My family is lucky enough to live within a reasonable driving distance from Disney to be able to take weekend trips on occasion. We were in Disney in January and April and had a trip in the works for June to take the boys to Star Wars Weekend. During our last trip in April, we made sure to visit my youngest son’s most favorite strawberry – scented bear: Lotso Huggin’ Bear from Toy Story 3. Being the Disney Nut that I am, I knew this would be the last time Lotso was at The Magic of Disney Animation building in Hollywood Studios.
Shortly after we returned home from that trip, I started hearing about Pixar Weekend at Hollywood Studios which was shaping up to be a meet and greet with Pixar characters that aren’t always out in the parks. One name in particular caught my eye – Lotso! I quickly started looking at the calendar to see if a very quick trip would fit into our schedule and if we were able to go again so soon. Thankfully everything worked out and Friday we were headed down I – 95 for another adventure.
As Pixar Weekend approached, several speakers were announced and people were invited to attend the various presentations. I quickly signed my husband up for them since he likes to hear how the different movies were made and “behind the scenes” stuff. This meant that I would be roaming EPCOT with the task of meeting the Pixar characters with my two boys on my own. Normally I don’t mind taking the boys anywhere alone but I was a bit worried about being in Disney alone with them.
Waiting in line to enter EPCOT Saturday morning listening to people around us talk about their plans for the day, I learned that not many people realized the special event happening and I started to calm down a little bit and not stress so much. The events didn’t start until the World Showcase opened at 11 so we spent the first couple of hours in EPCOT riding The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Soarin’ and Test Track among other things.
Special maps were available for Pixar Weekend and we located the building where the presentations would be held as well as where many of the characters would be and decided to start off there when it opened at 11 which was referred to at Pixar Celebration Central for the weekend. After my husband checked in for the presentations, we got in line to see the characters. Everything seemed very well marked and the entrance felt very fancy and special with the red carpet.
To keep guests busy while waiting in line, the path was lined with big displays that looked like pages of a book with information about different Pixar movies. Honestly, while we were there, this wasn’t needed as the line moved fairly quickly to get into the building. They would have been better used inside for people to look at while waiting for the characters.
The set up inside the building located between the United Kingdom and Canada reminded me very much of EPCOT’s Character Spot meet and greet area. Overall the lines for the various characters were certainly reasonable. Lines for Monster’s Inc. and Up! characters seemed to move a bit more slowly and characters changed out so if you were waiting for someone in particular, they may not be there when you reached the front of the line. Several people let others pass in front of them while they waited for their preferred characters to return then politely asked to get back in line.
My husband thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and the first one of the day by Jay Ward, CARS Franchise Guardian, was by far his favorite. He said the Green Army Men from Toy Story came out to entertain the crowd while they were waiting for speakers to come out on stage. Trivia questions were also asked to pass time for a chance to win a set of Goofy Mater ears (hubby never won any).
When the boys and I were finished meeting the characters inside Pixar Celebration Central, we headed off around the World to pick up our Race Booklets and meet the rest of the characters out for the weekend. In April the boys had gotten the Lightening McQueen booklets in World Showcase at the Kidcot stations. We never made it to all the countries because they started so late in the day with this project last time so they were determined to finish their mission this time. We started off in France to meet Remy and Emile and get our race booklet and first sticker.
From France we headed to Morocco to meet some friends from “A Bug’s Life”. This meet and greet area for two of the bugs – Flick and Atta – was inside a very small playground so the boys played while I held our place in line. We met the walking stick bug just outside the playground and while waiting in line for the other two bugs, I noticed a group of Cast Members in the area where the walking stick was. I realized the walking stick had fallen over some how and several CMs were trying to help get him back on his feet. Thankfully they were able to without too much of a scene.
Japan was the next stop for us so the boys could get a sticker in their race booklet. Here we also stopped and got shaved ice – one for the boys to share and one for mommy! We scooted over to America and got in line for Woody and Bullseye. While we were waiting, thunder started and was quickly followed by a brief downpour. I was never so thankful for shaved ice! The boys were happy with their treat and I was happy they were behaving while having to wait a little longer before the characters came back out due to the weather. They also took this chance to color their Duffy Bear and get their sticker in their race booklet (yes, we currently had three projects going at once – meting the Pixar characters, finishing the race booklet and coloring Duffy on a stick). Thankfully the rain let up long enough for Woody and Bullseye to come back for us to say hello. The weather was not looking much better so we headed inside the Liberty Inn to find a table and grab some lunch.
We made it inside just in time and we watched two more downpours while we enjoyed lunch. When we were all finished, we continued on our journey to Italy to get our final sticker. Since we were about halfway around the World, I just kept going along and we came upon a gate closed between Germany and China. At first I was a little annoyed because the dark clouds were coming back but then I realized they were just moving the barges out for Illuminations. The draw bridge entranced the boys and they loved watching the ships pass through. Before too long, we were back on our way out of EPCOT to head to the car.
We stopped at Showcase Plaza to get our final race booklet sticker and our fabulous button for completing our mission. This was the perfect treat for them and they both really loved the button which I was kind of surprised by. We then got trapped in the store because it started to rain again so we browsed until the weather let up.
It was a really great day overall. I felt like I’d accomplished my mission knowing I could survive for a day with the boys and the kiddos were happy that they’d met the characters, colored Duffy on a stick and got their buttons. After all that work, we headed back to the condo for a nap!