ParkSpotting at Epcot – January 8, 2011: The old and the new

in Disney, Epcot, ParkSpotting, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

It’s a new year and time to dive back in with a new ParkSpotting adventure, this time at Epcot on January 8, 2011…

It took me eight days to visit a theme park in 2011. I had not been to a park since before Christmas, so after a couple of weeks I was itching to get out of the house and have some fun. Michelle and I left the house without knowing which park we were going to. We ended up at Epcot, which proved to be a great choice for the day, with plenty of fun and unique sights:

Tronorail
I loved Tron Legacy and was happy to see the Tronorail stop for a couple minutes as we entered the park. It's the first time I've seen it since seeing the movie.

Jungle Cruise artwork
After riding Spaceship Earth, we visited the Art of Disney store, where I spotted this eye-pleasing artwork featuring the Jungle Cruise attraction.

Imagineering Blueprint plaques - Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones, Sleeping Beauty Castle
As we turned to leave, I noticed these new aluminum plaques featuring Walt Disney Imagineering blueprints from popular Disneyland attractions. They're $35 and I purchased the Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror ones, leaving behind Indiana Jones and Sleeping Beauty Castle. It was the last Mansion one they had in stock... lucky me! They're limited edition 1,000 and individually numbered. Mine are #72 and #74, so there are plenty more yet to be sold.

Haunted Mansion Holiday merchandise
But the real surprise came when Michelle spotted these two Haunted Mansion Holiday items as we went to purchase the plaques. We were beyond excited to see them, as we own the previous two stained glass releases and hadn't heard of a third even coming out. The Jack Skellington lenticular changing portrait is the second of a series. The store had just received them the day before and these display versions were the only other ones they had aside from the two we purchased in the box, so they might be sold out by now. They're $125 each. It's always a treat to see Haunted Mansion Holiday items in Florida, since we don't receive the attraction overlay.

Mission: Space
After hauling our merchandise to the car, we came back in the park and I wanted to ride Mission: Space. The approach to this ride always saddens me in this area, as I wish the sign for the spot's former attractions, Horizons, was still sitting in the middle of that planter. I ended up not riding because the line was out the door. I'll come back another day.

Walt Disney World 40th anniversary display and merchandise
Nearby, Mouse Gear has a window display filled with Walt Disney World 40th anniversary apparel and artwork from the past, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Dream Finder.

Walt Disney World 40th anniversary display and merchandise
More 40th anniversary apparel and artwork.

Walt Disney World 40th anniversary display and merchandise
And... more 40th anniversary apparel and artwork.

Mouse Gear
Inside Mouse Gear, things look different. The store has recently had a makeover, with a more open-air feel now.

Retro Epcot shirts
Retro Epcot Center T-shirts must be selling very well, as there are quite a few designs available now.

Retro Epcot shirts
More retro Epcot Center t-shirts.

Retro Epcot shirt
And another.

Dream Finder in Mouse Gear
I've always liked that Dream Finder's old Dreamcatcher vehicle from the original Journey Into Imagination sits high up inside Mouse Gear. Now, nearby, Vinylmation artwork of Dream Finder sits near it. If only they're bring him back to the ride...

Scrooge McDuck silhouette in Mouse Gear
Around a corner, Scrooge McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, and what appears to be Daisy Duck sit high up in silhouette. If you stand around long enough, you'll hear them talk to each other too.

Living Seas pins
Continuing with retro Epcot, kind of, these Living Seas pins at the outdoor pin store pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of the pavilion. Though, now it's called The Seas with Nemo and Friends. And The Little Mermaid has never had anything to do with it. Strange choice for a design.

Walt Disney World 40th anniversary pins
Plenty of Walt Disney World 40th anniversary pins are available, though I didn't see any designs I actually liked.

Cast member with princess hat
At a nearby merchandise cart, this male cast member seemed to enjoy wearing a pair of pink princess mouse ears.

Christmas lingers at Epcot
Epcot certainly hasn't let go of its past... and that seems to include recent history too, as Christmas decorations were still up all over the park.

Christmas lingers at Epcot
Character topiaries are always fun, but the Christmas decorations really needed to leave, as it was more than a week into January already.

Christmas lingers at Epcot
Seeing Christmas trees still in the park just felt strange after New Year's. The rest of Walt Disney World was still decorated for the holiday season as well, with many areas still playing Christmas music loops.

Christmas lingers in Club Cool
Even Club Cool was still decorated for Christmas. Apparently Disney wanted to keep it all up throughout the marathon weekend, removing it all this week.

Jasmine
Working our way around the World Showcase, we spotted a few characters. Jasmine was dressed for the cool weather.

Alice in Wonderland (in the UK)
In the UK, Alice happily met with her adoring young fans.

Cars chalk drawings
A UK street was decorated with chalk art inspired by Disney/Pixar's Cars.

Squirrel with trash
Back over by Captain EO, this squirrel (and a few more like it) appeared to be eating a used napkin...

Tree
...but we followed it and saw it was really using the napkin to build a home in this nearby palm tree.

Squirrel's trash home in a tree
A closer (but slightly blurry) look at the top of the tree reveals additional squirrel building materials including a plastic bag.

Talking trash can in Electric Umbrella
Speaking of trash, don't miss this particular receptacle inside the Electric Umbrella restaurant. It talks to you when you deposit your waste.

Spaceship Earth
After a few hours and a couple hundred dollars spent in the park, it was time to head out before it got any colder. But I couldn't resist snapping a few photos of Spaceship Earth as the sun set.

Spaceship Earth
It's always a special sight, especially when the sun's orange and pink hues are cast onto its reflective surface.

Spaceship Earth
One more Spaceship Earth shot to wrap things up.

Keep coming back for more ParkSpotting adventures throughout 2011!

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