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.
The Official Ticket Center ~ Disney parades have always been the most spectacular and memorable source of attractions that the Park has to offer. They make an integral part of the Disney-Magic that we all love and enjoy time and again. With awesome display of creativity and technological brilliance they tend to capture the sights, sound and imaginations of fans for years now. For many a visit to the park wouldn’t be completed without seeing one of them. These most special, sparkling and out-of-the-world entertainment extravaganzas, beside their unique sights, sounds and technological creativities also offer great opportunities for fans to witness many favorite Disney characters – all in one place and at the same time. Whether its the amazing sound -tracks or dazzling floats or the characters decked with special costumes and waving at you, the entertainment that Disney parades offer is a never-ending saga of joy beyond imaginations.
Being a spectator to one of these amazing parade shows is like a dream come true. If anything, these unique entertainment events will make your theme-park experience even more special. They tend to offer the much needed excitement break during your park visits. Watching the colorful and spectacular parades on the streets of Magic Kingdom, or the enchanting parades at the Hollywood Studios or at Disney Animal Kingdom is simply delightful. Whether it’s during the day, or at night-fall, there is a special parade event for every parade lover in the park.
Talk about the all time classic Main Street Electrical Parade and you have a whole lot of memorable stories to hear about. This one of a kind night-time spectacle at the Magic Kingdom enjoys a very special place in the hearts and minds of fans since inception. It is the longest running parade in the Disney park history. The parade is also one of the largest Disney parades with about 23 floats, 80 performers and a galaxy of over 600,000 lights. One should not miss this legendary Parade.
Guests visiting the Disney parks also have many other great parade options to watch for such as Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade. This one of a kind day-time parade makes for a great celebration of classic Disney moments with upbeat music, floats and favorite Disney characters all cheering and marching ahead in front of your eye on the Main Street USA. Again the Animal Kingdom lovers also have the opportunity to witness the famous Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade where guests can join the team of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, including Rafiki, Donald and Goofy in a wild and larger-than-life tribute to all the animal friends. At the Hollywood Studios, parade lovers are greeted with the most colorful and interactive parade – Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade featuring favorite characters from Disney films such as Monsters Inc, Toy Story and more.
Moreover, if you are a Disney Parade fan and planning to visit the Park sometime during spring 2014, the good news is you have an all new Parade marching into the Magic Kingdom. Disney had recently announced the coming of a new procession – Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. It is also revealed that the new Parade will incorporate the celebration of the new Fantasyland and features new innovative floats, costumes and original sound-tracks. Hope the upcoming Parade will take spectators experience to the next level.
It seems life as a theme park lover is not that affordable anymore. The dream experiences that we all aspire only get costlier at the world’s most beloved parks today. Whether you are an annual pass holder or a multi-day ticket user, or just buying a single day of fun for that matter there is no respite from the steep price hikes. The highly inflated ticket prices have left many fans and vacationers worried. They feel that the new prices are beyond justification – an act of greed demystifying the values (the traditional family oriented business concept) with which Walt Disney might had founded the empire once. But for the park officials – the changes in price is a part of the business and the new rates are set so as to reflect the quality of experience the parks provide. They believe that the updated pricing aptly suites the value of their tickets.
Every year the parks come up with new and significant price changes that tend to break the hearts of many fans and visitors. This year also – first it was the Universal Studios Orlando Resort, which created history by lifting the base price above the $90 mark for a one day, one park ticket. And then hardly two weeks after the mighty Disney followed suit by setting a new high in the theme park inflation war. The company introduces two different rates of admission for the first time this year. With its new price plans Magic Kingdom becomes the most expensive of all Disney parks at a cost of $95 per day ticket, while Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will be available at a price of $90 per day.
At Disneyland too the price of a one day, one park base ticket rose from $87 to $92 and from $125 to $137 for a park hopper for both the California parks. The latest price hike also influences the rates of various other multi-day passes including the prices of annual passes. Even the Premiere Passport which allows entry at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort is priced at an additional cost of $130.
Despite the hikes there are few fans who believe that running and maintaining a dream place is always an expensive affair. A company like Disney is always a champion in keeping the place to perfection, and since it never compromises with the quality of its attractions the price-hike is a must. On the other hand there are vacationers who think it is ridiculous to visit the parks now. As even after paying such a huge amount you still have to face the never-ending ride queues and more. However, regardless of the hikes, people still visit in large numbers and the parks are doing great in attracting more and more visitors every year. Probably it must be the magic which is priceless and needs no justification.
