Epcot’s Epic Festivals

Epcot hosts two annual festivals, the International Food and Wine Festival and the Flower and Garden Festival. Both have many attractions to enjoy including gourmet foods, fantastic topiaries and you can even drink your way around the world!

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Hooray for Spaceship Earth!

The Flower and Garden Festival takes over Epcot starting in March and going all the way to mid-May. This year, this particular festival ends on May 17th, so you only have a couple more days left to enjoy! This festival is all about, can you guess it? Flower power! They have 100 topiary displays all throughout the park featuring seasonal designs and some of your favorite Disney characters! My two favorite topiary displays are the Bambi, Thumper and Flower display over in Canada and the Lady and the Tramp display in Italy. These two topiaries showcase two of my very favorite Disney movies and I absolutely love seeing them whenever I go to the Flower and Garden Festival.

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Can you find the Hidden Mickey in this photo?

Another great attraction is the butterfly garden that is placed near the back entrance of Club Cool. This is an enclosed, walk-through garden that is covered with flowers and features a variety of beautiful butterflies flitting around on their brand new wings. There are two chrysalis stations in the garden where it shows caterpillars in different stages of the Butterfly Cycle. It is one of the most interesting and educational parts of the attraction and it is neat to see fresh new butterflies trying to fly.

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Red-Admiral butterflies in the Butterfly Garden

The Flower and Garden Festival has a Garden Rocks concert series consisting of classic bands from The Village People to Gin Blossoms. The final weekend features Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone and you can see them play three shows in the evenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Food and drinks are a must in both annual events and it is highlighted in the Flower and Garden Festival, but the International Food and Wine Festival takes the cake!

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Topiaries outside of Spaceship Earth

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is held September 25th-November 16th which means two months filled with food and wine galore! You can eat and drink your way around the world by stopping at nearly 30 different marketplaces that have different cuisines coinciding with what country you are visiting. One of my favorite places to visit whenever this festival comes around is Morocco. They have amazing gourmet cuisines that are not too spicy, but definitely flavorful! Like the other festival, the International Food and Wine Festival also has an Eat to the Beat concert series, that has an array of popular artists that come out to play!

As this years Flower and Garden Festival comes to a close, I can’t wait for the next festival to begin. Epcot is such a great Walt Disney World park and having these fantastic events just makes it even better!

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Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment with your thoughts on Epcot’s festivals and more!

***All pictures are personal photos. Please contact me through my Instagram or comments if you would like to use them. Thank you!

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My First Time at Blizzard Beach

I was surprised with a trip to Blizzard Beach a couple of days ago from my wonderful boyfriend and it was so much fun! I had never been to a water park in my entire life and even now as an annual pass holder at Disney World, I never thought I would be able to go to one of Disney’s water parks. My boyfriend proved me wrong and took me there this past Monday and I absolutely loved the park!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset My boyfriend and I after I found out that this was really happening!

Blizzard Beach is one of the two water parks that Walt Disney World has on its property. Inside the water park it is themed like a ski resort and since we live in Florida the snow has begun to melt away. Jamaican Christmas jams play throughout the park and there are many different attractions to enjoy! From a lazy river, Cross Country Creek, that runs around the entire park to a 120-foot free fall body slide called Summit Plummet. With twelve attractions to choose from this water park has everything for the family!

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Slush Gusher (on the left) and Summit Plummet (on the right)

Summit Plummet is one of the highest water slides in the world!

And yes, I conquered both of these!!

Most of the Walt Disney World parks are packed with guests daily, but when I went to Blizzard Beach there were barely any wait times and parking was a breeze! I definitely suggest going before the summer months. The month of May is a great time with nice breezes and sunny days, especially since Florida is such a warm state.

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Melt-Away Bay

Some of my favorite attractions at Blizzard Beach were the Cross Country Creek, Runoff Rapids and Toboggan Racers! Cross Country Creek is a lazy river that flows  around the entire park, allowing you some chill out time while still lazing about in the water and getting to see all of the sights around the park. They offer single and double inner tubes in all sizes to allow everyone to enjoy the river and it even features a cave that you float into that has some water falls that can get you soaked!

