Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dining Review: Cake Cups at the Magic Kingdom's Cheshire Cafe

Updated: 3/16/14

You want to know what my absolute favorite treat at Walt Disney World is right now?  The cake cups that can be found at Cheshire Cafe, which is located in Fantasyland, near Mad Tea Party at the Magic Kingdom.  This little out of the way stand hasn't been known for selling much, besides frozen lemonade, but that has all changed when recently, they rolled out the Gourmet Cake Cup.

Ok, so I know you're thinking...what exactly IS a Cake Cup?

A Cake Cup is this delectible little treat that's basically like a deconstructed cup cake.

But what makes it so special?  It takes a layer of icing (the thick, lardy kind too! Yum!), and then a layer of moist cake, covered on top by more icing, then more cake, then more icing, then more cake til you get to the top and you find a massive pile of icing and an edible picture stuck in the top of either the Cheshire Cat or the Mad Hatter.  

The Cake Cups come in two very distinct and delicious flavors - the Cheshire Cupcake (vanilla) or my favorite, the Mad Hatter Mocha.  (Hence the decorations on the top.)

I had heard about these and knew I had to try them.  They sounded absolutely delicious and right up my alley.  So, I stopped over at the Cheshire Cafe for probably the first time ever last October and ordered the mocha one, since I'm a chocoholic.

I took one bite...and well...I needed a minute.  It was so rich and moist and delectable.  The icing was the perfect amount of sweetness (again, I'm an icing nut.)  It was simply heavenly.  Honestly one of the best treats I've had at Walt Disney World, hands down.

I then tried my friend's, who got the vanilla version and it was just as yummy.  The mocha one had a hint of a coffee flavoring that I enjoyed better, so I have now called it as one of my own. (Along with the Captain Cook's Adult Grilled Cheese.)

These are very rich treats, so I would share them if you're worried about it being too rich.  (You can always buy a second one if you want a little more.)

It appears that these have been extremely popular (yay!) because Disney has added two additional cake cup offerings to the menu!  The first is called the White Chocolate Rabbit.  It appears to be made of yellow cake base that includes small bits of chocolate cake mixed in throughout.  It comes complete with white chocolate ears and an edible flower and vanilla buttercream frosting.  

The second new version is called the Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortcake.  This version is also made with yellow cake, but there is a strawberry sauce and strawberry frosting included.  It comes with a queen of hearts edible decoration and an edible flower.  I cannot wait to try these two new additions!

I told you it is my new favorite snack and what's even better is I found a way to take it home with me!  Since I live in Atlanta now, I drive down to Florida...and so, with that in mind, this last trip a few weeks ago, I went to the Magic Kingdom on my last morning, specifically to pick up two cake cups to take home with me.  But the question was, how to transport them?

I simply had the Cast Member hand me two cups and two lids and a cup carrier.  I took the goodies to a table and swiftly transferred them into the cups, popped the lids on and then carried them with me out the gates in the carrier.  Volia!  They made the drive with me easily and right now, I have two of my favorite treats in my refrigerator ready for me to eat!  (Oh my god...I realized I just sounded like a crazy

If you haven't tried the Gourmet Cake Cups yet, please make sure you do.  They only have a limited number and once they run out, they are out for the day.  (I found that out the hard way the first night I went to the Magic Kingdom.  I was going to grab one that night to nosh on, but they didn't have any more.)  They will have more the next day though, I promise!

Have you tried the Cake Cups yet?  What are your thoughts?  Haven't had them yet?  Would you want to try them?  Make sure to let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pintrest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!      

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 2/17/14 - 2/23/14

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


Magic Kingdom

  • Casey's Corner has reopened from it's refurb minus the bleacher seating and minus the baseball cartoons. 


  • Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival dates have been announced.  The event will start one week earlier, beginning on September 19 and lasting until November 10.
  • Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival is approaching rapidly and this week they announced all the menu offerings that will be served.  There are a ton of great options, as well as new photos and all of them can be found at my Complete Guide to the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival post. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  •  Star Wars Weekends will see an additional fifth weekend!  In addition, a fireworks show, called “Symphony in the Stars”, will be shown.  However, it does appear that the infamous Hyperspace Hoopla will no longer take place.  Also announced was the fact that James Arnold Taylor will be returning this year as the host of all five Star Wars Weekends. Here's the updated list of weekends the event will be taking place: 
    • May 16 – 18
    • May 23 – 25
    • May 30 – June 1
    • June 6 – 8
    • New – June 13 – 15

Downtown Disney

  • The shopping/dining district will be offering a special St. Patrick's Day event.  From March 7 -17, Raglan Road will showcase talented Irish bands.  Additional events for St. Patrick's Day Weekend include: 
    • The Raglan Road Dancers, performing daily
    • Renowned Irish dancer and choreographer Ronan McCormack of the original Riverdance cast, leading Irish Dance Workshops “From Roots to Riverdance”
    • Ceili traditional music and structured set-dancing event, during which host Ronan McCormack invites guest participation
    • living statues
    • face painting
    • Muppets Mighty Family Zone - where guests can snag a photo with Kermit, learn how to draw everyone’s favorite frog, take part in games and DJ dance parties, and more. 
    • chalk artists transforming the sidewalks with Muppet characters all in tribute to the upcoming release of Muppets Most Wanted
    • The AMC Downtown Disney 24 Dine-In Theatres, they will be showing The Muppets and during the screenings, it will include a 7-minute sneak peak of the upcoming film Muppets Most Wanted.
    • Special food and beverage offerings at many of the Downtown Disney restaurants, including the World Showplace of Flavors food truck, which will serve Fisherman's Pie. 
For full details, read my posting on TouringPlans

Disney Resorts

  • We have a potential date for the closure of Captain Cook's at Disney's Polynesian, which looks to be closing for it's refurb on March 28.  A temporary location will be set up in the Great Ceremonial House. 

