Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

We are almost at that time!  Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival is rapidly approaching with it beginning in just two short weeks, starting March 6th and lasting until May 19th. This year is the festival's 20th anniversary and will feature some of the things that we all know and love, like the Butterfly Gardens, the topiaries, and the Flower Power Concert Series, but it will also feature quite a few new adventures too.  Let's take a look at all that this year's Festival will have to offer!  
First off, I think the event that most people look forward to with Flower and Garden, is the topiaries.  These have always been a favorite of mine.  I still miss the days when topiaries could just be found at random all throughout the park.  But Disney certainly does help to make up for that during this time of year!  

More than 100 topiaries will adorn the park, with a brand new entrance display including floral versions of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and  Daisy in a celebratory cookout scene.  The 14-foot-tall Goofy topiary will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms. 

In addition, new for this year will be Mike and Sulley in topiary form promoting the upcoming movie Monsters University.  They will be found in the Future World walkway.  Plus, for those who love Lightning McQueen and Mater, they will be found near the newly remodeled Test Track, along with a play area.  This year, Disney will be making it easier to see the topiaries, as they will be illuminating gardens and topiaries each evening.  

Speaking of play areas, are you as excited for the movie Oz: The Great and Powerful as I am?  Well, for guests who want to experience a bit of Oz right here at the Festival, you'll be able to with themed midway style games, the famous crashed hot air balloon, and a giant playground centered around the movie.  

Also new this year, is the introduction of the Garden Marketplaces.  These will be food and beverage booths celebrating spring time treats found along the World Showcase Promenade.  Guests will be able to get a Passport, much like at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and get it stamped at each booth.  There will be twelve marketplaces overall.  They are: Pineapple Promenade (World Showcase Promenade – Canada side), The Cottage: Savories, Trifles and Tea (United Kingdom), L’Orangerie (France), Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco), Hanami (Japan), The Smokehouse (American Adventure), Primavera Kitchen (Italy), Bauernmarkt (Germany), Lotus House (China), Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico), Florida Fresh (World Showcase Promenade – Mexico Side), and Fruits by the Glass (World Showcase Plaza).  For a list of all the different food options, check out The Mouse For Less

A perennial favorite each year is the Butterfly House.  This year, Tinker Bell's Butterfly House will feature eight topiaries of Tink and her fairy friends with hundreds of beautiful butterflies found near the Imagination Pavilion.  

If you didn't know.  The Flower and Garden Festival is sponsored by HGTV each year, which means that some of the celebrities from that channel get in on the action, holding seminars every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the Festival Center (the former Wonders of Life Pavilion) at both noon and 3 pm.  The celebrity line up includes: 
  • March 8-10 – Chris Lambton, Going Yard
  • March 15-17 – Chris Grundy, DIY Network’s Cool Tools
  • March 22-24 – Egypt Sherrod, host of Property Virgins
  • March 29-31 – Brandon Johnson, My Yard Goes Disney
  • April 5-7 – Meg Caswell, Meg’s Great Rooms
  • April 12-14 – Jason Cameron, DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and Man Caves
  • April 19-21 – Sara Peterson, Editor-in-Chief, HGTV Magazine
  • April 26-28 – Carter Oosterhouse, Million Dollar Rooms
  • May 3-5 – Casey Noble, Design on a Dime
  • May 10-12 – Dan Faires, HGTV.com, DanMade
  • May 17-19 – David Bromstad, HGTV Design Star, ColorSplash, Design Star All-Stars

For guests who enjoy shaking their groove thing, the Flower Power Concerts may be right up your alley.  Each weekend, at the American Gardens Theater, 60s and 70s acts perform some of their biggest hits. Artists include: 
  • March 6-10:  Micky Dolenz
  • March 15-17:  Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
  • March 22-24:  The Guess Who
  • March 29-31:  Nelson
  • April 5-7:  The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
  • April 12-14:  Paul Revere & the Raiders
  • April 19-21:  The Village People (new)
  • April 26-28:   The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II
  • May 3-5:  Tommy Roe (new)
  • May 10-12:  Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
  • May 17-19:  Starship starring Mickey Thomas

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is one of the most exciting times in Epcot during the year and it appears that this year the event is going to be even more spectacular than ever before.  What is the thing you look most forward to for this year's Festival?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

