Over The Top Mommy

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Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 
Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort invite guests to experience an exciting new dimension of sorcery at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” with the introduction of the “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle,” a powerful, original and breathtaking projection experience.The “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will illuminate Hogwarts castle and “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” nightly from April 13 – 28 at Universal Studios Hollywood then return from May 25 – 27. Universal Orlando Resort’s experience will debut later this year with dates to be announced at a later time.

This exciting all-new experience in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will cast a mesmerizing display of light, music and special effects, unleashing the darkest creatures and villains, including the powerful Dark wizard Lord Voldemort.

Illuminating a darker side of the Wizarding World, this spectacular new light projection experience will be a departure from previous “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” and “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.” “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will bring more intense tones and drama that reflect the Dark creatures and wizards that challenge goodness in the Wizarding World.

Guests will be asked to summon their inner strength and bravery in the face of the all-consuming Dark Arts as some of the awe-inspiring moments and creatures inspired by the films come to life within the majestic light display.

As darkness falls on Hogwarts castle, Dementors™, Death Eaters and other unspeakable creatures from Aragog and Mountain Trolls to Thestrals will cloak the castle with sinister images from the darker side of magic—even conjuring the visage of Lord Voldemort™ himself, until the Patronus spell—one of the most famous, difficult and powerful defense of the Dark Arts charms in the wizarding world—is cast.

The “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will be accompanied by an exclusive musical arrangement that will emanate in a surround sound environment. It was conducted by prolific arranger William Ross and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in London, based on the original scores composed for the film series created by Academy Award®-winning composer John Williams.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort is a masterful recreation, faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including as its iconic focal point, Hogwarts castle.

From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” transports guests of all ages to the very places they watched on the silver screen.

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, the all-new 2019 Season Pass invites guests to experience the fun throughout the year for $149 when purchased online. Blackout dates and restrictions apply. Visit http://www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details.

Images and logos are property of Universal Studios and used with permission. 

The 2019 Epcot® International Festival of the Arts Begins January 18

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

The Epcot®International Festival of the Arts at Walt Disney World Resort, a celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts and is set to begin its annual run on Jan. 18, 2019 for the 3rd year in a row. The highly anticipated event has become very popular with Disney fans over the past couple of years and will continue for 39 days this year, through Feb. 25, 2019.  This year’s festival will feature more live music than ever before, along with fresh tastes to savor and new artwork to admire and bring home. This year, the festival will be held 7 days a week and is included with the cost of Park admission to Epcot. Guests at Epcot International Festival of the Arts have the opportunity to experience visual, culinary and performing arts at the festival. According to the Disney Parks Blog, the International Festival of the Arts is a “feast for the senses. The event offers visual arts experiences, interactive workshops and seminars. There are also opportunities to learn artistic techniques from professionals skilled in floral design, ink and paint, photography, and more. Seminars typically run 30 minutes and are included with park admission. Please note: Seminars can be reserved on the “day-of” at the Odyssey Festival Showplace. The 2019 Festival of the Arts will provide fun for the whole family every day, including mesmerizing performance art, complimentary seminars, hands-on activities and much more:

  • Everyone’s invited to grab a paintbrush and help create a wall mural along World Showcase Plaza.
  • Guests of all ages will have the opportunity to literally step inside works of art and take fun photos, such as the “Washington Crossing the Delaware” Artful Photo Opportunity.
  • The Paint with a Disney Artist program invites guests to learn under the tutelage of a professional (offered select Fridays and Sundays, including continental breakfast, for an additional fee).
  • Complimentary 30-minute seminars will give guests helpful instruction for producing their own artwork at home.
  • More than 50 visiting artists participating in the festival will be available to meet with guests and share insights on their work.
  • Gravity-defying feats of strength, acrobatics and many performing artists are scheduled throughout the festival.
  • International musical and variety acts will share their talents with guests, including the return of Bodh’aktan to the Canada stage and Delta Q, a new group performing in Germany.
  • Guests can join in the fun of Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt by purchasing a map at select merchandise locations.

