Published: December 26, 2009 at 12:55 AM
My boyfriend and I made our first theme park Christmas trip two years ago, to Walt Disney World. We flew in on Christmas Day, and both being huge Gary Sinise fans, we really wanted to catch the 8:15 Candlelight Processional he was narrating. However, with our flight due to land just after 6:00, we knew time would be very tight.
Amazingly, everything worked out: our Magical Express bus left shortly after we boarded, we were first in line to check in at Caribbean Beach, then rushed over to the bus stop, and guess which bus pulled up -- Epcot! We had to stop at Guest Relations to process our annual passes, then started power walking through Future World, knowing we'd have to make it all the way to the other side of World Showcase. We kept saying, "We'll stop and look at decorations later!"
Then we got to the Lights of Winter. Our power walk simultaneously halted, our jaws dropped and we both stood there in absolute awe and wonder. We agreed it was one of the most beautiful things we'd ever seen, and slowly walked through the archway, as if in a daze... (How could Disney make the horribly misguided decision to remove this beautiful display? We consider it right up there with the Osborne Spectacle of Lights at DHS and Castle Dreamlights at MK.)
Upon reaching the other side of the archway, the urgency of our task returned, and we continued our power walk through World Showcase. We didn't make it into the CP seating area, but were among the first to line up for standing room behind the amphitheater! We had a terrific view, and were near a speaker, so we heard every word, every note! After the Candlelight Processional, the most urgent order of business was FOOD (which we'd neglected in all our rushing). This even took precedence over IllumiNations, so you know we were ravenous!
After a bite to eat at Mexico (at least hearing IllumiNations and seeing a few fireworks), we wandered toward the exit, now taking the time to photograph all the decorations. We had time to stroll, because it was an Extra Magic Hours night at Epcot! When we finally left the park a few hours later, the tummy rumblings were beginning to return, and one of the few 24-hour eateries we knew of was Capt. Cook's at the Polynesian, so we took the Monorail there (even got to ride in the cockpit)! By the time we got to our room, around 3:00 a.m., we'd had a very full but very magical Christmas Day!