News and Rumors 2/18/13 - 2/24/13

News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


Magic Kingdom

  •  Cinderella's Royal Table will have a four day refurbishment from May 13th - 17th.
  • Rosetta has rejoined meeting guests at Tinker Bell's Magical Nook

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • The new meet and greet that was being built at the former Beastly Bazaar shop is now on it's way to being open.  The new meet and greet location will be called Adventurers Outpost and will feature the opportunity to meet characters like Mickey and Minnie.  There is no official opening date announced.
  • Changes are coming to the character line up found at the park. This spring, Daisy and Donald will be moving to the Discovery Island Boat Dock and Winnie the Pooh characters will be moving to Camp Minnie-Mickey

General WDW News

  • Limited Time Magic this week will take place at the Magic Kingdom again where the Dapper Dans will salute the fact that they are the original boy band, singing boy band hits from past and present groups. 
  • A new map design is coming soon.  It is going to be the first redesign since the late 1990s and will be similar in design to the new My Disney Experience app.
Download the ALL NEW 2013 Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

News and Rumors 2/11/13 - 2/17/13


  • Segway Tours at Epcot have officially been discontinued for the time being.  Guests are being refunded their money if they already have reservations.  The Wilderness Back Trail Adventure will still take place.
  • The Land of Oz garden is now open for Flower and Garden Festival
  • The next Limited Time Magic celebration is President's Day:  A Weeklong Celebration.  Voices of Liberty will be performing at the American Gardens Theater, performing their harmonies and reciting quotes from American Presidents.  

  •  A new Downtown Disney experience may be in the works called Disney Springs.  It will include a large parking garage, new shops, and distinct neighborhoods. 
  • Disney may be replacing Pollo Campero with a Disney own tex mex restaurant.
  • The Princess Fairytale Hall meet and greet that is being built in the former Snow White Scary Adventure building is rumored to open in September.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

News and Rumors 2/4/13 - 2/10/13



  • The list of Garden Marketplaces, as well as what food options they will have have been released for this year's Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  They are:   
Pineapple Promenade (World Showcase Promenade – Canada side)

  • Dole Whip
  • Dole Whip with spiced rum
  • Pineapple upside-down cake
  • Dole pineapple fruit cup
  • Frozen desert violet lemonade
  • Cream stout beer
The Cottage: Savories, Trifles and Tea (United Kingdom)
  • Potato, chive and cheddar cheese biscuit with smoked salmon tartare and sour cream
  • Baked goat’s brie with kumquat chutney
  • Heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella, vinegar and basil
  • Trifles (chocolate, berry, ginger and tea)
  • Hot and iced teas
  • Brut Rosé sparkling wine
  • Rose Blush lemonade
L’Orangerie (France)
  • Ratatouille tarte with goat cheese
  • Pate with baguette and cherry compote
  • Peach charlotte
  • Frozen cocktail
  • Chardonnay
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sparkling Muscat
Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco)
  • Spiced lamb kebab with couscous salad
  • Harissa and lemon confit chicken drumettes with chermoula and cucumber salad
  • Moroccan sweet pancake
  • Sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur
  • White sangria
  • Red wine
  • Moroccan beer
  • Mint iced tea with peach
Hanami (Japan)
  • Frushi (fruit sushi) made with fresh fruit and coconut rice
  • Grilled shrimp, almon and crab stick over ginger rice
  • Grilled vegetables with Japanese noodles and teriyaki on a bun
  • Green tea flan
  • Yuzu rita
  • Fruit saki
  • Sake
  • Frozen Kirin Ichiban
The Smokehouse (American Adventure)
  • Pulled pig slider with cole slaw
  • Smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeno cornbread
  • Rocky road mousse brownie
  • Red wine
  • Craft beer
  • Beer flight
Primavera Kitchen (Italy)
  • Green asparagus and lobster with garden cocktail sauce
  • Lasagna primavera
  • Limoncello-flavored panna cotta
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chianti
  • Prosecco
  • White peach bellini
  • Strawberry Rossini
  • Italian Primavera Cocktail
  • Italian beers
  • Italian-beer flight
Bauernmarkt (Germany)
  • Savory bread pudding with spring peas and wild mushroom ragout
  • German meatloaf sandwich with sweet mustard and fried shallots
  • Potato pancakes with apple sauce
  • Hugo (elderflower sparkling wine cocktail)
  • German and domestic beers
  • Beer flight
Lotus House (China)
  • Beijing-style candied strawberries
  • Spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple
  • Taro-bacon puff pastry
  • Bubble teas
  • Fruit beverage cocktail
  • Chinese beer
Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico)
  • Crab tostadas with chipotle aioli and valentina salsa
  • Pork tacos served over flour tortilla topped with cactus leaves, tamarind and traditional Mexican herbs
  • Guava flan
  • Rosita margarita
  • Organic tequila flight
  • Mexican beer
Florida Fresh (World Showcase Promenade – Mexico Side)
  • Watermelon salad with pickled red onions, baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction
  • Shrimp and stone-ground grits with andouille sausage, Zellwood corn, tomatoes and cilantro
  • Angel food cake with macerated Florida Berries
  • Tomato wine
  • Carrot wine
  • Florida beer
  • Strawberry slush
Fruits by the Glass (World Showcase Plaza)
  • Watermelon passion fruit cocktail
  • Wild berry slush
  • Blueberry beer
  • Mango wine
  • Blueberry wine
  • Raspberry ale
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Disney Junior is expected to have soft openings this week before it opens on Feb. 15th.

