The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/8/2024

Photo op with Spaceship Earth

Hello and welcome back to yet another trip report! Find all the entries in this report here. Onward!

Oh, man, I wish I could tell old school Theme Park Commando Jenn how awesome it can be to chill at WDW. The morning after the marathon, we simply slept in. No Genie+ to worry about, no virtual queues, no races. Glorious sleep!

Upon waking, we continued to do largely nothing, watching dumb TV and enjoying the lack of impetus. I took the opportunity to stretch, which the day after a marathon is definitely a hurts-so-good activity, where the “hurts” and “so good” are emphasized in a pendulum swing.

Eventually we did want to get up a move a bit, and I persuaded the always-game Erika to go on a field trip with me. Did I bribe her with coffee? Maybe a little bit – the first step of the field trip was my new favorite Pop Century hack, which is to take the Skyliner over to Caribbean Beach and hit up the station Joffrey’s stand for coffee there. Way better than the food court options.

Skyliner coffee

The next segment involved jumping back on the Skyliner and zipping over to Epcot. Erika was leaving that day, but I still had one more evening. My plan: buzz into Epcot, turn around, and immediately exit. Why? For 1pm Cosmic Rewind virtual queue access, of course!

Since we were there anyway, we took the opportunity to stroll a casual loop around the Boardwalk, reminiscing fondly of its place in our marathon course the morning before. We discussed an odd paradox that has perhaps occurred to you too: while it is something of a relief to have your race behind you, it also somehow leaves one bereft. There’s a certain feeling of, well, now what? If only it were possible to be simultaneously racing and resting at once. Schroedinger’s run, if you will.

With this uffish thought rattling around in our brains, we gondola’d back to Pop to resume another “Friends” marathon while I waited for 1pm to roll around. It did and I got in the queue! Oh joy!

And with that behind us, we were free to leave the room for lunch at Everything Pop. Poor long-suffering Erika also kindly accompanied me into the gift shop again, as I had finally decided on a souvenir purchase. My super-awesome boss had blessed me with a Disney gift card for Christmas, and I used it to splurge on a Minnie Space Mountain sweatshirt. Completely frivolous, but it’ll go so nicely with my Space Mountain Minnie ears.

New sweatshirt with surfer Goofy

Back to the room for one more “Friends” episode and then it was time to bid a fond farewell to Erika. Don’t worry, she’ll be back! I’ve hooked her with runDisney and she’ll never be free of me now. 😉

Now I was flying free, which is a uniquely excellent way to tour WDW (if you’ve never gone solo, you should totally try it). I strolled onto the Skyliner and made my leisurely way back to Epcot for some sweet sweet park time.

Skyliner selfie

You can tell I’m cool because I’m wearing my hat backward.

My Cosmic Rewind virtual queue callback was coming up, but it wasn’t coming right up; I had some time to kill. I took a spin around the… shoot, what are they calling it now? Creativity Shop? It used to be Mouse Gears. Whatever; I looked around in there, then wandered over to the Cosmic Rewind area.

Shortly thereafter my boarding group was called, and I eased into the de facto standby line. I wore a mask the entire time, because I have decided I simply cannot deal with the anxiety anymore and I do what I want.

After thirty minutes or so I finally made it into the show room, shich took a bit of an odd turn. We entered the Cosmic Generator room and made our teleportation jump, but the doors to the next hallway immediately opened without playing the preshow scene. I’ve already seen it of course, and I’ve heard of cases where they don’t run it, so I figured, eh, we’ll be through the line quicker.

Well. We proceeded to stand there without moving for a good twenty minutes or so. No idea what the holdup was, as no announcement was ever made. But of course we eventually got moving again, and I was on a train soon enough.

I was gunning for my one outstanding song, “One Way or Another;” tragically I wound up with “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” which is my least favorite. Ah, well, still fun. And I’ve mastered the on-ride camera, which is nice. Peace!

Peace to Cosmic Rewind

I was at a bit of a loss as to my next move – I wanted a snack, but I wanted to hit up The Land, but I wanted coffee, but the line was too long, but I could feel my blood sugar dipping, but all the good food is in World Showcase and I wasn’t ready to head that way, etc.

So I hatched a plan. I began by hitting up Club Cool for a round of free soda. Blood sugar imbalance corrected! At least enough to last me through dinner. Watermelon remains my favorite.

This freed me up to head over to The Land. For Soarin’? No, silly – for Living with the Land! I asked a Cast Member stationed out front if the Christmas lights were still up, and she wasn’t sure. Good news – they were! While in there I tried to record a video from “the vegetable ride” for my nieces (it’s a long story; I’ll explain later), but upon review I was unhappy with my take. I vowed to return the next day for a second stab at it.

On the way back I happened by a PhotoPass photographer was snapping pics in front of the LED-bedazzled Spaceship Earth. Obviously I jumped in line because I know how much the people enjoy looking at me. 😅

These two primary goals out of the way, I wandered over to World Showcase for an evening stroll around the countries. Starting with Mexico, I sauntered around the lagoon, doing nothing more than taking in the sights and sounds until I came upon Regal Eagle in the American Adventure.

There was a time, when it was still the execrable Liberty Inn, that I couldn’t understand why anyone would eat in the American pavilion. With Regal Eagle, I get it – I’m not even a huge barbecue fan and I’m all in. (Bonus: Sam Eagle is my favorite Muppet.*) My mac and cheese looked so awesome somebody stopped in their tracks to ask me about it.


Having tucked away a long overdue snack, it was time to enact my Master Plan. I wanted to see the new Luminous fireworks show, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect of waiting in the post-fireworks Skyliner queue. Then I thought – I don’t have to! Instead I could skip out early, take the Skyliner to the Riviera, and have a couple drinks while I watched the fireworks from the roof. Afterward, I could bypass the first half of the Skyliner entirely with a walk around the lake to the Caribbean Beach hub station. Bam!

And that’s what I did – I trotted over to the International Gateway (by the way, the bathrooms just outside the back entrance are rarely crowded), picked up the Skyliner, and was taking the elevator to the top of the Riviera before I knew it.

Riviera elevator selfie

The CMs at the host stand didn’t bat an eye when I requested a spot at the bar; indeed, I was somewhat shocked by how empty it was. Then again, I overheard a bartender training another say that the bar crowds here are very unpredictable. You can have shoulder-to-shoulder Tuesdays and ghost town Saturday nights, he said. I find this kinda funny given the hustle it takes to get into the California Grill lounge area for fireworks.

Anyway, my plan worked out great – I had my designated couple drinks and watched the fireworks from the rooftop patio as planned. Luminous was okay, I guess? I don’t know, I’m one of the few who kinda liked Harmonious, although more for the soundtrack than anything else. The beginning initially seemed similar with the different languages, but then it kinda unraveled with no story. And the bit in the middle where they started going on about sad life is was kinda weird. I think I need to see it again to get my thoughts in order. (Please leave your hot takes in the comments.)

The rest of the Master Plan unspooled flawlessly – I traipsed down the sidewalk to Caribbean Beach, floated through a comparatively much shorter Skyliner queue at the hub, and tucked myself into my room at Pop in practically no time at all. Some silly TV for company while I prepared for bed, and then off I went to dreamland.

WDW trip report - walkway from Riviera to Caribbean Beach

Next up: one more Disney day. 🙁

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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