I'm going to start a series like this that will be for excursions and things that I do outside of the main theme parks. Things like resort hopping, Disney Springs visits, possibly even trips to other places in Orlando (if I can get transportation) will be covered here. And whatever else I feel like, of course.
Since I had a few days of down time before Traditions (marking the start of being able to get into the parks for free), I took some time to relax and explore. The first night I went out and watched Magic Kingdom's Wishes fireworks show from the beach of the Polynesian Village Resort. Now I've only come here to WDW twice before, and neither time have we stayed at a Disney hotel. Thus I've never really walked around any of the resorts before, and it was just kinda fun to casually wander around in the dark, relying heavily upon maps placed conveniently often enough so that you don't get lost. It doesn't feel like Florida anymore, although I also wouldn't say I felt like I was in Hawaii or anywhere else. Disney magic is real, and for a while I was just somewhere, with no responsibilities and cares. That sort of escapism is one of the things that I and many others love about Disney. Their stories become so real to us that we can live life free of the stress and burdens that we otherwise always carry with us. It's awesome, if you ever get to experience it.
Anyways, I got to the resort just before the fireworks were starting, and as I walked to the beach I heard an announcement about the show being only 5 minutes away. This gave me confidence that they were going to play the music throughout the area. However, as I started hearing the strains of music drifting over the Seven Seas Lagoon instead of out of speakers that I assumed were nearby, I realized I was much mistaken and slightly disappointed. But I enjoyed watching the fireworks from there anyway, without any crowds to deal with whatsoever, so I decided to try again another night in a different. Also on the first night I hug around for a hour to watch the Electrical Water Pageant. This isn't nearly as exciting as the fireworks, so I really wouldn't schedule time for this specifically, but if it's not out of your way, I recommend it. If you haven't heard of it before, look it up online, so I don't have to take the time to describe it here, but it is a fun show to catch at least once. Aside from a little bit of window shopping at the Polynesian while waiting for my bus to come, that was it for that night.
I didn't have my camera on me this night, just my phone, so I tried to take a couple pictures with that, but they really turned out terrible. I'm putting them here anyway, but please don't judge me. I like photography, but I don't always take the time to get good pictures, plus I don't use photoshop at all, so I'm completely at mercy of whatever cheap camera I'm using as to whether they turn out decent or not. And in this case, it was not.
Wishes on the beach:
The Electrical Water Pageant, featuring a sea serpent with a missing midsection (it lit up later, after it had passed me):
The night before Traditions I went out to Disney Springs, which is very different from when I was last there in 2010. I'm actually really excited now about the construction going on there. I guess I never really found it necessary, but whether it is or not, it's definitely doing good things for the area. It's fun to just poke around in the shops, or casually stroll down the walkways, and the whole aesthetic of the area getting a facelift makes this even more enjoyable. My only concern currently is that I hope it doesn't develop too much of the same feel as that of an outlet mall, but I think Disney is taking good care of controlling what shops open here so as to prevent that from happening. Anyway, I was mostly here window shopping again, but I met and talked to a lot of great people, both current and former College Program members. They all gave me some tips for how to have a great time, and it got me really excited (again) to start.
This cute print was for sale in the new Star Wars Galactic Outpost (formerly D Street):
Also that night I went back to the Polynesian, by way of a bus that took me to the Grand Floridian so that I got to see that spectacular lobby. Wow, that was very fancy, but very cool. I felt underdressed, like I should be wearing a suit instead of shorts and a polo shirt. Up on the second level of the lobby is a stand for a band to play live music from. Walking behind that I was amazed at how much music they have in their folders to choose from and play. This is just one of them, but each band member's folder was as big as this.
That's got to be heavy. Anyway, I took the monorail loop over to the Polynesian and arrived at the beach with a few minutes to spare. This time I sought out a different spot that I had found while waiting for the Electrical Water Pageant from two nights before. By the time I got there, there was already a crowd of people all waiting for the fireworks. Great, I've got to be in a good spot where the music is played, right? Nope. Again, there was no music broadcast near where I was. Maybe I just have bad luck. Anyway, I was slightly prepared this time because I had my phone and a pair of headphones, so all I had to do was pull up a video from youtube with just the soundtrack and keep that playing for me while watching, but it proved to be harder than I thought it would be to sync up the music and the show. Eventually I got it perfect and was really happy with myself when youtube decided to randomly play a 30 second ad in the middle of my video. Well, so much for that idea. I tried to sync up again with the audio, but no such luck. I still really enjoy watching the fireworks from the Polynesian, but I have to do something to figure out how to get the music and the fireworks together. Since I had to get up early the next morning for Traditions I called it a night and headed home.
If you read all that, good for you for sticking it out. If not, well, hopefully I'll start writing shorter entries one of these days. Not only are they really long to read, it's a long time and a bit of a drain for me to write them in the first place.
Until next time!