We woke up a little later today. With waking up at 5am on Christmas Eve and 6am on Christmas Day, it was nice to finally wake up a little later and catch up on lost sleep. We all woke up around 10am and skipped breakfast. Today we’d be heading to EPCOT and dedicating our day to the World Showcase, then heading to Hollywood Studios at night.
We arrived at EPCOT around 11:30am and went straight to the World Showcase. I was surprised by how uncrowded the park was. Sure, it was early on, but there was barely anyone in the World Showcase until noon or 1pm! We started with a croissant donut. I have this weird “thing” where I need to eat a breakfast-type food (bagel, pastry, eggs, etc.) as my first meal of the day. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6am or 1pm, I need breakfast as my first meal of the day. My family happily obliged, as we all love croissant donuts.
We promised ourselves that we’d tour the World Showcase. Even after visiting Disney over a dozen times, we’ve never truly explored the pavilions. We started at Canada and watched the Martin Short movie. I’ll go on record as saying that I believe Martin Short is one of the most underrated comedians. Also, Canada may be the most gorgeously landscaped pavilions at EPCOT. Between the forced perspective and the manicured grounds, I totally suggest exploring the pavilion and not passing it by!
The UK Pavilion is one that we’ve been to and fully explored already. My grandma is originally from England. We always make sure to stop by the souvenir store and walk back to the Pooh meet-and-greet, but it was too long to wait.
The France Pavilion is another country you’d miss out on if you didn’t walk all the way back. I didn’t know about the French bakery, Boulangerie Patisserie, until a few years ago. It’s become my dad’s favorite spots. He loves the sandwiches, but I love the pastries. We stopped there to split sandwiches. I’ll have a review of the meal coming soon – but let’s just say that as expected, the pastries stole the show.
Admittedly, we breezed through Morocco and Japan. We have a reservation for Teppan Edo on New Year’s Eve and have explored Japan before. Plus, we were running a little behind schedule. We had FastPass+’s for Hollywood Studios starting at 3:25pm and it was around noon by now.
My dad wanted to see the show in the American Pavilion, so he and my mom went in while my sister and I roamed the surrounding area. I wanted to grab some good photos and my sister wanted to sit on a bench and soak up some sun. I snagged some of my favorite photos from the trip!
There was a storyteller in Italy and Germany, so we stopped in both of those countries. I contemplated getting a beer, but I passed. It was getting pretty hot outside and I wanted something more refreshing. After Germany, we walked to China. We ventured back to the museum, which is actually pretty cool. I never even knew it was back there! I always grab a Tipsy Duck in Love, but went with the bubble tea. Bubble tea is all the rage up in New York City. Since I don’t really drink anything but unsweetened, dark coffee, I decided to go outside my comfort zone with something I’d never buy at home. It was decent, but I’d rather have my Tipsy Duck in Love, which is probably my favorite drink at Walt Disney World.
We ended our journey in Mexico. We decided to sit down and split the nachos, as well as the sweet tamale, which is offered during the holidays. The nachos are a family favorite and would tide us over until later, when we’d eat at Beaches and Cream. After eating in Mexico, we used the bathrooms and headed back toward the International Gateway. We grabbed the boat to Hollywood Studios.
We arrived at Hollywood Studios around 4pm, just in time to redeem our FP+ for Tower of Terror. Tower of Terror is one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World and I always try and book it in the daytime and night. It’s a totally different experience. I booked my dad and I for the daytime, and my mom and sister at night. I would exchange MagicBands after Fantasmic! and experience the ride at night.
After Tower of Terror, we walked back toward the Frozen musical. We were surprised to learn that they had moved it. It’s now housed in the old American Idol building. The Frozen musical is actually really good – whether you like Frozen or not. The actors do such an awesome job of appealing to all of the audience.
We had some free time after Frozen. I can’t remember exactly what we did after this, but I know we eventually made our way back to the Osborne Lights to see them flip the switch at 6:30pm. This was a cool experience. We have seen the lights so many times, but never actually witness the lighting. After the lighting, we walked back to Pixar Place for our FP+ at Toy Story Midway Mania. Even with the FP+, it was still a 25-minute wait. This was a fraction of the stanby time, which was at an astounding 225 minutes!
On a side note – it was amazing how packed Hollywood Studios was all week! I expected the park to be packed at night due to the Osborne Lights, but figured it’d be a ghost town (comparatively speaking) during the day. Not the case! I think Hollywood Studios may have been, or felt like, the second most crowded park. I guess that was the “Star Wars” effect, as the movie had opened one week prior.
After riding Toy Story Midway Mania, we walked back to the Osborne Lights, as it was now pretty dark. We dedicated a solid hour to touring the lights and taking photos. Although, now that I think of it, we never found the black cat or razorback. I’m glad we did the scavenger hunt in 2014, or else it would be a huge regret of mine.
We decided to do the 8:30pm showing of Fantasmic. We lined up around 7:45pm and found a pretty good seat. I was excited to use my camera to capture some photos. I had learned a lot about the camera so far. I forced myself to shoot in manual mode, rather than automatic, to fully understand the exposure, iso and shutter speed. If you were to look at my photos from start to finish, you’d definitely notice an improvement. But I digress. I was able to get a few good photos, but the sudden bursts of light messed with my settings a bit.
After Fantasmic!, I switched MagicBands and went on Tower of Terror. My dad sat this one out. I got lucky – they called for a single rider once I got into the steam room portion of the queue, so I was in-and-out in under 15 minutes.
We boarded the boat toward EPCOT and got off at the Yacht Club Resort. Whether you stay at the Yacht & Beach or are just visiting, take a moment to admire the Boardwalk at night from a distance. It’s gorgeous. The lights reflect off the water and make for a really awesome photo.
I booked a post-Illuminations/Fantasmic ADR at Beaches and Cream, which is one of the more coveted reservations. This would be our first time dining at Beaches and Cream. It was so much smaller than I expected. Why is this Disney staple so small?! I’ll post more in my food review, but let’s just say that my family found a new favorite!
After eating at Beaches and Cream, we booked an Uber to take us back to Port Orleans French Quarters. It had been a long day, so we all crashed the second we got back to the room.
Here are a few more photos from the trip!