General Walt Disney World News

  •  Walt Disney World Resort increased ticket prices overall today.  To see the full breakdown, make sure to read this blog post.
  • A new refillable mugs design has been introduced to Walt Disney World


  •  The public opening for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will likely be around the first of May. 

Download the all NEW Disney Food Blog Guide Walt Disney World Dining!  Read about all the fantastic delights the parks have to offer!

Walt Disney World Ticket Prices Increase

Well, it's Sunday, so usually it's my Walt Disney World News and Rumors post.  Which I will, of course write in a little while.  But something happened late last night, into this morning in regards to ticket prices that I thought needed it's own separate post.

You see, ticket prices increased, yet again, just a mere 8 months after the previous increase.  (Which happened in June of 2013.)  This increase happened so stealthily, in the quiet of the night on Saturday night with no warning, what so ever.  We hadn't heard rumbles about this one at all, when usually, we hear something a few days before.

So, how did tickets increase?  Well, first, a one day Magic Kingdom base ticket increased by $4, to the unprecedented total of $99. (Which truthfully does surprise me that Disney chooses to be the first who's so close to that $100.  I mean the next price increase for the Magic Kingdom will have to be over $100...and those three digits seem to be a scary threshold to that just me who thinks this?)  Disney has also decided to continue the prescience set forth the last time, where Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom will see cheaper rates.  The cost to get into those three parks will be $94, again a $4 price increase.

It wasn't just One Day tickets that increased though.  Instead, all Magic Your Way tickets have increased an average of about $15 per ticket option.

In addition, both the Park Hopper Option and the Water Park Fun and More option have increased by $1 each.  Also, the dual option where guests get the Park Hopper and the Water Park Fun and More increased by $2.  And the No Expiration option increased overall as well. 

One Day Theme Park Ticket Options
TicketAges 10+ Ages 3-9
Single Day Magic Kingdom Ticket$99$93
 Single Day Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom Ticket$94$88

Magic Your Way Ticket Options
Number of DaysBase Ticket
Optional Add-Ons
Ages 10-upAges 3-9Park Hopper®Water Park Fun & MorePark Hopper® & Water Park Fun & MoreNo Expiration
10 days$354
($35.40/day) increase of $15
increase of $15
$60  increase of $1
$60 (10 visits) increase of $1
$86 (10 visits) increase of $2
$340 increase of $15
9 days$344
increase of $15
increase of $15
$60  increase of $1
$60 (9 visits) increase of $1
$86 (9 visits) increase of $2
$295 increase of $15
8 days$334
increase of $15
increase of $15
$60  increase of $1
$60 (8 visits) increase of $1
$86 (8 visits) increase of $2
$270 increase of $25
7 days$324
increase of $15
increase of $14
$60  increase of $1
$60 (7 visits) increase of $1
$86 (7 visits) increase of $2
$250 increase of $30
6 days$314
increase of $15
$294 ($49.00/day)
increase of $14
$60  increase of $1
$60 (6 visits) increase of $1
$86 (6 visits) increase of $2
$210 increase of $20
5 days$304
increase of $15
increase of $14
increase of $1
$60 (5 visits) increase of $1
$86 (5 visits) increase of $2
$160 increase of $15
4 days$294
increase of $15
increase of $14
$60  increase of $1
$60 (4 visits) increase of $1
$86 (4 visits) increase of $2
$100 increase of $5
3 days$274
increase of $12
increase of $11
$49 decrease of $10
$60 (3 visits) increase of $1
$86 (3 visits) increase of $2
$50 increase of $5
2 days$188
increase of $4
increase of $3
$49 decrease of $10
$60 (2 visits)  increase of $1
$86 (2 visits) increase of $2
$40 increase of $5

Base Ticket: One theme park per day
Park Hopper: Can hop between more than one theme park on each day
Water Park Fun and More: Allows guests a specific number of visits (between 2 and 10 depending on the number of days of your ticket) to choose between the Disney Water Parks, DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park, Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Disney’s Winter Summerland.
No Expiration: Allows you to use your tickets at any time, with no expiration date. (Tickets are only good for 14 days after first day's use, unless this option is purchased.)

In addition, Annual Passes have increased in price as well.  Both adults and children pay the same price for their Annual Pass. There is no separation of pricing like the Magic Your Way tickets offer.

Annual PassPrice
Annual Pass (Pass gets you into all four theme parks for 365 days.)$634 increase of $25
Premium Annual Pass (Pass gets you into all four theme parks, Disney’s two water parks, Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, DisneyQuest, and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.) $754 increase of $25

Lately, tickets have typically increased in the Summer, so it will be interesting to see if Disney decides to increase tickets this summer too.  Especially given that Universal will likely increase their tickets with the opening of Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, which is slated to open sometime this Summer.

What are your thoughts on the increase?  Were you just as surprised as I was?  Do you see the reasoning behind it?  Let me know in the comments section.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Science Thrills Live Celebrates National Engineering Week at Innoventions in Epcot

This week, I was fortunate enough to be invited as media for the Raytheon/MathMovesU presentation of Science Thrills Live, which is currently taking place at Epcot's Innoventions West.  The whole purpose is to celebrate National Engineering Week and promote the fact that science doesn't have to be nerdy or can actually be rewarding and fun...and yes...even a beauty queen can do it.  (Enter Dr. Erika Angel Ebble!)