Runoff Rapids has three different inner tube waterslides that allow double or single inner tubes. There are outer two slides that are open and the slide in the middle is enclosed. All three have different speeds, but all are propelled by the runoff from Mount Gushmore!

Toboggan Racers is an 8-lane downhill water slide where you race to the finish line to see who is the fastest of them all! On this attraction you are given blue mats to race on with handles in the front. You ride face first, stomach flat on the mat all the way down the hill. With up and down dips, you can get some air and speed especially since you are dropping down a 250-foot long slope!

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The Ice Gator! (He is a little clumsy)

I hope to go back to Blizzard Beach and maybe some time soon I will get to adventure into Typhoon Lagoon! Have you ever been to Blizzard Beach? Feel free to tell me about your time there, I would love to hear about it! Thanks for reading and…

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Have an Ice Day!

***All pictures are personal photos. Please contact me through my Instagram or comments if you would like to use them. Thank you!

Instagram: magicandwishes

Downtown Disney A.K.A Disney Springs

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Downtown Disney has always been one of my favorite places to go to when visiting the Disney World property. A few years ago before I was an annual pass holder, I came to Downtown Disney to experience the magic without having to go to one of the parks. Over the past few years, Downtown Disney has made some major changes. They have completely rebuilt almost all of Pleasure Island with new shops and restaurants, and have even added bridges connecting the West End from the Lego Store to the Rainforest Cafe, which helps with the distance of walking (If you love shortcuts to get to your favorite places, these bridges are awesome for it!).

A very interesting restaurant has been built over in Pleasure Island, right across from Paradiso 37, called The Boathouse. It is an upscale restaurant that serves American, Seafood and Steakhouse cuisine AND has a very unique attraction. They have amphicars which are cars that turn into boats when they get into a body of water. For $125.00 a person you can be taken around the lagoon in a classic car, which gives you that vintage flare with a contemporary twist and I am absolutely loving it!

Processed with VSCOcam with kk2 presetClassic Amphicar at The Boathouse in Disney Springs

I love shopping, especially when it comes to shopping for anything Disney related. Downtown Disney is definitely a “go-to” whenever I am thinking about getting a new Disney anything! I have a couple of favorite stores I always visit when going to Downtown Disney such as The Basin.

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Bath Bombs at the Basin

The Basin is a bath and body shop that has a lot of different products to offer. I love their bath bombs and soaps, but what I love the most is their sugar scrubs. They have a hand-washing station that allows you to try out different scrubs and it is the best! The hand scrubs make your hands feel silky smooth and if you are wearing any rings, it makes them shine beautifully! Also, who doesn’t love going around smelling every single thing in these types of stores? It’s too much fun!

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Stitch’s spitting statue at the World Of Disney

Obviously the World Of Disney is on my list of one of my favorite stores because it is the biggest Disney store in the world! It has everything you can imagine that is Disney related. Coffee cups, shirts, bathing suits, scarves, stuffed animals, Disney pins, Mickey ears, and more! I could shop in there for hours and still not explore everything. I love that they have the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique located inside where lovely little girls can transform into their favorite princesses, all with just the right kind of magic! The store also has a roaming fairy godmother that will sprinkle you with just a little bit of fairy dust and make all your wishes come true! (I still have a little bit of sparkle in my hair from earlier today).

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New print of Disney Dooney&Bourke handbag

Disney purses are to die for  and I already have two Disney Dooney&Bourke’s of my own. Seeing this new print today tempted me to want to add to my collection! You can find these bags online, at any of the parks, in the World of Disney and in my favorite store of all, Marketplace Co-Op. They have so many wonderful things in the store from household items to artwork and more. In my opinion, it is definitely one of the most unique stores and I never miss it when I visit Downtown Disney.

