Category Archives: Epcot

Epcot Theme Park

snow on hollywood boulevard

Trip Report November 2016 – Day 2

Our first day in the parks was one I worked hard to prepare for.  On paper it was just a morning in Epcot with a lunch at Garden Grill.  In practice it was the shining glory of a chipmunk toddler.

Since the Garden Rooms at the Boardwalk are not located near the Innkeepers Club Lounge I went up and brought breakfast for all of us back on a tray.  After finishing that we walked to Epcot.  We arrived 40 minutes after park opening and did the Seas, Turtle Talk, Imagination, checked out the DVC Lounge, and Fastpassed Living with the Land in 2 hours.

chip n dale costume

Waiting for Turtle Talk with Crush

Our lunch at Garden Grill might be the most magical memory we’ve made in the parks, rivaling baby Goofy meeting Minnie and Pluto.  Our little chipmunk had fantastic interactions with the characters and all the staff went above and beyond in making our meal great.

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Candlelight Processional 2016 at Walt Disney World

The Candlelight Processional is Christmas traditioperformed nightly in Epcot. The Candlelight Processional uses a choir, orchestra and celebrity narrator to tell the Christmas story from a biblical perspective.

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The show runs after Thanksgiving and before New Year’s Eve (November 25-December 30, 2016).  It runs three times a night in the American Gardens Theatre, 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM, and 8:15 PM and is about 45 minutes long.  IllumiNations, with a special holiday tag, starts at 9:30 during the Christmas season.  If you enjoy the 8:15 show, you’ll want to find your viewing spot around the lagoon immediately after the show is over.

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Trip Report January 2016 – Day 2

Day 2 of our January 2016 trip started like 95% of our vacation days do – late.  It was my resolution for this trip that we would be at the parks as close to park opening as possible.  We have a night owl baby, which means we have to wake him up to accomplish this.  After already running late, halfway to the monorail platform I realized I forgot a key part of the baby’s costume and had to run back to the room.  Ok, I speed walked after about 5 seconds of running.  Running is a poor choice for me overall, especially so when the overnight low was 31.

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Grand Floridian

Once on the monorail, it was only a 30 minute journey from leaving the Grand Floridian to arriving at Epcot.  I meandered around Mission Space and Innoventions West while the other adults rode Test Track with a Fastpass.  I bought a Starbucks mug at Fountain View to add to the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios mugs we have already.  I got in line for Baymax, but had to leave the line before meeting him.

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Indoor Walt Disney World Character Meet and Greets

Visiting Walt Disney World in Florida is usually an adventure dealing with weather. Whether it’s 95 degrees and humid, raining buckets, or cold enough to frost the windows, you may search out indoor activities. I prefer indoor character meet and greets not just for the character experience itself, but also for the more comfortable queue.

Ponchos are not good meet and greet fashion! Avoid this with indoor meet and greets

This list of character meet and greets is accurate as of May 5, 2016. Characters and locations change often, so always check your Times Guide or My Disney Experience app and Park Map once inside the park. Extreme weather can also move some outdoor meet and greets inside, but these won’t be published. This list excludes any meets that happen as part of a character dining experience.

Magic Kingdom

  • Town Square Theater on Main Street – Mickey, Tinker Bell – Fastpass Available
  • Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland – Anna and Elsa, Cinderella and Rapunzel – Fastpass Available
  • Ariel’s Grotto in Fantasyland – Ariel – Fastpass Available
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus – Goofy, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck

Epcot

  • Character Spot in Future World – Mickey, Minnie, Goofy – Fastpass Available
  • Character Spot in Future World – Baymax
  • Character Spot in Future World – Joy & Sadness
  • United Kingdom – Pooh and Tigger

Hollywood Studios

  • Red Carpet Dreams on Commissary Lane – Sorcerer Mickey, Minnie
  • Celebrity Spotlight – Olaf
  • Pixar Place – Wood and Buzz Lightyear
  • Star Wars Launch Bay – Chewbacca, Kylo Ren

Animal Kingdom

  • Adventurers Outpost – Mickey and Minnie – Fastpass Available
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch – Rafiki

Indoor meet and greets are just a fraction of all of the meets available in the parks. Some characters, like Russell and Dug from Up, only meet in one outdoor location so you may not be able to avoid them completely. Character meals, especially if you have a Disney Dining Plan, are another great way to meet multiple characters from the air conditioned comfort of your dining table.

