November 29th was the first day of Epcot's Holidays Around the World so I took a stroll "Around the World".
At 9am the parking area was already starting to back up - but hey, it was the day after Thanksgiving so I figured as much. Back ups remain at the new turnstyles - folks confused about how to activate their admission ticket.
MAGIC BAND TIP: Touch your Magic Band Mickey to the Mickey icon, wait for the white circle to stop spinning, THEN place your figure on the scanner and it will hopefully turn green allowing you to enter.
TIP: Be sure to pick up the Epcot Holidays Around the World Guide as you enter the park.
Goofy and Donald topiaries are at the entrance to greet you.
You'll find Bambi on the left side of the planting.
Thumper and Flower are on the right side.
In the Epcot Holidays Around the World Guide the first item says NEW! Gingerbread Village in Future World West. Since no pavilion was mentioned, I (haha) assumed it was outside some place - maybe where the Butterfly House is during Flower and Garden .....so i wandered over there and walked from one side to the other and saw no village. Went over to Guest Services - at first the Cast Member wasn't sure, then said - Oh It's in the Land Pavilion. I asked if he were certain and he said yes. So back to the Land I go, only to find there is NO Gingerbread Village and it won't be up until sometime early December.
Back to the main Future World Walkway and Mickey and Minnie topiaries are there to greet everyone!
On the opposite side is Pluto and his dog house.
Between the 2 stores are some snowflakes...
...and the Epcot Christmas Tree with ornaments representing the countries around World Showcase.
NEW This year is the Holiday Passport. Those who visited during the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival or the Food and Wine Festival are familiar with the passport. It was difficult to find these on opening day but they are at the special holiday snack/beverages kiosks.
This one points out special holiday snacks and beverages, special merchandise, entertainment and a holiday photo op. Don't forget to get your country stamp too!
TIP: Some of the holiday snacks and beverages are part of the Disney Dining Plan snack program.
First on my agenda for the day was to visit Norway and see Anna and Elsa from Frozen. I arrived about 10:25 and was quite surprised to see the entire area packed. Folks were waiting for breakfast, others for the Maelstom, others for the princesses, but also filiming was taking place.
Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, was filming segments for Mickey's Christmas Day Parade.
A long line had already formed for Anna and Elsa so I joined it. About 5 minutes later a Cast Member came through doing a head count and then the line for the 11am Meet and Greet closed (about 10:30). Talking to folks in the line they all commented how earlier in the week lines were anywhere from 90 minutes or more for the princesses.
I'll have video and more photos up later!
TIP: If you must see Elsa and Anna head over to Norway before 10:30 to get in the line for the first meet and greet. You'll end up waiting whether you do it earlier or later in the day, so might as well get the waiting done.
The store is filled with merchandise from Frozen. Guests in the store told me the costumes are sometimes sold out - so if you want to purchase one - do so when you see it! Many little girls in the line were already in the princess costumes. Since the movie has just opened on Thanksgiving, I wondered how many of these children have even seen the movie?!
The gallery in the Stave Church has reopened as "Creating the World of Frozen". The team went to Norway to explore, much as they did with Brave. Inside the gallery you'll find items and photos of things that inspired segments of the movie. I'll be sure to revisit the gallery again after I see the movie.
TIP: The inside of the Stave Church is very dark and also small. May be difficult maneuvering for those in wheel chairs.
As I mentioned earlier, there are some holiday snacks and beverages available for purchase. A few of the Food and Wine Kiosks are still present but now with a holiday theme.
The Holiday Passport mentions a photo op in Germany's decorated village. Indeed it is quite pretty.
Time to start strolling World Showcase and see the Holiday Storytellers. I seemed to keep missing them until I got to Italy.
TIP: The Storytellers will take a few minutes after the show to meet guests and pose for photos.
La Befana remembers her first Christmas 2000 years ago.
Angela tells the story of Hanukkah.
TIP: Considering having the storyteller sign your autograph book!
At the American Adventure you will find Santa's Village with a beautiful tree as the centerpiece. Mr. and Mrs. Claus greet guests here and there were LONG lines to see the holiday couple! Also in the area are several holiday merchandise kiosks and the Sugar and Spice Bake Shop!
TIP: New bathrooms are open on the right side of the pavilion, near Santa's Village. You no longer have to go to the far left.
One of my favorite storytellers is Pere Noel in France. He recreates the magic of Christmas through the eyes of a child.
Holidays in Canada is new this year. The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs take you on a musical tour of the country. You'll recognize several members of the band from Off Kilter (who are on break til after the holidays). There is a new female singer and a great fiddler!
It was nearing dinner time so I headed out of the park. On the way out the Stitch topiary thanks you for visiting.
For complete Holidays Around the World Information visit:
Schedules and more information on the Holiday Storytellers: http://allears.net/tp/h_epcotstorytellers.htm
2013 Information on Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: http://allears.net/tp/hol_mk.htm
And much more to come..............including more photos and videos from the 2013 Epcot Holidays Around the World.
The previous post in this blog was Happy Thanksgiving.
The next post in this blog is Magic Kingdom Walk About - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Testing Video.