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Don’t worry, I didn’t forget one of the more iconic landmarks of Downtown Disney. The House of Blues is one of my favorite venues for seeing concerts. They also have a restaurant and shop, but my favorite is the actual venue itself. The decor is gorgeous as well as the architecture, offering three levels to view the stage and an outside smoking area on the uppermost level. Other than shows, House of Blues also regularly hosts club nights, where people can dance the night away.

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Downtown Disney, excuse me, Disney Springs may be getting a makeover and a new name, but it will always be the same to me. I will always get a magical feeling when I am there and I hope the next time you visit, you will too. There is much more to offer at Downtown Disney than is mentioned in this post, so go explore for yourself!

Thanks for reading my friends, keep on making wishes!

***All pictures are personal photos. Please contact me through my Instagram or comments if you would like to use them. Thank you!

Instagram: magicandwishes

Missing Mickeys Hat 

  

I am missing Mickey’s sorcerer hat today. After it got taken out of Hollywood Studios a couple of months ago, I was wondering what would take its place! The walls are up at the park so we are still awaiting the surprise at what is inside. Hopefully it will add to the beautiful architecture that surrounds Hollywood Studios, especially The Great Movie Ride. 

What do you guys think will be placed there instead? 

Instagram: magicandwishes 

Tip #4: The Poor Man’s Disney

Say you don’t feel like paying the price of going to the Walt Disney World theme parks, but you still want to experience all the magic that Disney has to offer, I have just the thing for you! Hotel Hopping. This is when you park your car somewhere on Disney property, jump on a bus or a monorail and ride to whichever Disney Resort your heart desires.

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Disney’s Pop Century Resort

I love visiting the hotels. Walt Disney World has some of the finest hotels in the country and they are jam packed with fun. They offer fantastic food, picturesque pools, splendid stores, and more. If you wanna enjoy the magic of disney, without riding any rides, this is the way to go!

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Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

How To Hotel Hop:

  1. Get onto Disney property and find a place to park your car or motorcycle. The best parking is at Downtown Disney since the resort hotels need a confirmation of reservation in order to park there. (If you are an annual pass holder, parking at the Magic Kingdom is another good option).
  2. If you are at Downtown Disney, walk through and enjoy yourself. They have just opened some awesome new shops and offer great restaurants and live music. (If you parked at Magic Kingdom, head to the monorails or buses).
  3. Depending on what hotels you would like to visit, you can either take a monorail or a bus. Let’s start with bus transportation from Downtown Disney. The buses are located over by the Rainforest Cafe, behind the Days of Christmas store. Once you get there, your adventure awaits. All of the buses are labeled with the names of the different resorts, pick one and it can take you to whatever hotel you choose. There are only three hotels that you can get to by monorail which is the Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort. (You can get to these hotels by bus transportation as well).
  4. Once you are at your hotel, EXPLORE! You will not be questioned by the staff if you are a guest or not, and you can explore to your hearts content.
  5. If you are done with that hotel take a bus to another one of the parks or Downtown Disney and start the process over again. TADA! You have successfully hotel hopped! (Some resorts are within a short walking distance of each other and do not need another mode of transportation to get there).

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Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

I have an annual pass and I still love hotel hopping. This is great for people that have passes, that have friends/relatives who don’t have passes. You can still enjoy your time on Disney property and have your friends join in with you.

Hotel hopping is actually how my boyfriend and I were brought together. As a first date (since we both love Disney), we decided that we could go to Downtown Disney and go hotel hopping. We visited the Grand Floridian Resort and pretended as if we were the owners of the hotel and that all of the guests that were staying there worked for us. The dedication we had to the joke was pretty intense, especially since we faked English accents for over two hours while exploring our new “summer home”. It is one of my favorite memories which I hope to never forget. I hope you all can make just as great of memories while hotel hopping as I have.

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Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

So if you are feeling a little low on funds, but still want the feeling of Disney magic, go hop from hotel to hotel. You won’t regret it!

I hope you all enjoyed this and have found some new ideas for your next Disney outing. Thanks for reading and keep on making wishes!

*All of these photos are taken by me and are personal photos. If you wish to use them, either contact me through comments or Instagram.