2019 Workshops 
A variety of workshops led by professionals will teach different artistic techniques, such as floral design, ink and paint, mixed-media art and more (offered Friday-Monday for an additional fee). As a memento of what they learned, guests will take their creations home with them. For more information on workshop and seminar offerings, please visit ArtfulEpcot.com.
Workshops are hands-on, interactive experiences that allow you an opportunity to create your own work of art to take home. Workshops run 75 minutes and are offered Friday-Monday for an additional fee. Also returning this year is the fan-favorite “Paint with a Disney Artist” experience. Offered select Fridays and Sundays, a talented Disney Artist will guide you in creating your own masterpiece! The event is perfect for seasoned painters and those just learning this beautiful art form. Bonus – continental breakfast is also included! For more information on workshop and seminar offerings, and to book your painting adventure, please visit ArtfulEpcot.com or call (407) WDW-TOUR.
Let’s Talk about the Festival Food
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will feature 13 Food Studios, plus additional creative food and beverage offerings around Epcot with an expanded selection of delicious new tastes to savor including such delicacies as:

  • beef wellington with mushroom bordelaise, fennel cream and roasted baby vegetables (The Artist’s Table)
  • Smoked salmon and cream gâteau with egg yolk cream, paddlefish caviar and micro-herbs is sure to be a new favorite (The Painter’s Palate)
  • almond frangipane cake with raspberry and chocolate (Pop Eats!)
  • Red wine-braised short rib with parsnip purée, broccolini, baby tomatoes and aged balsamic (Cuisine Classique)

For a full list of food you’ll find at the Festival, please go HERETake home a piece of the Festival
Guests can bring a piece of the festival home. Art collectors and Disney enthusiasts will be delighted to browse different pieces throughout the park, at the Art of Disney store and in the Festival Markets, which will be available for purchase. Special festival merchandise will be available at Mouse Gear and other Epcot locations featuring the festival’s logo adorning shirts, mugs, totes and other charming items.New for The 2019 Festival of the Arts
New this year, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series expands to seven days a week during the festival, providing more opportunities than ever before to bask in live Disney magic. Each week, different pairs of Disney on Broadway stars will take the America Gardens Theatre stage to sing favorite songs from award-winning Disney on Broadway productions. The lineup will rotate regularly, featuring music from shows such as “The Lion King,” “Frozen” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Some performers this year include:

  • Kerry Butler (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”)
  • Meredith Inglesby (“The Little Mermaid”) and Steve Blanchard (“Beauty and the Beast”)
  • Arielle Jacobs and Adam Jacobs (“Aladdin”)
  • Heidi Blickenstaff (“Freaky Friday”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”)
  • Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”)
  • Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (“The Lion King”)

The concert series is included with park admission; showtimes are 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. nightly. Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Packages are also available at participating Epcot restaurants. For a full schedule of shows and to reserve your show seating package, please visit Disneyworld.com. Reservations can also be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

Some images are property of Walt Disney World and used with permission. 

 

Spooky New Experiences Added to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

Every summer, I get excited at the first signs of Halloween! Some people totally disagree with that. I just love to plan ahead. When the Disney Parks Blog announced the dates for this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park, I began planning our next trip to Walt Disney World. (because that’s how a Disney Mom’s mind works.) Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will take place on select nights August 17 – October 31, 2018 and is a separate ticketed event. Last year we had the chance to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for the very first time and it was SO much fun.
We loved dressing up in costumes, experiencing the park decorated so beautifully after dark, trick-or-treating together, character & other photo opportunities, exclusive-for-the-party entertainment, spooky treats, and more. After attending though, I realized that there is so much to do that you should almost consider attending two different nights, just so you don’t miss anything!This year when we go, we’re going to hit the ground running, and be way more prepared to maximize our experience during the party. Even more excited was reading about the new additions to this year’s party! More Halloween fun? Yes, please!Here’s what’s been added to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for 2018:

  • The Mad Tea Party will take you for a colorful ride as new lighting and effects give a new spin on the night. Depending on the color of your costume, you too could transform under the new dancing lights.
  • New pirates will invade Pirates of the Caribbean, interacting with sailing guests who will join the search for “Gunpowder Pete.” Arrrgh!
  • Space Mountain will be transformed into a new adventure for its explorers with a new soundtrack and special effects.
  • Storybook Circus will be transformed for the party into Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam! This dance party will feature some of everyone’s favorite Disney Junior Characters! Even Doc McStuffins!

Have you experienced Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party  before? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t, do you have plans to attend this year? Share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!For more information about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, please go here or call (407) WDISNEY (934-7639).  You can also purchase your tickets here.

Some images are property of Disney Parks. 

My 5 Toy Story Land Must-Dos + $250 Disney Gift Card Giveaway

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

Let’s talk about my 3 most favorite words of the summer: Toy. Story. LAND! Have you been to experience it all yet? I haven’t, but I’ve definitely enjoyed all of the coverage online.

On June 30th, opening day of Toy Story Land, Disney’s Hollywood Studios actually reached capacity and closed. I don’t think Hollywood Studios had seen that much traffic in a very long time and although I’m not a fan of big crowds, I had total F.O.M.O…you know, Fear of Missing Out. My upcoming visit to Walt Disney World Resort can’t come soon enough! Here are my 5 Toy Story Land Must-Dos for my trip: 

  1. Ride Slinky Dog Dash
  2. Ride Alien Swirling Saucers
  3. Find Woody, Jessie, and Buzz and hug them!
  4. Eat one of everything at Woody’s Lunch Box.
  5. Take photos at the Toy Story Land Block Wall and the Popsicle Stick Wall

In honor of those of us that haven’t gotten to Toy Story Land, but are planning to get there soon, I’ve got a great giveaway! I mean, even if you have already been there, you can enter too! Who couldn’t use a little extra Disney money for your visit to Andy’s backyard? To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below. But first, take a look over the giveaway rules. 

The Rules:

  • One winner will be awarded a $250 Disney Gift Card (e-gift card to be delivered via email)
  • Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen
  • All winning entries will be verified
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to participate
  • Open to residents of the United States and Canada
  • Giveaway starts on July 5 and ends at midnight on July 21

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Over the Top Mommy has teamed up with 9 other Disney-loving bloggers to bring you this magical giveaway:

  1. Post 50 RX
  2. The Creative Stay at Home Mom
  3. Redhead Baby Mama
  4. Motherhood & Beyond
  5. Oh Sweet Disney
  6. The Farm Girl Gabs
  7. Adventures in Familyhood
  8. An Open Suitcase
  9. A New Dawnn

Good Luck, Everyone! Thanks again for reading! 

After Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

If you’re a fan of Happily Ever After Fireworks at Magic Kindgom, you can make the experience extra magical by adding on the After Fireworks Dessert Party to your night. It’s a specially ticketed event that will enhance your evening with a special standing viewing of the enchanting fireworks show, followed by a feast of sweet and savory treats in Tomorrowland Terrace.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-at-duskOur family recently experienced the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party which takes place before the fireworks. (Read about our evening here.)happily-ever-after-dessert-party-photopass-family-photo Now, this additional, new offering allows park guests to save their dessert for last. First, guests can arrive at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant starting 90 minutes prior to Happily Ever After—the most spectacular fireworks showcase in Magic Kingdom history. As showtime nears, Cast Members escort guests to a prime location in the Plaza Garden for priority fireworks viewing. Watch in amazement as the skies ignite and Cinderella Castle glows with enchanting illuminations.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-1After the fireworks, guests are escorted back to Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, where they can feast on freshly prepared treats, seasonal fruits and flavorful cheeses. This bountiful buffet may also include such favorites as:

  • Ooey gooey toffee cake
  • A s’mores station
  • House-made mini taco eggrolls
  • Spinach dip with crackers
  • A cookie table with assorted cookies
  • Chocolate cupcakes

happily-ever-after-dessert-party-sparkling-apple-ciderRaise a glass of your favorite beverage to toast your day of theme park adventures—and the enchantment to come. Drink selections at the dessert party include:

  • Sparkling cider
  • Hot chocolate
  • Signature lemonades
  • Coffee
  • Tea

happily-ever-after-dessert-party-drinksAdmission for this special offering is $69 per adult and $41 per child (ages 3 to 9) including tax. (Gratuity is not included or required.) A separate Magic Kingdom park admission is also required. For more information about the After-Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom or to make a reservation, please go here.happily-ever-after-fireworks-dessert-party-elated

*Please note that the fireworks experience may be changed or canceled without prior notice.

