Observations at Epcot: September 6

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With crowds thinning out from Summer peaks and Food & Wine Festival just around the corner, I headed to Epcot last Friday to take a look around. My morning started with a fuel-up at Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. It’s generally easy to do a walk-in there, and breakfast never disappoints. I chose the Country French Toast with fig and apple compote and, like I told the Twitterverse that morning, it was so good it made me want to hug people. You can find my review here.

Kouzzina's Country French Toast

Kouzzina’s Country French Toast

I made the short walk from Kouzzina around the Boardwalk to Epcot’s International Gateway. The turnstiles are currently being replaced with RFID gateways, so bag check has been taken down to one two-sided table. The Gateway is rarely very busy, so it’s not a major inconvenience.

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World Showcase doesn’t open until 11 a.m. so I headed to Future World. September weather here in Florida is still pretty steamy, but the sky usually manages to be a fantastic shade of blue, making for some pretty great pictures.

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Crowds were fairly light as I traveled through, with Spaceship Earth posting a five-minute wait and Epcot Character Spot a seven-minute line to the characters. If you’re looking for a great character photo-op with Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto, Character Spot can’t be beat. It’s rarely a long wait and has been recently renovated. You’ll find its entrance in the breezeway just across from Innoventions West.

Mickey meets and greets at Epcot Character Spot

Mickey meets and greets at Epcot Character Spot

The Land pavilion was bustling as usual and Soarin’ posted a reasonable 45-minute wait time while Living with the Land was a walk-on attraction. I skipped Soarin’ for the day, interested to see how the Fountain View renovation had gone. For those who haven’t heard, Fountain View Ice Cream has been converted to a Starbucks location. The new decor is in keeping with the forward-looking vantage point of Future World without being kitschy and the food and beverage offerings are classic Starbucks with Disney-added baked goods and snacks. I tried the Pumpkin scone and was happy with the texture – not too dry – as well as the taste – not too sweet. I think guests will be pleased to find that most food and beverage offerings in the cafe are included on the Disney Dining Plan and require one snack credit each.

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World Showcase was beginning to fill in when I started the circle around 11:30 a.m. Most noticeable this week were the Food & Wine kiosks set up and awaiting the Festival. I like that each of the booths is themed in keeping with the international stories in Epcot.

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World Showcase was completely uncrowded as I made my way around, with walk-up lunch availability for even the most popular spots like Via Napoli. Character lines for Mulan, Belle, and Donald Duck were short, with between 15 and 20 guests in each. While crowds are generally down this time of year anyway, it was also melt-your-face-off hot, which never goes well in the mostly-sunny walkways of the showcase. I did notice that the construction at the Moroccan pavilion’s new waterside restaurant venue has risen to second-story level above the construction walls, giving us a little hint of what’s to come.

A new waterfront restaurant goes up behind walls at the Moroccan pavilion.

A new waterfront restaurant goes up behind walls at the Moroccan pavilion.

I rounded out my trip with a performance by the American Pavilion’s Fife & Drum Corps who play at several times throughout the day. Check your times guide for more information. Even on a hot afternoon, there’s something to be said for watching a colonial-era band pay tribute to the Star Spangled Banner.

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The American Pavilion’s Fife & Drum Corps

 

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Posted on September 12, 2013

21 Responses to “Observations at Epcot: September 6”

  • Morgan- your photos are beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Great work, as always Morgan!

  • Wow! It looks so empty and peaceful… perhaps I need to put September on the list for a trip.

  • My husband and I are headed down next weekend (without kids!!!) to celebrate our anniversary. We can’t wait to enjoy our day at Epcot – hope it’s nice and sunny and empty like this day was for you. Thanks for the tour and the pictures, which are beautiful!

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on September 12, 2013, at 9:42 pm EDT

      Fantastic, Leah! I hope you have a wonderful time. Disney is great with kids but there’s so much to see when you’re not worried about making it to the next ride.

  • I really enjoyed your commentary. You add very interesting details, like the snack option, that folks find truly helpful. The photos are fantastic. Can’t wait to read your next blog. Happy travels!

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on September 12, 2013, at 9:44 pm EDT

      Thank you so much for your comment, Jackie. We have so many parks veterans that it’s fun to see what kinds of things I can add that will be helpful to new guests and those coming back.

  • by Jennifer Wolfe on September 12, 2013, at 8:30 pm EDT

    Great review, Morgan! Thanks for the info on the Fountain View and snack credit options–we’re definitely planning to stop in on our upcoming trip. Looking forward to your next post!

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on September 12, 2013, at 9:44 pm EDT

      Thank you! I think we’re going to see a lot of snack credit usage on coffee in the near future. I’d use them just to get the special Tinker Bell Starbuck’s cups.

  • Wonderful post! This is our favorite time of year to visit! Great detailed info about new, old and upcoming stops. Thanks and keep up the great work!!

  • Thanks for confirming that Character Spot is a short wait now. I’d heard that it was improved but the personalized TP is still listing it as a 30 minute wait on a slow day.

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on September 13, 2013, at 11:48 am EDT

      It can be a wait sometimes, Terri, and it all really depends on how much time the characters are taking to interact and sign autographs and how many families have multiple children. It’s a difficult logarithm sometimes but I think you’ll be pleased with the area overall. Thanks for reading!

  • Great photos and wonderfully descriptive writing … feels like I’m there. Can we expect crowds to be as thin the week of the 22nd? should we pack a poncho too? It will be the first visit for our 4 yr old so thanks for the tip on character spot.

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on September 13, 2013, at 11:50 am EDT

      Thank you, Alfie. I really appreciate that. Crowds will be at similar levels the week that you’re here, with perhaps a bump each day as you head toward what is the first weekend of Food & Wine Festival on the 28th. I always carry an umbrella here, because as soon as I don’t, it rains. It has been less rainy than it was in June and July, however. Have a great time with your kiddo!

  • We were at Epcot September 7 and was surprised how lite the crowds were. We were in the French pavilion and Princess Aurora was in the gazebo with nobody meeting her. We saw her that morning, but decided to go say hi anyway to give her something to do, plus character interaction is always good when they know they have plenty of time to chat.

    It is hot this time of year, but the low crowds are always worth it.

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on September 13, 2013, at 11:51 am EDT

      That’s always such a neat way to interact with characters, Scott. I’m glad you got to experience that. Thanks for taking time to leave me some feedback and I’m glad you had a great time!

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