on the ride. I had a chance to experience this ride shortly after it opened at Disneyland last June and I knew Rick would enjoy it. It was fun, but I don't think it was operating properly because we rolled right by one game after watching the cars in front of us play, and at another game we sat there, but our guns wouldn't fire. Rick did like it, but we were both disappointed that it didn't seem to be working completely right. Although Rick was in the lead from the beginning, I did manage to squeak out a win in the final bonus round. I predict that this ride will remain popular for a long time and guests will continue to experience long waits.

Now we're back at SSR and the rain has ended, but we've lost our momentum, so we're not sure if we'll go to a park or just grab something to eat here at the Artist's Palate and stay in for the night. It's nice not to feel like we have to cram a lot in to our days. Our pace this trip is decidedly slower than usual, but we're enjoying the escape and just being away from the real world for a while.

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