Our Magical Night at the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party in Magic Kingdom

I was invited as a guest of Walt Disney World to attend this event. All opinions are my own. 

 

If you’re a Disney lover (and who isn’t?), you are most likely familiar with the sea of emotions that come over you anytime you do something Disney related. Whether you’re watching a Disney film, reading a classic Disney book with a child, or even walking into one of the Disney theme parks, the emotions that come with the territory can sometimes overwhelm you. (in a good way, of course.)happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-at-dusk“Happily Ever After” is an 18-minute show that features more lasers, lights and projections than any other fireworks spectacular in the history of Magic Kingdom park! Park guests witness the many transformations of Cinderella Castle as it becomes a part of popular Disney stories—and is brought to life by awe-inspiring fireworks and rooftop pyro, state-of-the-art projections, brilliant lasers and immersive lighting and beautiful,contemporary versions of popular Disney songs.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-signOn our most recent family vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, our family was invited to attend the “Happily Ever After” Fireworks Dessert Party in Magic Kingdom. Upon arrival at Tomorrowland Terrace, my emotions were already at an all-time high! I was completely elated!
happily-ever-after-fireworks-dessert-party-elatedThe Happily Ever After Dessert Party is specially ticketed event held nightly at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. From the moment you check in, you feel very “VIP”! You’re greeted by cast members who give you a special wristband to wear as event identification. (My daughter didn’t take hers off for 2 weeks!) Next, a cast member shows you around the party and shows you all of the delectable drinks and house-made desserts available to you as part of the experience. It’s all set up buffet style so it’s all you care to enjoy. A cast member shows you to your very own table, which is overlooking the water, with a great view of the Happily Ever After fireworks over Cinderella Castle.Here’s a brief video giving a glimpse into our experience:
There are a variety of beverage offerings at the party including:

  • juices
  • lemonades
  • teas
  • coffee
  • milk

and my very favorite: sparkling cider! It’s the perfect occasion to make a special toast to!happily-ever-after-dessert-party-sparkling-apple-ciderhappily-ever-after-dessert-party-drinksWhen you’re ready for a snack, you’ll be giddy to see the magical spread of light bites and sweets to enjoy including:

  • cheeses
  • seasonal fresh fruit
  • chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • an ice cream sundae bar (it’s not just for kids)
  • create-your-own-cookie
  • delectable cakes, tarts, mini cupcakes, and macarons
  • Disney character-themed desserts (those were my favorite!)

happily-ever-after-fireworks-dessert-party-dessertshappily-ever-after-dessert-party-plateThere was a PhotoPass photographer at the event who snapped some family photos of us. You can access the photos on the app and if you’ve already added Memory Maker to your vacation package, you will already be able to download, save and share your photos from the party.happily-ever-after-dessert-party-photopass-family-photoHere are some tips and facts that you should know before you head to the dessert party.

  • A separate park ticket is required for entry to Magic Kingdom Park.
  • Reservations for the dessert party can be made up to 180 prior to your visit. To book your reservation, you can call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 or go here.
  • I suggest arriving early to maximize your time enjoying the drinks and desserts, as well as take photos. Check-in time is 60 minutes prior to fireworks.
  • Remember to bring a photo ID along, which is required to check in.
  • Bring a light jacket with you.
  • Fireworks are not guaranteed as part of the experience and may be changed and/or canceled due to inclement weather. Check the fireworks schedule when you arrive at Magic Kingdom Park.

happily-ever-after-dessert-party-cinderella-castle-1For more information about the Happily Ever After Dessert party and to make your own reservation, please visit here. You can also find information about the latest happenings at Walt Disney World Resort by visiting https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/.

A very special “Thank You!” to Walt Disney World for hosting our family at the Happily Ever After Dessert Party. 

