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!

It’s Likely The Calm Before The Storm

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If you spent time in Epcot this weekend you probably noticed how empty it was. You could call that Disney in September but it’s also likely the calm before the storm. Next weekend begins Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – the most anticipated event of the year for food, wine and craft beer enthusiasts.
It’s a party for your taste buds and an opportunity to taste the culinary delights from various countries, craft beer and a plethora of wines.
Small appetizer sized portions of various foods can be purchased, usually priced between $3.50 – $5.00.
Due to its popularity, this festival gets longer every year. It will run for 53 days this year from September 19 through November 10.
Saturday evening small groups of festival cast members could be seen throughout the World Showcase getting their last-minute instructions.
And while you nibble your way around the world, you can see performances in the Eat To The Beat Concert Series which features performances such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Smash Mouth and Boyz ll Men just to mention a few.
Mixology seminars and cooking demonstrations along with many other mini events will occur during the festival.
Although the festival itself draws large crowds, if you plan to attend expect weekdays to be only slightly less crowded.

Free Travel Expo This Weekend In Philadelphia!

Have you been cooped up in the house all winter dreaming of that warm and sunny destination?
The snow is gone and it’s time to get out! (Of the house that is!)
If you’re within driving distance of Philadelphia, Pa, you can explore vacation destinations at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. The event will be held Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.
FREE parking, FREE admittance, FREE vacations being given away every hour!
And if that’s not enough FREE, there will also be FREE seminars, FREE vacation planning assistance from vacation experts!
Get the information you need to plan your vacation, at no extra cost!
Bring the children to get their picture taken with a character. And bring your vacation dates because you will be able to take advantage of exclusive deals and book your vacation on the spot!
Here’s the address:
The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Hall C

100 Station Avenue Oaks, PA 19456

Sunday April 6th, 2014

10AM – 5PM
Stop and see me in the family vacation area of the Expo. I’ll be near the Disney booth helping families plan their Disney vacations!

FUN FACTS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF TAKING A VACATION

1. It relieves stress!
2. It gets you free Vitamin D!
3. It gives you something to look forward to – who doesn’t countdown to vacay?
4. It provides bonding time for couples and families!
5. It creates a lifetime of memories!

What Would You Do With Just One Day?

What would you do if you found out you were going to Walt Disney World for just one day?
Go to just one park? Or maybe you’d be adventurous and try to get to all four!
While most people plan their Disney vacations for a week, sometimes an opportunity comes up to squeeze in just one day. For those of us who love all things Disney, we look at a trip to Florida for any reason, as an opening to fit in some Disney parks time.
It looks like I will have the opportunity to spend one day in Disney prior to sailing a 3 night Bahamas cruise on the Disney Dream this fall.
Being adventurous, I will want to visit all four parks into one day. The challenge will be narrowing down my favorite rides in each park! Fortunately, some rides have single rider lines that move faster than the regular line, and Disney’s Fast Pass allows you to pre-reserve a time to come back and get in a shorter and faster moving Fast Pass line.
I’m looking forward to this fun-filled busy day, even if I’ll spend more time planning it, than the time I will be there!

The New Fantasyland Opens in Walt Disney World

Cinderella’s is no longer the only castle on the block when you visit Walt Disney World. Just beyond it, on a rock-covered hill surrounded by woods and waterfalls, is Beast’s Castle, the icon of the New Fantasyland.

Inside the castle is Disney’s newest and now largest restaurant – Be Our Guest Restaurant, which has quick service dining for lunch and table service dining for dinner. If you’re looking to make a table service reservation for this restaurant, be prepared to make it 6 months in advance as it has quickly become one of the most sought-after dining reservations in Walt Disney World.

Next to Beast’s Castle is an attraction called Enchanted Tales with Belle. From the outside it just looks like a meet and greet attraction but it’s more of a storytelling adventure. Guests walk through Maurice’s workshop and then an enchanted mirror turns into a doorway that takes you into a room where a talking wardrobe and a Disney Cast Member begin to assign parts to each child (and a couple of adults). After all the parts are cast, you’ll move into the Library, where along with Lumiere and Belle, guests participate in a re-telling of the Tale As Old as Time. Afterward, a Disney Photograph Photographer is available to take your picture with Belle.

Just beyond Beast’s Castle is Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. And that is exactly what it is, a journey. A walkway into the grotto takes you deep down under until you arrive at the sea where you board your clam shell to ride through the story of The Little Mermaid. When you’re finished you can go right next door to Ariel’s Grotto – a meet-and-greet attraction with Ariel.
Another area of the New Fantasyland – Storybook Circus- is the home of not one but two Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides! One serves as the Standby line and the other is only for Fast Pass riders. The Barnstormer was also relocated to this area. A water splash area called Casey Jr. Splash and Soak is a fun way to cool off on a hot day.
These attractions are now all open and but construction is not complete.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is scheduled to open in 2014. Guests will board a mine car and travel through a story that focuses primarily on the Seven Dwarfs.
The New Fantasyland is the largest expansion to the Magic Kingdom in the park’s 41-year history.

Just One Day

What would you do with just one whole day to park hop in Walt Disney World?
I’ve asked myself that same question after recently learning that my daughter Kelly is going to do this tomorrow. She’s attending a conference in Orlando and will be arriving one day early and going to Disney to attempt getting through all four parone in one day.
Last week she emailed me her aggressive plan to accomplish that. Since she will be traveling solo she figures she won’t have the drag of waiting for anyone to keep up with her. Her plan includes using the Fast Pass and single rider lines on rides such as Expedition Everest, Rock’n Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. She also plans to hit Splash Mountain (the first ride we always go on when we travel there as a family). I also reminded her to ride Test Track in Epcot as tomorrow will be the last day to ride it before it goes down for an extensive refurbishment and storyline change that is expected to last until fall.
I also need to remind her to stop and smell the roses….and I mean literally as the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is in full bloom!
And pictures…I told her to take lots of pictures and upload them to Facebook while she’s on the bus ride from park to park.
I hope when she’s finished she still has enough energy for her conference!

For those that utilize Disney’s Fast Pass system, you’ll have to keep a closer eye on your Fast Pass return time or possibly lose the ability to use it!
Disney apparently plans to enforce the end time on the Fast Pass which means you can no longer return anytime that day and get in the Fast Pass line.
The Fast Pass system was created so guests would not have to stand in long lines. Instead, you can get a Fast Pass and return during the window of time to get in the Fast Pass line, and get into the attraction faster.
So while you’re playing beat the clock to get back to your ride before the end time on your Fast Pass, don’t forget to leave yourself a few extra minutes before getting in that Fast Pass line to get another Fast Pass!