We'd read online yesterday that Princess Merida from the Disney/Pixar film Brave was greeting guests in a test run at Epcot, before she takes her place in Fantasyland. Today was a scheduled day in for us, but Brave is the film I've looked forward to most this year – and new character meet-and-greets are one of the things we most enjoy photographing!
Check out our videos of Merida here!
Finding Merida today took a bit of effort (just like when Rapunzel and Flynn Rider first made their Epcot debut). We arrived at Epcot at 9:30am – we'd been told she'd be greeting at 11am, likely in the same place as yesterday near Innoventions. I have no idea what time she started, but we ended up in a short line for Soarin' (10 minutes!) before waiting in that spot. 11am came and went, and I told Jeff I'd run into World Showcase and look for her. Merida was at the International Gateway, and I ran to get Jeff (my phone was dead), and we waited for her next set. We left Epcot at 1pm!
It's always hit or miss as to where and when to find characters during testing, as you can see. But we were happy to find her, and it was a terrific meet-and-greet experience. Merida will be VERY popular as more guests learn who she is. Her "signature", so to speak, is teaching guests how to point a bow and arrow. Jeff called it her "Smolder" (Flynn Rider's signature move).
Here are a few photos as we walked to the area near Innoventions, and then to the International Gateway (it was a gorgeous day with light crowds!)
The first time I arrived, I didn't see her immediately – but there was a small crowd gazing intently in one direction, and it gave it away!
Merida poses with Jeff:
Here are a variety of photos from Merida's Meet & Greet:
I asked for a pose like Jeff had, but Merida suggested the bow-and-arrow stance instead. I've never been very good at it!
We were there for the full meet-and-greet set:
Merida takes a break:
Thanks to Jeff for putting together such great videos to share (as always!)
Currently, you can pre-order Brave: The Video Game on Amazon and receive a free $8.00 ticket towards the film, which is due out June 22nd!
Also, The book The Art of Brave is on pre-order at Amazon, available at the end of May. We have several "Art of" books, including The Art of Tangled – the books are always beautifully detailed! Currently the Amazon discount is nearly 50% off the cover price! And Imagineer Jason Surrell has a new book, The Art of Marvel's The Avengers.
A picture perfect day at Epcot:
This is something I'd not seen before, a radio-controlled Figment delivering stickers to guests:
Jeff followed the directions and ended up with a sticker:
We were fortunate to not have to wait to meet Merida, but that won't be the case soon. I expect very long lines, just like Rapunzel and Flynn Rider had through their run (Rapunzel is still enormously popular on her own).
Brave was originally titled The Bear and the Bow, and centers around the feisty Merida, daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Merida is the first Pixar heroine in the first Pixar fairytale, which promises to be darker than previous films. The film is set in the lush greenery of Scotland.
Are you looking forward to Brave?