Splitsville Luxury Lanes™Orlando in Disney Springs

Our family was invited to spend an afternoon at Splitsville Orlando in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. 

 

Splitsville Luxury Lanes™ in Orlando, Florida is a such a fun place to go for some bowling, gourmet food & hand-crafted cockails! It’s located in Disney Springs and features 50,000 square feet split between 2 stories with 30 lanes for bowling, inside and outside dining options, billiards, multiple bars and even live entertainment!splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-outsideDuring our most recent trip to Walt Disney World Resort, we headed over to Splitsville Orlando for some family time. It was a welcomed change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the parks and is a great opportunity for your family members to bring out their competitive sides. splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-entryYou’re going to love the retro decor of the place! It features brightly colored accents, hand-painted murals and other fun touches.splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-decor-2 splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-decor-1They even have Minnie and Mickey details on the bowling balls! You can bet I grabbed the hot pink Minnie Mouse ball right away! It just doesn’t get any better than that!splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-minnie-bowling-ball

splitsville-bowl

Let’s talk about bowling at Splitsville. This isn’t ordinary bowling, it’s completely amazing bowling!.Take the yummiest food, the best drinks and add those both to your own little lane. When they say “luxury bowling” they literally mean that! splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-bowling-shoesOnce you’re checked in and your bowling shoes are ready, you are shown to your lane, where you have unlimited bowling for the duration of your reservation. splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-lane-1splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-blue-minnie-mouse-ballYou can sit comfortably at your lane-side dining table while you wait for your next turn to bowl and your friendly Splitsville server will keep any food and drinks coming that you order from their amazing menu. (Keep reading for more about the food.)splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-hurricane-bowl-drinksplitsville-dineDining at Splitsville is like nothing you’ve experienced at a bowling alley before! You have the option of dining inside or outside at Splitsville and don’t even have to be there for bowling to dine there. However, eating and bowling is like the ultimate way to make yourself feel like a kingpin!splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-chicken-chopped-saladSplitsville has taken “typical” bowling alley food and turned it up about 10 notches, to offer things such as:

  • Pizzas – You can choose from a variety of different pizzas such as cheese, pepperoni, BBQ Chicken, Veggie, Margherita, Firehouse, Hawaiian, and Meat Lovers.
  • Entrees – Choose from items such as Fish n’ Chips, Grilled Salmon with Mango Chutney, Sweet n’ Spicy Chicken Bowl and more.
  • Salads – Freshly made salads include Chicken Chopped, Ahi Tuna, BBQ Chicken, and Blackened Caesar.
  • Handhelds – You’ll love handhelds such as a Cheeseburger Deluxe, a Bacon Cheeseburger, a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and a Turkey Club Supreme.
  • Sushi – Splitsville also offers an extensive sushi menu which is prepared fresh on site and made-to-order! I can’t wait to try some of that on my next visit.

splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-pizzaOther dining offerings at Splitsville  include appetizers, desserts, and a Kids Menu.splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-kids-hamburger-mealThe drink menu at Splitsville Luxury Lanes is as extensive as the food menu and includes Frozen Drinks, Bowl Drinks, and Specialty Cocktails, as well as draft beer, bottle beer, and wine. There are also non-alcoholic options including 130+ varieties of sodas and teas. Any drink, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, can be ordered and served in a 28 oz. Splitsville Pin Sipper Souvenir for an extra charge, Sounds like the perfect souvenir to me, which is why we brought home 2 of them! splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-souvenir-pin-sipper-purpleHere’s a short video showing some of our fun day out at Splitsville.

splitsville-make-a-reservationWalk-ins are always welcome but you can also make a reservation at Splitsville for either a lane or a party. Some fun party ideas for Splitsville include: birthday parties, office team building, and even corporate events. To make your reservation, please go here and fill out the form and wait for a social director to get back to you via email or phone to finalize your reservation.splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-family-photoI had no idea I was going to love Splitsville so much. I don’t think I can go back to “regular” bowling again! It’s definitely true what they say…“Fine dining is better in rented shoes”splitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-sundaeSo…, are you ready to “Roll in and Rock Out” at Splitsville Orlando?  We can’t wait to go back! To find a location closest to you, go hereconnect-with-splitsvillesplitsville-luxury-lanes-orlando-shirtConnect with Splitsville on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can join in on the conversation and share about your own experience using #SplitsvilleOrlando + #DisneySprings on social.