Candlelight Processional Packages 2015

Every holiday season at Walt Disney World the Candlelight Processional is performed nightly in Epcot. The Candlelight Processional uses a choir, orchestra and celebrity narrator to tell the Christmas story from a biblical perspective.

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The show only runs after Thanksgiving and before New Year’s Eve (November 27-December 30, 2015).  It runs three times a night in the American Gardens Theatre, 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM, and 8:15 PM and is about 45 minutes long.  IllumiNations, with a special tag at the end, starts at 9:30 during the holiday season.  If you enjoy the last show, you’ll want to find your viewing spot around the lagoon immediately after the show is over.

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Candlelight Processional at Walt Disney World

Every holiday season at Walt Disney World the Candlelight Processional is performed nightly in Epcot. The Candlelight Processional uses a choir, orchestra and celebrity narrator to tell the Christmas story from a biblical perspective.

DSC_0696

The show only runs after Thanksgiving and before New Year’s Eve (November 28-December 30, 2014).  It runs three times a night in the American Gardens Theatre, 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM, and 8:15 PM and is about 45 minutes long.  IllumiNations, with a special tag at the end, starts at 9:30 during the holiday season.  If you enjoy the last show, you’ll want to find your viewing spot around the lagoon immediately after the show is over.

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Epcot Food & Wine Activities Can Be Booked Tomorrow

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival demonstrations and seminars will be available to book on Aug. 14, 2012.

This year’s event runs from Sept. 28 – Nov. 12, 2012, and is included with Park admission. Demonstrations and seminars that share mouthwatering recipes, preparation techniques, and general food and wine education, can be added to your vacation for an additional fee.

  • Culinary Demonstrations: Celebrated chefs and beverage professionals offer helpful tips and tasty samples at these 45-minute culinary demonstrations.
  • Offered daily at 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm
  • $11 and $14 per person, tax included
  • Wine/Beverage Seminars: Meet a featured winery principal or beverage expert, learn a handful of tips and sample the selected wines/beverages.
  • Offered Monday through Thursday at noon, 2 pm and 4 pm; and Friday through Sunday at 2 pm and 4 pm
  • $11 and $14 per person, tax included
  • Mixology Seminars: A mixologist demonstrates the art of preparing trendy and classic cocktails, then serves you the final product. Cheers!
  • Offered daily at 6 pm
  • $14 per person, tax included

To secure a spot at any of these events, book online or call 407-WDW-FEST. Space is very limited, so be sure to book in advance. Or, if you’re super nice, Mouse Unlimited will book them for you!

Monorail Service Ending for Evening Magic Hours

In an effort to reduce the workload on their aging monorail trains, Walt Disney World is shortening the time in which the trains will run.  Having been on the rail for over 20 years, the trains are starting to see some serious wear and tear – with several recent failures between stations, with guests on board.

Beginning on July 11 2011, the Epcot monorail service stopped operation 1 hour after regular park closing, and from August 1 2011, the Magic Kingdom monorail will stop operation 1 hour after regular park closing.

This means that in both cases, the monorail will not return guests back to their Resorts after evening Extra Magic Hours. Guests will instead be transported by bus and boats where available. Morning Extra Magic Hour service has not been affected.

All indications are that this is a permanent change.  Don’t let this stop you from enjoying Extra Magic Hours, as you will still be able to get back to your Resort via bus.

This does, unfortunately, mean guests paying a premium to stay at one of the “monorail” resorts will be slightly shortchanged in the evening – but not stranded.

Via Napoli is Seeing Changes Already

Via Napoli, the new Italian restaurant in Epcot, has already made some adjustments since opening in August.

First, they’ve updated the menu. Specifically, they’ve changed the pizzas to “Build Your Own”, starting with a basic Margherita and adding toppings at $2/each.  Their signature pizzas are still available, but are now $41 for the largest (up from $36).

A number of other dishes have been removed, and others added – all based on guest feedback.

Secondly, the covered outdoor seating has now been enclosed with glass doors. It can still be “open” when the weather is nice, or closed and air conditions when it’s blazing hot.  This will increase capacity, since the entire restaurant can seat guests year-round.

Tinker Bell and Friends have Moved Too!

Not only were Mickey and Minnie displaced by the foreclosure of Toontown, but so were Tinker Bell and her friends.

Their relocation has been much more drastic – all the way to Epcot!  Starting on February 16, the fairies will meet guests in their new Fairy Garden, outside Mouse Gears in Epcot. They’re currently greeting guests from 9:30am until 5:15pm

This will be their home for a few years, while they figure out what they’re doing back in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom.