Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival 2013

J and I not only live close to Disneyworld (about 20 minutes away) but we are annual passholders. We typically go to one park or the other monthly and never miss out on the special events hosted at Epcot. It being the start of spring (even though we barely have seasons here in Central Florida), it is time for the Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival.

Epcot Flower and Garden 20 Years Disneyworld

Every year I love to see what topiaries are on display.

Cars Topiary Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden

J and Goofy Epcot Flower and Garden Disneyworld

Lightening McQueen Topiary Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden

My favorite exhibit is the butterfly garden.

Disneywolrd Epcot Flower And Garden Butterfly

Disneyworld Epcot Flower and Garden Butterfly Sign

The wraparound flowers that they do every year are so colorful. Imagining how much work goes into the festival each year is mindboggling.

Disneyworld Epcot Flower and Garden Runway of Flowers

Flowers Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden

We saw a special passholder exhibit while we were there.

Disneyworld Passholder Event Epcot

It was a display of innovations throughout the years and memorabilia. Very cool stuff like the tickets they first used at Disneyland in the 1960’s.

There was another reason for this special exhibit.

Disneyworld Epcot MagicBands

MagicBands! MagicBands are an RFID technology that will be used instead of the paper passes. The devices that read the RFID chips look like this.

Disney MagicBands

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The MagicBands are connected to your credit card to pay for items in the park and will be used instead of fast passes. As someone who lives in constant fear of losing my flimsy, paper annual pass, having a wrist band will be so much better. It will be interesting to see all the ways MagicBands are used in Disneyworld in the near future.

What we did receive is a hard, plastic card that replaces our paper annual passes until the MagicBands are ready for consumer use.

The highlight of our trip for J? Ducklings!

Disneyworld Ducklings Epcot

Disneyworld Ducklings Epcot 2

J was even able to pick a few up because they had a difficult time getting over a curb. So freaking cute!

My highlight of the day minus the amazing flowers.

Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden More Flowers

Epcot Disneyworld Flower and Garden Lily

I finally found a Hidden Mickey!

Hidden Mickey Disneyworld Epcot UK

I even have a book that points out all the Hidden Mickey’s in the park and I still never see them.

Overall, it was a wonderful day at the Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival.

Running Around

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! Mine was very low-key but full of fun.

J and I Cinderella's Castle Christmas Lights Disney Magic Kingdom

J and I spent a lot of time admiring the lights at Disney which makes even Cinderella’s Castle prettier. (That night was so cold and I actually was able to wear my winter coat. Yes, it does get cold in Central Florida.)

I decided to run Gasparilla again. It was the most fun race I ran last year and I needed to put something on my schedule to keep my motivation up.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

My training is going well but strength training has fallen to the wayside. I find that it is easy to stick to either a lifting schedule or a running schedule but putting them together something gives. The Smart Coach plan from Runner’s World has runs five days a week and I have little motivation to go to the gym on my one off day. The solution is probably to lift in the morning before work and run after. I just cannot seem to get up any earlier to actually make it to the gym. So that is something to work on in 2013.

The following are Weeks One through Three of this current cycle of half marathon training. I like that Smart Coach has pace ranges for each run based on your most current race time. Sticking to those paces has helped me feel like I am getting faster. My A goal for Gasparilla is 2:14.

Week One Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Two Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Three Half Marathon Training December 2012

Do you have a race on the schedule?

Disney and A New Restaurant

J and I finally renewed our Disney passes. We put it off during August because it is so freaking hot here and no one wants to be outside waiting in lines sweating like a pig.

Sadly, last weekend was super busy at Disney, so all we were able to do was walk around. The great part of living here and having annual passes is if you do go on a day with tons of other people, just walking around is fine.

We were really excited to see the open parts of the Fantasyland expansion. One of the many circus-themed signs.

Fantasyland Expansion Circus Sign

Fantasyland Expansion Welcome Sign

This area had lots of new rides and a water area for the little ones.

J in front of one of the many retro circus signs.

Old Circus Sign Fantasyland Disney New Area

Cinderella’s fountain.

Disney Cinderella Fountain

Inscription next to the fountain.

Disney Cinderella Fountain Sign

The castle.

Disney Castle Magickingdom

J trying his luck at the sword in the stone. This picture was fun to take, I kept giving instructions like make it look like you’re straining. People may have been staring.

Sword In The Stone

The sign.