For the fans of Star Wars nothing is so exciting than what Disney Star Wars Weekends have to offer. Started in 1997, this one of a kind exclusive Disney World event is a must anticipated fantasy-fest which celebrates and brings to life the favorite actions and scenes from the Iconic film saga of all times. Every year from May through June Disney Hollywood Studios theme park becomes the most happening place to look for. During the period the Park is at its best with plenty of special and unique Star Wars activities and attractions that every fan and guest loves to celebrate and enjoy. Continue reading
There is no doubt that fraudulent sale of attraction tickets and passes have been a major cause of concern for the leading theme parks in Florida. Over the years many such ticket scams were registered and illegal ticket brokers had been penalized. Also there were many innocent guests, who had to leave the parks disappointed for this, while the officials or administration bore the blame time and again. Yet the presence of this nefarious trade is very much active and for Disney and others, the practice has influenced the growth of so-called “criminal cottage Industries” in Florida today.
However, in an effort to discourage this illegal practice (buying & selling of used tickets), the parks have adopted strict measures like installing finger bio-metric scanners at the entrances and printing warning signs or messages on their tickets. But now Disney is on for a complete revolution. The $1 billion Next-Gen MyMagic+ system promises to take entire ticketing experience to the next level. And this has brought the necessity for Disney to ensure that the existing state ticket laws are revised to accommodate the upcoming advance systems.
According to company officials, change in the current laws is a must as ticketing systems have taken a big leap today. The use of advance technology has enabled guests to enjoy a more convenient ticketing experience far beyond the conventional printed tickets. The current state of law is not fit to support a more advanced and technologically inspired system like the magic bracelet that Disney is launching soon. As such, the company is urging the State lawmakers to rewrite the laws to include the upcoming changes in ticketing system.
For example Disney is eying for modifications in sections such as the use of the term “multiuse tickets.” Instead Disney wants to rephrase it as “any right designed for admission”. This will expand the meaning of tickets – beyond the regular printed versions and cover other forms of tickets like the new MagicBands bracelets as well. Also the Park is looking for a change in the way it exercises the power of the “non-transferable” warning (which usually come printed on plastic and paper tickets). Instead the company wants the legislation to say that the warning may be found in the company’s website from now on. For Disney it becomes impossible now to print the warning in their MagicBands from practical standpoint. Also the company is aiming to launch the band in many different and colorful versions as souvenirs for sale. Adding a warning sign to it won’t support its aesthetic objective as such.
Moreover, Walt Disney Parks had already started rolling out new plastic cards with radio-free ID chips, part of the MyMagic+ program. Annual pass holders can swap their paper passes with the advance plastic version and can avail the benefit of using the new Park Entrances for now. But eventually, the pass holders will also be able to enjoy other features such as the FastPass+ service, and the MagicBands, associated with the program once it is fully functional.
After the recent announcement of Disney Springs by the theme-park execs, it seems the famous Downtown Disney complex couldn’t have a better future than what the upcoming mega transformation plan holds for now. The much anticipated Disney Springs project is intended to bring a complete change in both the look & feel, including the size of the existing Downtown Disney area in Lake Buena Vista.
Like the theme-parks, this most happening shopping, dining and entertainment district is also destined to change with a magical themed inspired by the turn-of-the century lakeside towns of Central Florida landscape. For the next three years fans will witness a great transformation of the area until it gets fully converted to the most exciting and imaginative setting by the waterfront which will be known as Disney Springs.
The new Disney Springs project, besides its unique and story-telling feature also promises huge expansions both in the size of the existing complex and the amount of attractions it offers. The area will be extended to encompass four outdoor neighborhoods all connected with a spring and lakefront. Disney Springs will start with the New Town Center, and from where it will spread to three additional neighborhoods – The landing, Marketplace and West Side (home of Cirque du Soleil). The new expansion will also encompass the current parking lot, and two new garages that will house a total of about 6,000 vehicles. It is also revealed that the number of shopping, dining and entertainment venues will be increased by two-fold once the project is completed. One could also expect the additions of some of the most iconic eating and entertaining brands of the world.
The upcoming expansion is no doubt the grandest expansion in the history of this ever-changing shopping, dining and entertaining destination. But for the Disney planners the ultimate objective is to provide a more vibrant and much bigger imaginative setting- where guests will have more options to shop, dine, relax and entertained without missing the homely feel.
Disney Springs is of course an imaginary re-invention of a magical Florida town which has its roots in the company’s own Sunshine State heritage. It is also believed that the new transformation will exposed visitors to a rather suburban kind of feel than the urban aura of the existing complex. Even the name Disney Springs is expected to be a fitting brand-identity to mark such a significant multi-year transformation. For me this new initiative by Disney is another out-of-the-box move in transforming a rather disjointed Downtown Disney area to a more in-depth, creative and well-connected shopping, dining and entertainment destination like never before.