Day 182- Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Today there are blue skies and fluffy white clouds. It is going to be another hot day, near 90 degrees, as we get to Epcot this afternoon. We park fairly far out, so we catch the tram and ride to the entrance. We get our bags checked, MagicBands scanned, and enter into the Flower and Garden Festival. The sun shines bright as we walk toward Spaceship Earth. It is busy, but not too crowded.

My first stop is to get something cold to drink, so we walk on around to Fountain View, which houses Starbucks. It is amazing how 88 degrees seems a lot hotter on such a sunny day. Iced tea lemonade sounds nice! As we get to Starbucks, I think a lot of people need a cold beverage since the line is somewhat long. It takes a little while, but I have my drink and we head for the Festival Center to see the displays.

Before we get to the Festival Center, we have to stop and get a picture with the Buzz Lightyear topiary. It looks really great when you see it with Mission: Space in the background. Love it!

Now, we are off to the Festival Center. As we walk up, we begin to see all of the flowers. As you enter there is a wall filled with all sorts of plants, orchids, ferns, and various other tropical greenery. It is truly incredible!

When we leave the Festival Center, we hear some sort of music… Drums? Or is it something else? Oh, how fun! The Jammin’ Gardeners are playing all sorts of trashcans, shovels, buckets, ladders, and even the ground as percussion instruments! They are so much fun and so entertaining to watch!

I need to get something to eat, so we walk back through toward Starbucks and go around the fountains. We stop for a picture, trade a pin, and head off toward the World Showcase Lagoon, turn right, and backtrack a little to the Urban Farm Eats booth. We order the Kale Salad with dried cherries, almonds, and goat cheese with white balsamic vinaigrette and decide to share the Ghost Pepper Dusted Tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick it Up Rub. The tables are in the sun, so we walk toward Canada and find some benches under umbrellas. There we sit in the shade and enjoy a very late lunch. The gluten free kale salads are really good. We had these the other day, and they are so filling and so yummy! The tilapia is tasty, but we found that the main spicy punch comes from the winter melon slaw. The winter melon slaw was Twinkie’s favorite part of the tilapia dish.

There is a steady stream of people passing as we enjoy our lunch.

Now, off to The Tea Caddy, Mr. Stephen Twining is there today. As we enter the edge of the United Kingdom pavilion, Twinkie finds some pins to trade. Then, we continue on to The Tea Caddy where we check on one of our favorite teas. We find that the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Tea is gone, and Mr. Twining is on a break. We walk through the gardens behind The Tea Caddy and then we enter into the Lords and Ladies shop to look at the Downton Abbey items. We make our way through The Queens Table shop and back through The Tea Caddy. Mr. Twining hasn’t returned yet, but maybe next time we will be able to meet him. We did get to meet him last year, which was really neat!

Now, Twinkie is going to trade another pin on the edge of the United Kingdom pavilion before we head to the front of Epcot. We are enjoying the day, it is hot, but I think we are doing good drinking tea and water to stay hydrated. That sounds funny since it is only March, but in Florida, it is like the early part of summer weather. The clouds have gathered overhead and it is nice to have some shade as we get to the front gates, catch the tram, and walk to our car!

It has been a lot of fun today. The colors and combinations of flowers are so refreshing! I loved today and being at the Flower and Garden Festival!

Day 73- Epcot’s Italian Flag Throwers

It is beautiful today! There are blue skies on this nice 70-degree, breezy day! We are going to Epcot and see the new Flag Throwing Show, Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro, in Italy. I love the Italy Pavilion with all of its beautiful buildings and detailed architecture. There are even a few statues and a fountain. It is so pretty.

Here we go! We get to the parking area and park way down on the end. So, we decide to walk to the entrance. Some other families are heading for the tram, but it is about the same distance to the tram as it is to the entrance today. We arrive at the front gates, get our bags checked, and scan our MagicBands. We find that it is not very crowded for a holiday week. It is very busy, but there is still plenty of room to walk.

We go to the right and walk beside Spaceship Earth! It is crowded and we have to stop a couple of times really quickly as little ones suddenly stop in the walkway. I laugh, we tease that you should be quick on your feet, ready to dodge and jump aside for those moments since people will sometimes stop without warning. It is good to be kind, it seems that the visitors who are aware and nice to everyone have so much more fun!

