Just a little report...
Herself and I decided to go to EPCOT after all, if only for a few hours. After working most of the day (me) we left for EPCOT at 5:00 pm (US time :wink: ).
We took the 429 south (for those of you who care to know those things) and the road was essentially empty.
As we approached Disney property, traffic increased but not much. As we neared EPCOT, there was a temporary (electric) sign at the side of the road that notified drivers that MK was closed, but EPCOT was still open.
We pulled into the EPCOT parking to find...no parking attendants. You can only imagine the chaos, eh? People were parking on the lawn, on the side of the road, in reserved parking areas... but we drove cautiously on and found a conventional parking spot (Create row 39).
Out we go from the car and walk to the entry. The masses are here. It looks like a pilgrammage to a holy relic.
We had no bags, so that was an easy slip by, but the security folk didn't seem to be too interested in anyone with bags either.
As we made our way to the entry turnstiles we passed a huge crowd at the foot of the ramp for the monorail. There were suited Disney employees (well, those with shirts and ties) who had rolling carts of sandwiches and soda. I heard one saying, "I know you've all been here waiting for some time, but this is the best we can do. The sandwiches with a drink are $10." He was sneered at and even booed! Not sure what that was all about, but we passed by quickly.
At the turnstile 2009 had one little jab left. As I passed my ticket into the reader it came back entry denied. The CM was not amused that it had expired. I never got the notice you see... yes, I know it's my job to keep track, but ... and off we went to the ticket window to get old, forgetful Tink a new AP.
Once we FINALLY gained entry, it was a total crush. Seriously! Massive crowds. The line for Spaceship Earth was longer than I've ever seen it. The line for the women's bathroom (at the right of SE) was out the door.
We wandered a bit here and there (there really wasn't anything else you could do) trying to avoid being separated, or run down by an ECV, stroller or wheelchair! Which, by the way there had been signs on the way in that all were gone, so if you wanted one at that time you were out of luck.
There were lines (three I think) out the door at Electric Umbrella. There seemed to be some sort of podium set up to control the crowd access.
We headed out of Future World via the walkway to the Odyssey. (Stopped to use the restroom there as it had a very short line).
When we managed to make our way to the World Showcase we were absolutely astonished at the number of people. We said the heck to convention and linked hands. Trust me, rather than PDA, it was for protection! The last thing we needed to have happen was to get separated in that crowd.
We strolled (no other option!) through Canada where the stage was set for music (as per the posted schedule) and through the UK where the crowds were lively, over the bridge to France, as Herself was hoping to find one of those lovely frozen drinks that were available during the FWF...(no luck). On our way there we were told to stay to the right by CMs interspersed along the walkway. They were holding ropes and lights trying to keep the right moving toward France and the left moving toward the UK. They were doing a pretty decent job of it, except that the left side was where they were handing out the plastic top hats and noise makers. That caused major traffic/people jams.
We decided to return to the UK as it was about 6:30 pm and we wanted to be there at 7:00. Herself bought a Bass, and we essentially stood around and watched people!
In our travels we did notice that all the restaurants were chock full, and all the counter service places had long lines. The line for the Fish and Chips extended back to FRANCE!
We also noticed that there were no NYE additions as in past years. There were no extra band/music areas, Japan was not showing the films (animation) that they had in previous years...
An announcement told us of the upcoming Illuminations at 7:30 pm and then said that immediately after the first showing the New Year's Eve Celebration would begin. Ummm...what were people doing now if not celebrating?
I tried to take a couple of photos for Mouse on the Move, but they never 'arrived.' I'll look into that in a bit. The photos were dark though, and not very good quality.
I do have a bit of advice though. Don't stand in the middle of the UK, and try to have a family discussion about manners, getting along, and having a good time (with six teens) and expect anything to change, ok? That was NOT the time to try and do a family counseling session! Also, is it really necessary to stand on your young child's foot to tie her shoe? She was about seven or so... Ummmm... if your body had settled into more wrinkles than a slept in linen shirt, you really need to rethink the extremely low cut top and the bottom showing shorts...
It was noteworthy that there didn't seem to be as much drinking going on as you would expect. The lines for the drinks really were quite manageable. We wrote that off to it being early yet, and loads of families with children were still in attendance.
