Epcot Back in Blooms: The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns

Walt Disney World Resort

Some say Florida doesn’t have an official “Spring” season, but I beg to differ.

Spring most definitely begins in Florida when the more-than-30-million blooms come alive at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

This year is the Festival’s 25th year, and the park again is overflowing with the brightest plants, flowers, trees and topiaries adorning both Future World and World Showcase.

Here are some of the top things you shouldn’t miss at the Festival:

  • Gardens, Gardens and More Gardens: In addition to all the natural flora throughout the park, the Walt Disney World horticulture squad has curated some truly breathtaking gardens for our guests this year. New garden destinations this year include “The How-To Garden” and “The Imagination Play Garden” which are perfect for adults and kids to enjoy together. Returning favorites include “The Goodness Garden Butterfly House” and “The Water Wise Garden,” which showcase environmental responsibility as well as just being fun!
  • Outdoor Kitchens: What would an Epcot Festival be without fun food and drinks? 15 Outdoor Kitchens this year grace World Showcase, with the newest being “The Honey Bee-Stro,” which features Roasted Cauliflower with Buckwheat Honey Carrot Purée; Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread with White Cheddar Cheese; and Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream garnished with Fennel Pollen Meringue Kisses. These dishes were created to showcase multiple honey varietals in creative and exciting ways. Returning Outdoor Kitchen favorites include “The Berry Basket” (featuring a lamb chop with quinoa salad and blackberry gastrique) and “THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brew” (featuring a pulled-pork slider and warm chocolate cake with Bourbon-salted caramel sauce and spiced pecans). YUM!
  • Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration: One of the beloved characters from Disney animated short cartoons, Spike the honeybee, has been “pollen-nating” throughout the Festival. In this springtime scavenger hunt, gardeners of all ages can follow Spike on his pollination trail around World Showcase, where he will “bee” busy collecting nectar and pollinating gardens at Epcot. To get started, purchase your map and stickers at Port of Entry. Available while supplies last.
  • Garden Rocks Concert Series: Each Friday through Monday of the Festival (what we like to call a “Disney Weekend”), favorite artists from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s will rock out at the America Gardens Theatre. Night Ranger kicks off the series March 2-5, and Rick Springfield, Survivor and Lonestar are just some of the popular rock and rollers in the lineup. Each night, there will be three performances – 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. – and guests can pair a wonderful meal at several of our Epcot restaurants with reserved concert seating in a nice package. Click here for Garden Rocks dining package availability or call 407-WDW-DINE.
  • Character Topiaries: Locations throughout the park feature some of the most beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar characters including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady and The Tramp and Buzz Lightyear.
  • Merchandise: Guests will find a wealth of hats, T-shirts, mugs and other fun Festival merchandise throughout Future World and World Showcase. I can’t resist anything with Figment on it; so you KNOW I’ll be buying some.
  • Tours: One of the great ways to get the “inside track” on the Festival or the latest in gardening techniques is to take one of the tours offered during the Festival. There are tours of The Land pavilion greenhouses and the “Gardens of the World – Spring Edition.” There is also the daily Royal Tea Garden Tour at the United Kingdom pavilion that includes a tea tasting. Guests can find out more about the tours here or call 407-WDW-TOUR.

If you’re coming out to this year’s festival, plan on more than one day to see, smell, hear, touch and taste everything. You surely can’t do it all in one!

For more information about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call us at 1-877-406-4836 or for discount Disney tickets to this event.


Happy gardening!

Fast & Furious – Supercharged ride - universal orlando

Upcoming Orlando Theme Park Attractions 2018

For Orlando theme park guests it’s a whole new list of anticipations in 2018. At SeaWorld Orlando the upcoming Infinity Falls promises to take guests on a never before river ride adventure. Come spring, guests at Universal Studios Florida Park will be hijacked for a high-octane experience with the likes of Dom, Letty, Hobbs and the rest of Fast & Furious crew. Again Legoland Florida is offering the first V-R coaster for kids, featuring the wildest Lego race ever imagined. Last but not the least Disney World is all set to shrink guests to the size of a toy with its blockbuster 2018 project – Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park.

The new Fast & Furious – Supercharged ride attraction is opening at the Universal Studios Florida section of the popular Resort. The ride will take you on a pulse pounding action where you will meet up with the Fast & Furious gang. During the adventure you have to stay with the unbreakable team that will help you escape dangers during the wild chase. The new standalone attraction promises a longer and more furious and immersive ride experience, featuring vehicles with 120 mph ride speed, and high definition 3-D projections.

The Infinity Falls river raft ride at SeaWorld Orlando promises a thrilling journey of discovery. Amidst soaking fountains and waterfalls, roaring rapids and tallest drop, the newest ride will put you through the wildest wet experiences ever. Guests will board a round shape, eight-seater blue and green ride vehicle as they navigate through turbulent waters of Infinity Falls that ends with a pulse pounding 40 foot drop. At LEGOLAND Florida it’s another wildest Lego race waiting to take your kid’s V-R coaster experience to next level. The Great Lego Race is seen as the first V-R roller coaster initiative with the kids in mind. The wild virtual race pits guests against Lego speedsters.

When it comes to Walt Disney World – the Toy Story Land is one of the most anticipated 2018 attractions to look for at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A great opportunity for fans to experience the world of toys. The new land will shrink guests down to the size of a toy and put you in Andy’s backyard. The new attraction features the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and the spinning ride – Alien Swirling Saucers ride. Toy Story Land also include a quick-food restaurant and the popular Toy Story Mania 4-D shooting ride.

You can book your discount Sea world, Disney World or universal studios tickets from Officialticketcenter.com in advance and save more on upcoming trips to your favorite theme parks in Orlando, Florida.

Epccot Candlelight Processional

Experience The Christmas Story At Epcot’s Candlelight Processional 2017

Every winter Disney World celebrates the holiday tradition in its most impressive and entertaining fashion. This is also the time when the four magical parks transform into winter wonderlands with festive decors and events. Guests are greeted with an amazing array of seasonal shows, festivities and specialty food offerings. One of the most visited holiday trends the Resort offers during Christmas is the spectacular Candlelight Processional at Epcot. The guest – favorite show is a true Christmas delight. No other offering of its kind presents the traditional story of Christmas in such exciting and spectacular form.

Candlelight Processional 2017

Candlelight Processional 2017

The Candlelight Processional is a wonderful Disney tradition, started by Walt Disney himself and the same continues – running for its 47 th year now, featuring celebrity narrators, including a full 50 piece orchestra and a mass choir. The 2017 version of the presentation has Laurie Hernandez, Matt Bomer, Pat Sajak, Kurt Russel, Warwick Davis, and CCH Pounder as new comers in the list of narrators while Ana Gasteyer, Whoopi Goldberg, Jodi Benson, Trace Adkins, Neil Patrick Harris, Jaci valasquez and Chandra Wilson are the returning favorites.

Epcot’s Candlelight Processional 2017 begins November 24 and runs through December 30. Every evening it presents three shows of about 40 minutes with show-times 5, 6:45 and 8:15 pm. The show is held outdoor in the America Gardens Theater in World Showcase. No extra fee required for the show. It’s included with the regular admission. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis for the shows. One can make the show extra special by adding a dining package with reserved seats, which is available for purchase.

The dining package for the 2017 show comes with lunch or dinner at a select Epcot restaurant and guaranteed seating at the show. Among the various participating restaurants include Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Chefs de France, The Garden Grill, Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, Spice Road Table. Restaurant Marrakesh, San Angel Inn Restaurante and others. Prices for each special package starts at $44 + taxes per adult and $15.50 + taxes per child. To book dining packages call (407) WDW-Dine (939-3463) or you can have it online by logging on to the official Disney site. In case you need to save more on your tickets, you can check the Official Ticket Center website for offers on your discount Disney tickets.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2017

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2017 Returns with Extended 32 Nights of Devilish Delights

It’s time to meet the Disney villains once again. The Orlando Resort starts celebrating its fun-filled spooky nights already. This year the Disney Halloween event is even bigger with four extra days of fun and eerie entertainments. With special attractions such as world-class Halloween parades, and firework displays, largest gatherings of Disney characters and villains, plenty of candies and much more, it’s truly the world’s most magical collection of devilish delights out there. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2017 begins August 25, 2017 through November 1, 2017 on select dates, from 7 in the evening till midnight.

The one-of-a-kind after-hour ticketed event brings to life the best ever family-friendly Halloween experiences. Unlike the Universal Halloween, guest visiting the Disney Event are encouraged to come and attend the parties with their favorite Halloween costumes. But there are some restrictions as well. Interested guests are requested to go through the Disney Halloween Party costume policy to avoid costumes and dresses that are considered inappropriate for the Event. For costume guidelines, you can visit the Disney Halloween site.

When it comes to trick or treating at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the experience is quite unique and exciting. The treat stations are located throughout the Park and are loaded with varieties of candies, sweets and snacks for guests of all ages. Even guests with food allergies will not be left out from having their share of the fun. The Event offers special allergy-friendly trick or treat experiences. All you have to do is – pick up the teal treat bag instead and you are all set to collect those teal tokens as much as you can. And don’t worry – you can redeem your teal tokens anytime by visiting the nearest Allergy-Friendly Center that provides you with your special treats in return.

Among the most favorite spooky entertainments at the 2017 Disney Halloween Event include Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, where you have the most thrilling gatherings of Disney villains ever. Also don’t forget to meet the Sanderson Sisters and you must attend their mischievous Halloween party too. Again, the Mickey’s ‘Boo-to-You’ Halloween Parade, is one of the premier attraction of its kind the Event has to offer. The Parade is the only attraction where you will find such unique mix of ghostly sights and sounds. The appearance of favorite Disney characters in Halloween costumes, colorful floats and more, including the famous headless horseman in the lead, it’s truly one of the most magical Halloween moments. The fireworks show – Happy HalloWishes is another bewitching spectacle that transforms the entire Castle and surrounding ambiance. Also the encounters with the ghostly quartet in Frontierland at Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet is quite an exciting choice to spice up the eerie experience even more.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets

If you haven’t collect the tickets yet then please visit the official Disney World Halloween site for latest updates and reservations. Or you can also call toll free at 1-877-406-4836 for available discounts and offers on the event tickets.

star wars lands new details

New Details on Upcoming Star Wars Lands Add to the Excitements

Disney’s largest ever single themed land expansion projects – The Star Wars Lands in Anaheim, California and in Orlando, Florida have taken the theme park world by storm. There is no comparison to the uniquely – immersive experiences the Lands offer. And the latest revelations on this make things even more exciting for the fans.

The recent – 2017 Star Wars Celebration in Orlando shares surprising new details about a space experience like no other. In deed it’s all about choices and consequences. A land where your choices will follow you around, until you end up with your own unique Star Wars story. Truly, the individual decision you make will have a direct effect on the overall experience. For example, you will come across different aspects of the environment, including reactions, based on your pick (on whose side you wanted to be) during the epic space battle between First Order and the Resistance. Your individual choices can earn you the power to add a new twist to the story altogether, or maybe you wanted to trigger some environmental changes with the purchase of a special Star Wars item for that matter. The possibilities can be many, but no real details available yet.

Secondly, character experiences will play a big role. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios – the Star Wars Launch Bay is the only place to meet those favorite space characters till now. But the new Star Wars Lands will change that forever with the inclusion of walk-around characters and droids like never before. Also not to forget the interactive elements with characters as well. For example, in the interactive dark ride you choose to help The First Order, and take commends for your efforts with Kylo Ren. Or possibly you find yourself chatting with Poe Dameron, who implores you to support the Resistance instead.

Star Wars Lands Story

Star Wars Lands Story

On the story side, we only heard about a remote galactic outpost, unknown till know. However, the new details have thrown more light on this mysterious destination – located on the Outer Rim somewhere. Guests will visit a remote village, used to be a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes. However, the rise of hyperspace travel had led to its downfall as a prominence outpost. Now it’s considered as a thriving port for all those who prefer less attention, including rogues, smugglers, and adventurers.

Star Wars Lands are slated to open sometime in 2019. With plenty of additional details to come and with about two years to go before the one of a kind experiences come alive we will certainly keep hearing more about the new Lands.You can book your Disney Tickets in advance at special discounts with The Official Ticket Center.

