New Winnie The Pooh Meet & Greet

Winnie the Pooh is one of a few characters in the Disney pantheon that is older than Mickey Mouse himself. Created by author A. A. Milne, he debuted in the book “Winnie-the-Pooh” on October 14, 1926 (my birthday!).  Pooh himself along with the other characters were inspired by his son, the real life Christopher Robin, and his son’s stuffed toys.  These original stuffed toys can be found in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library.  Though the name may seem odd, it is actually a combination of two names: a bear named “Winnie” who had been the mascot for the Winnipeg regiment of the Canadian Army, and a swan the family had met while on vacation named “Pooh”.

It wasn’t until 1961 that Walt Disney Productions licensed both the film rights and several other rights from both Steven Slesinger, Inc. – who had purchased some rights to the character in 1930 – and the Estate of A. A. Milne.  And though there have been several legal issues resulting, from this moment forward Winnie the Pooh and friends have been a part of the Disney family of characters.  Over the course of the next few years, Disney made several cartoons and featurettes including my personal favorite “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” which is featured in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction (named after the 1977 movie) at Magic Kingdom along with others.

Now, after 50 years of Winnie the Pooh and friends being a part of the Disney family, they are starring in an all new movie simply named after the cuddly old bear himself, “Winnie the Pooh“.  If you’ve followed the movies and featurettes over the years you’re likely familiar with the fact that the stories in these are drawn from the original works of Milne and strung together into a combined story.  Pooh is out of honey.  Eeeyore has lost his tail, home, or whatever.  Owl has poor reading comprehension.  The best laid plans backfire.  But, everything works out in the end.  Everyone remains friends.  Always.  And somehow we all feel a little wiser and warmer on the inside.  Espeically our tummies.  These are the core themes of every Winnie the Pooh adventure.

To celebrate this release, Disney has decided to showcase Winnie the Pooh himself at a Meet & Greet in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Replacing Lotso – the crazed, evil bear from the Pixar movie “Toy Story 3” – you can find him inside The Magic of Disney Animation building.  While several characters have been in this location previously, recently they’ve gone to what seems to be great lengths to theme this area strongly for the showcased characters.  This time around they’ve done a fantastic job.

When you enter the queue you pass by the spine of a book titled “Winnie The Pooh” because you’re supposed to be climbing into the story book itself in order to meet with the character.  Like the classic novel, this book starts with a map of the Hundred Acre Wood, the place where Pooh and his friends live.  On it you’ll find the homes of Pooh, Eeeyore, Owl, and Rabbit as well as the places they visit.

If you look around the walls you’ll immediately see that you’re walking along the pages of the book itself (not the entire book, just a few key pages).  You’ll see Eeeyore and read about his lost tail, and Kanga’s attempt to replace it.  You’ll see the pit that Pooh and his friends get trapped in and the clever manner in which they escape.  You’ll also see pictures of Pooh’s dreams about honey, and screens that draw characters like Rabbit, Kanga, and Christopher Robin.

Then after waiting, you come out to be face-to-face with Winnie the Pooh himself.  You’ll find yourself standing in front of his home as indicated by the “Mr. Sanders” sign above the door – a remnant left behind by the previous tenant.  If you look around the theming goes just a bit beyond the painted cardboard facade – there are layers to it and some pieces are not flat.  A portion of the carpet has been replaced to feel like the grass and leave covered floor of the woods themselves.

If you look around you’ll also notice two somewhat “animated” portions of the meet and greet.  First, you’ll notice that Pooh is not alone.  His best friend Piglet has come by to visit, but somehow poor Piglet has gotten himself stuck inside a beehive.  Occasionally he will shake in order to try and escape and even shout to Pooh for help.  The other is a pot of “Hunny” that is designed to appear to be floating around by a single red balloon, but is actually controlled by a system of pulleys.  You will notice a blackboard with the word “TAEL” on it, and object under it that may be another replacement for Eeyore’s missing tail.

Disney could have simply stuck Pooh next to a cardboard tree and called it a day, but instead they went the extra mile.  Taking the time to theme the meet & greet the way they did shows their love and dedication toward the characters created by Milne, and what he was trying to represent with them.  And I can’t thank them enough for this.

What about you? Are you a fan of Winnie the Pooh?  Are you looking forward to meeting with him?  Have you yet?  At this meeting or another?  Are you looking forward to the new movie?  Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

Todd Perlmutter

Todd is a Central Florida local who just so happens to be a mega geeky Disney, tech, and gaming nerd. Lives or dies by his iPhone - it spending a significant amount of time in his hand while he's at Walt Disney World. In addition to being blogger here at TouringPlans.com he is also a developer working on the Touring Plans Engine, the Chief Technical Officer for The Disney Driven Life, and co-host of the Disney Film Project Podcast. Loves his wife (@cherylp3) and pup (@DisneyDoggie). You can reach Todd via Twitter (@tperlmutter) or Facebook (tperlmutter).

18 thoughts on “New Winnie The Pooh Meet & Greet

  • June 19, 2011 at 9:42 am
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    I’m so glad you posted this! I am definitely a HUGE fan of Winnie the Pooh, and since I live in Florida, I will definitely be taking a trip to MGM (I’m sorry, old habits never die) soon!

  • June 19, 2011 at 10:52 am
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    Oh man, I was obsessed with Winnie the Pooh as a child, and when I got to experience the ride for the first time last year, it was one of the best moments of my whole trip– even as an adult. So yes, I am DEFINITELY excited about this meet and greet!!

    • June 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm
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      It’s just really well planned and I think that it fills the needs of Pooh Fans very well. Planning to see it?

  • June 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm
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    I SOOOOO hope this is still there when I get there in Oct!! Pooh is my adult character obsession!

    • June 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm
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      I think there’s a good chance. Lotso was around for a while.

  • June 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm
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    I visited on my recent trip at the end of May and it was very exciting to meet Pooh Bear. I was reassured to see that most of the queue/line was adults. He was lovely 🙂 much more exciting than Mickey and cuddlier than Sully.

    • June 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm
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      Glad you enjoyed it. Pooh is always a favorite for me too. And my heart is for Minnie 😉

      • June 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm
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        Rather bizarrely my other favourite meet is Buzz Lightyear. Became about 8 years old when I met him (am 38)

        • June 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm
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          Heh… I get a kick out of meet and greets. I’ve been known to hug and lift characters off their feet.

  • June 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm
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    Going there, next week! Thanks for the heads up – my little one just loves Piglet!

  • June 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm
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    Love this! We are def. Excited about the movie, my boys love Pooh. Will see this in Nov! Any tips for when to fit it in? Right after TSM?

      • June 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm
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        Thanks! We are on a “do the Pixar and cool preschool boy stuff – and avoid everything else plan” lol. I will check it out!

      • November 30, 2012 at 12:30 am
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        – Andria, you are putting out some GOOD STUFF. This is butfaieul. The first look made me want to cry. It looks/sounds like you have a special relationship with this couple and I’m so happy they had you! So unlike all Hawaii weddings in a really good way.

  • July 9, 2012 at 12:32 am
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    of course like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to inform the truth on the other hand I will definitely come again again.

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