When we finally got up, it was almost 4 p.m., and time to leave All Star Sports and head to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. One thing I really don’t like about the All Star Resorts is the shared bus situation, so we relied almost exclusively on Uber again this trip.
Our first post on Uber went semi-viral on social media, and as a result “does Uber still work at Walt Disney World?” has become one of the most common questions we are asked. The answer as of December 2015 remains “yes.” From time-to-time I receive reports from people who have issues with security denying Uber drivers coming to pick them up, but these are always one-off, anecdotes resulting from security guards making up policies on the fly.
We didn’t have a single issue using Uber this trip. As I said in our last post of tips for using Uber, it seems that as more Cast Members understand what Uber is and how it works, there are fewer problems. Still, it seems like there’s a lack of official policy handed down from on-high at Walt Disney World, which can sometimes mean inconsistent results if a security CM has an axe to grind with Uber or is just having a bad day. Gaps in the policy mean they have discretion, and that sometimes is a bad thing.
On the other hand, no policy also means that there is no policy against Uber. Mears and Disney are bedfellows, and Uber grabbing marketshare is bad for Disney. It would be very easy for Disney to ban Uber with some BS statement about “guest safety” or “screening” to protect Mears’ monopoly. (Save for a couple of “aggressive” air fresheners, our experiences with Uber have been unanimously positive, which is far from the case with Mears.) Given that, we will take the lack of official policy and anecdotal inconveniences that may arise on rare occasion.
Nevertheless, Uber was incredibly efficient, and getting rides to/from the Contemporary (walking to/from Magic Kingdom) and Yacht Club (for Epcot’s International Gateway) kept our transportation times minimal.
If you are going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios between now and the end of Osborne Lights anytime after noon, I’d also recommend taking an Uber to the Swan & Dolphin, and walking from there.
Our first stop once we arrived at the Magic Kingdom was Pecos Bill. We had not eaten lunch, and by now it was after 4 p.m. I ordered the Chicken Fajita Platter plus an extra plate for toppings (which they happily gave me) and enjoyed a royal feast.
At $13.50, this is on the expensive side of counter service meals, but when piled high with toppings, it’s incredibly filling. I’m also pleased to report that the chicken was better (passable, but not great) than when we ordered this in October. We’ve now eaten at Pecos Bill more times in the last 3 months than in the previous 3 years.
After that, we did a few attractions and then headed to Main Street Bakery to see if they were selling the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party cupcakes.
The tl;dr version of that post is that we enjoyed the Christmas Party. However, I’m betting if you’ve made it this far into a 2,000+ word post that’s literally about nothing, that full post that actually has some interesting (at least by the low bar of this post) insights isn’t too long to also read.
Right as the clock was striking midnight, we jumped in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and waited maybe 5 minutes. The line was so short that there weren’t even enough other guests to spin the barrels of diamonds to help me make Snow White appear, which bummed me out a bit. Still, an enjoyable little ride, especially at night (minus the blinding light for the video that’s shot during the drop).
After this, Sarah and the Selgas left, but I stuck around. I took some photos in Fantasyland and then on Main Street, but I couldn’t get into any sort of groove.
I basically was just bouncing around, setting up for uninspired shot after uninspired shot and just going through the motions. These sort of funks happen from time to time when I’m rusty, but usually I have no shortage of inspiration in the Magic Kingdom at Christmas.
Situations like this are why I used to write out a shot list; even though I rarely referred to it, when I couldn’t think of anything off the cuff, it always helped in providing a creative spark.
I haven’t done such a list for the last several trips, and each time, I’ve regretted it, and told myself that I would for the next trip. So, here’s that resolution again: next time, I’m writing up a shot list.
I should have just cut my loses and left early, but I managed to stay long enough to close down the park. Presumably due to the midday napping and time change, I wasn’t even remotely tired.
As I left, I spontaneously responded “Grand Floridian” when a boat captain asked where I was going. He said, “sorry, I’m heading to Wilderness Lodge” to which I responded, “that’ll do.” He looked a bit perplexed, but didn’t ask any additional questions.
We conversed further since I was the only one on the boat and I didn’t want things to be awkward, but the topic of my destination never came up again. If I were him, I’d be curious why someone would be going to Grand Floridian or Wilderness Lodge at 1:30 a.m. Maybe he was afraid of getting some super-weird answer, since it seems like only a crazy person would be doing that.
Or…Maybe I was confused and thought Wilderness Lodge was a nickname for the Grand Floridian? Maybe I had rooms at both resorts? Maybe I was trying to get a selfie at every single resort in a single day? Maybe I planned on doing a power-walking circuit between the two as part of some odd exercise regime.
…Or, maybe he saw the photography gear and just assumed. The thing is, he would never know for sure. I wonder if the question is eating away at him now…I know I would have been curious!
I shot for a while at Wilderness Lodge, finally getting some interesting stuff, before heading to my favorite little alcove, sitting down, and soaking up the ambiance and background music. I quickly realized this was a bad idea, as I quickly felt myself getting tired, and “soaking up ambiance” at 2 a.m. can quickly turn into an unintended nap. I requested an Uber and waited for it to take me back to All Star Sports. This was really too bad, as I love Wilderness Lodge at Christmas, and those few minutes sitting in the alcove were wonderful.
I can’t prove it, but I’m convinced that Wilderness Lodge has found some way to warp the space-time continuum. When I’m sitting in those leather chairs by the fireplace in that alcove, there’s no conceivable way I’m in Florida in the year 2015. It just isn’t possible. I guess for me, this is the essence of Disney thematic magic.
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