One of the things we were aiming for this trip was to do things we usually didn't. This included not getting up at park openings, going a leisurely pace, riding or watching things that we usually didn't take the time to do.
So we got a late breakfast that was more like brunch at Captain Cook's of Tonga Toast. It's literally this gigantic HUNK of sourdough bread filled with banana, fried, and rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Today is a CARB day!
Then we took the next few hours to roam around most of the deluxe resorts (sorry, Animal Kingdom Lodge, you're just too out of the way) to see their respective Christmas decorations.
We start, of course, at the Polynesian, which has a much smaller tree than I imagined. But it was decked out in fresh flowers and wood carved fish.
The main shop on the ground floor was also festooned with garlands and wreaths dripping with Polynesian baubles
And the live "tree" made of island plants was out front
catching the monorail at the Poly around to the Grand Floridian, our next stop.
The Grand Floridian is the flagship resort, with all the spa amenities and done in a Victorian England theme.
now THAT's a tree.
The only other time we've ever gone to the GF was on the first trip in 2000, when I still had a little instamatic film camera that had no wide angle. I had to take two photos, which didn't match and literally tape them together for the scrapbook:
The GF also features a hand-made lifesize gingerbread house baked, assembled, and decorated at the resort
It has gotten considerably larger since 2000!
(this is when the camera locked up and we ended up exposing the photos beyond repair. Ah, the good old days.)
It's really impressive.
And, naturally, Disney has turned its backside into a shop.
grounds below the monorail station
Time to head to the Contemporary!
it was about this time that I pulled my phone out. My phone REFUSED to change to Florida time or weather, despite rebooting multiple times and trying to go into settings. It wanted to be a Colorado phone and nothing else. So here we are at the GF in shorts and near 80° weather sweating, while my phone tells me it's two hours earlier and a WHOLE lot cooler!
The Contemporary, along with the Poly, are the two original resorts that opened with the Magic Kingdom on October 5, 1971. The Poly is that lush Hawaiian feel. The Contemporary is futuristic and spare. And the monorail runs directly through it. But it is short on Holiday feels.
What they have done is create a gingerbread display in the style of Mary Blair, who did the gigantic murals in the center of the resort, but with the still-hot commodity of Frozen.
(Blair murals above)
Please to appreciate the amount of foodstuffs:
The main shop nearby, in its more "contemporary" mode of Christmas
From there we walked out to Bay Lake and caught the little ferry over to our favorite and the first resort we ever stayed at, The Wilderness Lodge. I'm thinking it's time to stay there again soon.
At this point, the rain is gearing up. It was just muggy for the first hour of our tour, but things are about to turn decidedly wetter. See our little passenger in the row ahead? He hopped on with us, literally rode on that seat all the way over, but didn't wait for the rest of us to be-board as he flew up to a nest at the Wilderness Lodge dock like he took this route everyday as a commuter.
okay, now it's raining.
side note: in the Wilderness Lodge shop, there was a small bucket of Mickey Ear ornaments. I had searched all over in September and checked on the Disney Park Shop app and there was not a single one to be found. Deana had lost hers and asked if I could find a replacement when I went for Sammi's birthday in September. I was delighted to spot them. And for the rest of the week, in every shop, I looked. Not another felt ear ornament to be found.
Bob had to stop to take a lonely photo to send to Nick:
We then made out way out to the bus stop, where even the Coke machines are themed to the Great Northwest Lodge decor!
and, it was pouring.
We caught the Studios bus over to the park, but didn't go in. From the front of the park, you can catch a boat that takes you over to the other patch of deluxe resorts in the Epcot area. So, in the rain, here's the Studio tree near the ferry.
Next door to the Yacht Club is the Beach Club, less ships, more shells.
They are hosting the Gingerbread Carousel this year. When we stayed at the Boardwalk (across the bay) it was there, but it seems to make the rounds.
Each of the four horses are done in one of the main character's theme:
And Pluto as the 5th wheel doesn't get to ride:
Christmas Shop windows at the Beach Club
It was nearing 2:00 and we decided to grab a snack at the Boardwalk Bakery before touring our last resort of the day.
(same veranda, 14 years ago)
The lobby in 2002 when we stayed at the Boardwalk Resort: