Hello, friends! I can’t tell you how happy I am that nothing closed this week at Walt Disney World! 😉 It seems like all I’ve done lately is say goodbye to my favorite, old attractions. So this week I’m saying hello to all four parks, a character meal, and Food & Wine Festival! Let’s get started with a look at Epcot’s iconic entrance all decked out for the festival.
So far we’ve only stopped into Epcot for one evening of Food and Wine goodness. During that visit we tried the Seared Scallops, Truffled Celery Root Purée, Brussels Sprouts, and Wild Mushrooms. It was totally stellar! Of course, you can’t go wrong with a trio of cheeses too. These can both be found in the Future World booths. I’m still adjusting to the festival spreading out all over the park.
Want to see what else we tried and check out the other three parks? Click to read more.
At the top of my list to try was the Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese at the new Active Eats booth. I’m really sorry to report that it was awful! 🙁 It had a weird onion taste to it. At least the booth also sold hard sparkling water to wash it down. What a disappointment.
We stopped over at the new Light Lab, but they ran out of the glowing donuts. Rather than show photos without them I thought instead I’d show a lovely view at dusk. The weather has been so pleasant in the evenings lately. If you have a chance to visit the festival this year I recommend getting to the park around 6pm for the perfect evening of snacking.
I should have had another few booths to feature, but we wandered back to World Showcase and ended up at a restaurant. The French bakery is tough to resist! We still got to enjoy a killer sunset. Which festival items are you curious about or excited to try? Let me know in the comments below so I can check them out!
Speaking of beautiful nights in the park, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Magic Kingdom lately. Halloween is my favorite time of the year and the park looks fantastic. Admittedly, the crowds have been a little nutty now that the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has started. Below is the crowd waiting for fireworks more than an hour before they started.
Of course, seeing that crowd I strolled the other way. Why wait around in a crowd and miss a view like the one below? There was construction for so long that I’m thankful to have these stunning views back. As the sun sunk down into the clouds I watched dozens of ducks curl up for the night in the garden. Oh, to be a Disney duck! 🙂
Forgive me for jumping around a bit, but I have to share a couple of character experiences from the Halloween Party. I was so excited to see Lotso in Tomorrowland. He was the only character that I was determined to wait for no matter how long it took. For us, that ended up being about 45 minutes and it was worth it! (Note: he did not smell like strawberries. Whenever a guest would ask he would frantically pantomime that he had showered.)
We didn’t plan it, but also ended up meeting Pooh and friends at the Halloween Party. We only waited about 20 minutes and were surprised how quickly the line moved. They were so stinking cute! Each character took a moment with each of us before taking photos. I’m so impressed with the character interactions we’ve had in the parks lately! Who is your favorite character to meet? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below. 🙂
Not party related, but a ton of new merchandise is out for Halloween this year. It’s nice to see they aren’t recycling the same old things. If you see anything you like remember to check out the Disney Parks Shopping App. It works so well that I often use it just because I don’t want to carry things out of the park. They frequently run free shipping promotions and honor any discounts you’d get in the parks.
Have you ever visited the parks for Halloween? I know it’s starting earlier and earlier every year, but this is one season I won’t complain about. I think it’s because there isn’t music pumped through the parks all day. It’s really the Christmas music that bugs me for two straight months. I just can’t get enough of views like the one below.
Moving over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I finally visited for the first time after The Great Movie Ride closed. It was neat to see the new signs advertising the Mickey Mouse ride. We’ll see how it all turns out. Are you exited about this new attraction?
I also stopped by to visit Gertie after hearing that she was going to be “renovated” while the lake is drained and repainted. After everything that has changed I really hope they don’t end up pulling her out too. If so I’m going to start taking these changes personally! 😉 Have you ever had ice cream from Gertie?
Time to visit our last park: Animal Kingdom. We were poking around looking for breakfast reservations and found Tusker House available for the next day at 8am! I was surprised we were able to get in with so little notice and decided to book it to see what the early morning crowds looked like these days.
Entering the park was painless, but onsite resort guests were getting in before 8am and everyone was rushing to Pandora. The crowd heading back to breakfast in Africa was minimal. We were checked in and were seated quickly once we arrived. The buffet was large with lots of choices. All the hot items were along the outside walls with very nice pastries in the center.
The dining room was empty when we first got there, but quickly filled and got quite noisy. I guess that isn’t surprising for a character meal! I did find that each table had a bit of extra space here. I’ve felt more “packed in” at other character meals.
The food was certainly overpriced, but I was actually impressed with the quality. We both genuinely enjoyed the food. The buffet had standard American breakfast staples, but also some other interesting dishes. Be warned, the curry chicken was so spicy I couldn’t eat it. Otherwise, we didn’t try a single thing we didn’t like.
The characters each made it to our table within the space of 45 minutes. They were so patient posing for photos for me and then taking selfies with us. I noticed all the tables next to us had autograph books lined up too. We skipped character meals for a long time, but I’m starting to understand the value and this is one I’d recommend for sure! The extra space and exceptional food put this one near the top of my list.
We thought after breakfast that we’d try to get into Pandora, but that was a terrible idea. Everyone in the park was trying to cram in there! We decided to head over to the Safari instead and hopped on with no wait at all. As we were exiting the ride I checked the My Disney Experience App and scored a Na’vi River Journey FastPass+ for 9:30am! I find that people cancel their FastPass+ after riding in the morning so keep checking. With that we were on our way to Pandora.
Everyone talks about Pandora at night, but I think the views are so much better during the day. This is the view from the FastPass+ queue for Na’vi River Journey. I just can’t get over how pretty this land turned out. Fingers crossed the new movies can make us all fall in love with the Avatar brand.
If the rides in this land are any indication, I think they can. This week I finally got to ride all the way through without someone taking flash pictures. (Why do people do this??!) This ride is so tranquil and unique, it’s a shame that so many people ruin it with constant flashes. I guess that’s just the price for being the newest ride at Walt Disney World. 🙂
That’s it for this time. Thanks for joining me for another week of fun! Please let me know if you have requests for next time around. Until then – I hope you’re having the best week ever.