In honor of the recent closing of one of my favorite character spots, I figured a Monday Memory post was necessary. EPCOT is home to some of my favorite character meet and greets, like the Fab 5 in Future World, and princesses such as Belle and Mulan in their respective World Showcase countries.One classic character meet and greet that has recently moved to make way for updated magic was the UK Pavilion’s Christopher Robbins Room experience.
Nestled in a secretive nook behind to the right of where the British Revolution perform, is the most precious room that belongs to none other than Christopher Robin. While he was never present at the meet n greet (I wish!), Winnie the Pooh and a selected furry pal-usually Tigger-welcomed guests into the room and often let them first look around in awe! The bedroom has such intricate details, but the focal point of the experience is the interaction with Winnie the Pooh (& Tigger, too!).
Now, time for some background story…One trip not so long ago, my family decided to bring my Grandma along with us, and she just loves EPCOT. Once upon a time, my Grandparents used to come on almost every Disney vacation with my family. Often, they would end up surprising me at the airport or the hotel, for maximum magical factor! A few years ago, my Grandpa ended up passing away somewhat unexpectedly and it was a really difficult time for my family. Luckily, we did get to have one last Disney trip with them both, and it was very magical. Because of my Grandpa’s state, Cast Members really treated us like royalty and I will forever be grateful for that trip. It was a good way to end your time at the most magical place on earth, for him, and for us.
Naturally, after you link up a special place and a special person, it can be pretty difficult to think about going back. But, the year after he passed, that was exactly what we did, in his memory. Much to our surprise, my brave and determined Grandma decided she wanted to come with us. We didn’t know if this would help or hurt her more, in a time of immense grief. The beginning of our vacation was quite rough, to be honest. Everything reminded us of him, from his love of all food, especially Disney food, to the rides we went took him on during our last trip. It was bittersweet, and we simply missed his presence, including his soft-spoken jokes (I have a whole post I could do dedicated to hilarious Disney moments featuring my Grandpa) to his big smiles at the characters.
Once we reached the EPCOT portion of our trip, it reached the peak of sadness for my Grandma. My family felt terrible for her, especially because we knew that the World Showcase reminded her of her times traveling with him. They were world travelers, but they always loved Disney the most, because it meant time spent with their granddaughters. They really loved the UK-the “real” and the World Showcase version. I had heard about the Pooh meet and greet, and decided that may cheer her up, but I wasn’t too convinced at this point. Nobody should feel sad in Disney, but we decided we would try this meet and greet and then go rest at our hotel afterwards; this trip was emotionally draining for all of us.
So, we walk around for a bit and remark about what my Grandpa’s favorite parts were, from the fish and chips, to the architecture. And then we get in line for the characters. As soon as we enter, I am floored. The room is so cute and adorable, and the characters are waving hi to us, moving their arms for us to come in and give them hugs.
Winnie came right over to my Grandma, and just knelt down, and grasped her hands in his cuddly paws. He looked into her eyes and just stared. Oh. my. gosh. There was not a dry eye in the room at the end of the meet n greet. The photo pass, character attendant, and all of us started tearing up. The funny part is, although this was a precious moment, nobody really knew that day how much it meant to us. The spark in her eye was rekindled at that very moment, and the rest of the trip became much more positive. Of course, this was still a very sad time, but I have to really give it up for Disney, for making EVERYONE feel special. It is not just little girls in costumes that get “special treatment,” it can be everyone.
Next time you visit a Disney Park, allow yourself the chance for magic to happen to you, and watch for it being created for others. A simple meet and greet with a character you didn’t know you needed a hug from might just make your entire trip. It did for my Grandma. Thank you, Winnie the Pooh. I’ll miss you in Christopher Robin’s room.