Until February 21st, biochemists, astrophysicists, and more are on hand to participate in science experiments and talk to guests during the Science Thrills Live presentation.

So what exactly is Science Thrills Live?  Well, it is a showcase of different science experiments that are designed to show that not only is science and math all around it, but it can be quite entertaining.  The show is a part of Raytheon's MathMovesU program.

There are two ways that guests can participate and learn in a fun way.  Outside the main theater, guests are invited to participate in science experiments, like penny polisher, making a film canister rocket, and more.

But the real unique portion of the event takes place during the show, which is scheduled for 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:00 pm.

First, we were introduced to amazing scientists who would be taking us on our journey of discovery and knowledge!

The first experiment that they showed us was one about acids and bases.  It was so entertaining to watch.  With this experiment, they took liquids, dropped dry ice in them, and we watched as the chemical reactions took place.  Not only did they bubble, but they also changed color in front of our eyes!

Next was an experiment showing how air really does have weight by guests participating in a tug of war.

We also learned about light refraction and bubbles.  (See the light refracting in the photos.)

Finally, we learned about nucleation-triggered eruption, which in turns is basically erupting soda with Mentos. This experiment allows carbon dioxide bubbles to form in the divots found on the Mentos, creating the eruption!

The whole presentation lasted about 20 minutes and it was extremely high action and entertaining.  It was precisely the perfect type of event for Epcot and something I wish could take place all the time.  (Hello edu-tainment!)

Here is a brief video of some of the experiments that I wanted to share with you guys!


I got the chance to speak with Dr. Erica Ebbel Angle, a biochemist, who is certainly proof that anyone can learn with science.  (She is a former Miss Massachusetts.) She passionately discussed the need for kids to understand that science is all around and that while you may not be interested in on type of science, there are plenty of other areas to choose from.  There's not just one type of science, like many think.  For the full interview, make sure to check up the upcoming Be Our Guest Podcast episode all about the event.

If you couldn't make it to the show this week, that's ok!  Check out these resources that could get you excited about engineering! And next time you're down in Epcot, make sure to stop by Sum of All Thrills and learn how math can help you create an amazing thrill ride experience!

In addition, for those of you who were unable to make it, I've got a giveaway for you!  Guests were given a drawstring bag for participating in the event and I have an extra one with your name on it!  Just enter my Rafflecopter Giveaway and you too could win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!!!  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 2/10/14 - 2/16/14

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

Magic Kingdom
  • This week saw a showcase of the different costumes that the Festival of Fantasy Parade will use, as well as a full line up of the parade.  For more information, read this blog post.
  • PUSH the Talking Trash Can is no longer meeting with guests. 
  • Some of the walls are down at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  In addition, the media has been invited to a press event on April 30th.  If I were to take a bet, I would guess soft openings of the attraction will happen sometime in March.  If not then, definitely by the first few weeks of April.

  • A special exhibit and show will take place at Innoventions West called "Science Thrills Live" presented by Raytheon.  It will last from Feb. 17th - 21st and showtimes are at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. 
  • Anna and Elsa have been extended to an indefinite date.  They can be found at the Norway Pavilion meeting guests. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade will be ending it's 12+ year run sometime in June, due to construction.
Walt Disney World Resorts
  • At Disney's Polynesian Resort, the lobby of the Great Ceremonial House will see refurbishment work from March 1 until sometime in December 2014. Also, their quick service dining location, Captain Cook’s will close sometime in March and will reopen sometime in June. A replacement dining option will be available.  Finally, the Volcano Pool will see a refurbishment from sometime in August until some point in 2015.

General Walt Disney World News
  • Disney has upgraded the My Disney Experience app. (for iTunes...the Android update is coming soon.)
  • A second ferry boat dock is currently under construction for the Transportation and Ticket Center.
  • The Atlanta Braves will start Spring Training games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports soon.  The schedule is: 
    Wednesday, February 26  Detroit Tigers 1:05pm
    Friday, February 28 Houston Astros 6:05pm
    Sunday, March 2 Detroit Tigers 1:05pm
    Monday, March 3 New York Mets 1:05pm
    Tuesday, March 4 Washington Nationals 1:05pm
    Thursday, March 6 Washington Nationals 6:05pm
    Saturday, March 8 Miami Marlins 1:05pm
    Tuesday, March 11 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05pm
    Wednesday, March 12 Washington Nationals 1:05pm
    Friday, March 14 Tampa Bay Rays 1:05pm
    Saturday, March 15 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05pm
    Wednesday, March 19 New York Yankees 1:05pm
    Friday, March 21 Detroit Tigers 1:05pm
    Saturday, March 22 Boston Red Sox 1:05pm
    Sunday, March 23 New York Mets 1:05pm
    Monday, March 24 Houston Astros 6:05pm
    Wednesday, March 26 Miami Marlins 1:05pm

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Top Seven Romantic Date Ideas at Walt Disney World

Ah...can you feel it?  Romance is in the air.  Flowers are getting ready to be delivered, chocolate is being wrapped, and some guy is out shopping for some plush animal that we definitely don't need.  (After like 18...I don't want a bee that says bee mine...I don't think I'm the only one.)

With cupid's bow sharply pointed in my direction, I realized that Walt Disney's one romantic place. What?  Isn't it just about the rides and shows?  Well, while that can be romantic too (I mean, awesome is it to be able to have fun with your sweetie in a place where you both get to be kids again!) there are actually some really romantic things that a couple can do while on vacation.  That is, if you can sneak away.

