We arrived at EPCOT before rope drop and began our usual conversations with folks at the gate. The husband noticed a couple who were pin traders and had several large books of pins and started conversing with them. Soon a cast member asked us to join her. We were taken inside the turnstiles and told that we were going to be the "Family of the Day" and do the countdown to open the park. COOL!
While we waited inside the gates, we snapped a few photos and soon a PHOTOPASS photographer was on hand to snap a few, too. (Click here to read more about Disney's PHOTOPASS service.) We were given a yellow piece of paper, about the size of a 5 X 7 index card, which was a FASTPASS for any attraction today. (Click here to read more about FASTPASS.)
We counted down from 10 to 1, cheered when the park opened and guests came streaming through the turnstiles. We made our way towards Space Ship Earth (the ball) and stopped to greet Daisy and Stitch who were off to the right. We knew there was another rope just beyond Space Ship Earth, so no need to hurry.
We finally made our way to the rope and stood there for just a minute when we were approached by a cast member and asked how many in our party. I replied, "3." He said, "Come with me." We were taken under the rope and in a whirlwind were told that we were the "Family of the Day." OK, picked again! We had photos with the fab 5, escorted to Test Track ahead of the crowd, went in the back door, rode twice in our own car, and given 3 yellow sheets of paper as FASTPASSes for the day for any attraction at any time. WOW! We were also told we had VIP seating for Illuminations that evening. Since we knew we weren't going to be in the park, we asked them to give that to another family.
Here we are with the fab 5!
We very much enjoyed the rest of our day in EPCOT and we used our special FASTPASSes to ride Soarin' multiple times. Lunch at Le Cellier was great and we took in the Canada Circle Vision movie while we were in the pavilion.
By early evening, we had circled back around World Showcase, exited the park, and took the monorail to the TTC, changed to the resort monorail and rode to the Contemporary to have dinner at Chef Mickey's.
After dinner, we checked in on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary for the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage; I would call it a party! This used to be for grand gathering groups only, but is now open to anyone who would like to make a reservation.
The party begins in a room on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary with drinks and snacks (all of which are in small portable containers if you want to take some with you), characters, and music.
After dancing and festivities, the group heads down the escalator and out the back of the Contemporary to the dock on Bay Lake. We loaded the boat, all the while, our host is introducing folks, telling jokes and stories, and we saiedl to the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom. On cue, the fireworks begin--it was Holiday Wishes--over the Magic Kingdom and we could hear the music as it was piped into the boat. We also got to see the Electric Water Pageant, and then headed back to the Contemporary. We were greeted by two more characters before leaving the party. My expectations for this event were blown away!
What a day! What a magical day! Disney keeps us coming back!