walt disney world

Gardens of the World Tour, Epcot

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Another tour I had kept meaning to book was the Gardens of the World tour – this is only offered whilst the Flower & Garden Festival is on. I believe it was about $85 (May 2019).

Described as “Everywhere you look at the Walt Disney World Resort, the trees, shrubs and flowers play a vital role in setting the stage for recreation, entertainment and beauty. Disney landscaping has become a recognized show in itself, providing color and enjoyment throughout the year. This fascinating 3-hour program gives participants the chance to study the various gardens of Epcot World Showcase with one of the experts responsible for helping maintain the horticultural “show.”

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You check in at 8.45am behind Spaceship Earth, get the usual lanyard with your name and a headset. we had two tour guides, but they aren’t you usual tour guides as they are horticulturist’s first and foremost and this is just an extra part of their job. I really liked both of them, they was from South America and both very passionate about what they did. The lady looked after the UK pavilion the most and it was “her pavilion”.

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We walked over to see the new Bo peep this year and then as we walked she talked about all aspects. We went to the butterfly garden and then walked along the main walkway, she talked about the flower towers and how many flowers and layers there actually was!

The tallest topiary this year was Goofy, he was more than 14ft high!

We then walked around each country, with both cast members showing us plants/topiaries of a particular interest, stopping and talking for while. There was always time for questions.

For instance in Norway, it seems like all the roofs have grass growing, but its actually only one roof with real grass!

Everyone in the group seemed very interested in the hanging baskets.

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Its amazing how much care and maintenance go into everything. Did you know there is literally a back up plant for all of them? So there is say 120 hanging baskets around World Showcase, there is 120 back up ones, if one dies etc, they just simply replace it!

This particular tour doesn’t actually go backstage at all, so pictures are welcomed, and always nice to see a empty World Showcase! We got to Morocco before the line was dropped.

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The tour finished in Canada, where we was given another chance for questions, they also gave us a pin and a handout on care/how to for implementing our own gardening at home!

I did like this tour, I always like learning new things (especially about WDW) and how much care and devotion goes into each area of this resort is just astounding.

 

 

 

travel · walt disney world

Walt Disney World – A Quick Trip Report

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I’m back in the land of the normal living (barely!), as I recently returned from a fifteen night stay at Walt Disney World. I’m not actually sure what number trip this was, as I’ve actually lost count. (how bad is that?!)

We travelled as a group again – 5 adults and 1 toddler, so stayed in a 2 bedroom villa at Saratoga Springs Resort. This works out for us, as we all have our own separate space. This really isn’t my favourite resort, its just too big! Included in our reservation was the free Disney Dining Plan again, this was amazing. This year one alcoholic beverage was included with the meal. The server would say which drinks this was.

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We hit all the parks multiple times (actually Disney Hollywood Studios was only once!) and the family did a water park. (I don’t like them, so I skip that day). We visited Disney Springs a lot, as its so close to our resort.

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We also changed it up a little this year by including a 3 night Disney cruise in the middle (all my idea, and was the first ever cruise for all my family). I will do another blog post on that separately.

Dining wise – we did have quite a few ADR’s booked, but ended up cancelling some and making new ones for on the day! We had no issues getting last minute reservations, sometimes its nice to be more spontaneous and not so rigid in the days plans.

So we tried out Toyko Dining and Garden Grill for the first times. (Pictured below is the bento Box from Tokyo Dining) We also headed over to Fort Wilderness and Trails End for a special meal for the vegans in my family. They had a 7 course meal! The rest of us had the normal buffet and I tried a Moonshine Margarita. My absolute favourite was Brunch at California Grill – again another separate post on that.

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I only did one new tour this trip, which was the Caring for Giants at Animal Kingdom. I managed to ride Flight of Passage another three times! It’s just so clever, and it really has shot into my top rides list.

The Flower and Garden Festival was still on whilst we was there, I love this festival. Epcot is so pretty with all the extra flowers and topiaries. I also enjoyed the Coco exhibit in the Mexico pavilion, and the gods one in Norway.

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I finally saw Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom, and I was so disappointed. It just didn’t feel like it tugged on my emotions like Wishes did. I also feel they tried to shoehorn in too many characters, I get that its nice to highlight others, but was just too many for me! And I watched it more than once, and still didn’t enjoy it.

I did one disneybound this year – I went as Lilo! I took far too many Disney wall photos and made my parents honourary photographers for the trip.

If you want to listen to my trip overview, I actually was on the Disney dream Girls Podcast last week – here is the link! http://disneydreamgirlspodcast.blogspot.com/

If anyone has any questions or needs any tips for future trips – please feel to ask!

 

Disney World · walt disney world

World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered – Walt Disney World Tour

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On my last trip to the world, as I mentioned I did a few backstage tours. One of the ones I had been looking forward to was this Epcot one. This was the World Showcase one! I had done the Future World tour a few years previously so wanted to see the other side of the park.

