Hey everyone! I wanted to bring you a special edition of Observations today. It’s a little departure from the photos of crowds and food and things that I usually take because I’ve been working on ways to show you the parks that mix it up so you don’t fall asleep ”walking” with me through Hollywood Studios or World Showcase. I went to Epcot yesterday to do some recon on a new restaurant and a couple of other menu-type things. I like getting pictures of characters, and I know that every once in a while a princess or a pixie will show up outside the large gate between the United Kingdom Pavilion and the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase.
I strolled by around 11, but there wasn’t anything going on. I hit Fountain View for a latte (see the menu) and made my way back, and, as I was passing an again-empty walkway, I heard someone talking from behind the gate. Just past the merchandise cart there’s a little break in the shrubbery, and you can actually see into the courtyard behind. Lo and behold, there was a cast member talking to either a very tall man with a hair shirt or Br’er Bear. Deciding it was less disturbing to assume it was the bear, I planted myself directly in front of the gate to see just what was up.
What happened next is one of the most Disney things I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve been coming to the parks since before I can remember, and while I hate throwing the word “magical” around too much (I close with it to be a little sassy), what transpired was definitely magical. First, a door to the right of the gate swung open, and Chip and Dale skipped out with a cast member.
While I’m never going to turn down a chance to say, “Hi!” to these two rascals, I knew there had to be more. Because, well, I could see feet and an orange hat through the crack in the gate! After a few laughs with the handful of us standing around (maybe 5 people?), the boys went up and knocked on the gate. And I kind of geeked out thinking I was going to get to see some friends.
If you scroll through the next few shots really fast, it’ll maybe look like exactly what I saw. Well, maybe not, but it was so awesome. The gates opened a little, and there was Br’er Bear!
And then they just kept opening! It should be noted here that I made some kind of high-pitched screechy noise. Just accept that it happened and keep scrolling.
TEN characters (don’t forget the chipmunks are there), with some you don’t see very often (hey there, Max and Mr. Smee!). There are some people who give these kinds of events value based on how many rare characters there are, but the second I saw Mickey and Minnie together, it was more than enough for me. I was transported back to the days of postcards on my bulletin board and dreaming about going to Disney World, and it was fantastic.
At this point, the meet and greet had drawn 30 or 40 people. The characters walked back down the pathway and proceeded to meet, greet, take pictures, sign autographs, and have great interactions.
The real story behind this is that these meet and greets are where many characters get their interaction training. But that’s not a lot of fun, so we’ll just leave it at being a whole lot of bang for your buck if you’re looking for photos and autographs with no lines. Because of the training aspect, it’s unlikely that you’ll see these kinds of meet and greets on super-busy days, but always be sure to look. This one started around 11:45 a.m. I’ll leave you with a fun photo of me and the mouse, and best wishes on having such an experience here. Until you do…Keep it Magical.