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Walt Disney World Christmas 2015 Trip Report - Part 1
DisneyDan  Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:23:24 AM
Hello everyone,

I realise this report is quite delayed, but we have been very busy for the past two months, and I have just now had time to sit and write this!

Jon and I visited Walt Disney World (WDW) over Christmas itself last year, and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village, and Old Key West. In this report I'll be sharing our experiences at both of those hotels, plus our adventures at Epcot.

Let's start with Epcot.

Being the Christmas season, Future World was in the festive spirit.

While in Future World we stopped by to say hi to Baymax, who had recently joined the Character Spot complex.

Throughout the season the American Music Machine band were playing in Future World. They are talented, but not really our thing. I took a photo of them nonetheless.

Heading towards World Showcase, the main Epcot Christmas Tree was situated on the walkway through Showcase Plaza.

We'll start our journey through the Holidays Around the World in Mexico.

For the holiday season Mexico hosted a Mariachi band who played alongside some performers. They are really quite good, and attract a big crowd.

From Mexico we enter Norway, where Sigrid tells the story of the mischievous gnome, Julenissen. This is one of my favourite Holidays Around the World performances. It's always fun to watch Julenissen cause havoc with Sigrid and the audience.

Next to Norway is China, which was host to the Chinese Dragon Dancers. Again, it's a really good performance, although a little shorter than some of the others.

After China we head to Germany, where we meet Helga, who tells us the story of the Nutcracker. It's always fun to experience the magical moment when the Nutcracker comes to life!

Italy is next door to Germany, and is home to La Befana, the witch who has searched for two thousand years for a special baby.

At the American Adventure we listened to the Kwanzaa and Hanukkah storytellers, met Santa and Mrs Claus, and watched the Voices of Liberty perform their Christmas carols.

We usually try to see Candlelight Processional every year, but this past year it didn't work out, and so one evening we stood at the back for a few minutes just to experience it, and I took some photos of Edward James Olmos, the celebrity narrator while we were there.

Across the Pacific Ocean (or just along the walkway) is Japan, where the Daruma Vendor tells the history of the Daruma doll.

Japan also had a new exhibit while we were there, "Cute Culture". It was funny to see some Tokyo Disney Resort merchandise inside, including a Gelatoni plush, a Tippy Blue plush and a popcorn bucket!

In Morocco we learn about the celebrations held there, and the "spice of life". This is usually quite a lively performance.

Morocco was also hosting a special guest band, called Rebab Fusion, which we saw one evening.

In France we listened to Pere Noel tell his story of the girl and her brother who didn't believe in Pere Noel.

The United Kingdom is home to Father Christmas, and is one of my favourite storytellers (though I might have a slight bias on that!). He was quite jolly, as always.

Finally, in Canada we watched the Canadian Voyageurs. They are actually really very good, and worth watching even if the music is not necessarily your sort of thing.

That's it for Epcot! Now let's take a look at the resort hotels we stayed at and visited.

During our week at WDW, we stayed at two resort hotels, which I mentioned at the start.

It was the first time we had stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and we were really excited. We were in the Kidani Village, which is the newer part of the hotel. It has its own check-in and facilities, although you are free to use both Kidani and Jambo House interchangeably.

I must admit, I wasn't as impressed with Kidani Village as I hoped I would be, unfortunately. The underground parking is a real mess, and actually really detracts from the idea that you are staying in a lodge in the middle of the African savannah. Driving into the hotel, straight into a parking garage, only then to have to take an elevator directly up to your room floor is not very magical, sadly. Also, while the room itself was nice, the "savannah" view left a lot to be desired. I felt we got the bad end of it, because looking out from the lobby seeing where some other rooms faced, the view could have been a lot better. Our view, I felt, was most certainly not a savannah, and looked more like a muddy patch, which you could actually see the fences around. The animals looked a little sad, and it made me really feel bad for them. It didn't look a happy place at all. Below I have shared pictures from across both Kidani Village and Jambo House - perhaps you'll be able to pick out which savannah pictures were taken from our room.

For the second part of our stay we were at Old Key West. This was our first time staying here, too, and I really liked it. It really had that "away from it all" feel, and was quite lush and tropical. I liked it a lot more than Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Because it was the week of Christmas, some of the Disney resort hotels were hosting special character greetings. We managed to find characters at the Contemporary, the Polynesian, Kidani Village, Jambo House, the Beach Club, Wilderness Lodge and the Grand Floridian.

For the first time we ate at Citrico's at the Grand Floridian, and I was quite impressed - especially with dessert!

At the Polynesian we also experienced the Spirit of Aloha dinner show for the first time. I usually love anything like this, and while it was a good show, it didn't amaze me like I had hoped. The seating arrangement is really awkward, which makes the view pretty bad. We didn't have bad seats overall, as there were people worse off than us, but I felt for the money, it could have been arranged a lot better. I don't have any complaints about the food or the service, and the performers themselves were very talented, but I just didn't quite get the concept. They go through this whole motion of pretending it is some restaurant owned by "aunty", but you don't really get to know the characters, and feel very little attachment to them. The show would have fared better as a variety performance, showcasing the talents of the performers, rather than this awkward forced storyline. With all that said, I did enjoy it though.

That's it for this part of my report! I'll try not to fall even more behind, and will endeavor to get the next part up within the next week!

Have a great week everyone,

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