The delightful Winnie The Pooh comes out on Blu-ray and DVD this week. I saw it twice—first with one set of nieces and nephews and then with the other. They laughed all the way through it, and so did I. Having grown up with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, I loved how the opening sequence was an homage to the original. The film was charming from beginning to end, and it reinforced my love for the inhabitants of Hundred Acre Wood.
So, in honor of the film’s release, here are five things to do in Walt Disney World if you love Winnie the Pooh and friends:
1. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Although many of us were sad to see Mr. Toad go, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a great non-scary dark ride. It has a new interactive queue which I still need to experience; I’ve heard it’s awesome! I love the incorporation of the book pages throughout the attraction.
2. Crystal Palace Restaurant Character Meal
Character meals are a great way to get autographs and photos without having to stand in line! At Crystal Palace, you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. We went there for my nephew’s first birthday, and when he was in the midst of smearing his cupcake frosting all over his face, Pooh came over and dabbed at his face with a napkin. So cute!
3. Meet-and-Greet in United Kingdom
You might not think of Epcot as a place to see characters, but characters can frequently be spotted in their respective countries in World Showcase. Last week’s Epcot Times Guide listed “Winnie The Pooh & Friends” in United Kingdom every day from 1:00-8:15 p.m. (with one 50-minute break from 4:45-5:35).
4. The Magic of Disney Animation
I’m guessing this is somewhat temporary because The Magic of Disney Animation usually features the latest film characters, but at least right now, Pooh can be found there. Last week’s Hollywood Studios Times Guide lists him there continuously from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
5. Animal Kingdom (Discovery Island or Camp Minnie-Mickey)
The appearances of Pooh characters here are a little less predictable. Last week’s Animal Kingdom Times Guide lists “Friends from Hundred Acre Wood” at Discovery Island near Flame Tree Barbecue. But I’ve also heard they can be found in Camp Minnie-Mickey. Amanda P. from the Disney Moms Panel said that even Rabbit is there sometimes.
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Unfortunately, this list is two experiences shorter than it used to be. Before Jake and the Never Land Pirates were added to Playhouse Disney—Live on Stage (and the name was changed to Disney Junior—Live on Stage), there was a My Friends Tigger & Pooh sequence. I haven’t seen the new show yet, so I can’t comment on whether it was a good change. If nothing else, it means there’s one more item on our list of things to do in Walt Disney World if you love pirates. The other experience we lost was the Pooh Corner shop in Downtown Disney, which had an adorable photo spot right outside. The store was closed in 2010 and replaced by Marketplace Fun Finds.
So, could you do all these in one Hundred Acre Wood-themed day? Yes, but it will involve hitting all four parks in a day! (And seeing the same characters in different parks in rapid succession. If you have small children with you, you might have to tell them the characters have faster transportation options than you do.) I’d start off with breakfast at Crystal Palace, because you can make reservations for before park opening. Then, head over and ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Your next move depends on the Times Guides. It’s easiest to get to Epcot from Magic Kingdom, because you can take the monorail right there, but if Pooh and friends aren’t in the UK until the afternoon, you might want to head to Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios next. If you do take the monorail to Epcot, remember you can take the boat to Hollywood Studios, so the only bus you’ll need is from Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom. (I’m a fan of avoiding buses when possible.) If all goes well, you’ll have photos with Pooh and friends in four different parks (and you can compare their signatures to see how similar they are).
So what did I miss? Can you think of any other Pooh-related photo ops in Walt Disney World?