Disney Quest at Disney Springs

Disney Quest at Disney Springs Is Closing Permanently on July 3, 2017

The one-of-a-kind indoor interactive fun and gaming attraction Disney Quest closes forever, making way for a brand new basketball experience, namely The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort. This is something that fans are aware of since 2015 when Disney had revealed its intent for the first time to stop running Disney Quest and use the venue to create a unique NBA entertainment complex instead. Now with the recent announcement it becomes clear that Disney Quest is available for us until it closes forever on July 3, 2017

Located at Disney Springs West Side Neighborhood, Disney Quest has been a great source of entertainment for all the guests. The 5 story attraction houses some of the most unique gaming experiences, featuring fantasy adventure games, virtual reality and classic arcade games across four distinct play zones (Explore Zone, Score Zone, Create Zone and Replay Zone). There is something special for everyone on each floor of the landmark building. Among the many great Disney Quest highlights include a life-size game, CyberSpace Mountain, Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam, design-your-own-roller-coaster motion-simulator ride and many other arcade video games.

Since inception Disney Quest is considered as a landmark attraction that Disney Springs (previously Downtown Disney) area has to offer. However, it started to appear dated with time, and for many the big-time attraction fell victim to the constantly changing technological needs of the hour. There are others who think Disney Quest had lost its “wow” factor with time as well. Moreover, given the multi-year Disney Springs transformation program, and with more and more fresh and new venues popping up one after the other, it becomes a tough choice for Disney to continue with many of the older attractions in the area. It’s true that Disney Quest may cease to exist on July 3, 2017, but then it’s leaving for good. There are many new and incredible experiences waiting to take their turn, and the NBA Experience is definitely the perfect substitute to start with.

The NBA Experience at Disney Springs

The NBA Experience at Disney Springs

The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort is a never-before basketball-themed attraction, featuring hands on activities, high-tech immersive experiences, including a restaurant and a retail store. The new attraction will put you right in the middle of your favorite NBA actions. Officialticketcenter.com will bring to you more on this as and when Disney make further revelations, including the announcement of its opening.

Early Arrival to the Orlando Theme Parks for No Lines

I get the same questions every day from my guests traveling out to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. The question is, “How can we avoid the line at the parks”? The answer is short and sweet, get there early. If you get to the theme parks early, you will have accomplished the biggest task of your day. Getting there early before everyone gets there not only ensures that you won’t have to wait in long lines for the most popular rides, but it will also save you time from the hot Florida sun that will zap your energy level quick!

Most travelers like to wake up kind of early, stroll down to the lobby of their hotel or resort, have a cup of coffee, then head back up to get the rest of the family for breakfast. This takes up at least two hours in the morning and this does not even take in consideration the time needed to travel to the parks. Combine all of this with the crowds rolling in late and security checkpoint lines and bam, you are now in the thick of late morning traffic that everyone hates.

Getting there one hour before the park opens for example at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will not only give you a smooth and stress free experience, but will also get you a very special early morning performance from of all of Disney’s characters before being allowed into their park for the day. After the performance, greeters welcome guests in to enjoy Mainstreet USA for a short period before their rope drop. Many early morning guests then travel back to the top rides with no wait at all. One could ride at least four rides before really encountering any kind of real lines.

When it comes to the saying, “The early bird gets the worm”, this is exactly right when it comes to getting the most while at the theme parks. This method really works best for travelers who can get to bed early the night before and really try to hydrate the evening and morning before arriving at the parks. Waking up early really works best for travelers from Europe due to the time difference. A traveler from England has the clock on their side as they are five hours ahead of us, so the can wake up at 6 am and feel like they slept in until noon! Unfortunately this is not the case for us in the USA.

Having a Great Time at Walt Disney World for Almost Nothing

If you have ever come to Disney World and we were pretty strapped for cash, there are so many things to do for free that most people don’t even know about. The biggest and best one would have to be the Walt Disney World monorail. Guess can pay the parking fee of $20, then go to the ticket and transportation center and climb aboard the world-famous monorail. You can take it for a spin around the seven seas lagoon and even stop in and explore waltz resorts.

Next you can walk outback of those resorts and jump on a boat and go resort hopping. Doing this will get you some of the best and most beautiful views of Walt Disney world. One of my favorite stops has to be the wilderness Lodge. This resort is the closest thing to the Pacific Northwest without needing to jump on an airplane. Explore the great halls, sit by the fire or even walk out back and catch a Disney movie on an inflatable screen with the beautiful Bay Lake as your backdrop.

Next would have to be the boardwalk resort that is located behind Epcot. Here you can park in the parking lot of the resort and walk him through the hotel lobby and out onto the boardwalk. Here you will find a beautiful lake surrounded by a 30 foot wooden boardwalk peppered with restaurants and small stores. They even have a brick oven walk up pizza Rea that serves up some pretty delicious pizza slices. Walk a few more steps and you can catch a game inside the ES PN lounge while sipping on a cold brew.

