December 18, 2013: EPCOT

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 was spent almost entirely at EPCOT. The day started off with a complimentary breakfast in the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower. The breakfast was for new DVC members or members who added points on. It was a very nice breakfast which included fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, pastries, and a variety of drinks. I was able to get a nice panoramic photograph of the skyline after the breakfast.

After breakfast we made our way to EPCOT via the monorail. We took a few photographs at the entrance to the park as we did decide to purchase the new "Memory Maker" package which is where you have your photographs taken by a Disney photographer and you receive the digital downloads for up to 30 days after the picture was taken. The really nice thing is you no longer need to have a photopass card as everything gets linked to your Magic Band.

Upon entering the park we saw that Chip and Dale were having a meet and greet so we entered the line. As we approached we asked them if they liked walnuts to which they shook their heads yes. We told them we had a walnut tree at home and they could come home with us if they wanted. With that they took us by our hands and walked us away from the area making like they were headed to the park exit with us! It was hysterical!

Our first attraction of the day, which is one of our favorites, was Soarin' for which we had a Fastpass+. As we were walking out of the Land pavilion we saw that they had miniature gingerbread versions of different areas of Walt Disney World which were really cool. Our next stop was Mission Space for which we also had a Fastpass+.

Anna and Elsa from "Frozen" now have a meet and greet in the Norway area of World Showcase. After Mission Space we made our way there and, as reports on the internet stated, the wait time is 2 - 2 1/2 hours. We decided to wait it out as this was a new event and we wanted to experience it. The wait did turn out to be a little over 2 hours as there are times when the characters come out and they only stay out for about 40 minutes with then about a 20 minute gap before the next time slot. Both characters were great and I am glad we did wait for the experience as I am not sure if this is permanent or not. In the building next to the meet and greet there is a small area that talks about the influence of Norweigan culture on the movie.

In the Puffin's Roost, the gift shop in Norway where they sell the cologne Geir Ness, the designer of the fragrance was present. I bought a bottle as I wear this cologne almost exclusively and he signed the bottle as well as a headshot of himself. In addition he posed for a picture with me. It was a great thrill to meet him and I shared the number of compliments I get from wearing his cologne. After this we went on Maelstrom which was only a 15 minute wait to finish out our time in Norway.

We returned to the Chase Visa Character Meet and Greet and today the character was Mickey! The previous two times I went to this meet and greet it was Minnie and Pluto so it was great getting a different character. Since we had time before our dinner reservation we went to the EPCOT Character Spot and had photos taken with Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie again.

Returning the Land we went on Living With the Land which had several Christmas and Holiday decorations throughout the greenhouse area including a snowman, Christmas tree and even decorations in the shrimp / lobster farming areas. Our dinner reservation was at the Garden Grill which also included the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. Because it included the package which gave you seating the processional, the dinner cost two entitlements on the dining plan. The food at the Garden Grill included sweet rolls, salad, turkey, stuffing, fish, steak, mashed potato, and skillet cake with berries. The characters present at the Garden Grill are Chip, Dale, Mickey Mouse in his farmer's outfit, and Pluto.

After dinner we walked through World Showcase and went to the Alice in Wonderland character meet and greet followed by having our picture taken in front of France. The Candlelight Processional is how we ended our day which was amazing as always. Edward James Olmos was the celebrity narrator and he did an amazing job. We had seen him as the narrator a few years ago and he mentioned that he has been appearing for 15 years now. He also mentioned that Walt Disney himself is who initiated the program. Mr. Olmos was very reverent in his presentation and thanked the Disney family for putting all of what we experience together. It was an excellent presentation.