Disney Sword in the stone sign

I took a picture of this sign because I am five and the word nugget makes me giggle.

Disneyworld funny sign

After walking through the crowds of people pushing strollers, we needed to eat. Of course because we left it to the last-minute we could not get reservations anywhere in the parks. We decided to go over to the Boardwalk and see what we could scrounge up.

Cat Cora has a new to us restaurant called Kouzzina by Cat Cora that looked promising. Sadly, it had a very long wait. We decided to try our luck with one of the restaurants at The Dolphin Hotel and found another new to us restaurant called Todd English’s BlueZoo. We were able to sit at the bar at BlueZoo, so no waiting required.

The bar menu’s are tablets.

BlueZoo Bar Menu Tablet

BlueZoo Bar Menu Tablet 2

The food was really good and it looks like they have some crazy happy hour specials. J and I will definitely be paying Todd English’s BlueZoo another visit.

Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival

Last week, the traffic around the Disney area was unbelievable. It is a combination of an already busy area plus the massive influx of people here on Spring Break. J sat in this traffic attempting to make it to class so long that he missed his class sitting in the traffic. He called and asked me if I wanted to meet him at Epcot for The International Flower And Garden Festival.

As pass holders, we go to the festival every year. I am always blown away by the beauty and creativity that Disney puts into the displays.

This is the entrance to the butterfly tent. I love that they do this every year, it is a great way to mix some educational information (life stages of a butterfly) with beautiful flowers.

Butterfly Epcot Flower and Garden

Spotted one.

Real Butterfly Epcot Flower And Garden

My favorite “ride” at Epcot is Living With The Land. I love to look at the different plants in the greenhouses and never tire of the cheesy animatronic land displays. There is a backstage tour that takes your through the greenhouses called Behind The Seeds Tour but the times are limited and we always miss it. Not this time.

Our tour guide is an advanced intern who is studying horticulture.

Tour Guide Behind The Seeds Epcot

J plus two little kids on the tour were allowed to introduce lady bugs onto this plant.

Disney Epcot Behind The Seeds Tour Lady Bugs

Hydroponic lettuce and an Epcot spotting across the way.

Disney Epcot Behind The Seeds Tour Lettuce

A grape tomato tree with boat riders from The Land ride in the background.

Disney Epcot Behind The Seeds Tour Tomatoes_edited-1

The guide told us that the strawberries were the only plants that they do not start from seed. Central Florida is pretty famous for its strawberry production, starter plants are in great supply.

Strawberries Behind The Seeds Epcot

The one plant we were allowed to touch. It’s called a Sensitive Plant and the leaves fold in when you touch it. This protects it from high winds.

Sensitive Plant Epcot Flower And Garden

The tour lasted about an hour and was well worth the $18 or so dollars. I highly recommend it if you are in Epcot.

They do different variations of this every year. I love the changes in color, so beautiful.

Wrap Around Flowers Epcot Flower and Garden

It was a wonderful and relaxing day that took my mind off of the job searching. Plus, it gave me an excuse to whip out my DSLR and practice a little of what I have learned reading photography books.

If you are in Central Florida from March 7th through May 20th, I highly recommend attending the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

There was horrendous traffic getting to the highway on Thursday, so J decided to skip his classes that day. When he came back home, he suggested we go to Disney.

Animal Kingdom is the park we least frequent. It is a great park but the animals are the main attraction and that can get old fast. It also closes earlier than many of the other parks, so if you do not get an early start, it can be hard to have enough time to spend there.

The main attraction at the center of the park.

The Tree of Life is huge and really beautiful. It houses the It’s Tough to be a Bug! show and has intricate carvings throughout the base of the tree.

Outside of the Flights of Wonder, we spotted my favorite bird.

Owl! If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed my love of owl tchotchkes. They are just so interesting looking.

Upon arrival, we made a beeline for Fast Passes for Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition. This is my top must ride at Animal Kingdom. It puts you in a vehicle and takes you on a safari through a wildlife reserve. I never get tired of this ride because each time is different.

We saw a giraffe.

A lioness.

Scary warning sign which is Disney’s attempt to keep it real.

Plus zebras, rhinos, elephants, and a cheetah.

We did a lot of walking and spotted Expedition Everest. I am a big chicken about heights, so I have never been on this ride.

It was a beautiful day and it made me so thankful having an annual pass.

Do you have a favorite Disney park?