Springtime in Epcot

Today Nick and Barbie take us far away from the cold winter weather to see Epcot in bloom!  If you have an upcoming visit to Walt Disney World scheduled, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival runs from March 4 – May 17, 2015.  Nick and Barbie can be found at the Disney Musings Blog / Disney Musings on Twitter / Disney Musings on Instagram / Disney Musings on Facebook

Springtime in Epcot

By: Nick

Back in March of 2014, Barbie and I took a cruise, with one of our stops being Cape Canaveral. We took an excursion over to Epcot to have lunch at Le Cellier and to photograph the topiaries throughout the park for the International Flower and Garden Festival, which officially started on March 5th and runs through May 18th.

Spring arrives today in the Northern Hemisphere, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share some photos of those topiaries, as well as other flowers in bloom.

Directly behind Spaceship Earth, we find these beauties depicting Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto.

The flowers around and in the water features in Future World are beautiful.

Heading into World Showcase, we are greeted by Sorcerer Mickey, as well as other characters from Fantasia.

Around to Canada, we find Bambi, Flower, and Thumper.

The gardens in Canada are lovely regardless of time of year.
The United Kingdom has several Topiaries as well as a Tea Garden.
Around to France, where there are Princesses and their Princes, as well as trees blossoming.
Beauty and the Beast topiaries can also be found here as well.

Continuing around World Showcase, we have Miss Piggy and Kermit, promoting “Muppets Most Wanted”, which opens in theaters tomorrow!

In Germany, we are greeted by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Even though Barbie and I took several photos of this display, we managed to miss getting a photo of Happy.

Rafiki and Simba at the Outpost.
Pandas in China and a troll in Norway.

There were a few areas that weren’t yet viewable when we were there, as well as topiaries we probably missed, so there is even more to enjoy at Epcot if you visit during the Flower and Garden Festival!

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Without Echo Lake

RM-Echo-LakeNow that the Sorcerer’s Hat is a thing of the past (almost) and we can stop watching its demise piece by piece on every form of social media available, it’s time to talk about more changes at the Studios.  If the poor hat could cause such a stir, the loss of Echo Lake will likely launch a tsunami of outrage.  According to the rumor mill, Echo Lake, Dino Gertie, and Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner will be next on the chopping block.

It has to do with sightlines and the Star Wars Land expansion, if I heard the alleged plans correctly, but those details aren’t really as important right now as preparing to cope with this future Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or will that be Disney’s Hollywood Adventures?) in a dramatically altered form.

As you’d probably expect, here are five thoughts on Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Without Echo LakeRM-Min&Bill's-Dockside-Diner

1.  It’ll be a huge adjustment!  The Studios opened in 1989 and in early 1990, I started building my Studios-visiting style and traditions.  At one time, I couldn’t imagine what the Studios would be like without Roger Rabbit, who in the early days had a major presence in the park.  So much as already changed over the years, mostly in the form of removals rather than additions.  I don’t know about you, but I still have a hard time not calling it MGM Studios.  I like Echo Lake right where it is, but I want the Studios to be back to an exciting full-day park the way it was originally.  If that’s the sacrifice that must be made, so be it.RM-Gertie

2. Gertie’s a cutie, but the #SaveGertie movement will not start with me.Enjoying a Rainy Day / Disneys Hollywood Studios IMG_3131

3. Min & Bill’s, I’m going to miss!  I’m sure we can and will find a substitute for the long-standing tradition of getting an afternoon beer from the Dockside Diner, but it’ll take some getting used to.  I’m confident a new and unique, possibly even better, counter service restaurant will come along.  I’ve never been impressed with the overall selection or quality of the quick service selections in the studios – it’s time for that to change!

4. Imagine the construction walls!  During the transformation, our plan will be – hit the Studios for Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours and a couple of the smaller, but beloved attractions like the Great Movie Ride, MuppetVision 3D or Indiana Jones (for as long as it lasts) and then get the heck out of there.DHS Imperial Speeder, Joseph

5. Getting from before to after is going to be painful!  I’m a little sad but hopeful and excited.  From what I’ve heard so far, the park will maintain enough original elements to keep traditionalists happy while adding a much needed infusion of new attractions and restaurants.  Star Wars Weekends are already amazing and the Star Wars area of the park, though small, is (to me) the most well-themed section of the Studios.Star Wars Shopping at Walt Disney World

We’re ready for a new and improved Disney’s Hollywood Studios but also understand that the changes will make the park worse before it gets better.  Will it all be worth it in the end?  Time will tell.  What are your thoughts on the Studios’ upcoming transformation?

