The morning of Day 8 was a morning I wished would never come, but come it did.
After a morning of packing, we checked out of the Grand Floridian and drove our car to Epcot. I had never actually driven to a park before, having used Disney transportation exclusively up to this point. It wasn't bad at all, especially since I had a AAA preferred parking pass. We parked very close to the entrance - no need for trams.
This day (well, half-day) would be very similar to yesterday - much of my time would be taken up by Mousefest, specifically the Mega Mouse Meet.
But first things first. I wanted to hit a few attractions before trekking to the Yacht Club Convention area for the Mega meet. We got into Epcot just after rope drop, so we were able to catch another run on Test Track without needing a Fastpass. My daughter who said she wouldn't go on Test Track again after her first ride, was eager to go again. One more trip on Spaceship Earth and it was time for me to head over to the Mega Mouse Meet.
This was my first ever Mega Mouse Meet. At yesterday's Podfest, I had talked with Beci Mehnkin from MEI/MouseFan Travel about how amazed I was with how many people were at Mousefest (this being my first one). She said "Wait until you see the crowd at the Mega Mouse Meet." Now that I was at the Mega Mouse Meet (MMM for short), I can see she was right. There were a ton of people there. I quickly gained a new perspective for just how many serious Disney fans are out there. The line just to meet Steve Barrett and Lou Mongello were huge! I also meet Ricky Brigante from the Inside The Magic podcast as well as the folks from WDWToday, AllEars.net and so many more. I had a chance to speak with Fred Block from the
MagicMeets event planned for later this summer. It was while at the MMM that I convinced myself that I need to go to MagicMeets. More to come on that later.
After waiting for two sessions of the door prize raffle (in which I think three times as many no-show numbers were called than actual people), I had to tear myself away from the crowd and catch up with the family in France.
We walked over to the American Adventure pavilion and had our final meal at Walt Disney World at the Liberty Tree Inn. We also happened to catch some great holiday sales that started that morning -- 50% off all holiday items. We snagged several ornaments and then made our way back to the front of the park, slowing making our way around the far side of World Showcase for one last time.
After a quick stop inside MouseGears for some last minute Christmas items and a stop at a snack stand to cash in some remaining snack credits, our time at Walt Disney World had come to a close.
I turned, as I had done in my last two trips and said a silent farewell to Spaceship Earth. "I will be back," I whispered to myself.
And I mean it.
With that, we walked out of the park, climbed in the van and began the long trek back to Virginia (with an overnight stop in Savannah, Ga.).
Right now, I don't know when I will return "home" to Walt Disney World. I can tell you it will be as soon as I can manage it, perhaps for Mousefest 2009.
I hope you've enjoyed this look back at my week at Walt Disney World in December 2o08. I know I've really enjoyed telling you this story.
In the meantime, I hope you will keep checking back as I bring you more from this and previous trips including tips, restaurant and resort reviews, news and whatever else I come up with.