Observations from Epcot: November 1, 2013

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Date: Friday, November 1, 2013
Touring Plans Crowd Calendar Level: 3
Weather: Sunny and warm with highs in the low 80′s, low 60′s at night

At this point I think you all know how much I love 1) breakfast at Captain’s Grille and 2) the International Gateway, so I can be brief in saying that I had breakfast at Captain’s Grille and made my way out of Yacht Club to the International Gateway. A couple of weeks ago I had a reader question about some construction at Yacht and Beach on the beach itself. I didn’t know the answer then, but as it turns out, the construction resulted in a very nice fire pit area. If you haven’t roasted marshmallows and watched a beach movie, give it a try next time you’re in the Epcot Resort Area. It’s fun and free.

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On the way in into the park through the back gate (as it’s sometimes called by those of us too lazy to say International Gateway), there’s a fairly new FastPass+ kiosk location. Good to know if you don’t have a smartphone and need to work in your My Disney Experience account with your FP+ times.

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The International Gateway has been character-free for a few weeks now, and as I entered the uncrowded gate, it all made sense; the area where characters used to appear at random for photo ops has been turned into a smoking area. I’m not too happy about that and hope that it changes after Food & Wine and the characters come back. Just over the bridge into the UK I saw an interesting FP+ sign that I hadn’t ever noticed before. I wound my way back behind the buildings and found this:

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No line, but as it turns out, it’s the FP+ queue for the new Winnie the Pooh meet and greet location. The characters weren’t meeting at the time, but the meet and greet set itself is really well done. I have a bit of trouble with the fact that Pooh and friends were never in Christopher Robin’s room, but we’ll skip that sideline for now.

Christopher Robin's RoomCrowd predictions were right on target for the day, making my walk to the Norway Pavilion for the Frozen Meet and greet easy. Anna and Elsa, the princess sisters from Disney’s newest animated feature, Frozen (in theaters November 27), now meet and greet daily in the Puffin’s Roost at the Norway pavilion, and are some of the most on-point face characters I’ve seen. A couple of things about this M&G: first, the Norway pavilion sells a perfume called Laila that is a major trigger for some people’s allergies. I saw a few people have some pretty bad reactions and leave the area before they could meet the princesses. Just something to be aware of. Also, the entirety of the queue is outside, uncovered. Bring drinks if it’s warm and an umbrella if it’s warm or wet. I arrived at the line at about 11:20, and the line was long enough that I had to wait in line to get in line for the 12:00 meet. The area itself is lovely, though, and the princesses very engaging.

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After the princesses, I had some work to do in the form of testing every new item (there are six) at Karamell-Küche in the Germany pavilion. I’ll do a separate post on that experience, but the overall outcome is that none of the items were big winners with me except the Caramel Toffee bark. Get it. It’s delicious.

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I also did a test of a couple of new ice cream treats at Les Glaces in the France Pavilion before going into a sugar coma and laying in the walkway for a good twenty minutes (not really, but close). From World Showcase I headed to Club Cool to get some information on the new soda flavors.

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It’s sometimes easy to forget, especially when you’re trying to throw elbows to get to the melon soda, how cool Club Sticky Shoes (as I like to call it) actually is inside. So what other new flavors did they get? Fanta Pineapple, Guarana Kuat, Sparberry, and Inca K0la. Because I feared for my blood sugar at that point, I only tried the melon. It was delicious. No way I could drink more than a few sips because wow is it sweet, but I can see mixing it with…other things.

Back to the Showcase to make my way back around to the Gateway, and the kiosk lines were really starting to build. It’s the last week of Food & Wine, so get here if you can. There were some great offerings this year as well as some pretty memorable Eat to the Beat Concerts.

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As usual, I’ll leave you with a couple of just-because-they’re-nice-to-look-at shots. The first is the UK pavilion. There are a few places in the Showcase that really bring back travel memories for me, and this is one of them.

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And last but certainly not least, a picture from just outside Stormalong Bay at Yacht and Beach Club. This resort area will forever be my favorite because of its location and the gorgeous scenery. Until next time, keep it magical.

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Posted on November 8, 2013

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