General WDW News

  • Joffrey's Coffee will be replacing Nescafe as the coffee choice that is sold across Walt Disney World Resort.  (With the exception of the new Starbucks locations.)
  • Upcoming Limited Time Magic events include a chalk art festival and a salute to Father's Day.


  • The Tangled bathrooms are expected to open this week
  • MyMagic+ bands are expected to begin testing this week.  The test will involve a limited number of guests.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Top 5 Family Friendly Attractions at Epcot

Um....somebody please tell me what's happened to 2013 already?  I feel like it was just yesterday that the year started and now we're already into FEBRUARY?!

How have I hardly blogged this year at all?  Oh wait...I know how...LIFE got in the way.  I apologize profusely about that.  And have good news for you all...well, hopefully it's good news.  I mean, I hope it at least allows me to eventually have more free time again.

I am moving! Again!!  No...not to Orlando this time.  However, I am moving in the right direction.  I am headed to Atlanta!  I am super excited about this move because I will be MUCH closer than I've ever been to Florida, which of course, means WAY more road trips!  I am sure I will find myself in Disney much more often.

So, with all that being said, let's get to this week's article.  (Finally!)

I realized a while back that I never quite finished my series of best family friendly attractions at Walt Disney World.  So, today, I'm going to look what I think are the Top 5 best attractions for families at Epcot.

Epcot is the park of wonder and discovery.  It offers you the opportunity to learn with their special brand of edu-taiment in ways you never thought you could. It has such a great personality in both half of the park, Future World and World Showcase.  

Because of this, there are so many great attractions for the whole family at Epcot!  Really there are WAY more than 5 that I could list!  But I promise I won't cheat this time!  :)