This list isn't going to feature the typical have dinner at California Grill or book the Chef's Table at Victoria and Alberts.  Yes, those are fantastically romantic options, but I wanted to try something a little different. 

So, here's my Top Seven Must Do Romantic Dates at Walt Disney World.

  1. Senses - A Disney Spa:  There are two fantastic spa options for you to choose from.  One is at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort.  The other is at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.  Both have just been refurbished and are top of the line.  I've been to the Grand Floridian one and it impressive.  There is nothing quite like getting a couples massage right there in paradise.  
  2. The fireplaces at Wilderness Lodge/Animal Kingdom Lodge:  Both of these resorts have some fantastic nooks and crannies that feature fireplaces.  Sure, when it's 1000 degrees out, you may not think...oh...let's sit by the fireplace.  But I can promise you, that there is nothing more romantic than sitting by the roaring fire with the one you love. (Bonus points if you can cuddle up in the same chair...which trust me...not super comfy, but I did it!) At Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can also consider using night vision goggles to spot the animals in the savannah.
  3. A horse-drawn carriage ride:  This is one that I've never done, but think it would be amazing.  The rides last for approximately 25 minutes and can be taken at either Ft. Wilderness or Port Orleans Riverside. Both take you around the resort, which both are surrounded by a romantic setting. 
  4. Mini-golf/ice cream: I am a sucker for a mini-golf date.  It's so fun.  It takes you back to the kind of dates you likely went on as a teenager.  You have the competition angle or your significant other can "teach" you how to putt better.  Pair up your evening by sharing ice cream at Ghiradelli.  What a sweet evening. 
  5. Polynesian Beach:  How much more romantic can you get?  You have a beach.  You have the view of Cinderella Castle.  If you get lucky, you can grab a hammock.  And if you time it right, you can get fireworks.  Perfect. 
  6. Taking a flight on Characters in Flight/Dinner: Downtown Disney has some amazing restaurants.  Try Paridiso 37, Raglan Road, Fulton's Crab House, or Portobello.  Pair up a good meal with a sunset ride on Characters in Flight where you can see all of Downtown Disney and then some. 
  7. Stroll around World Showcase at Epcot:  It's so nice to just leisurely stroll around World Showcase, hand in hand, exploring the shops, taking in the performances, and sharing some delicious dishes.  Of course, the optimal time to do this is at night, when World Showcase takes on a beautiful glow.  
So, there are my Top Seven Must Do Romantic Date ideas when touring around the parks and at the resort.  But really, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are a ton of ways to have romantic experiences at Walt Disney World.  Which is where you come in.  What's your best romantic date tip?  Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page!

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pintrest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!      

Monday, February 10, 2014

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Almost Ready to Premiere at the Magic Kingdom

Updated: 2/11/14

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is headed to the Magic Kingdom this March and from everything I can tell about it, it's going to be completely different than previous parades.  The floats are going to be huge, the designs are detailed, the costumes are incredible, and the music is supposed to be supposed to be familiar, but rearranged into a fresh contemporary feel.  (Plus, there's the added bonus of an original song too called "Disney Festival of Fantasy" which is supposed to give the parade a voice and personality.)

The parade is colorful and whimsical and celebrates the iconic Disney characters that can be found throughout Fantasyland. The parade will feature 100 performers and will see seven unique units made up of nine spectacular floats that will roll down the parade route. 

The different units will include:  
  • The Princess Garden Float: the lead off float is a 50 foot long celebration of Disney Princesses and their Princes, including, Belle and Beast, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Tiana and Prince Naveen, and as a late addition, Elsa and Anna from Frozen. (They replace Princess Aurora on the float.) This float is accompanied by the Royal Court Swan Couples. 

  • The Tangled Float: This float is nearly three stories and high features Rapunzel, Flynn, Maximus, as well as some Tavern Thugs who will be there to cause some trouble, swinging around the float. Floral Maidens will also join the procession.


  • The Little Mermaid Float: Here we'll see Ariel accompanied by not only Sebastian and Flounder, but also beautiful performers dressed as seahorses, coral fish, a lion fish, a seashell and more. 


  • The Peter Pan Float:  The Jolly Roger is here with Peter Pan and Wendy as well as a rainbow arch that shines over Skull Rock and Tinker Bell found among giant flowers.  In addition, Captain Hook takes center stage on a swinging anchor.  Also along for the ride will be The Lost Boys who's performance will be reminiscent of Newsies.


  • The Brave Float: Four Scottish couples will welcome this float, which features Merida atop a giant bagpipe.

  • The Sleeping Beauty Float:  This float sees the heroic Prince Phillip battles a Steampunk-inspired Dragon as the wicked Maleficent. The unit will also include thorn-inspired stilt performers, dramatic raven dancers, plus the three good fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather glide along the parade route. 

  • The Finale and Mickey's Airship Float:  The grand finale will feature more beloved characters like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Alice, The Mad Hatter, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and more.  This cavalcade is set up to celebrate the fact that the circus in in town-Storybook Circus to be exact.  The final float features Mickey and Minnie aboard a 32 foot airship. 


According to Randy Wojcik, senior show director Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Creative Entertainment.  “It’s visually stunning, like mini Broadway shows rolling down the street.” 

Here is the video of the entire fashion show that took place this week:  

The parade is sure to be a fantastic hit when it premieres.  I think the video showcases that these costumes are definitely indicative that this is not going to be your average Disney parade.  Which I think will at least help me.  Let's be honest, I am not a parade person, but let me tell you, this parade is certainly piquing my attention. 

What are your thoughts about this parade?  Which float are you most excited for?  Let me know in the comments section or on Facebook.  

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word!  Share it on Twitter or the photos on Pintrest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!     
Seven unique units comprised of nine spectacular floats will march down Main Street, U.S.A to the beat of an original soundtrack inspired by favorite Disney films - See more at:
Seven unique units comprised of nine spectacular floats will march down Main Street, U.S.A to the beat of an original soundtrack inspired by favorite Disney films - See more at:
Seven unique units comprised of nine spectacular floats will march down Main Street, U.S.A to the beat of an original soundtrack inspired by favorite Disney films - See more at:
Seven unique units comprised of nine spectacular floats will march down Main Street, U.S.A to the beat of an original soundtrack inspired by favorite Disney films - See more at:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 2/3/14 - 2/9/14

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


Magic Kingdom
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover's refurbishment has been postponed. 

  • The Frozen meet and greet will see new hours.  Anna and Elsa will meet from 9 am - 6 pm.  
  • The Ziti Sisters will be leaving the Italy Pavilion.  Their final performance date will be on Feb. 22nd. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • "Blank-A Vinylmation Love Story" will be showing at the Premiere Theater this upcoming weekend.  The short film lasts 40 minutes and is showing on Feb. 14 - 17 at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm.  
  • During Star Wars Weekends this year, for the first time, the park will show the fireworks spectacular "Symphony in the Stars."  The show is scheduled for 9 pm each night of the Weekends.  
  • In other fireworks news, a special fireworks show will be performed on May 1st.  This year is the park's 25th anniversary.  The performance will begin at 9:30 pm. 


  • Another 24 hour party may be scheduled for the Magic Kingdom (likely during Memorial Weekend.)  
  • The boat ride that will be found in Avatarland could be similar to what we see in Pirates of the Caribbean.  A slow moving boat ride with a couple of dips.  
Download the all NEW Disney Food Blog Guide Walt Disney World Dining!  Read about all the fantastic treats the parks have to offer!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Complete Guide To The 2014 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Updated: 3/4/14

We are officially one month out from one of the most beautiful times to visit Epcot.  The 2014 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is scheduled to begin on March 5th and run through May 18th.  This is the Festival's 21st year.  Each year the Festival offers beautiful gardens, topiaries, butterfly gardens, celebrity presentations, the Flower Power Concert Series, food booths, and much, much more!

Today, I present to you the defacto guide to experiencing the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

What's New?

Every year brings about some new items and this year, there are quite a few.  They include:

  • Topiary versions of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to celebrate the theatrical release of Muppet Most Wanted.
  • Last year brought us the Marketplace Kiosks.  These fantastic food booths have been renamed this year and will be called Outdoor Kitchens.  In addition, a new booth will be added that will celebrate an all natural, sustainable garden menu. Some items will even come from The Land Pavilion, which is found in Future World. Menu items will include: the Land-Grown Eggplant “Scallop” with Romesco Sauce, Ghost Pepper Dusted Tilapia with Winter Melon Salad and Mango Chutney, plus red and white vegan wines and gluten-free beer.   
  • Topiary Timon (from The Lion King) will join his buddy Pumbaa in the Outpost section.
  • The front entrance garden will be changed a bit.  Join Goofy, Donald, and Daisy as they venture out on a butterfly hunt...but there's an added twist: the topiaries will have a new, computer-generated look where Goofy’s butterfly net will prove useless as topiary butterflies light up on the back of his floral garb. Also, a topiary bee buzz on Donald’s head. The front garden will also feature a real waterfall, as well as a pond with water lilies.
  • A new Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden will welcome families with a whimsical play land of activities. 
  • A new photo opportunity topiary display will be available for guests, featuring soccer Goofy and Donald!
  • Gardener's Palette: Explore all this charming location has to offer, located at Future World East near Universe of Energy. 
  • The Backyard Play Garden will allow kids to take part in stimulating activities that inspire playful, active and healthy living—for Guests both young and young at heart! 
  • Hummingbirds at Homea new exhibit presented by the National Audubon Society, will feature walk-through hummingbird gardens and tips on how to attract the beautiful birds. 


The topiaries are always my favorite part of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  These plants, which are sculpted into wonderful works of art, are always stunning and so incredibly detailed.  It's amazing how they take different plant substances to make these creative pieces.  

Here is a look at which topiaries will be found in 2014 and where:  

Topiary Description
Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto
Behind Spaceship Earth
Buzz Lightyear
Mission Space
Mater/Lightning McQueen
Test Track Walkway
Phineas and Ferb
Oddysey Bridge
Mike and Sulley
Imagination Walkway
World Showcase Plaza
Future World/World Showcase Plaza
Bambi and Friends
Canada Pavilion
Peter Pan and Captain Hook
United Kingdom Pavilion
Winnie the Pooh and Friends
United Kingdom Pavilion
Classic Disney Couples
International Gateway
Beauty and the Beast
France Pavilion
Woody and Lotso
American Adventure Pavilion
Lady and the Tramp
Italy Pavilion
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy
Between Italy Pavilion and Germany Pavilion
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Germany Pavilion
The Lion King
China Pavilion
Norway Pavilion
Spring is in the Air
Main Entrance

Flower Power Concert

The Flower Power Concerts feature bands from the 60s and 70s.  Performances take place at the American Gardens Theater at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the Festival.  The concerts are included with your Epcot admission.  New artists for this year include Gary Lewis and The Playboys and the Alan Parsons Live Project.  Here is the complete schedule for 2014:  
  • March 7-9 The Guess Who “American Woman”
  • March 14-16 Gary Lewis and The Playboys “This Diamond Ring”
  • March 21-23 The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
  • March 28-30 The Lovin’ Spoonful “Summer in the City”
  • April 4-6 Paul Revere & The Raiders “Good Thing”
  • April 11-13 Village People “Y.M.C.A”
  • April 18-20 The Grass Roots “Midnight Confessions”
  • April 25-27 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VII, I Am”
  • May 2-4 Starship starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
  • May 9-11 Chubby Checker & The Wildcats “The Twist”
  • May 16-18 Alan Parsons Live Project “Eye in the Sky”

Festival Center

The Festival Center is the hub for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  This location (which is the former location of the Wonders of Life Pavilion) holds the Designer Presentations, hear tips from gardeners, shop for Festival merchandise, and more.

The full list of activities include:  

  • HGTV Theater – Hear tips from the experts at HGTV and see how Disney Horticulturalists go about growing the magic you see all around you in this video presentation of “The Making of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.”
  • Planting Pointers – Daily at 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM, join the experts from IFAS at the University of Florida who will present a daily assortment of topics and ideas to help your technique grow.
  • Intermissions Café – For a special way to dig into the day, or perhaps turn over your evening, stop by Intermissions Café, which features a fine selection of wine, cheese, wraps and salads. 
  • Ask an Expert – From 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, collect answers for your deeply rooted gardening questions, courtesy of the “Master Gardeners” from IFAS at the University of Florida.
Greenhouse Stage – Drop by daily at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM to meet with gardening specialists who will share their knowledge for your garden back home.

March 7–9:
2014 Top Gardening Trends – Robert Bowden

March 14:
I Did Something Wild in My Yard! Landscaping Techniques to Benefit Wildlife – Dr. Mark Hostetler

March 15:
Magical Hummingbirds – Don Kendzior

March 16:
Florida Hikes for Botanical Beauty – Sandra Friend & John Keatley

March 21–23:
 An Edible Education: The Garden as a Teaching Tool -Kendra Lott

March 28:
Mounting Excitement: Creating a Driftwood Air Garden – Dennis Cathcart

March 29:
Accidental Artist – Craig Mitchell Smith

March 30:
Hypertufa—Ancient Pots – Melanie Palmrose

Designers’ Stage Presented by HGTV – Monday through Thursday, take in entertaining seminars led by nationally recognized garden VIPs. Then, Friday through Sunday, enjoy informative events presented by HGTV personalities—taking place at 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM.  Here is the listing of seminars during the week:  

March 5:
Magical Hummingbirds – Don Kendzior

March 6:
Gardening for Conservation – Jarrod Stewart

March 10:
Monarch Butterflies and Their Migration – Jaret Daniels

March 11–13:
Great Containers Made Easy (12:00 p.m.) – Marcia Leeper & Steven Nordmeyer
Crazy for Containers (3:00 p.m.) – Marcia Leeper & Steven Nordmeyer

March 17:
Gardening with Nature – Don Kendzior

March 18–20:
The Audubon Birdhouse Book: Great Homes for Great Birds – Margaret Barker

March 24:
Colorful Shrubs – Eric Schmidt

March 25–27:
Fantastic New Plants for 2014 (12:00 p.m.) – Danielle Sherry
Diagnosing Your Veggie Problems (3:00p.m.) – Danielle Sherry

HGTV/DIY Presentations

At the Designers' Stage during the weekends, celebrities from both HGTV and the DIY Network will be on hand offering tips to help make your home spring to life. These presentations take place at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The celebrities appearing are:  
    Appearance Dates
    HGTV/DIY Celebrity
    March 7-9
    Vern Yip (Design Star)
    March 15-16
    Chris Lambton, “Going Yard”
    March 21-23
    Matt Blashaw, “Yard Crashers”
    March 28-30
    Matt Muenster, ”Bath Crashers”
    April 4-6
    Taniya Nayak, ”House Hunters on Vacation”
    April 11-13
    Amy Matthews, “Renovation Raiders”
    April 18-20
    John Gidding, ”Curb Appeal”
    April 25-27
    David Bromstad, “Color Splash”
    May 2-4
    Chip Wade, ”Elbow Room”
    May 9-11
    Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Star
    May 16-18
    Alison Victoria, ”Kitchen Crashers”
      Educate Yourself 

      The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is all about edutainment.  Here are a few additional ways you can illuminate your day in the park with an enlightening series of experiences! 


      • Garden Retreat
        Test Track Walkway
      • Water Wise Herbs & Vegetables
        Imagination Walkway
      • Festival Blooms
        Future World East and West Lake
      • Florida Fresh Garden
        Adjacent to the Germany Pavilion
      • TBD Garden – Presented by Nature Conservancy
        Imagination Walkway

      • Backyard Habitat
        Imagination Walkway
      • Bonsai Collection
        Japan Pavilion
      • Orchids
        Mexico Pavilion
      Special Happenings

      • Art in the Garden Weekend – March 28 to March 30
        From 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, visualize nature through one-of-a-kind works around World Showcase.
      • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Specialists – April 4 to April 5
        Uncover incredible creatures from the team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
      • Florida Fresh Weekend – April 25 to April 27
        Behold the bounty of the Sunshine State.
      • Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. – May 9 to May 11
        Unearth amazing flora designs, each of which defies description.

