It’s inevitable. Every October, no matter what I do, no matter how much I plan or don’t plan, no matter how ahead of the game I am, something ALWAYS happens which leaves me behind on posts.
I don’t blame my Disney Vacation, as I worked that into my schedule – at least the idea of it – months ago. What I didn’t “plan” was leaving the plug to my laptop at home on my desk, ready to put in my bag.
I know NOW why that happened. I make a point the night before any trip to plug in ALL of my electronics (phone, watch, iPad, laptop, Kindle) so that everything is fully charged before we leave. Sitting next to the pile of electronics is a Vera Bradley bag that I use to hold all of these plugs, as well as the two Vera Bradley bags that hold, for the most part, all of my electronics (minus my phone and watch, of course).
For this particular vacation, for some unfathomable reason, I decided to pack all of my electronics the night before, and I didn’t pack them at my desk like I usually do. Hence, all plugs not making it to Orlando… and my laptop going dead the night we arrived.
Since it IS my excuse, I might as well share the fun I had…
Anyone who knows me (and it doesn’t have to be that you know me well) knows that I am… obsessed, for lack of a better word… with Disney. It’s not just the happiest place on earth, but truly my happy place. Now that we’re living in Florida, I get to go a lot more than I have in the past, and I take full advantage of my Passholder status.
One of the perks of being a Passholder is that, every few months, they offer another free character magnet at Epcot. I don’t always make it up there to grab mine (you have to go to the park), but it is something that I am working to rectify.
This character magnet, to go with the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, was Chef Minnie. And I adore Minnie.
We had not been to the Food & Wine Festival yet, and it was a lot of fun. A lot less flowers, sadly, than the Flower & Garden Festival, which we have gone to the last two years, as our birthdays (we now take a yearly birthday trip) fall during that festival, but lovely nonetheless.
Eating and drinking around the world is always a lot of fun, and with thirty plus kiosks to choose from, we definitely weren’t disappointed. Travel Tip: Buy one of each and share, and don’t make a reservation for meals. We learned this during the Flower & Garden Festival. They give you enough of a portion that a party of two or three will have the opportunity to taste and enjoy the item, without leaving you so stuffed that you want nothing else to eat, and it’s a lot easier on the wallet.
I highly recommend stopping by each one, especially the China and Japan one (in their respective pavilions), as their food was especially good this year. Canada had an apple orchard theme for both their kiosk and wine tasting (which were actually housed in the theater they do their movie in), and everything we tasted was delicious. (Who can say no to an Apple Pie Ale? Certainly not me.)
After having such a good time doing the Easter Egg Hunt when we were there last, we decided to join Remy for his Ratatouille Hide & Squeak. For under $8, you can purchase a map and stickers, then set off throughout the park to find Remy and his ingredients. Once you find him, you place the matching sticker on your map, and when it is completed, there are several stores you can go to in order to receive your prize.
These were TOUGH. With the Easter eggs, they were a relatively good size, but these are small Remys that are sometimes hard to see. I had to get a clue from a couple of different people, especially at the beginning, as the places he’s hiding in the front of the park are not actually mapped well. (Want a hint? Look up. All of them were located above my head. And all of the places, except two, have Remy outside.)
I think that this is a fantastic idea, as well as the Easter Egg Hunt, because it gives families a chance to do something together, and it keeps the children occupied when they begin to get bored or tired.
This year’s prize was a travel mug. There are four designs: Chef Minnie, Chef Mickie, Chef Remy, and Chef Figment. I can’t tell you how hard this was to pick, as all four characters are loved in my household.
Much to my mother’s dismay, we have go to visit the Imagination Institute once a trip (she should be thankful I don’t drag her to it every time we set foot in Epcot, as it is one of my favorite rides, and has been since I was a child).
Interestingly enough, with all of her eye rolling (haha), she saw something this time that she had not noticed before – so maybe… just maybe… Figment is wearing off on her.
My favorite part of any trip to Epcot is the gardens. I absolutely love seeing how things have changed, and find it very interesting how they keep them up and change them with the seasons.
There is actually a behind-the-scenes tour of Epcot that is specifically focused on the gardens, which I highly recommended. It happens during the Flower & Garden Festival each year. It is extra, and a ticket to the park is required, but they take you into the park before it opens, so you get to explore without anyone there. One of their horticulturists comes with you to point things out and show you how they keep their gardens looking so gorgeous, and the gentleman that took us around gave us lots of tips. The best part is that you get to go back into the World Showcase when no one is there (that part opens after the front half, for those of y’all who don’t know), which means no crowds, and you get a chance to take some gorgeous pictures, as well as see some things that are not always available to the public. If you are a gardener and love Disney, this is something you should definitely put in your plans.
The Canada Pavilion always has the most gorgeous gardens. They are called the Victoria Gardens and are inspired by Butchart Gardens of British Columbia. “These gardens are a reminder and a reflection of horticulture as a work of art and a labor of love.”
The Mexico Pavilion, on the complete opposite side of the park, also has some beautiful gardens, especially the Rainforest Garden, which is alongside the ramp that takes you up into the side of the giant building. It is so peaceful here, even with people going up and down the ramp at different times, and is one of my most favorite places to visit when we are there.
Japan is one of the pavilions that you absolutely have to take time to explore. I knew of the koi pond, but until I was searching for Remy this year, I had never gone up the steps to the left side (surrounding the building where they do the drum show) until now. It is absolutely gorgeous back there, and even though there were tons of people in this pavilion, back by these bridges, you couldn’t hear any of them. (It’s always nice to find a little bit of peace in a very loud world.)
There is one more MUST visit when it comes to Epcot. The Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in Norway. We found this place back in April – they have an absolutely amazing (and gorgeous) rainbow cheesecake – and vowed that every time we were here, we would stop there for a treat once per trip.
This year, after I came across an article on All Ears about someone’s top ten favorite sweets that can be found at Walt Disney World, I knew what I wanted to try. It’s called the School Bread and is a cardamom bun (I love cardamom) with coconut shavings and a dollop of cream on the top, and a little bit different cream (almost a pudding) on the inside, but not so much of it that it’s like a filled donut. It is delicious. My mother purchased an item we tried on a previous visit – a sweet Kringla, which is like a pretzel made of pastry, with a sweet coating on one side and almond slivers (it is so good) – and we shared them while taking a break in a small eating area they have behind the bakery. Sometimes it’s filled when you get back there, but people are always moving in and out, so if you go, give it a few minutes, and someone is bound to get up.
And, of course, no trip is complete to Disney without a Dole Whip.
Well, now that I’m back from my Orlando trip, be prepared to have a whole slew of authors thrown at you at once, as I am almost caught up with all of the posts. Most likely tonight. Here is your warning haha.
I might be a little behind, but the trip, despite forgetting my gosh-darned cord to my cotton-pickin laptop, was well worth it.