Epcot pianist Carol Stein plays her way into retirement

It’s almost last call for pianist Carol Stein, who is retiring and wrapping up more than 30 years at the keyboard at Walt Disney World. Her final day as a full-time musician at the resort is Thursday.

Her last stint has been in the back of the Rose & Crown pub at the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot. Friends, co-workers and fans have gathered there for pints and piano, featuring Stein’s stylings of Disney classics with humorous asides and some originals.

In a song about the Rose & Crown, lyrics said that the pub was “heaven-sent. … I can’t really believe I can use the word retirement,” she sang.

“After playing for Disney for 32 years I deserve to come to the Rose & Crown just to drink a beer!” it continued.

Other selections in Wednesday session included “Rainbow Connection,” a Sinatra-esque version of “Part of Your World” with a friend and “You’ll Be in My Heart,” a request from an audience member. Onlookers sang along and ended the 25-minute set with a standing ovation. The audience included multiple musicians, including the current band director the junior high school that Stein attended in Seminole County.

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In between performances, folks lined up for hugs and teary photo sessions.

Stein started at Disney World in 1990 at Comedy Warehouse, an improv nightclub at Downtown Disney. After that closed in 2007, she moved to Rose & Crown pub, but there have been other Epcot venues, including the gazebo behind the U.K. pavilion, World ShowPlace and inside the American Adventure attraction, alternating sets with Voices of Liberty. She announced her retirement in September. She plans to work part-time at Disney starting sometime next year.

But what number will be Thursday’s grand finale of Stein’s three-decade Disney gig?

As of Wednesday afternoon, she wasn’t sure. Perhaps a song titled “Disney World” that she wrote a few years ago, she said.

“Or ‘When You Wish Upon a Star,’” she reconsidered. Then she thought again. “Or ‘A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,’” a song from “Cinderella.”

Posted times for Thursday performances at Rose & Crown are 1:30, 2:30, 4, 5, 6 and 7 p.m.

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