The tour costs $109 plus tax. It starts at 8.15am, but you need to arrive fifteen minutes before. We chose to drive and park. You meet at Fountain View in Future World, you are given your name badge and head set, also strangely had to choose your lunch! (This tour includes a lunch at Rose and Crown).

The beginning of the tour, was the much known history of the Epcot Centre park and an introduction to the tour. Our tour guide was Christopher and very knowledgeable, He had worked there over 10 years.

There was so many facts and trivia you learnt along the way. One at the beginning, (which I think most people know) was that he pointed out the back of Tower of Terror, from some points you can view it, and it seems like its in the Morocco pavilion, So they changed the back of the Tower and chose a colour that blended it in to the landscape!

You start clockwise in Mexico, and work your way around. You stop at each pavilion, and the guide will share details / history of the country and the pavilion itself. You go backstage a few times, so they can show you example’s and describe facts.

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Also did you know most of the pavilions have a museum/ gallery dedicated to the country? For example in Norway – go inside the Stave Church!!

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One of the best parts was that the park was absolutely empty! (Well except for Norway – that was crazy!!) He encouraged us to take as many photos as we liked whilst there (not backstage!). We made it all the way to Morocco before World Showcase opened! Then I just got lucky with my photos, as it still wasn’t busy.

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I really don’t want to spoil the tour for anyone, as its so much fun to learn whilst you are there! And obviously ask and answer questions. At one point he asked a question, and I answered it – correctly! He was so shocked, he said in all the years he had done this tour no one had answered right! I was SOO proud of myself! (It was about illuminations and the torches – again, not spoiling for anyone).

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The only part to me, which was a not a let down, but seemed a waste of time was the lunch! As it was in the UK pavilion, you are almost at the end of the countries anyway. We was there an hour, and then only had Canada to see! We also got a sneaky ride on Soarin’ .

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I really did like the tour, but it was a long and tiring one. It’s 5 hours long, its an early start, its a lot of walking and the day we had it, it was absolutely roasting so it made it hard going!

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But overall, I suggest if you are a huge Disney World geek like me and love learning about the construction, process and other trivia about the parks – book it! I also hope you like the empty park photos, and get some good shots for yourself!

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Disney World

4 Parks, 1 Day – Walt Disney World Challenge!

Last year was an eventful holiday at Disney. As I mentioned, I was proposed to in a surprise engagement, so I had an unexpected week with my fiancé. Then once he flew home, I still had another 5/6 days with my parents.

I’m all about trying new things at Disney and my Disney bucket list is huge, and is always growing! I had the mad idea of doing all four parks in 1 day! This idea was made the evening before at dinner, so we made a quick plan.

I suggested 2 attractions and then something to eat/drink in each park before moving on. We half made decisions on which attractions to choose based on previous trips and what we knew would be quick and easy to ride. We also decided to be flexible in case the queue was long, or the attraction was shut.

At the time we were staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, so it made logical sense to start at Animal Kingdom.

We got the bus to animal kingdom, it wasn’t actually that early! It was after 10am (shock horror!), we went on its tough to be a bug soon as we got in the park, we wasn’t hungry so grabbed a snack of a dole whip. Also for some reason (I can’t remember why, maybe we had plans to go to Animal kingdom that day), we had a Fastpass for expedition Everest, so we rode that and headed out. Park 1 done!

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We got on a direct bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here we rode Star Tours (queue wasn’t too long and we knew the actual ride didn’t last too long), and then Muppet Vision 3D. We also had a sit down with some cold water and a chicken caesar salad. Park 2 done! We then took a boat to Epcot.

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Once at Epcot, we headed to The Seas with Nemo & friends, then straight over to Journey into Imagination with Figment. We realised we had made good time so far, and it was only late afternoon, and we was already at the third park! So we had a stroll around World Showcase. We stopped at Mexico, where I had loaded nachos and a hibiscus margarita – yum! Park 3 done!

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We then got a Monorail to Magic Kingdom. We went to the Enchanted Tiki Room, had a Nutella fruit waffle from Sleepy Hollow, then headed to carousel of Progress. Park 4 done! We had did it. Completed the 4 parks in 1 day challenge!

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Now we was tired, and at this point my parents decided to leave. I elected to stay, so I watched celebrate the magic twice, the electrical parade and wishes!

I also decided to stay until The Last Kiss Goodnight (another first for me! Another tick on the Disney bucket list –yes!).

So I then had the chance to have photos of me down an empty main street! Another amazing dream come true. I also had my own Disney bus back to my resort. So I left the hotel at 10.20am and didn’t get back until 12.40am!! I was so exhausted, but the day was totally worth it!

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