Count characters in bloom at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival

I don’t garden or tend flowers, don’t cultivate a single square foot of my property, and certainly neither of my thumbs would be mistaken for green. Instead, I’d rather get that green fix at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival. It’s all the beauty of gardening without the hours toiling away in the yard and the inevitable disappointment when the local rabbit population decimates my veggie plot.

A recent springtime trip to Epcot found our sunny days filled with lush gardens, explosions of color, favorite Disney characters in bloom and — very important here — the delicious outdoor kitchens that sustain us throughout our touring. We made our way from Future World to World Showcase checking off the character topiaries on our Garden Passports — which made for a fun activity for the kids and a cool souvenir as well. Here are some of our favorites (clockwise from top left: The Three Caballeros hot pepper garden in Mexico, Phineas and Ferb at Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure kiosk in Future World, the Seven Dwarfs in Germany and the new FIgment sculpture near Spaceship Earth.). (more…)

Fill a passport with new flavors at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

It’s a menu, super souvenir, and a kid’s geography lesson all rolled into one: the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Marketplace Discovery Passport! (That’s a mouthful, huh? And yes, pun intended.) These handy checklists detail the ethnic offerings – including food and complementing beverages – at more than 30 vendors arranged around World Showcase during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Our family goal is to fill one of these passports with as many unique stamps from the vendors as we have room for in our stomachs. Here’s where it will actually help that there are six mouths to feed – one bite each of these sample-sized portions will leave us plenty hungry for more. We likely won’t collect all the stamps, but we’ll have a delicious time trying.

Voted most delicious by our family for the 2016 International Food & Wine Festival: (more…)

Meet: Santa & Mrs. Claus at American Adventure Pavilion

To me there is no better place to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus than the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. The backdrop is perfect — the jolly duo seated on plush thrones surrounded by trimmed trees and wrapped gifts — we just have to get past the Minnesota kids incongruously meeting the Clauses dressed in T-shirts and sandals instead of parkas and snow boots. The Christmas characters are the American contribution to Epcot’s Holidays Around the World.

MH santa american advThe shiny bow on the package was “O Holy Night” performed by the Candlelight Processional choir on the America Gardens stage in the background. What more could the kids ask Santa for?


Location: Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus in the gazebo of the America Adventure Pavilion, Epcot Theme Park, generally between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Check your Epcot Times Guide to plan a visit.


Fit our family into a phone booth in the UK Pavilion

I wouldn’t have guessed that the iconic phone booths in Epcot’s UK Pavilion would entertain for so long – but I wasn’t complaining. It was our girls’ first time exploring this particular World Showcase pavilion; they had never seen these bright red beacons of telecommunication. Or even seen a pay phone used, for that matter. It was extra novel to barricade themselves inside the booths and pretend to make secret calls! (more…)

Four places to bang the drums in Walt Disney World

Kids don’t want to work – they just want to bang on the drum all day! So where can you do that at Walt Disney World? Here are four spots we’ve found:

MH walt disney world drumsThe Little Drummer Girls are performing at the following locations clockwise from top left: the interactive play queue of The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh at Magic Kingdom Park, the Outpost area of World Showcase at Epcot, while waiting to be seated at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and in the Harambe Village area in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Let me assure you – you don’t have to be a kid to join in!


Enjoy: Fish ‘n chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop

A basket of fish ‘n chips and a Harp lager in his grasp while wandering World Showcase might have been my husband’s favorite memory of a recent trip to Epcot. The highly portable dinner had come from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop, a compact cottage with a quick-service dining window in the United Kingdom Pavilion. Yorkshire County serves up two superior strips of fish – slightly crisp on the outside, flaky and tender on the inside – and thick-cut fries for less than $10. It’s such a tasty, filling bargain that we found ourselves back at Yorkshire County twice during the trip (and, clearly, it was still on the brain days later!) (more…)

Catch O Canada! at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

MH o canada epcotFor you Disney regulars: you know that one attraction? The one that, for whatever reason, constantly evades your schedule? The one you keep meaning to hit, but it’s never a priority, so all of a sudden you’ve taken a dozen trips to Disney and you still haven’t checked it off your list? That was Epcot’s O Canada! for our family. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that we’re 1) always toting young children around and 2) we normally start World Showcase with Mexico and work our way clockwise — so that  we either 1) don’t have enough energy to make it to Canada or 2) are too spent once there to subject the kids to the 18-minute Circle-Vision film. (more…)

Character Series: Meet Snow White

MH snow white germany pavilionWhere can you meet the Fairest in the Land? (Let me quick consult my Magic Mirror…) Mirror reports back: Perhaps the easiest spot to meet this princess is at her wishing well in the Germany Pavilion of World Showcase at Epcot. Nestled on the outskirts of the pavilion as you enter going clockwise, Snow White (occasionally with the Prince, and/or Dopey) greets guests at the well several times daily between 11:30am and 6pm. Our photo, taken when our son wasn’t quite three, remains one of my favorite Disney snapshots of all time. Check out the way he’s gazing at Snow White! (more…)

Finding fountains at Epcot: World Showcase Part 2

We’re back in World Showcase, seeking out a second set of fountains that speak to the role of water in the Disney theme parks. The three fountains shown are displayed prominently — two are anchoring squares within the pavilions, and one is directly outside a major attraction. The fourth water feature, a waterfall, hints at a more playful purpose within.

MH epcot world showcase fountainsThe fountains pictured are (clockwise, from left): a statue of St. George slaying the dragon in the Germany Pavilion, the waterfall spilling from Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion, a Fez-inspired fountain in the Morocco Pavilion, and the clover-shaped fountain found outside the American Adventure.


Celebrate Easter at the Walt Disney World Resort

magic kingdom easterGiven that our Mouse Holiday Family wilts at the thought of such crowds, we have never ventured even in the general direction of the Walt Disney World Resort too close to Easter. As we don’t have the luxury of visiting as often as we’d like (a major understatement), we tend to schedule our trips when attendance is low. This totally wouldn’t be the case if we were locals. We’d take the crowds in stride if we could experience these special Easter activities:
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