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Faux Flora at Walt Disney World

RM-Swiss-Family-Robinson-TreeSome of the best magic at Walt Disney World is achieved with the careful cultivation and placement of thousands (and thousands!) of trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers, and topiaries.  I’ve heard staggering statistics on the army of gardeners and horticulturalists it takes to keep the World looking so beautiful.  Sometimes, Disney park designers and Imagineers come up with incredibly imaginative uses for trees and, out of necessity, those trees must be fake!  That’s what I want to talk about today.  Fake Trees – aka Faux Flora!  There are bunches of fake animals at Disney World, too, but I’ll save the faux fauna discussion for another day.

This is not an all-inclusive list of every artificial plant in every Disney park – I just want to talk about a few of my favorites ones.  Ready?RM-Swiss-Family-Robinson-SignRM-Swiss-Family-Robinson-Treehouse

Swiss Family Robinson Tree – This Adventureland marvel in Magic Kingdom gets overlooked a lot.  Probably because it is low-tech and, well, a bit boring.  The TREE though has been standing there since the park opened in 1971 looking pretty awesome!  Next time you pass by, at least check out the details of the artificial tree, even if you don’t want to climb the 116 steps to see how the Family Robinson lived.RM-Palm-Tree-Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland Palm Trees – They’re sharp-looking and don’t try to be something they’re not.  Perfect for Tomorrowland’s futuristic feel, these were steampunk before that was even a thing.RM-Tree-of-Life1

The Tree of Life – 50 feet wide and 145 feet tall, it’s more a work of art than just a fake tree.  This completely artificial plant plays an important role as the icon for Animal Kingdom.  Built using an oil rig for stable frame, this Animal Kingdom icon boasts over 300 animal carvings, 7891 end branches and more than 102,000 artificial leaves in 5 shades of green.  The tree’s roots shelter the theater for It’s Tough to be a Bug.  If I’m on vacation, I can often be found studying the minute details of the different animal carvings.RM-Baobab-Tree

Boabab Trees - You know these trees – they’re the upside-down-looking ones on Kilimanjaro Safari.  Admit it – the safari just wouldn’t be the same without them!THE DiVine at Animal Kingdom

DiVine – She gets a lot of flack.  I hear people dis this living but artificial figure in Animal Kingdom all the time.  I think she’s cool!  If you don’t know what I’m talking about – check out my DiVine-specific article here.  I haven’t seen her in a while, but make a point to look for her on every visit along the path between Asia and Africa.

Know about any faux flora I’ve left off my list?  What fake trees are your favorite at Disney World?

Disney’s Five Legged Goat

Contemporary-ResortWay back (a long time ago) when we were fortunate enough to stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for the first time, I did some research so I could share some interesting facts with The Fam.  I’m known for doing this – researching stuff to great extent prior to vacation,  So my peeps have become pretty tolerant and sometimes, on rare occasion, manage to act a bit interested in my fact-filled narratives.  Once in a great while, they even actually listen.  Really, it doesn’t hurt my feelings that much because the research (and the sharing of it) is really for my own amusement.

So, there I was, talking about the amazing Contemporary – how it was one of the original Disney World resorts that opened in 1971, how the monorail runs right through the building, how there’s this really fantastic and unique Mary Blair modern art mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse, how the mural (a mosaic) depicts animals, plants, and Native American children (The Fam, a little glazed, still sort of listening) and is 90 feet tall, how on the mural, Mary Blair placed aContemporary-Resort-Mural five-legged goat – Wait!  WHAT?  Yep, that got their attention.  Indeed.  There’s a five legged goat on the mural – placed there on purpose to remind people that nothing man-made is perfect.

So, all checked in and situated at the resort, we go exploring a bit before our dinner reservation at Chef Mickey’s.  When we’re able to view the entire mural on the walls in the concourse, we immediately start looking for the goat and there it was!  Cute as can be – even with the extra appendage.  Well, Joseph (being Joseph), immediately starts singing about the goat – changing the jingle from a certain well-know sub shop’s commercials.  C’mon, you know what I mean.  Sing along with me now – Five…..five legged……….five legged foot goat! (any, any, any).

Five-legged-goatIn 2009 on another trip to Disney World, Joseph and Raymond went exploring in Downtown Disney while I shopped for a little while.  When we met back up, they proudly presented me with this pin!  And yes, we all burst into song at once.  The five-legged goat pin is my most favorite pin of all.

Have you seen The Contemporary’s five legged goat?