We stopped at Starbucks, the kids got to talking to the cashier. Seems she was from Texas too! It was nice to meet a fellow Texan!

The Christmas tree at Epcot is beautiful; we head for it on our way around the World Showcase Lagoon. Now, we go to the left and make our way around through Mexico, China, The Outpost, Germany, and now we are almost to Italy. As we are getting closer, we hear the whistle! Sergio the mime is there and it performing a really a good skit! He is so interactive with the crowd, and kids love this! Even the adults are clapping and laughing, it is so fun! We watch behind the line of people.

In just a few minutes we hear the new Flag Throwing Show, Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro, starting. They march in with a drummer and two trumpeters on their way to the stage in Italy. The show is absolutely incredible! They twirl, throw, and battle with the flags. Wow! This is truly a must see!

Tooti lets me know that we have already walked 2.3 miles to Italy in that short time. After she show, we are off to France. We leave Italy and pass through The American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, and arrive in France. Our friend we’ve made at Guerlain is there today, so we stop for a moment to say, “Hello!” She is one of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet.

Now, back to making our way around the World Showcase Lagoon. We cross the bridge into the United Kingdom when we see HIM!! It is a penguin from Mary Poppins! I have never seen him, ever! We start toward the line and find that he is supposed to leave soon. We totally understand, and are disappointed, but find that he will be back out in 45 minutes. We walk around the United Kingdom Pavilion for a few minutes and decide that we will stay and wait because the penguin is rarely ever here! I am so glad we got to wait!

As we saw the penguin coming over the hill, the attendant smiled since we waited and soon we met the penguin! It is so fun to get penguin hugs, and he is adorable! After our hugs and pictures, we thank the penguin and all wave bye!

We go back through the United Kingdom on the way to Canada, and then walk through the Showcase Plaza, by the Christmas tree. It is really cold and breezy. Now, back to the entrance and out to our car.

We had a blast today, and we took so many pictures for so many people! Sometimes one right after the other! But, with all of the fun, we walked 3.8 miles today (and that was a really short afternoon)! I love days like today, and am so happy we got to meet the penguin!

Day 69- Epcot and Chefs de France

Today is overcast with a light, drizzly rain. It is in the lower 70s with a light breeze. So, we grab our lightweight rain gear and debate on which shoes to wear; sandals or sneakers? We are going with tennis shoes, since cold, wet feet are not fun!

As we get to Epcot, we see that we get to park close! We are close enough to be within the Monorail track! We hop out, walk to the entrance, get our bags checked, and scan our Magic Bands. The Mickey and Minnie Christmas topiaries are so beautiful. People are taking quick pictures in the rain. When it rains, the PhotoPass Photographers stand under the entrance awning to keep the cameras out of the rain. The front garden is so beautiful!

I was timing how long it took us to walk to the France pavilion. Since we parked fairly close, it took us 5 minutes to get to Spaceship Earth. From there, it was a 5-minute walk through Canada and the UK to get to the bridge that crosses over to France. From the bridge, it is only three minutes of semi-fast walking to get to Les Chefs de France.

We have reservations for Les Chefs de France and are seated quickly. We love Les Chefs de France. We are seated beside the windows, our favorite! I love watching people walk by. Our waiter is great. He brings us our drinks and takes our order. He brings us gluten free rolls with butter to enjoy. Soon, our French onion soup is served. They have the best gluten free French onion soup. The French onion soup is topped with Gruyère cheese, roasted to perfection by the master chef. I forgot how wonderful this soup is – I love it!

We finish our delicious soup and get back into the misty evening. There is the perfect amount of people to be busy, but not too crowded. It is nice. We go to Guerlain to see what is new. We love this shop!

On our way to the bakery, we see the new Christmas decorations. I love these glittery snowflakes! We went to Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie to get a crème brulee for me and Tooti, and a macaron for Twinkie. We sit for a minute and enjoy our desserts. As we come out of the bakery, the ice cream parlor, L’Artisan des Glaces, is so cute!

As we pass the The Tea Caddy in the UK Pavilion, we hop inside to take a quick look around. We decide on some of Twining’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Loose Leaf Tea Blend in a cute little blue and gold tin to brew when we get home.