  •  Spaceship Earth:  No...this isn't the big golf ball...and yes...there is a ride in there.  And it's a fabulous ride.  The front half of it teaches such great lessons of how communication has existed and mutated over the course of time.  Plus, it utilizes AudioAnimatronics, one of the best tools that Disney has in it's arsenal, in my opinion.  I know many in the Disney community are down on the back half, which is just a giant cartoon with your face attached to it.  (Meet George Jetson...)  However, this is still fun for families because you can pick the options that are depicted in the cartoon together and bond over the silliness that entails.  The attraction is a good mesh of both serious and fun and that is what I think helps to make this a great attraction for the whole family.  
  • Living With The Land:  I know what you're thinking.  This is another one of those edu-tainment attractions.  However, stay with me on this.  Because this attraction is great for the whole family.  You board a boat and get to learn about the process of agriculture and how Disney grows some of it's own fruits and vegetables that are served in the park.  (Make sure to be on the look out for Mickey shaped fruit and veggies!) The attraction is a very calming one.  There is nothing crazy going on here.  You aren't going to go very fast.  It is a great attraction for families because it allows time to bond and discuss what you are learning while you are on the attraction (Please be mindful of other guests if talking.  They are trying to enjoy the ride as well.)  I think everyone can really get something out of this ride, if they take the time to actually go over there.  Instead of just heading towards Soarin (albeit, another great family ride), or using it as a place to go while waiting for your Soarin Fastpass to come around.
  • The Mexico Pavilion: This area really has it all.  It is honestly one of my favorite pavilions in all of World Showcase.  It has great food (mmm....chips and salsa...and tacos....and burritos....well...you get the drift).  It has great drinks (Hello La Cava del Tequila).  It has interesting history and shopping.  And my favorite.  The Pavilion takes you from bright sunlight to nighttime in the Plaza.  Plus, it has the Gran Fiesta Tour.  This attraction stars the Three Caballeros (well, mostly Donald steals the show on this attraction.)  It teaches a little about the culture of Mexico.  And it has a darn catchy song.  It is another easy attraction, as it's a boat ride.  This attraction is pretty screen heavy, which I don't love, but it certainly makes up for my dislike of screens by being so darn cute!  
  • Agent P's World Showcase Adventure:  I will readily admit.  I haven't seen this since they changed it over from Kim Possible.  However, my understanding is the attraction is almost the same as it was before with just a few minor tweaks.  With that being said, this is a great attraction for the whole family.  The premise is for the family to gather around your FONE (Field Operative Notification Equipment) device which will give you clues to help stop Dr. Doof's evil plans.  This game will take you to one of seven World Showcase countries and you will get to explore them in depth to decipher the clues.  That's what makes this so fun.  You get to complete the mission together, while getting to explore, in depth, more about the pavilion your in.  I know when I did the missions, I went way more in depth to the countries I was exploring than I ever did before!  It is a great way to have fun and experience more of Epcot in a way you never expected.
  • The Seas With Nemo and Friends:  Ok...I'm going with the whole Pavilion, but that's only because the pavilion has a lot of really neat things that I think the whole family will get something out of.  First, there is the attraction, The Seas With Nemo and Friends.  This continuous moving attraction takes you through Nemo's world as he's lost...again.  (Do keep in mind that at least for me, the scene with Crush can be a little nausea inducing.  I am not prone to motion sickness, but this really gets to me.)  You also have Turtle Talk With Crush, which is a fabulous experience where kids get to TALK with Crush!  Watch in amazement as you watch these kids have a conversation with the righteous dude!  You will SWEAR it's almost real. And if your kid does want to talk to Crush, be prepared....sometimes he talks to the parents too!  You also have the ability to walk around the aquarium and marvel at all the fish and sea life that can be found there.  I swear, me and Brian just stood there for at least a half an hour watching for the sharks! It is really so cool!
Of course, there are WAY more awesome things for families to do in Epcot.  I know this just touched the tip of the iceberg.  So that brings me to ask you.  What do you think are the best family friendly attractions in this park?  Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Also, if you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our new Facebook page!  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

News and Rumors 1/28/13 - 2/3/13

News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


Magic Kingdom

  • A special pre-parade has been shown celebrating the Super Bowl, with the MVP (Joe Flacco) from the game appearing tomorrow for Limited Time Magic.  In addition, at Cosmic Ray's they are offering "souper" bowls of lobster bisque and tomato basil bisque. The soup will last until Feb. 9th. 
  • True Love week will take place for Limited Time Magic from Feb. 11 - 17.  The event will feature banners and heart shaped signage.  In addition, the castle will be lit up in pinks, reds, and lavenders.  Also, guests will get to meet characters who are in love, such as the Princesses with their Princes.  Special pre fixe menu options will be available at Artist Point, The Wave…of American Flavors,  Yachtsman Steakhouse, and Hollywood Brown Derby.

General WDW News

  • Disney is now selling RFID tickets at their Vacation Planning and Guest Services booths.  Guests with these tickets will still be able to be used at regular turnstiles as well as the new touch point entryways. 
  • When the California Grill reopens from it's refurb in summer, the restaurant will have a new color palate of grays, whites, and light wood, with splashes of color.  It will also reopen with new menu touches.
  • The Disney buses now have a new color scheme with reflective qualities and retro styling.