2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Entrance to Epcot with topiary butterfly.

We came late to the party, but at least we made it.  The 2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is as stunning as ever.  The topiaries located around the park are outstanding, the entertainment is an added bonus; and let’s not forget the food!

Epcot has become one of our favorite parks for all the reasons mentioned above and as we have written about previously.  One of these days we will get to the opening day of these festivals so we can write about what is to come instead of what has happened!

Who doesn’t want to see their favorite performer for free in concert?  This year’s music line-up consisted of such mega Continue Reading →

10 Magical Years

“Who’s the leader of the club…?”  We all know the answer to that question.  But did you know that it’s possible to be a member of the ultimate fan club?  If you consider yourself the “ultimate” fan, nerd, or geek, or just like to experience more of the Disney magic, then a membership in “D23 – The Official Fan Club” should be on your list.

D23 membership gift and magazine

As a member, you don’t just get to call yourself a member of D23, but opportunities and privileges abound.  You can have “Lunch With a (Disney) Legend,” tour the Animation and Imagineering Studios, along with the Disney Archives, attend pre-release screenings of Disney movies, receive additional discounts and more.  In August 2019, the biennial D23 Expo will arrive at the Anaheim Convention Center for 3 days of everything Disney, where you can attend Continue Reading →

EPCOT – Eat to the Beat

A big part of the festivals that arrive at EPCOT is the musical entertainment.  Iconic musicians and groups, along with tribute bands perform their magic for free in the American Pavilion.  The International Food & Wine Festival saw no less than Kenny G, Plain White T’s, 98 Degrees, Mark Wills, Mercy Me, and many other favorites.

Our one night at EPCOT gave us the opportunity to see Air Supply, the Australian duo who Continue Reading →

EPCOT Food & Wine 2018

We were a little late to the party this year, but better late than never!  We have mentioned in previous posts that Disney appears to be turning EPCOT into a “festival” center, and we are certainly good with that, with all the unique activities and experiences of the International Festival of the Arts, the Flower & Garden Festival and finally the International Food & Wine Festival.  What could they do to fill in the gaps?  We will soon find out with the International Festival of the Holidays starting November 18th!

The official passport to the world of food.

Disney continues their summer-to-fall tradition with the 2018 International Food & Wine Festival and they have not held back on the quality or variety of their offerings.  Since EPCOT is an international experience, it is wise not to start on this world-wide food tour without a passport.  When attending this culinary festival, stop by almost any kiosk and pick up this handy guide (pictured right).  In it you will find the various food, drink and dessert offerings, experiences and presentations as well as a page of stickers to “validate” your passport as you travel the world.  While there are 11 countries represented around the Showcase Lagoon, Disney has even added Continue Reading →

Incredibles 2 Movie Review

After a 14 year hiatus, The Incredibles has hit the big screen with their sequel to the 2004 box office success, amassing and even larger opening weekend than Finding Dory, which was a box office record.

It’s amazing that after 14 years, Jack-Jack hasn’t aged a day!

Before we proceed with this review, we think it disappointing that we must issue a couple of warnings regarding a Disney animated movie.  First and most important, there are several scenes with flashing lights that could trigger an epileptic episode to those with this medical condition, or any medical condition that can be made worse with flashing lights.  Second, while many kids today have heard a lot of inappropriate language, this PG rated movie has a couple of scenes with stronger language than we believe is necessary for the plot.

The Incredibles is now back in theaters with their sequel. (©Disney/Pixar)

The Incredibles 2 picks up where it left off with the Underminer attacking the city and the supers attempting to catch him.  The pursuit leaves the city in shambles and causes a huge political uproar against them, so much so that the entire department is being shut down and their trusty government friend, Rick Dicker is being retired.  But a wealthy businessman and his sister want to hire them to Continue Reading →

EPCOT – Spaceship Earth

Have you ever wanted to take a ride inside a golf ball?  A giant golf ball?  This iconic object sitting at just past the entrance to EPCOT can easily be described as just that – a giant golf ball.  But it is more than just something to catch your eye or be the anchor to a theme park.

Spaceship Earth as seen from the World Showcase Lagoon.

Actually, this golf ball is called Spaceship Earth and it contains a fun, educational ride that takes you back to the dawn to man and follows him through the development of communication to today, then allows you to create your own future right on the screen of your time-travelling machine.

This complete geodesic sphere was designed with the assistance of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury.  It is 165 feet in diameter and tops out at 180 feet and took Continue Reading →

Festival of the Lion King

Friends have been “gently encouraging” us for quite a while to go see the Festival of the Lion King at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.  After many delays, we finally got the chance to see it, and we are very sorry we didn’t make it a priority earlier!

Simba overlooking the festival.

The story of this theatrical production is not how a young lion can’t wait to be king, but instead is about a festival that takes place after Simba has been crowned king of Pride Rock.  He is joined by Timon, Pumba and their other friends from the African Savanna in the celebration.  It combines a multitude of human actors, actors in costume, acrobats, fire dancers, flying performers as well as animatronics all singing and Continue Reading →

Tea – Who Knew?

One of the interesting things about the World Showcase is experiencing the different cultures in language, food, architecture and shopping found around the lagoon.  Among these is the Twinings Tea Company which has a Tea Caddy in the United Kingdom land in EPCOT, complete with a garden of tea shrubs, herbs and spices.  During the International Flower & Garden Festival,

English Tea Caddy & Tea Garden

they are hosting daily tours through their tea garden.  In this short, informative tour, guides retell the history of the Twinings Tea Company from its foundings in 1706 to present day.  Its continuous operation makes Twinings the oldest business still in operation in London and being in business over 300 years obviously makes them experts in their field.  Look closely at their packaging.  You will notice a crown – this represents the fact that they are the official tea of the English Royalty – a tribute to their expertise and longevity.

While the average consumer has their favorite tea brand and/or flavor, and even whether they prefer it hot or iced, sweet or plain, most of us know very little about this little leaf that brews the second most popular drink around the world.  Tea is Continue Reading →

EPCOT Flower & Garden 2018

Figment the Dragon

The 25th anniversary of the International Flower & Garden Festival is officially underway in EPCOT.  This 3-month long event runs February 28th to May 28th and showcases everything flora, and even combines it with Disney magic to create some very special displays.  It is not much unlike the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA, where the floats are made entirely of organic materials; but unlike the Rose Parade, most of these displays are made from living and blooming plants, so they will stay in color all spring long.

While the topiaries are spectacular and most of them depict Disney characters, the grounds around EPCOT are planted in blooming flowers and garden displays.  Even an enclosed garden with butterflies in all stages of growth is available for Continue Reading →

EPCOT Festival of the Arts – Dave Avanzino

Disney’s EPCOT is becoming a land of festivals, and 2018 brought the second annual Festival of the Arts; and as they get more experience hosting these events, they are continually making significant improvements which enhance the guest experience.

The five-week long festival running from January 12th to February 19th, saw opportunities galore for exploring your artist within, from culinary arts to musical performances, artist lectures, hands-on learning opportunities and just chances to meet and talk with a number of Disney artists and legends.

Dave Avanzino

Many of these opportunities were presented in a class-like setting.  Most were free or had a small fee for materials.  There were a few “premium” events that ran in excess of $250.  This year, 3D artist Dave Avanzino came to EPCOT to teach his technique for creating unique works of art.  We jumped at the chance to learn from one of our favorite Disney artists (ok, who are we kidding – he IS our favorite Disney artist!)  His ability to create a work of art and make it Continue Reading →