Instagram: magicandwishes

Tip #3: The Art of Pin Trading

“Hi, may I see your pins?”– That is how it all starts. The art of pin trading is something unique and incredibly fun if you like doing different things while you are at Disney World. So let me break it down really quick for you. Pin trading is where you get a set of Disney pins, whether it be from a Disney store or from online sources and you go to a Disney cast member and ask to see their pins. If you really like one of the pins that they have, you can ask to trade and they will trade their pin for your pin! It is easy, simple and honestly a lot of fun.

Now, for a very long time I thought the whole pin trading thing was kinda lame, but then when I got started I got a little obsessed about it because it was so much fun! You make great memories from trading and after awhile you start learning about all the types of pins that Disney World has to offer.

How to Pin Trade: 

  • Step One: Either buy a starter pack from a Disney store which will come with a lanyard and 2 pins for $26.95 OR you can go online to Ebay and order a set of 25  random Disney pins for $12.00 and then buy your lanyard at one of the various parks for $7.95. (I went with the second route, just because it is less expensive to buy online, BUT there is a possibility you can get fake pins).

***Disney World pins have different sets of prices depending on size and design: the prices range from $7.95-$13.95 at various Disney stores. This is why buying off of Ebay is a more cost efficient way of pin trading than buying in store. You get a lot more pins, for a lot less money.

  • Step Two: Securely attach your pins on to the lanyard. If you don’t you might lose some of your new pins. And no one wants that!

***Anywhere on Disney property will trade pins, meaning stores, resort hotels, Downtown Disney, ALL of the Disney parks. Almost all of the cast members will have Disney pins on them. Some cast members you encounter are not given pins to trade depending on the position that they have, for example food vendors and ride operators do not have pins.

  • Step Three: Go up to the cast member, ask to see their pins, and POOF! There they are! If you see a pin that you absolutely adore, go for it, you can trade it for one that you don’t like as much.
  • Step Four: If you have made it to this step, CONGRATULATIONS YOU JUST MADE YOUR FIRST PIN TRADE!!! I am just so proud of you! Now you can enjoy your new pin and go look for some more! Just repeat step three, over and over again until all of your old pins have turned into new pins that you love and cherish!

It may not seem exciting to some, but pin trading really is something that is awesome. You start to look for new and different pins, big ones, rare ones, beautiful ones, whatever you want. Your collection will start to grow and then you’ll wind up like me, with a large board covered in pins that I love so much. I can look back at each pin and completely remember how I got it and the memories that went with it. Pins are something that you can have fun with and enjoy for longer than just your stay at Walt Disney World.

Some Disney Pin Secrets: If you really start getting into pin trading, you will start to realize how it all works. So here are some secrets that I learned along the way to help you efficiently pin trade.

  1. If a child is pin trading, you want go see what he/she just traded. Usually their parents have bought them a more expensive set of pins and they will trade the good pins for ones they like because they don’t know any better. (This may sound horrible, but I have found some great pins by doing that).
  2. You can slyly walk by and look at pins on cast members without them noticing which saves you time from going up and asking for their pins and then not finding anything. Although if you think they might have a good pin, check it out. Even if they don’t, at least you tried.
  3. Any cast member that has a “Earning My Ears” ribbon under their name tag are new cast members, which means they usually will have gotten a fresh, new set of pins. Which can sometimes make for the best trade!
  4. Fake pins? It happens. There are many ways to check if your pin is fake, but a simple way is to stick a magnet to the pin and see if it attracts. If it sticks to the magnet, it is NOT a real Disney pin. If it doesn’t, you are in the clear. (Some other ways to tell if a pin is fake is if the paint is chipped, dulled or has dips in it).
  5. Disney Resort hotels have the best pins. I can’t tell you why, but they just do. I have been able to find top-of-the-line pins every time when visiting any of the Disney World hotels.

See? Pin trading isn’t all that bad, and it can be fun for you and the whole family! I hope you all enjoyed this post and have learned a little bit more about the underrated art of pin trading.

Have a great weekend and Happy Trading to all!

Instagram: magicandwishes