Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival

My favorite season in Disney is Flower and Garden Festival! The weather is near perfect, there’s flowers galore, and every weekend there are outdoor concerts by a variety of great bands. 

This year, Flower and Garden begins March 2 and goes through May 30. And as if  this annual event couldn’t get any better, a few years ago they added outdoor kitchens which is essentially an extension of Food And Wine Festival in spring!

  

Great food, music, 30 million flowers and 70 different  topiaries! Does it get better than that?

A favorite of mine is the butterfly garden, where the butterflies roam free and often land on guests. It’s best to visit this area a few weeks into the festival so you can see the more than 10 species of butterflies. Another highlight is a small group of performers called the Jamitors. They play amazing music with pots, pans, trash can lids and 5 gallon buckets! 

So if you have the opportunity to visit Epcot in spring, you just can’t miss the Flower and Garden Festival!

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Today begins the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival which runs through Nov. 14.
If you visit Epcot during this time you will have the opportunity to taste some of the best chef creations from around the world along with wine tasting, special music performances and book signings.
New to the food lineup this year are Belgium and South Korea. New to the performance line up are Taylor Dane, Billy Ocean and 38 Special, all performing for the first time at the festival.
One of the best new ways to experience the festival is through the use of the mini gift card that you can wear on your wrist. You can load this gift card with any monetary amount from $5 to $1500 and then just swipe it easily for food and other purchases at the festival. It saves you from having to dig for cash or a credit card.
There will be more than 25 Marketplace kiosks serving sample-sized portions of a variety of International foods throughout Epcot.
There will also be special seminars and demonstrations during the festival.
For more information or to download festival guides and maps go to: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/

Fourth of July in Disney

With the July 4th holiday just around the corner I feel compelled to tell you that if you’re in Disney on that date you need to get to the Magic Kingdom early in the day. This is one of those days where the park gets so full that it actually hits capacity and yes, Disney does close the park when it gets to capacity.

In 2001 when I traveled to Disney to see the Boyertown Alumni Band perform in the Magic Kingdom onĀ  the 4th of July, the park reached capacity at 10:30 a.m. We had to stay in the park or take the chance of not getting back in at 3 p.m. when the alumni band was scheduled to march down Main Street. I believe the temperature was somewhere in the mid 90’s that day. It was excruciatingly hot waiting for that parade to begin but we would duck into nearby stores to catch a glimpse of air conditioning.

This is the time of year when those spray bottles with misting fans are needed to beat the heat. Whether you buy them before you go and save a few bucks or buy them there for about $20, its money well spent. Especially on days when those ever popular mid-afternoon thunderstorms don’t happen!

But when the sun goes down and it cools off a few degrees, you’ll be glad you spent the holiday in Disney.

Fireworks on the 4th of July are amazing. But seeing fireworks in Disney created a problem for me. Now I have no desire to see fireworks anywhere else. I compare all the other fireworks displays to the ones in Disney (yes, I know…not fair to compare but I can’t help it and I still do it).

So this July 4th, as I once again travel with the Boyertown Alumni Band to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, finding out that I’d miss the fireworks display didn’t bother me at all. I’ll be seeing my favorite fireworks next month when I arrive in Disney.

Summer Nightastic in Disney

Those of you traveling to Walt Disney World this summer will be in for some changes!
Disney announced Summer Nightastic beginning in early June and running through August 14.
During this time there will be a new-yet unnamed- fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first being such a fan of the Wishes fireworks but I know Disney and it’s reputation for great things so I’ll be looking forward to it.
Another change this summer is that SpectroMagic – the Magic Kingdom’s parade of lighted floats that appear almost nightly – will be replaced with the Main Street Electrical Parade. Having no patience to wait, I searched for it on YouTube and watched some of it. I love SpectroMagic, it’s theme song is the ring tone on my cell phone, but the Main Street Electrical Parade looks like a fun parade I’m sure I’ll enjoy.
Another change announced is the new drop sequences in Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I’ve only gone on this ride once and did not really like it. But I’m thinking I may give it a second chance this summer and see if I feel differently.
Sometime in 2010 Disney will remove Toon Town in order to make way for their massive expansion to the Magic Kingdom. So take the opportunity to make one last visit, especially if you have little ones.
And since it’s wedding season I feel the need to mention this to anyone honeymooning in Disney. Buy the Minnie and Mickey bride and groom ears (online or at the Disney store in downtown Disney). Lots of magic seems to happen to brides and grooms wearing these in the parks!

Save Some Money!

One of the hardest things to do when planning a trip to Walt Disney World is save! And I don’t just mean saving for that wonderful vacation, I mean savings when you book that vacation!
There are some things I don’t recommend cutting and other things I do. First, I don’t recommend trying to save money by just buying the base ticket for the Disney parks. The base ticket gets you into one park each day. If you miss the Wishes fireworks in the Magic Kingdom because it rains the day you were there, you won’t be able to just bounce back over there the next day after spending the day in Epcot (or another park). Getting the park hopper gives you the most flexibility and is well worth the extra cash.
Where you can save is on the Waterparks Fun and More option. If you only plan to go to one of the waterparks, it’s more cost effective to buy a one day waterpark ticket when you go rather than add the waterparks fun and more option to your ticket.
Also, I’ve said this before and it bears repeating, I don’t recommend staying off-site when going to Walt Disney World. You have much better transporation services to and from the parks staying at a Disney resort because the buses run from every resort an hour before parks open till an hour after they close. Having value, moderate and deluxe resorts to choose from means there’s something for every budget. Other benefits to Disney guests include one park opening early each day and one staying open late each night just for guests of Walt Disney World resorts!
Disney’s Buy 4 Get 3 Free nights promotion is ending Dec. 20th and travel must be completed by March 27th. But there is always the chance that they extend the promotion. If that’s going to happen, they would likely announce it just before or after Dec. 20th. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict they will extend it. Spending in Disney Parks was down by 4% in 2009 and resort occupancy was down also. I would like to see it extended to the end of June so those families that don’t want to take their children out of school have some time to get there once school is out.