      • Epcot Gardens of the World Tour
        Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
        Take a guided 3 hour tour, led by a Disney horticulturist of special displays and award-winning gardens. $64.00, plus tax. Ages 16 and up. To register, visit Guest Relations, or call (407) WDW-TOUR.
      • English Tea Garden – Presented by Twinings
        Enjoy the history and art of tea blending during a guided 20-minute tour of an elegant English Tea Garden, featuring some of Twinings finest tea blends. To register, sign-up in The Tea Caddy at the United Kingdom Pavilion.
      Outdoor Kitchens

      Last year was the first year for the Outdoor Kitchens (which were known as Marketplace Kiosks).  These Kitchens focus on serving small bites of delectable treats and beverages with a focus on fresh ingredients.
      The booths are similar to what you would see at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. There will be 11 kitchens total, found throughout World Showcase.

      Here is the full list of all the Outdoor Kitchens that will be featured during this year’s festival:

      Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico Pavilion) - Enjoy flavors like savory tacos and fruity cocktails.

      • Tacos al pastor – Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro
      • Quesadilla de hongos con queso – Flour tortilla filled with mushrooms and cheese
      • Flan de chocolate Abuelita – Mexican chocolate custard
      • Tecate draft beer
      • White Mexican sangria
      • Franbuesa (raspberry) margarita on the rocks
      • Tequila flight – blanco, reposado and añejo
      • Dasani bottled water
      Candied Strawberries ©Disney
      Lotus House (China Pavilion) -  Dine on a variety of Chinese cuisine, like popular street foods and bubble tea.

      • Beijing-style candied strawberries
      • Spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple
      • Vegetable spring rolls
      • Popping bubble tea
      • Kung Fu Punch – Vodka and triple sec with mango and orange juice
      • South Sea Storm – Guava juice with light and dark rum
      • Plum wine
      • Tsing-Tao beer
      • Lychee aerated water

      Florida Fresh (Germany Pavilion) - Savor fresh Florida ingredients that are grown and produced locally.

      • Watermelon salad with pickled onions, BW Farm baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction
      • Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro
      • Florida kumquat pie
      • Watermelon passion fruit slush featuring Simply Lemonade®
      • Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria featuring Simply Lemonade, Florida Orange Groves
      • Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery
      • Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery
      • Blonde Ale, Orlando Brewing Company
      • Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Swamp Head Brewery
      • Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company
      • Florida Avenue Blueberry, Cold Storage Craft Brewery
      • Beer Flight – Blonde Ale, Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale and Florida Avenue Blueberry
      • Simply Orange
      Feast of Flowers ©Disney

      Watermelon Salad ©Disney
      Shrimp and Grits ©Disney
      Primavera Kitchen (Italy Pavilion) - Sample some of this country’s many flavors like caprese, manicotti, torte di ricotta and Italian wines.

      • Caprese – Fior di latte mozzarella, roasted peppers and olio verde
      • Three cheese manicotti – Egg pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce and béchamel
      • Torta di ricotta – Lemon cheesecake with limoncello-marinated strawberries
      • Placido Pinot Grigio
      • Placido Chianti
      • Bosco del Merlo Prosecco
      • White peach bellini – Prosecco and white peach puree
      • Strawberry rossini – Prosecco and marinated strawberries
      • Frozen Italian primavera – Assorted fruit slushy with limoncello and vodka
      • Moretti Lager
      • Moretti La Rossa
      The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews (American Adventure Pavilion) - Celebrate the truly American tradition of barbeque, paired with craft brews from across the country.

      • Pulled pig slider with cole slaw
      • Smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeño corn bread
      • Smoked turkey “rib”
      • “Piggylicous” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
      • Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Brewing
      • Maduro, Cigar City Brewing
      • Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing Company
      • Billy’s Chilies, Twisted Pine Brewing Company
      • Beer Flight – Magic Hat #9, Maduro, Fat Tire and Billy’s Chilies
      • The Original Rib Shack Red Wine
      Piggylicious Bacon cupcake ©Disney

      Pulled Pig Slider ©Disney
      Hanami (Japan Pavilion) - Hanami is a traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers.  Take in the gorgeousness while enjoying delicate bites and refreshing beverages.

      Hanami sushi ©Disney
      • Frushi – Fresh pineapple, strawberries and melon, rolled with coconut rice, topped with raspberry sauce, sprinkled with toasted coconut and served with whipped cream on the side
      • Temaki hand roll – Sliced Panko fried chicken, curry sauce, rice and pickled julienne carrots wrapped with Nori
      • Hanami sushi – A flavorful combination of salmon, scallop and beef-topped rice balls served atop a shiso violet sauce
      • Japanese puffed rice cakes with green tea whipped cream and azuki
      • Kirin draft beer
      • Pinepple Paradise with Yuzu Slushie – Frozen blend of sweet sake, pineapple juice and crème, flavored with a hint of Yuzu citrus juice
      • Orange Mango Slushie – Frozen blend of Nigori sake, mango and orange juice

      Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco Pavilion) - Discover the tastes on North African spices which will be paired with fresh ingredients, as well as Moroccan beer and wine.

      • Lamb brewat roll with prunes and sesame
      • Harissa chicken kebab with couscous salad
      • Baghrir – Moroccan pancake with honey, almonds and argan oil
      • Mint iced tea
      • White sangria
      • Guerrouane red
      • Casa Beer
      • Desert Rose – Sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur
      Fleur de Lys (France Pavilion) - Indulge your senses in France’s most magnificent culinary masterpieces.