At the New Year (7:00 pm US time) there was no jubilant countdown as in years past. Some groups of folks cheered, and that was essentially it. As we walked toward France, the British Invasion was taking the stage and there was some cheering the new year there.
We decided to walk the full circle of the World Showcase so eased through the crowds in each country. We saw no characters (well, of the Disney sort) by the way.
Morocco had cute little martini glasses with lighted stems on offer (filled with some sort of frozen concoction). Herself decided she didn't want one (she still had some of the Bass with her). Nothing else there though. Maybe Mo'Rockin' would be playing later, but no sign of them at this point. The cafe was standing room only. Again, the drinks line was disproportionately short. The line for the women's room was out the door and into the walkway area. Crazy.
Japan was totally mobbed. Shoulder to shoulder on the upper deck, and at least ten or more people deep along the fencing (lagoon side). People waiting for Illuminations...
The US was filled to bursting as well. The outside theatre was all decorated for a show that would be starting sometime later... looked to be rather Brasilian in origin? At any rate, colorful and intriguing...
There was a little stand selling beer, with the now expected short line, so Herself joined the queue. It took forever! LOL. Americans just can't seem to move those lines ... The choices were limited to Bud Light and Sam Adams. Not sure which she chose. Did speak with some people on line who were thinking about watching the fireworks at 7:30 in EPCOT and then returning to the MK where their car was parked. I told them they would be able to return for their car, of course but the MK was closed. They were not staying on property, so wouldn't have a prayer of getting in. They seemed quite astonished!
Italy was quite full, as you now have come to expect, and again with those short lines for drinks.
Throughout our walk we did notice person after person carrying food to wherever, presumabley to consume with family and friends who were waiting somewhere. I did say to Herself (sssshhhh, don't tell on me, ok?) that I wondered what someone who was laden with food would do if I reached out and plucked a bit of something off their tray?
So, along the showcase we wander, country after country filled to bursting with people who were either waiting for Illuminations, trying to get something to eat from a counter service place, or simply trying to find a place to stand and visit with friends (that didn't cause a bottle neck).
Oh! Along the way, for the first time ever, there were alternate routes out of the World Showcase! They had the backstage gates open near the UK, Mexico and a couple of other places.
Mexico was chock full (moreso than any other country) and going was pretty rough. Where there were no CMs to direct foot traffic, it jammed.
We decided to take one of those alternate routes, just to be nosey. So, off we went up this little path, and through backstage gates. We were running along side the Mexico pavilion (if you face Mexico it would have been to the right). There were CMs all along the way and they were the happiest we'd seen all night. Chorus's of Happy New Year greeted us and some were actually handing out little gifties of EPCOT magnets and Happy New Year 1999 pins! We accepted a few, and gawked like school girls taking in the behind the scenes view. We ended up coming out somewhere near Test Track...
Illuminations had started by now... so our walk was punctuated with booms and hisses from the fireworks. The wind was blowing the smoke toward Future World, so once we arrived there it looked like a foggy night.
Speaking of night, this was the Blue Moon night. We did see the moon break out of the clouds and liked to imagine that it had a blue cast. Whether it truly did nor not is immaterial. It was the proverbial, "once in a blue moon" and we were enjoying the view from our beloved EPCOT, so all was right in the world.
As we re-entered Future World we lollygagged and meandered toward the exit.
We stopped to watch the finale of the fireworks at SE, and both declared the the effort to be there was worth it.
I did manage to find time to give 'the look' to two young boys who had clearly snitched cigarettes from Mom (those super long, skinny designer type cigarettes) and were trying to smoke them near the restrooms. They had the decency to look abashed. Then I winked and moved on. Hopefully, they won't continue down that road!
We made our way out of the park, to yet another massive queue for the monorail. We saw no trams running to the car park... but intended to walk back to our car anyway.
Departing was an exercise in caution as there were loads of people wandering around the car park looking quite lost.
All in all, we like our little tradition of going to EPCOT on NYE if only for a bit. We were surprised to see the lack of crowd control (as in the parking area) and assistance from Disney CMs, but they can only work if they are given the hours to do so, eh?
Hope this has given you a bit of a feel for how it is at EPCOT on New Year's Eve!
Happy New Year and may 2010 go gently with you.