 

2018 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival Kicks off Feb. 28

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

 

The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will kick off spring at Walt Disney World Resort February 28 and continue through May 28, 2018, with seasonal fun for all. epcot-flower-and-garden-monorailA brand-new Epcot front-entrance topiary garden will set the milestone anniversary scene with a kaleidoscope of blooming color where topiary icons Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will greet festival guests. What began in 1994 as a 38-day celebration of Disney-style gardens and topiaries has grown over the years to a 90-day spring extravaganza with something for every generation. We can’t wait to experience it in person! beauty-and-the-beast-topiariesThe 2018 festival will take place during the 35th anniversary of Epcot and will showcase millions of brilliant blossoms.The 90-day festival will open with an irresistible array of sights, sounds, tastes, aromas and tactile discoveries and here are some of the offerings guests can explore:
Flavor-rich cuisine from 15 Outdoor Kitchens
New and creative dishes will debut at 15 Outdoor Kitchens encircling the World Showcase Promenade. Guests can sip and savor their way around Epcot, enjoying chef-inspired noshes and refreshing libations.epcot-flower-and-garden-foodEach Outdoor Kitchen will feature its own raised-bed or in-ground garden of herbs and produce that can inspire the growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow what they eat.

“The culture of growing your own food continues to trend, and our guests each year have quite a few questions related to edible gardens. They get a big kick comparing items in our gardens with the herbs and produce our chefs incorporate into the festival’s Outdoor Kitchen recipes.” – Eric Darden, festival horticulture manager

epcot-flower-and-garden-food-2Disney Topiary Stars
A bonanza of Disney character topiaries, including classic-character favorites Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many others, will play a starring festival role. Returning this year, Belle will be featured in France along with Beast, Snow White in Germany with the Seven Dwarfs, and Anna and Elsa in Norway. snow-white-topiaryAmong the nearly 100 festival topiaries will be returning favorites like the pandas and Bromeliad dragon at the China pavilion, The Three Caballeros at the Mexico pavilion, Disney-Pixar’s Woody at the American Adventure pavilion and Buzz Lightyear in Future World. The back-by-demand Figment topiary garden between Future World and World Showcase will offer the perfect selfie backdrop and family photo opportunity. Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers” and beds of multi-colored blooms will transform the park’s landscape. At least 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.epcot-flower-and-garden-lady-and-the-tramp-topiaryGarden Rocks Concert Series
The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will feature live chart-topping musical acts  of the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s on the America Gardens Theatre stage. From March 2 through May 28, 3 evening concerts each Friday through Monday will be offered and present musicians that span multiple genres. Garden Rocks Dining Packages will be available on select days at a number of Epcot restaurants. For more information about these packages, please go here.epcot-flower-and-garden-concertInteractive Play Gardens
A brand-new Future World interactive play garden and a revved-up Road to Florida 500 garden featuring new games and play challenges will set the pace for family festival fun. The new interactive area in Future World will feature a play maze, a sensory garden, an activity zone and a covered seating area. The redesigned “Cars”-themed garden based on the Disney•Pixar sequel, “Cars 3,” will add more fun activities like highway bingo for families.

epcot-flower-and-garden-festival-butterfly-topiaryThe Royal Tea Garden Tour will return for a second year each festival morning at the United Kingdom pavilion. For a small fee, guests can follow a knowledgeable guide through the tranquil tea garden setting to learn the history and artistry behind growing and blending tea. A post-tour treat of tea and scones is included. The shorter, complimentary English Tea Garden Tour also will be offered on select days. For more information or to book your Royal Tea Garden Tour, visit hereflower-and-garden-festival-tourFor more information about the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, please visit EpcotInSpring.com or call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). The festival, including all gardens and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

Images are property of Walt Disney World and used with permission. 

