To begin with, apologies for this being so late! It has been a hectic few months, and to be honest we haven’t even finished the pictures yet, let alone trip reports! Lol!
So anyway, that over with, on with the report.
We spent five days over the Christmas period once again at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Besides having a fantastic time as always, there are a number of new and different things that occurred this trip.
From the full character list below you can see we once again met a wide variety, but we did meet some new and special ones, too. These were Terence, Thumper, Miss Bunny, Tiana, Naveen, Marie, the new Power Ranger, and the three UP characters Russell, Carl and Dug. All of these we managed to meet, much to our relief. We also managed to meet another different elf from the Christmas Parade, thanks to our good friend Grant, Quincy and Annie from Little Einsteins, and another Main Street Citizen that was out that we hadn’t seen before, named Dewey Cheatum. Two more very special characters on our list to try and meet were Louis and Dr Facilier. We had hoped that we would be able to meet at least Louis by getting picked to be on the new Showboat Jubilee, but hadn’t held much hope of finding Facilier.
As it happened, we were extremely lucky one day, and while Louis was waiting to start the procession towards the Jubilee, we asked him for our picture, and he kindly obliged! As for Facilier, we did end up getting picked right on the last day for the Jubilee, and as we were exiting the boat, we had stopped to look at our photos on our cameras, and who should appear behind us, ready to make his dash to the exit?! Dr Facilier! Once again, we asked and he stopped! Wow!
On top of all that, a special thanks must go to our friend Matt, who very kindly organised a special meet n greet with Sebastian and Lumiere after Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! one day. We had been wanting to meet Lumiere for ages, and finally got the chance! (we had met Sebastian before, but wasn’t complaining since he is a very rare character indeed).
I mentioned above that we got picked on the last day for the new Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee.
This is something that Jon and I were eager to see, and we managed to see it twice. It was a neat little show, and actually something we felt that Magic Kingdom needed to be honest. It was fresh, it was different, and it involved guest interaction. But now of course sadly it is gone again. It is definitely something that they should keep, and I have heard that it will be making a return in one form or another (if it hasn’t already). Let’s hope it does, as it was great!
Being picked for the show though is another thing entirely. So Jon and I being the very willing and able fans that we are were desperate to be onboard so that we could meet the characters aboard the ship. But sadly the Magic Kingdom didn’t quite have the right idea about how to pick people, in my opinion, and the way in which Jon and I got picked proved it!
So basically special Cast Members wander round the park randomly, and choose random people to be in it. They give them a return time and they are then expected to show up. There is no way of anyone who wants to be in the show - you know, say like proper willing fans… - of being in it. The problem then arises for Disney that people don’t show up. They probably don’t want to, or don’t care, or have no idea what it is they have been picked to do. So Jon and I were waiting around on this premise at the gates to the boarding area on the last day, praying they would see us and pick us in the event somebody didn’t show… and low and behold - they didn’t! I think that it’s a little unfair, and not a very efficient way of dealing with it. Why waste time sending someone out in the park all day to pick people, when you can have people come to you right on time who actually want to do it?! If Jon and I had been told “be here at this time for a chance to be picked” we would have been there every day! And they wouldn’t have the problem of having people not show up, because those that want to do it would all be there! Ok, moan over! Lol.
The actual experience on the Jubilee was fun, and worth hanging around in hope of getting picked for! Lol.
You basically get a very brief talk on what to do while onboard, where to stand etc. You are assigned a CM to stay with who will guide you through the actions and steps onboard, and basically you go and do it! There are a couple of stages, involving holding different props and doing different actions. When the show is over and the boat is travelling around the back part of the Rivers of America, you get to meet with Tiana and Naveen aboard the boat. There is a PhotoPass photographer too. Sadly, unlike the Californian one, Louis does not meet aboard the boat; much to our disappointment (thankfully he’d previously stopped for us like I said above).
There is also a PhotoPass photographer on the landside during the show who takes pictures of you on the boat, which is a neat idea. You can then later go and view the pictures and have them either printed or added to your PhotoPass card.
As always we watched the parades and shows. The Christmas Parade was basically the same as last year, with some minor costume changes (Cinderella and Prince Charming, the Gingerbread Men and a couple more). Also Tiana and Naveen were in it this year too.
As the Galaxy Palace Theater no longer exists, there was no Mickey’s Twas the Night this year, but they have built a new stage in the heart of Tomorrowland and they had a special Tomorrowland themed show called A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, which we got to see. Overall a neat little show, with my favourite character in it - Stitch - but it didn’t compensate for the loss of Twas the Night.
The show basically involved Christmas carols being sung to a more futuristic theme, and Mike, Buzz and Stitch singing and dancing on the stage. There was a slight plot, and that was that Stitch was tracking Santa from his spaceship, but ended up accidentally blowing him up… Lol!
A new experience for me was the Candlelight Processional dinner package. We of course saw the Candlelight the Christmas before, but we didn’t get seats, and it was from a distance. This year we were a bit more organised and managed to get good seats for the Candlelight by doing the cheapest dinner package, which was at the Garden Grill in The Land. The Garden Grill is the rotating restaurant that overlooks the Living with the Land attraction. It is also a character meal. The best character was of course Mickey in his farmers outfit. The food from what I can remember was pretty good. I don’t recall having any complaints about it (I should really start writing these things down! It’s hard to remember what you ate on a given day three months ago! Lol).
One thing that much to the fans dismay that was removed from the Christmas line-up this year, besides Twas the Night, was the Lights of Winter. This had caused much controversy in the Disney fan world when it was announced earlier last year that they would not be returning. Hope had been there that they might make a miraculous return just before Christmas, but sadly they did not.
So with the removal of a main show, and a main draw point such as the Lights of Winter, Disney didn’t do much to their credit this Christmas! The new Tomorrowland show certainly was not a worthy replacement for these two things.
Overall we had an awesome trip as always, and Disney still remains the most magical place to be at Christmas. I’m not going to comment on every other detail of our trip because I think by now you all know what we get up to (character hunting, rides etc).
We shall be back at WDW this Christmas, and will be staying in the brand new Bay Lake Tower - so that should be amazing!
Our next Disney trip will be Disneyland Paris, and we look forward to seeing what the new “New Generation Festival” brings there.