We make our way back to the front entrance. As we are leaving, we are shed our rain jackets; the air feels warmer tonight than it did earlier. It a pretty night, complete with a light, misty rain.

Day 67- Epcot

It is a chilly day and we are off to Epcot! We bundle up and head out for the parks. As we are passing through Disney property, we see 10 Osceola Wild Turkeys, and they are huge! We get to the Epcot parking lot, catch the tram, and are off to the front entrance of Epcot.

There are a lot of people going through bag check, we get our bags checked, scan our MagicBands, and enjoy seeing the new Christmas topiaries near the entrance! We see a young mom taking a picture of her son, and he is not smiling much. After she took the picture I offered to take a picture of both of them, they both smiled really big for a great picture. The Christmas decorations are so nice!

As we walk through Canada, I see that the Canadian Lumberjack Show will start in just 7 minutes. So, we walk up to The Mill Stage and wait to see them. They are really fun and did a great job today. They even carved little chairs out of a log with chainsaws! The chairs were so cute!

As we walk through the UK pavilion, I see Mary Poppins’ beautiful dress as she kneels down really close to a little girl, who is sitting on the tiny garden border. They are talking and the little girl is so shy. It is the most beautiful thing I have seen, Mary Poppins kneeling to speak to the little girl face to face. I love Mary Poppins and her love for children.

Now, off to France! I love seeing the Eiffel Tower as we walk up to the bridge. France is a beautiful pavilion and it has plenty of things to see. There are perfume stores, a most wonderful restaurant, an ice cream shop, a bakery to grab pastries and sandwiches, and plenty of places to shop! I sit for a minute as the kids take pictures of the Christmas decorations! There are so many people coming and going; it is fascinating to hear all of the different accents from all over of the world.

We realize it is suppertime, and try to get a reservation, but the soonest is an hour from now. A quicker plan is to go to The Land Pavilion and get dinner. We walk back through England, Canada, and the Showcase Plaza, then up and around to The Land. Yes, you can walk a few miles in just a couple of hours. Epcot is huge!

When we walk into The Land, it looks like a city. There are so many people walking and riding up and down the escalators, it really does have the feeling of a city. As we ride the escalator downstairs, the lower level reveals even more people! There is a pleasant bustle with all of the things going on. We get our meals at Sunshine Seasons and sit in the open area. It is busy, but there are several tables available. We enjoy our gluten free meals. I got the Power Salad, Tooti had the salmon, and Twinkie had the baked chicken. Their gluten free meals are spectacular, both in flavor and variety.

It is cold outside and Spaceship Earth is always so beautiful. It has been a great late afternoon at Epcot, and it is time to say, “Goodnight!”

Day 19- Epcot & Starship

Epcot is in our view; we are headed for the American Gardens Theater in the American Adventure Pavilion. During the Food and Wine Festival, there are plenty of concerts for those who like music. Tonight’s band was Starship. That sounded familiar, so we went. This time I chose to ride the Friendship Boats from the Showcase Plaza to Germany and walk from there. On the way, I saw a group of people trying to get a photo. I offered to take their picture so they could all be in it together. I like helping visitors who want a group photo, so it is normal for us to offer to take pictures for people!

After we got seats in the theater, Twinkie was sweet and got some Kaki Gori shaved ice to keep us cool in this heat while we waited for the concert to begin. I looked up, and there was a rainbow in the clouds! Here, it seems that we see the rainbows before the storms! It did rain a bit near the end of the concert. The theater was packed as the music began. It has been years since I’ve heard these songs, except for the one that is in the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy.

After the concert we went back to the Kaki Gori stand to see the tiny origami Yoda that one of the cast members had made! She let us take a picture of him; we were so excited to see it!

Now, we continue our walk through Japan, Morocco, France, Canada, and the UK. Oh, we must stop and see the Downton Abbey merchandise room! I love the Tea Caddy shop; there are glasses in there that I want! We walk on through to see the British candy and teas! I like this shop and all of the British teapots and aprons.

As we are leaving the World Showcase, we see there is another rainbow (a double)! It is so vivid you can even see the purple in it, so beautiful.

Now, as we are leaving, it seems that there are just as many people coming into Epcot as there are leaving; it is bustling and busy.