EXCLUSIVE: Disney/Pixar Weekend at Walt Disney World’s Epcot to Offer Extremely Rare Treats (May 13-15)

Lightning McQueen 'Cars 2' topiary © Disney EnterprisesDisney/Pixar has already taken a prominent role in the 2011 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park, but despite the debut of the spectacular Toy Story 3 topiaries, featuring the strawberry-scented Lotso, and the Cars 2 topiaries as well as the Cars 2 ‘Race Around the World Showcase’ activity that leads guests through various checkpoints at countries related to the film for a prize, Walt Disney World is cooking up something extra special for the final weekend of the event, dedicated to Pixar Animation Studios, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and you will not want to miss any of it!

Guests entering Epcot for Disney/Pixar weekend (May 13-15) will be greeted by Green Army Men who will be passing out special park maps commemorating the event. The maps will included marked locations for the exclusive meet & greet photo opportunities being staged around the park as Disney/Pixar pals from the entire Pixar family want to be on hand to help celebrate.

Planned meet & greets for the Disney/Pixar weekend include:

Carl Fredricksen, Russell and Dug from Disney/Pixar’s UP will be at the Fountain of Nations stage along with an inflatable version of Carl’s house; Mike Wazowski, Sulley, Boo, Smitty, Needleman and George Sanderson from Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. will be at the Universe of Energy pavilion; Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone from Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles will be at Innoventions West; Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and the Rust-eze girls from Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 will be at Test Track; living coral from Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo at the Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion (and Crush at Turtle Talk, of course — no mention of Nemo unfortunately, but always a possibility); Flik, Atta, Gypsy and Slim from Disney/Pixar’s A Bug’s Life at Village Traders (the African Outpost); Remy and Emile from Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille in France; Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Bullseye, Lotso and Mr. Potatohead from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story at American Adventure; and, making his Disney Parks debut, Wall-E from Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E at Mission: SPACE.

Each of the photo-ops will also have a special background tying their respective films in with the International Flower and Garden Festival (think Rose Parade) and Disney’s PhotoPass will be on hand to help capture the magic.

The Cars 2 topiaries at the World Showcase plaza will be enhanced with additional banners over the lanes promoting the special event.

Meanwhile, over at the World Showplace (located between the Canada and UK pavilions) will celebrate 25 years of Pixar. There will be an interactive garden featuring stills from Pixar Animation Studios productions. Upon entering the venue, guests will be handed a scorecard to see how many hidden ‘easter eggs’ they can find in the photos. Those who find them all will receive an exclusive Cars 2 prize. There will also be informal talks about the company held inside an 800-seat theater (speakers not yet announced). At the exit, a pop-up Pixar Studio Store offering exclusive merchandise.

Lastly (at Epcot), Spaceship Earth gets in on the fun as it showcases the Cars 2 logo projected on it following the performance of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, along with some music from the Cars films.

But, dear readers, the fun does not end at the turnstiles. Disney/Pixar weekend will be extended beyond the perimeters of Epcot by extending into the Downtown Disney district, where not only will Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and Finn McMissle from the State Farm ‘Agents on a Mission‘ tour be there to celebrate, but they will be joined by dozens of classic cars. Other activities, such as an inflatable obstacle course are also planned. Plus, don’t be surprised if some of the DTD friendly residents like RIDEMAKERZ or AMC Theaters get in on the fun too!

Please note that as with all other events, information is provided as-is and is subject to change at any time without notice.

UPDATE #1: 4/11/11 – Another source has provided additional information on how the meet & greets may work and possible changes. It appears that the characters can be considered in sets of threes and will appear individually, trading off every 20 minutes or so. This means that some previously announced meet & greets may be cut out. Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. was mentioned specifically and may end up consisting of just Mike Wazowski, Sulley and Boo.

The primary exception to this rule is Wall-E whose sets are likely to be about 30 minutes. As we expected, although Wall-E will undoubtedly come out on-stage and exit on his own, he will be stationary for meet & greets, quite similar to how they went at the 2009 Disney D23 Expo.

Our source also informs us that the Cars characters at Test Track may also be joined by the Crash Test Dummies that used to appear by the attraction.

Lastly, our source reports that appearances by Nemo do not seem likely at this point. Evidently Nemo cannot be on stage for extended periods of time.

UPDATE #2 – 4/21/11 – Disney has confirmed our report for the most part, but there are some changes to be noted. Please read the update here.

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