Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love EPCOT!

by on July 16, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We Love EPCOT. This July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. We started at Animal Kingdomand then made our way to Hollywood Studios, but this week we are going to look at a theme park that is unlike any other in America: Epcot.

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EPCOT, the only Walt Disney World park in which the monorail goes into the actual park. (photo by Brian Carey)

Comprised of two distinct sections (Future World and World Showcase,) it’s impossible to compare EPCOT to any other theme park you’ve been to. The term “edutainment” is often used to describe the park because it generally eschewed the traditional model of quick and whimsical children’s rides, and instead focused on long and elaborate dark rides that refused to shoehorn in Disney characters (RIP Horizons.) EPCOT’s mascot Figment became an immediate hit, and certainly remains the most popular character ever designed for a theme park. We’ve seen many changes to EPCOT over the years, but it remains a wonderfully unique park. Yes, we miss Kitchen Kaberet, World of Motion, and the original Journey into Imagination as much as anyone, but there are still plenty of things to love about EPCOT’s current state. What’s our favorite?  Well, sit back, snack on some school bread, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Frozen Ever After

In 2014 we shed our tears with the rest of the #SaveMaelstrom movement, but an amazing thing happened when Walt Disney Imagineering converted the old Norway boat ride into an attraction based around the hit movie Frozen: they hit a monstrous home run. Given the constraints WDI had to work with including – for Disney – a rapid turnaround, Frozen Ever After is a dark ride so good that it would fit in perfectly with the legendary Fantasyland attractions at the Magic Kingdom. The animatronics are amazing (Olaf steals the show), guests get to see all their favorite Frozen characters and hear almost the entire film’s soundtrack, including the contractually obligated “Let It Go.”

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Elsa, Anna, and Olaf in Frozen Ever After. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Sven after getting a triple dog dare. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Queen Elsa. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival International Marketplace Menus Released

by on July 12, 2016

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

©Rikki Niblett

The 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is going to be here before we know it. Information about this year’s events has been coming out lately, what with the announcement of the performers for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series yesterday. But today, I have information about the International Marketplace menus for this year’s event!  (Which let’s be honest…is one of the best parts of the festival. There’s nothing like getting to walk around the World Showcase promenade sampling delicious food and beverages!) Standby favorites will be returning like cheddar cheese soup from Canada and the Kalua Pork Slider from Hawaii, and new dishes, like loaded Greek “nachos” from the Greece Booth, will be delighting palates.

So, let the planning process begin. I’ve got my list started! Here’s what you can expect to experience this year at the Marketplaces for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

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Eat to the Beat Concert Series Artists Announced for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2016

by on July 11, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Details are slowly, but surely coming in about the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and today, we have the full concert line up for the fantastic Eat to the Beat Concert Series. During this concert series, bands and solo artists perform some of their most popular songs nightly.

In addition to the new artists for this year (which include artists like Wang Chung, Plain White T’s, Jeffrey Osborne, and Toad the Wet Sprocket), many favorites will be returning, including Air Supply, Boyz II Men, Sugar Ray, Hanson, and Dennis DeYoung.

This year’s schedule is as follows:

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New Entertainment Act for Morocco Pavilion – Musique Aramenco

by on July 8, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

Another new entertainment act is now gracing the stage at the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot.

Musique Aramenco will perform with a fusion of traditional and popular dance music from the Southern Mediterranean and Northern African areas. The show will include the darbuka drum, violins, and a belly dancer.

Musique Aramenco appears five days a week and will perform on the Moroccan stage for a limited time.

 

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Dani’s Best Week Ever July 7, 2016: Celebration, FL and Epcot

by on July 7, 2016

Best Week Ever is a series that began as a way to take you along for a jam packed journey through Orlando’s theme parks and other attractions. Along the way our contributors have changed, but our approach remains: to make the most of every visit. This past week I have been fortunate enough to have one of my absolute best weeks ever, and I am excited to share some of the highlights with you.

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Independence Day Weekend is a cause for celebration throughout the entire country. In recent years it has meant traveling to my parents’ home and spending time with my brother, sister in law, and my five nieces and nephews. Such was the case this year. Cedar Key, FL feels worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. It is about a two and a half hour drive to this island that sits in the Northwest corner of Florida. This little island has a small town feel; there are no chain restaurants, one school, one gas station, time moves slower here. If you have enough time in your Central Florida vacation for a side trip somewhere in Florida, consider Cedar Key for a dramatic change of pace.

Cedar Key, FL

Cedar Key, FL

The drive to and from is actually one of my favorite parts of a visit to Cedar Key. There a few routes from which to choose, each having at least one portion that consists of driving through backroads, past horse farms, goat farms, and country landscape. Driving through this scenery made for a beautiful way to start Independence Day 2016.

Country road in Marion County, FL

Country road in Marion County, FL

Celebration, FL

I arrived back in the metropolitan sprawl of the Orlando area close to lunch time. I made the journey from one small town and was about to head to another. Later that afternoon a friend and I arrived at Celebration, FL. This is the town that Disney built. It is perfectly manicured and was the catalyst for the birth of many other planned communities throughout the country. Although Disney no longer owns the community, if you are a Disney fan a visit to Celebration will prove entertaining and enjoyable.

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Visitors enjoy the lake at Celebration, FL while waiting for the July 4th concert and fireworks

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Taste Track at Epcot Reopens with New Menu Offerings

by on July 3, 2016

Taste TrackThe Taste Track kiosk found near Test Track has now reopened with a brand new menu. Guests will be able to cool down with a sweet treat, soft drink, or hard soda. Menu items will include:

  • Hot Fudge Sundae: Choose from vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice cream, with hot fudge and choice of toppings – rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, or waffle cone pieces
  • Caramel Sundae: Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or swirl ice cream with caramel and choice of toppings – rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, or waffle cone pieces
  • Ice cream Cookie Sandwich: Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or swirl ice cream
  • Soft Serve Ice Cream: Choose from vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice cream served in a waffle cone
  • Ice Cream Float: Barq’s Root Beer, Coke, or Diet coke with choice of ice cream
  • Not Your Father’s Hard Root Beer Float: Not your Father’s Hard Root Beer with choice of ice cream
  • Henry’s Hard Orange Soda Float: Henry’s Hard Orange Soda with choice of ice cream

Taste Track will be open daily from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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Candlelight Processional Dining Packages Now on Sale for 2016 Holiday Season

by on June 30, 2016

Candlelight Processional

©Disney

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting being able to book Candlelight Processional dining packages, I bring good news! Candlelight Processional dining packages are now available to book!

Just what is Candlelight Processional? It’s a fantastic and moving show that takes place at the holiday season in the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot that includes a celebrity narrator, a mass choir, and an orchestra all there to performing a re-telling of the Christmas Story. The best way to ensure that you get to see this incredible and extremely popular show, booking the dining package is really the way to go.

This year’s Candlelight Processional takes place from November 25 through December 30. Show times are at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. nightly. (With the exception of December 4 which will only have show times at 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.)

The celebrity narrator list hasn’t fully been announced for this year, but we do have the start of a partial list. Guests can expect to see:

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Dining Review: New Epcot Breakfast Options

by on June 29, 2016

With all of the frenzy surrounding the opening of Frozen Ever After in the Norway pavilion of World Showcase in Epcot, it was easy to miss the recent news that there are a few new breakfast options in World Showcase now, too. Aside from the already-available options at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in the France pavilion and Sunshine Seasons at The Land, guests can now drop in to La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico pavilion or Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in the Norway pavilion to satisfy their breakfast cravings. A few days ago, I tried many of the new items to see if they are worth a stop (spoiler alert: they definitely are!).

Chilaquiles con huevos

Chilaquiles con huevos

Mexico’s new options all come from La Cantina de San Angel, the quick service location just across from the main pyramid of the pavilion. The new breakfast menu features three new full-sized entrees unique to this restaurant and a kid’s scrambled-eggs-with-potatoes option, all of which are offered until 11:00 AM daily in addition to a few of the standard menu items (including soft drinks and the restaurant’s popular churros dessert – yes, you can have churros for breakfast, because why not, it’s vacation?). Once you order and receive your food, just like during the early hours of lunch service here, you can take a seat in the covered area on World Showcase Lagoon, or if the sign near the back of the building indicates, make use of the additional (air-conditioned!) seating in the back of La Hacienda’s main dining room (a welcome option in 100% humidity).

Pambazo de chorizo con huevo

Pambazo de chorizo con huevo

My first taste of the new breakfast options came from the pambazo de chorizo con huevo, a breakfast sandwich-type meal with scrambled eggs, chorizo, jack cheese, red onions, lettuce, and guacamole ($9.95). The pambazo is served dipped-sandwich style, covered in a mild red chili salsa – traditionally filled with potatoes and chorizo, but here we see eggs instead. The scrambled eggs within the bread roll are real eggs (no weird powdered eggs here, a definite positive), cooked with the chorizo to give them a smoky, savory bite offset by the creamy guacamole and crunchy lettuce. My bread roll was a bit stale, but nothing that couldn’t have been fixed by a few drips of the green tomatillo or spicy red chili sauces available on the restaurant’s condiment bar. This is a fairly traditional Mexican take on a popular on-the-go style breakfast, full of flavor and pretty filling, considering the roll and the scrambled eggs. Overall, I was a fan, and think this will probably be a winner for many, though I did prefer the next two menu items I tried a bit more.

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Celebrate the Fourth of July at Walt Disney World

by on June 24, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

It’s time to celebrate America with a bang and Disney will be doing so in red, white, and blue style! If you’re looking for fireworks spectaculars, Walt Disney World is the place to be! Here’s what you can expect to experience when saluting all nations, but mostly America.

Magic Kingdom

 

Celebrate the country’s highest office by enjoying a stop at the infamous Hall of Presidents. This inspirational Liberty Square show which includes all 43 U.S. Presidents tracing the history of the office, takes place every hour and half hour. Another must see is the Flag Retreat which takes place at 5:00 p.m. each day.

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will be shown twice on both July 3 and 4 – once at 12:00 p.m. and once at 3:30 p.m.

Guests will have two chances to catch the spectacular fireworks extravaganza that is “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” The 14 minute showcase will take place on both July 3 and 4 at 9:00 p.m.

There will also be two showings of the Main Street Electrical Parade, once at 10:15 p.m. and once at 12:15 a.m.

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Dani’s Best Week Ever June 23, 2016: Five Theme Parks in 24 hours

by on June 23, 2016

After one of the most emotional and trying weeks Orlando has ever encountered it is time to slowly get back into the habits that make us happy. Everyone grieves and heals in a different way. Personally, I wanted to get back into the swing of things and enjoy the life that I love. This is of course doesn’t mean that I’ve completely moved on or forgotten about the tragedy. But to me one of the ways to honor those that are no longer with us is to go enjoy life while we can, making each day the best we can make it. With that in mind, and with a bunch of new things to see at Walt Disney World and SeaWorld, I had a jam packed 24 hours spread across five Orlando theme parks.

Epcot

I took a half day off from work so I could get out to Walt Disney World and cover some of the new experiences that debuted on June 17, 2016. Originally my plan was to get to Magic Kingdom and then head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, Anna and Elsa’s new meet and greet location inside Epcot, the Royal Sommerhus, opened a little unexpectedly. I couldn’t just let it go, and besides that weather had gone from rainy in the morning to pretty stunning in the afternoon, might as well make the most of it. The more themes parks, the merrier.

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When I arrived at Epcot I felt a sense of joy that I hadn’t felt in nearly a week. As I set my eyes on Spaceship Earth I smiled for the first time in days. I couldn’t linger though, royalty waits for no one. I quickly made my way to World Showcase and straight to the Norway pavilion. As I approached I noticed a whole clan of Norwegian Cast Members gathered throughout the pavilion, more than I’ve ever seen.

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The Royal Sommerhus is one of the first areas you’ll encounter if you are strolling World Showcase starting in Mexico. This new building is a welcoming, cozy wood building meant to represent Anna and Elsa’s summer home, a place they used to visit when they were very young children. Upon arrival the posted wait time was 25 minutes, so after admiring the new buildings and the colorful flowers and landscaping I entered the queue. Past the 25-30 minute mark an overflow queue is utilized and it is entirely outside. Something to keep in mind if you visit on a busy day.

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