Who: Rich and Kathy
When: December 13-14, 2003
Where: The Contemporary, a Magic Kingdom Resort
When we lived on the West Coast, we could never decide whether we should go to WDW for Food & Wine or for Christmas. So, we did neither. But now that we are living in Central Florida, we were able to do the Food & Wine for the first time and a weekend stay at the Contemporary over the Christmas season – December 13 and 14.
Rich had never seen Disney at Christmas. So, we booked an overnight at the Contemporary Resort, one of the first resorts on Walt Disney World property and the only one where the monorail runs right through the hotel. See Deb’s site for photos of the Contemporary.
Kathy stayed at the Contemporary during her first trip to WDW back in ’82 when Epcot first opened. This was Rich’s first stay at the Contemporary or any monorail resort. We enjoy Epcot and the Yacht Club so much that we haven’t been able to give up that location as of yet. But for Christmas, we thought it would be magical to stay at a monorail resort.
Before checking into the Contemporary, we headed for Downtown Disney to do some Christmas Shopping. But first we stopped in at Wolfgang Puck Express to have an early lunch. We split a turkey sandwich. Downtown Disney was merrily decorated for Christmas and we quickly loaded up our car with gifts. We then drove over to the Magic Kingdom Resort area and checked into the Contemporary. The atmosphere at the Contemporary was rather Jetson-like but it had all been updated and we enjoyed it.
Our room from the 14th floor was quite large; probably the largest at the Disney resort. We had a fantastic view and we fell madly in love with the bathroom; especially the shower curtain. We tried the entire weekend to find one like it for sale at the resort but to no avail. Later we found one at Penneys at the mall and bought a purple one. But since our master shower is glass-enclosed, we no longer need it.
Anyway, after sitting out on the balcony of our room and enjoying the view for awhile, we hopped on the monorail and headed for the Magic Kingdom. We enjoyed the Christmas decorations on Main Street, although most of the festive activity is saved for a hard-ticket event called “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.” But what struck us immediately were the crowds of people already lining up and down Main Street for a parade. Wouldn’t you know it?
They were taping the televised Christmas Day Parade that day and it was mobbed. We tried making our way through the park, snacking a bit, soaking up the Christmas atmosphere but didn’t ride any rides. We headed back to the room for a brief rest and then hopped on the monorail again but this time we headed for Epcot, our favorite park.
Epcot has a Christmas celebration all its own and it was more to our liking—much more adult feeling. Each night there is a a Candlelight Processional, complete with orchestra and special lighting effects. In the future, we’ll probably spend most of our Christmas visits in Epcot. We snacked our way around the park but didn’t have any one formal meal.
After Epcot closed at 9pm, we rode the monorail back to the Contemporary and sat out on our balcony watching the Electrical Water Pageant. It hadn’t changed a bit since 1982 when Kathy saw it for the first time. It was still going quite late—probably close to midnight by then. Don’t plan on getting a lot of sleep at the Contemporary because we were awakened early the next day to the sound of Chef Mickey’s character breakfast, held in the lobby of the Contemporary.
We woke up to rain so we didn’t return to the Magic Kingdom, as we had planned. After doing some shopping in the resort’s gift shops, we headed back home. We couldn’t wait to add our Mickey decorations to our home.