      Orange Blossom Macaroons ©Disney
      • Gnocchi Parisien à la Provençal – Parisian-style dumplings with vegetables and mushrooms
      • Confit de canard, pommes de terre Sarladaise – Pulled duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes
      • Macaron à la fleur d’ Oranger – Orange blossom macaron with white chocolate ganache
      • La Vie en Rose frozen slush – Vodka, Grey Goose Orange, St. Germain Liquor, and white and red cranberry juice
      • Kir Imperial – Sparkling wine, Chambord and black raspberry liquor
      • Rosé pamplemousse cocktail – Rosé wine mixed with natural grapefruit syrup
      • Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 – Fruity white beer with citrus notes

      Buttercup Cottage (United Kingdom Pavilion) - Delight in afternoon tea offerings and fresh garden flavors.

      • Freshly baked potato and cheddar cheese biscuit with smoked salmon tartare
      • Field greens with Plant City strawberries, toasted almonds and Farmstead stilton
      • Pork and apple sausage roll with house-made piccalilli
      • Freshly baked lemon scones with berry preserves and crème fraÎche
      • Chilled rose blush lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade with Raspberry (nonalcoholic)
      • Twinings® Cold Brewed English Classic with lemon grass syrup
      • Berry tea cocktail – Twinings Cold Brewed Mixed Berry Tea with Florida Cane vodka and Plant City strawberry, flavored with raspberry and açaí syrup
      • Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee
      • Deloach Pinot Noir
      Pork and apple sausage roll ©Disney

      Field Greens ©Disney
      Berry Tea Cocktail ©Disney

      Pineapple Promenade (Canada Pavilion) - Eat up (quite literally) as you try all kinds of treats featuring delicious and juicy pineapples.

      • Dole Whip
      • Dole Whip with Myers’s dark rum
      • Dole Whip with Parrot Bay coconut rum
      • Sweet potato cinnamon waffle with pineapple soft serve
      • Frozen desert violet lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade (nonalcoholic)
      • Tropical Mango Pale Ale, St. John Brewers
      • Once Upon a Vine’s The Lost Slipper Sauvignon Blanc
      Redbridge Gluten-Free beer ©Disney
      Urban Farm Eats - Taste treats from this booth’s all natural menu, with dishes that have been cultivated from the soil.

      • Pickled beet salad with goat cheese cream, mizuna and pistachios
      • Land-grown eggplant “scallop” with romesco sauce and spaghetti squash
      • Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub
      • Cucumber lemon spa water, finished with a sprig of fresh mint
      • The Vegan Vine Chardonnay
      • The Vegan Vine Cabernet Sauvignon
      • Redbridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer

      Intermissions Cafe (Festival Center) – Pop inside to find all kinds of fine food and beverages.
      • Grapes
      • Fruit & cheese plate
      • Vegan trio
      • Southwest chicken wrap
      • Tuna salad with pita
      • Side salad
      • Asian tuna salad with noodles
      • Caprese Push-Pop – Tomato, mozzarella and balsamic
      • Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria, Florida Orange Groves
      • Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery
      • Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery
      • Martini Prosecco
      • Strongbow Cider, Bulmers Cider Company
      • SweetWater Blue, SweetWater Brewing Company

      Don't forget to pick up your Garden Passport. This is a special booklet that you should get stamped as you visit the Outdoor Kitchens.  Passports can be picked up at the Festival Center, at any DVC Information Booth, or at the Outdoor Kitchens.  

      Fun For Kids

      The kiddos aren't left out during this event.  Quite a few new additions have been added that will appeal for the entire family. 

      They include:  
      • Mater's Parts, Plants & Play Garden: Play at this exciting stop located at Test Track Walkway.
      • Mike & Sulley's Monstrous Garden: Scare up some fun at this vibrant play area on Imagination Walkway.
      • Backyard Play Garden – Presented by GoGo squeeZ: Join in all sorts of outdoor activity where kids can take part in stimulating activities that inspire playful, active and healthy living.
      • Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House – Presented by HGTV: Don’t miss the chance to catch a glimpse of Tinker Bell’s butterfly friends as they flutter about at this magical stop. In addition, this area features quite a few topiaries featuring Tinker Bell's Fairy Friends.

      There will be quite a few areas where guests can pick up a fun gardening or Epcot Flower and Garden trinkets.  Special Festival merchandise is created exclusively for the event.  Items include plush, mugs, ears, shirts, wind chimes, pins, and Vinylmation.  To pick up your souvenirs, head to: 

      • Garden Emporium - Located near the Canada Pavilion.  Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
      • Garden Treasures - Located near the Mexico Pavilion.  Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
      • Garden Oasis - Located near the Mexico Pavilion.  Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
      • Garden Boutique - Located near the Germany Pavilion.  Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
      • Port of Entry - Located near the entrance to World Showcase.  Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
      • Mouse Gear - Located inside Future World.  Hours of operation from 9:00 AM - park close


      There are also a few odds and ends you should know about.  The Illuminated Gardens and Topiaries are back.  Each evening, enjoy your walk around World Showcase just a little more as the topiaries are illuminated and twinkle.  

      Look for a new mini Disney Gift Card that is exclusive to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The neat thing about the card is that it has a bungee cord so you can wear it around your wrist and simply swipe to pay for food and more. The card can be reloaded as many times as you want at most festival kiosks.

      The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is such a great event.  It's the sign that Spring is just around the corner and it really gets me in the warmer weather mindset.  There's a ton of things to offer everyone and it just amazes me how much bigger this event just seems to be getting year after year.  

      What do you look forward to experiencing at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page!  

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