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Here comes Peter Cottontail,
hopping down the bunny trail--and he's got another edition of the
INTERCOT Insider! In this edition we unwrap a Easter basket
filled with sweet savings for passholders, tasty dining reviews, the
latest Disney park calendars, and more trivia goodies. We also take
some time to enjoy the spring flowers that have sprung around Epcot
for the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival as we take an in-depth look
at the Gardens of the World tour. Hang on to them hats and glasses,
cause this here's the most informative ride on the internet!
with Magical Journeys Travel
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<<A Taste of the
World with Mickey'sGirl>>
-- Around the World --
The Cast: Dear Husband Brian -
Turning 45 on this trip; Dear Son Harry (14) - Celebrating
graduating from Grade 8;
Dear Son Euan (8.5) - Celebrating his Half-Birthday because we can’t
go down in January, Me – Just happy to be making the trip with my
Wolfgang Puck’s Café – Downtown Disney
Atmosphere: I love the open kitchen at Wolfgang Puck’s Café, and
passing the sushi bar and pastry bar. I think opening your kitchen
to your patrons is a great reflection of the quality of your
establishment. The restaurant is very open, and the tables are in
close proximity to each other, which can lead to volume issues. It
was unpleasantly noisy by the time we were finished our meal. 3/5
Food: We are sushi loving folk, so we ordered some sushi to share
before dinner. We had some cucumber rolls, California rolls and
salmon rolls (so Euan would partake), and then some spicy tuna rolls
and house speciality sushi. Fresh and fabulous. We all really
enjoyed the sushi, and the quality of the fish used. I almost wish
that we had just kept ordering sushi for our dinner, but that was
also very good. Harry had the Pepperoni Pizza. The crust was thin
and light, and though he would have preferred it without the red
peppers, he thought it was really good. In my opinion two
non-teenagers could have easily shared this! Brian had the Cavatappi
Chicken Alfredo with bacon, peas and parmesan, which was very rich
and delicious, and I had the HUGE Spaghetti with Tiger Prawns,
tomatoes, capers, basil, chili flakes and anchovies. I have really
developed a taste for capers, and with the anchovies and fresh
tomatoes, this was a fabulous dish. There were several plump Tiger
shrimp and enough basil. I had trouble finishing my meal partially
because it is such a large serving, and partially because I REALLY
enjoyed the sushi! Euan had cheese pizza and carrots. There were
lots of carrots to share, and we brought some of his pizza home with
us. He said it was awesome. We were all very full, but since it was
Brian’s birthday, our server brought desserts. Brian had key lime
cheesecake, the boys had ice-cream and I had a latte. Brian really
really enjoyed his cheesecake. 4/5
Service: The service we received at Puck’s was the best I’ve ever
received at a casual restaurant. Our server was well acquainted with
the menu and could discuss it very easily (his personal likes and
dislikes, recommendations based on portion sizes etc.). He visibly
had several large party tables to deal with, but he never failed to
show up with fresh drinks or to clear a plate. He was spectacular.
We’ve dined here twice before, and have always enjoyed our meals. I
think the service is what distinguishes this restaurant. Overall
rating - 4/5
Sci Fi Dine In Theater – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Atmosphere: There is NO better atmosphere at any dining
establishment in DisneyWorld than at the Sci Fi. We all LOVE LOVE
LOVE the campy movies, and the Drive In setting. 5/5
Food: I have long defended the food at Sci Fi, but I feel I have to
go with the masses on this visit. I had the Turkey sandwich with
Avacado Mayo sandwich. I don’t know if it was just me, but the
sandwich which was so stellar last year, seemed rather slapped
together this time. Brian had the Ruben which was fine, Harry had a
bacon cheeseburger which he enjoyed, and Euan had the hotdog with
carrots and apples. This was all accompanied by gallons of iced tea,
but the food was nothing spectacular for sure. 2/5
Service: Our server was good. He brought lots of refills, ice cream
sundaes for both of the boys because of Brian’s birthday pin, and
Euan got ice cream with his kid’s meal. It was thoughtful of him ….
And he sang Happy Birthday to Brian. 3/5
I am not as keen on the Sci Fi as I as prior to this visit, but we
will likely return. We always do because it is a fabulous place to
cool down when spending a day at the Studios. Overall rating - 3/5
<<Tour Tips with
-- Gardens of the World Tour
This Epcot tour is only held
during the Flower and Garden festival. When it was booked, very
specific instructions were provided. First, there is a 2-day
cancellation policy. Check-in is at 8:45 a.m. in Guest Relations. No
large bags or fanny packs are allowed. Each participant must have a
photo ID. No open toed shoes are allowed.
Our tour during the 2012 festival was scheduled for a bright, sunny,
and fortunately, not over-warm morning. To be sure we would arrive
on time, a wake up call order was placed and the alarm on the cell
was set. When morning arrived, the cell phone alarm sounded just a
few second before the phone began to ring with the wake-up call. To
meet all the requirements for this tour, I had planned carefully to
wear shorts that had enough pockets to allow me to bring necessary
items with me. Since I wasn’t sure what would qualify as a large
bag, I decided I would not bring any bag. I wanted to be sure I had
my park ticket and drivers’ license, my small camera, and my cell
phone all of which I was able to stuff into pockets. I would wear
Since we were staying at the Beach Club and Guest Relations is
located near the front of the park, we set off at 8:15 a.m.
promptly. We walked to the International Gateway. Because it was
prior to normal operating hours, folks were being checked against
early morning dining reservations before being allowed in. When our
turn came, I announced we had a tour scheduled. Hmmm….they don’t
have a list for that…Fortunately, we were still allowed to enter the
park. We walked at a steady pace to the Guest Relations office
outside of Spaceship Earth. When we arrived there, we were told the
meeting place was actually outside the front entrance and over
toward the Guest Relations window there. Okay. We checked in for our
tour almost exactly on time. There were still approximately 8 people
who had not yet arrived.