If you are into Micro brewery, stop in to Disney’s own big River brewing Company for a pint of award winning Beer. When the daytime comes tonight walk over to the backside of Epcot and catch your free display of Epcot’s firework show.  I have spent many a evening with my children in tow watching illuminations reflections of earth while chowing down on a few slices of pizza.

If you want to catch another cool firework show, walk through the pathway from the boardwalk over by the Swan and dolphin hotel and continue on the path towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Sit along the walkway in the evening and catch the all new Star Wars firework show. So it’s a little more than a parking fee or not one can have a great time at the Walt Disney World resort while saving money!

Please Pardon the Walt Disney World Pixie Dust

With Walt Disney World Resort in the biggest construction and demolition time in their life, one project stands out to me the most. What used to be called Downtown Disney has transformed into an entertainment and dining Mecca of Orlando. Its new name is now called Disney springs. It had gone to a few name changes but Disney Springs is the one that stuck to the wall. They have actually created what looks like a natural Floridian stream that is supplied by crystal blue and green water from somewhere I have yet to see yet.

One of the biggest transformations yet has to be the old Fulton’s crab House. I was just down there the other evening and the old sign in for sod has been removed and work has started in earnest.   The new name for the restaurant will now be called paddlefish. It is set to open in the fall of 2016 and will serve up fresh seafood, steaks and the catch of the day. Sticking with the seafood fair there will be such dishes like lobster corn dogs, Alaskan king and queen crab, local favorites like Florida stone crab and guacamole made right at your table with lobster, Chili’s, cilantro, lime and tortilla chips.

One of the coolest things is that you will be able to build your own boil and pick your own seasonings to your liking. Recently I was down and noticed a new fish and chips store located beside Raglan Road. Looking at what the people were eating as I walked by looked absolutely delicious. There is nothing like a good pint of Guinness Stout and some fish and chips. The Disney Springs area is probably the best new hangout for folks who like to pop in and have a drink and a small bite to eat. Disney really took care to make sure that guess enjoy their waterfront property that was solely neglected during the downtown Disney pleasure island years.

One of my favorites has to be Maury Moto’s. It’s a beautiful new restaurant that overlooks the new waterways that run through Disney springs. If you can be so lucky to sit outside on their upper deck, you will have some very beautiful scenery while you eat and drink. I think one of the coolest additions the Disney has made is to incorporate live entertainment peppered throughout the Disney Springs area. You can grab some gelato, or a cold beverage while sitting and listening to beautiful Spanish classical guitar players or sit back and be amazed by futuristic music that is being played on some of the weirdest instruments you have ever seen. This is a must stop for anybody who is visiting the Orlando area while on vacation

Epcot Set to Bring Three New Additions to Their World Showcase

With all of the expansion of work going on at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida, one of the most exciting ones come to mind. The one I am most excited about is at Epcot and will incorporate three new additions. The biggest debut will be Sorin’ Around the World. Is very popular attraction has been down for the past year while new footage was being recorded and IMAX. If you remember the old ride it took you to such places as California Florida and even Disney itself.

Located in the land pavilion guess we’ll still experience flying over beautiful scenery of land far away. I hope they still incorporate the smells like they did when he flew over the orange groves. I’m sure Disney will not disappoint. From what I have seen, they have spared no expense at bringing high definition video to it screams. The next will be over in the Norway pavilion and will have the all new frozen after ever after. This will be the actual very first attraction inspired by Disney’s movie frozen that was a blockbusters we’ll be able to walk the streets of Erin Dell as they take in the sites sounds and smell of this fairytale land.

Afterwards guess can stop by and visit with the two sisters at the Royal summerhouse. Recently you have been able to visit Anna and Elsa at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, but with lines reaching up to three hours long, Disney saw fit to expand this meeting greet to Epcot. Norway was due for a facelift and I’m glad that they are putting frozen ever after within its very popular pavilion. Many people disagree with me and feel that Epcot should not be turned into a Magic Kingdom or Hollywood studios.

But I welcome the new addition and can’t wait! I feel Norway is a perfect place for an addition like this. If you remember their ride, the Maelstrom, it was a little Gloomy to say the least. I love the ride but hope that Disney brightens up the experience and brings happy joy joy feelings to adults and kids alike.