 

Toy Story Land to Open at Walt Disney World June 30

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

 

The all-new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort, inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story films, is officially set to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, June 30, 2018! toy-story-land-rendering-1Guests in Toy Story Land will feel like they have shrunk to the size of a toy as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Slinky Dog, the Aliens, Green Army Men and other fun-loving Toy Story characters come to life in the larger-than-life outdoor setting of Andy’s backyard. And what a backyard! In a rich and colorful landscape straight from his vivid imagination, Andy has set up his toys for the best playtime ever. Guests will be surrounded by giant building blocks, game board pieces and more.toy-story-land-rendering-2Across eleven fun-filled acres, Toy Story Land will include two all-new attractions and one expanded favorite. Guests will whoosh along on a family-friendly roller coaster behind Slinky Dog, take a spin with flying saucers in toy spaceships and score high on the midway. Toy Story Land will also celebrate what once defined entertainment for a generation. Crayons, Rubik’s Cubes, Cooties, Green Army Men and other toys and games will pour on the nostalgia for park-goers. Even the lampposts will be shaped like Tinkertoys.slinky-dog-1

“With set pieces, staging, attractions and experiences Toy Story Land represents the best of Walt Disney Imagineering’s collaboration with our storytelling partners at Pixar Animation Studios. This new land will place guests inside the wondrous world of Woody, Buzz and their pals,  and invite everyone to experience the joy of being a toy”.- Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

toy-story-land-rendering-aliensLet’s take a closer look at the two brand-new attractions: 

Slinky Dog Dash – Andy has assembled his roller coaster kit for maximum family fun. Tracks and supports in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue are put together according to Andy’s hand-drawn plans, with Rex and Jessie lending a hand. And to complete his creation, Andy picked up everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with a strrrrretch-ing slinky coil belly and dropped it on to the coaster track. Get ready to ride inside Slinky Dog’s coils! Slinky Dog Dash is inspired bythe delightful pooch spinoff of Slinky, the 1950s American toy classic. Riders of all ages will delight as Slinky Dog bends and twists his coils around curves, hills, bridges and drops in the Slinky-est coaster ever. Riders will zip around and above Toy Story Land, serving up panoramic views of all that the new land has to offer. Andy’s colorful creation will stretch Slinky Dog and his coils to the max – from his head to his upturned tail – and be fun for the entire family.toy-story-land-slinky-dog-dashAlien Swirling Saucers – Brace yourself for out-of-this-world thrills because the aliens have powered up their flying saucers! Alien Swirling Saucers will immerse guests in the playful world of Andy’s toys. This galactic space toy is designed as a play set that Andy won at the Pizza Planet restaurant. Adorable little Toy Story green Aliens swirl about in their flying saucers with guests in tow in their rocket-ship toys, while “The Claw” hangs overhead. This space adventure is bathed in music reimagined for intergalactic fun, dappled with multi-color lighting and sound effects from throughout galaxies.toy-story-land-alien-swirling-saucers-renderingToy Story Mania! will be expanded.  While Andy’s away, the toys will play. One of the most beloved attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania!, gets an all-new colorful toy carnival game box entrance when the new land opens. In fact, this is the box that the Toy Story Mania! game came in. Recently updated with a third track, the popular attraction will put even more guests in the carnival playset action taking aim at 3D objects, using everything from baseballs to cream pies, in a variety of whimsical, fast-paced games. To the high-scorer go bragging rights.

New Eats in Toy Story Land
When it’s time for on-the-go refreshments, Woody’s Lunch Box will serve up tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats from a walk-up window in a setting surrounded by Andy’s favorite toys and a giant vintage thermos. toy-story-land-woodys-lunch-boxGet a Sneak Peek at Toy Story Land
Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can get a preview of Toy Story Land in a detailed model of the new land is on display at the theme park’s Walt Disney Presents attraction. It’s a joy-filled, toy-filled world as only Disney can create and we can’t wait to experience it all! Do you have plans to visit Toy Story Land when it opens? For updates about Toy Story Land, as well as Walt Disney World Resort vacation information, please go here.

Images and renderigs are property of Disney and may not be used without permission.

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