Day three at Walt Disney World started out with a return to Hollywood Studios were we got into the park early because of an ADR at Hollywood and Vine. This is another character breakfast featuring stars from Playhouse Disney. This breakfast was quite good and we had a very good waiter who helped make it fun.
After breakfast, we hustled over to Toy Story Mania to get some Fastpasses. When we got there (around 9:30), the standby line already was at 60 minutes! Our Fastpasses were up in a few hours, so we went across the park and took the first of what would be several runs on Star Tours (one of our favorite attractions). We then stopped by Muppets 3D and walked down the Streets of America where the Power Rangers were doing meet and greets. New this time was the White Ranger (he wasn't there during our March 08 trip), so we were able to get a picture with him.
We then walked over to Pixar Place, which was quite crowded (no surprise there). We still had some time until our Fastpasses were up so we stood in line at the new Toy Story picture spot called "Woody's Picture Corral". This was pretty interesting. While you're waiting to see Buzz and Woody, there are cutout picture opportunities all through the queue.
By the time we got out of the picture spot, our Fastpass window had opened, so we went across the street to for our first ever ride on Toy Story Mania. When people ask me what my favorite attractions at WDW are, Space Ranger Spin at the MK is in the top 3. This is because of the high re-rideablity factor. I'm always trying to get that 999,999. Toy Story Mania is like Buzz, version 4 - it was incredible. I was totally blown away by the live 3D rendering. I can't imagine the computing power this attraction requires. It immediately became our most favorite attraction at WDW.
From TSM, we journeyed into Narnia. The set reconstruction is awesome! It was so neat to be at the Stone Table. We also walked through One Man's Dream. Walt is a key figure for me so I very much enjoyed walking along his life's work.
By now it was the afternoon, so we took a Friendship boat to Epcot. We had wanted to catch some more of the Santas around the world. This time we saw the Norway Santa (and his "assistant") and the Three Wise Men in Mexico. We took a ride on Malestrom and the Gran Fiesta Tour and then made our way to the walkway between Future World and World Showcase for the lighting of the Epcot tree. Unlike years past, there was no character show for the tree lighting. There was just an announcer with a quick spiel and then the tree lit up.
The walkway lights were pretty cool. Disney did a nice job synchronizing the lights to the holiday music. After the tree lighting, we walked over to the America Gardens Theatre to try to catch the Candlelight Processional. Here, I was in for a rude awakening. Disney has reserved seats for guests who book the dinner package. I knew this was the case, but I didn't know that everyone and their brother had reserved seating! The theatre was filled with dinner package people - hardly any other guests could get seats. I ended up standing to the left side of the lighting room. The view was pretty good, aside from a tree or two in the way. As we read the program, I saw that three choirs from my hometown were performing later in the week. I'll have more on this in another post coming soon.
While I really enjoyed the Candlelight Processional, the kids weren't as enamored, probably because they had to sit on the ground or stand. The performance was inspirational - these people really can sing!
After the processional, I could tell the kids were quickly running out of steam, so we made our way back around the lagoon and through Future World to the monorail. It's so nice that the monorail is our main form of transportation as opposed to waiting for a bus that might come someday. Within 15 minutes we were in our rooms and off to sleep.
That's it for day 3 - stay tuned for day 4 and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!