We were checked in by a woman who did not accompany us on our tour.
Homer, our guide, mostly stayed out of the way during the check in
process, but did supply each of us with ear plugs and a device that
would allow us to hear him speaking. As others checked in, I began
to notice that, except for one, every woman who appeared for the
tour was carrying a bag or had a fanny pack. One of the bags was
huge. One of the fanny packs was about the biggest I had ever seen.
No mention was made of the prohibition of these items on the tour. I
was a bit peeved that Disney did not enforce the rules they had set
for this tour – I thought perhaps they would suggest that these
items be placed in lockers for the duration of the tour but, no,
each person was allowed to bring their luggage with them.
We started out pretty promptly. The first order of business was to
again gain access to the park so we, once again, needed to present
our tickets and go through the turnstiles. Once inside the park,
Homer was greeted by another cast member – a photographer. We were
told that Disney would be photographing the tour as documentation
for their own records. The photographer stayed with us throughout
the entire tour and took a number of pictures.
Homer explained that he first came to Disney as an intern. He grew
up in a farming family and went to college to study horticulture.
After he graduated, he returned to Disney and has been there ever
since. His own area of responsibility is not typically in Epcot, but
teams are pulled from all the areas of all the parks to prepare for
the Flower and Garden Festival and also to dismantle the flower
exhibits when the festival has ended.
We started our tour with the Fantasia topiaries at the front of the
park. Homer explained that this is the first year that the festival
did not have a theme. He hinted that some special things might be
planned for next year which will be the 20th anniversary of the
Flower and Garden festival. From there, we went to view some of the
flower towers placed near Spaceship Earth. Homer explained how they
are put together and transported, how they are torn down and then
reused during the Christmas holidays when they are replanted with
poinsettias. He said the Festival lasted so long that many of the
flowers were pretty stressed to remain fresh and vibrant throughout
the entire time. Many of the flowers that are removed will become
compost. In fact, Disney employees are encouraged to help themselves
to as much compost as they would like for their home gardens.
The sand sculpture was discussed. It was noted that it was reworked
several times during the festival with different scenes and that,
while it held up well to rain, heavy rain would damage it and the
sculpture would need to come again and fix the sculpture.
A visit to the butterfly house elicited conversation on the types of
flowers that attract butterflies as well as the types of plants that
are eaten by the caterpillars that will become future butterflies.
We viewed the floating flowers and spoke of some of the types of
plants that are used in the various gardens. We made our way to the
Mexican pavilion. I had never noticed the orchids growing there
before. Homer also pointed out a tree, just to the left of the
entrance staircase that actually grows thorns on its trunk. As we
moved from country to country, Homer pointed out the types of plants
used in each and the color schemes that are used just for that
In Norway, we discussed the roof covered with grass. We noticed the
calm of the China pavilion as later contrasted with the flowing
waterscapes in Japan. Homer defined topiaries for us and how they
had made changes, over time, in the materials used to create the
various topiaries. He pointed out where topiaries were reused in
different scenes. In Germany, he noted that one individual is
completely responsible for all the plantings in the train area. That
person makes sure the plantings do not become too tall for miniature
buildings and makes sure the plantings match the seasons – for
example, there were plants that represented the Flower and Garden
festival in the little village.
The time passed quickly and before we knew it, we were in Canada and
the three hour tour was almost at an end. Here, we got a real
surprise. We were allowed backstage to see the back side of the
Canadian "mountains" and how the plants on the mountains are
situated. Just before we went back on stage, we were each provided
with a pin and a Festival poster to commemorate our participation in
This was a great way to essentially "stop and smell the roses".
Homer pointed out so many things that we walk by every time we are
in the park but only see as part of the background. How many of us
have really looked at the bonsai trees in the Japanese pavilion? Do
you actually remember there are bonsais located there? I, for one,
found myself much more cognizant of the plants and how they are used
to support the “story” in each location. Even if you are not a
gardener but only appreciate the beauty of plants, you might find
this an excellent tour to put on your itinerary. The 2013 Flower &
Garden festival continues through May 19th.
<< Fun Facts with
-- Epcot: Part Two --
- In the boat ride in The Land,
note the house number on the mailbox as you pass though the
farmhouse scene. The number "82" is a nod to 1982, the year EPCOT
- As you watch the pre-flight
video for Soarin, notice the flight number. It is 5505; honoring
Soarin’s official opening at Epcot on May 5, 2005.
- Look for a hidden Mickey in the giant mural in the loading area of
the Maelstrom ride.
- It is always twilight in the Mexico’s Plaza de los Amigos as that
is the time friends and family gather in the plaza for socializing.
-- Summer / Fall 2013 --
Extra Magic Hours, Operating, and
Event schedules have been released through October 2013. For guests
visiting during this time, you will want to visit the Park Hours and
Events pages to aid in planning your trip. Remember, all times and
schedules are subject to change, so check back often.
Hours Schedule and Info
Parades, & Event Schedules
is hopping away into the sunset. We hope this edition has given you
a reason to take a new look at the Flower and Garden festival on the
Gardens of the World tour. We'll be back in a few weeks with more
great tips, news and deals. See ya real soon!
<< Thank You To Our
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