Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. In fact, with this edition of MMM Your Humble Author is completing the greatest month in the history of theme park blogging. In December we had the 25 Drinks of Christmas countdown (featuring the Nautilus at Grog Grotto, Deathly Hallows at WWOHP, Candy Apple Cotton-Tini at T-Rex Cafe and more), SATURDAY SIXES on the best souvenir cups at WDW along with Indiana Jones references in Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, our annual IN MEMORIAM – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World, and the inaugural 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas. Of course readers of this fine column will enjoy Six Gifts Santa Can Bring BACK to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores 2015)
Now while all of you were out buying the wrong gift for your loved ones, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the Outlet coverage you
Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you)
We are going to start off this month’s report with a story so uplifting that, if it was made into a movie, it could only star Kirk Cameron. When the Disney Outlet Store off of International Drive was shut down in June for a “refurbishment,” we were told it would be closed for three months and reopen in September. Well, September came and went and it still wasn’t open. October came and went and it still wasn’t open. November came and went and it still wasn’t open…
I made many trips past this closed Outlet Store during the Summer and Fall, not unlike Ralphie Parker hoping to find his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring in the mail.
A funny thing happened in early December. I had bought tickets to go to a private event in Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando Resort, which is close to the International Drive Outlets. I walked by the Disney Outlet, and found it still closed, but this time there was a sign on the door…
Wait, is that a sign on the door?!
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A few weeks ago I was in Epcot Guest Relations and overheard a flustered mom asking where she could find Merida, the latest Disney Princess from the movie Brave. It seemed like a reasonable request since she was in a Disney park. Her daughter waited anxiously behind her with red ringlets bouncing on the wig that sat strangely on her head, not quite fitting. I watched tears well up when they were told that Merida was only in the Magic Kingdom, and a flustered mom turned furious as they stomped off for the other park. In hopes of preventing future disasters like this one, I decided to share this little guide to finding princesses. Remember – this is accurate as of November 2013 but character meeting locations change all the time, so please always check here for the latest information!
Ariel is one of those princesses who only meets in one very specific location, making it a little harder to catch her. You can find her appearing daily in her Grotto just by the new Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid ride in the Magic Kingdom. It’s best to try to meet her early or late in the day as like most things the midday line gets very long. While this line looks like it’s indoors it’s really just caves making it still very hot in the summer months. I also recommend meeting Ariel before riding her ride as the load capacity is much higher for the omnimover attraction. Please be aware that Ariel normally swims away one hour before park closing, so don’t wait too late to meet her!
Mulan also only meets in one spot but she is even harder to find due to limited “sets”. You can find her in front of the China area in Epcot just behind the arches. Currently she greets at: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, and 3:50pm – weather permitting. The weather in Florida tends to either be hot or cold. There really aren’t many perfect days. It makes this a tough meet and greet to get to comfortably. I recommend trying to make it over for her earliest meeting time as lines will be shortest and hopefully the weather will be mild.
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