10 spots to get splashed in the Disney Theme Parks

Visitors to the Walt Disney World theme parks generally know going into the game that they’re likely to encounter some heat. The index can range from toasty warm in the milder months to darn near sweltering in the summer. Much appreciated are the myriad ways to cool off around property. If it’s not yet time to head back to the hotel swimming pool, we’ve got 10 spots in mind in and around the theme parks where you can catch a break from the temps and savor a splash or two.

MAGIC KINGDOM

Casey Jr Splash ‘n Soak Station

First stop on our Splash Tour is this colorful, spurting collection of circus cars in Fantasyland. Themed after the animated film Dumbo, Casey Jr Splash ‘n Soak Station will be a magnet to your parched tykes on a hot day at the Magic Kingdom. We prefer to “splash” instead of “soak” at Casey’s — use your own discretion. (more…)

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…)

Saying farewell to Ellen’s Energy Adventure

We’re all in agreement that Ellen’s Energy Adventure is a bit of a dinosaur. The education on the origins of energy Ellen DeGeneres receives in her time-traveling trip with Bill Nye the Science Guy was fresh, what, 20 years ago? Not even a magical Disney makeover is going to save this stale show from the chopping block. (more…)

Team up for a game of Mission: SPACE Race

[This post was written by Junior Mouse Holiday contributor Andy, a master at Mission: SPACE Race.]

“And the winner is…………TRITON!!!!”

If you have heard this, you have probably played Mission: SPACE Race. Mission: SPACE Race is a highly interactive game situated with other hands-on activities at the end of the Mission: SPACE attraction in Epcot. When playing the game you are assigned to one of 2 teams on a ship, Triton or Orion. Up to 56 people can play at one time. (more…)

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…)

Play in the ImageWorks: The What If? Labs

If you’ve got young children and can spare a few minutes in your touring schedule, consider letting them roam around ImageWorks: The What If? Labs at the exit of the Journey Into Imagination with Figment attraction. It’s one of the few spaces at Epcot that allows kids a little wiggle room – and busies them with activities such as: (more…)

TRYit! to find new favorite flavors at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival

My mouth is watering as I read about all the new menu items at the 2014 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. It was only six months ago that our Mouse Holiday Family was pushing our way through the toasty World Showcase, sampling as much of the Food & Wine Festival as the kids would tolerate – but I am so ready for more delicacies! Noshing on small portions from the various ethnic Marketplaces was a wonderful way to encourage the kids to try new foods. The Flower and Garden Festival likewise features booths arranged around World Showcase – Outdoor Kitchens, in this festival’s parlance – offering fresh flavors themed to their corresponding countries. Special “TRYit!” dishes have been specially created to appeal to kids, combining both familiar and new flavors in an attempt to expand often picky palates. (more…)

Trick the kids into tasting Beverly at Club Cool

Call me a mean mom if you will, but I had Club Cool – the free soft-drink sampling station at Epcot – on my WDW checklist for years fully intending to see our kids’ reactions to the Italian soft drink Beverly. When we finally made it in, I prepped my then-five-year-old son with a fruity soda. I think he was so awed that I was casually offering him pop that there was no hesitation when I handed him the Beverly. “Cue the video camera! I hissed to his dad, who captured the sweetest little pucker out of our boy. “I don’t like it!” he exclaimed. (more…)

Christmastime at the Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks

Twice each night during the holiday season at the Magic Kingdom, Queen Elsa employs her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into her sparkling ice palace. A Frozen Holiday Wish was near the top of our own wishlist on a visit to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. We were down in Walt Disney World in early December thanks to the casual suggestion of my dad, who was planning to attend a convention in the area, that our family might meet him there. Of course, being the Disney nut that I am, I immediately took that to mean, “Buy your tickets and pack your bags”. (more…)

Belly dance to Mo’Rockin, Morocco Pavilion

Our daughter was plucked from the crowd this summer in Epcot’s World Showcase for a belly dancing lesson! We had paused in the exotic Morocco Pavilion just as its signature act Mo’Rockin was warming up. Perfect timing to catch some of the music from this 6-person group that blends rhythms from the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and America. I could spot the look of awe in my daughter’s eye the moment the belly dancer took the stage. I did not, however, expect her to be beckoned onstage. So glad she was, though, and so glad she went. (more…)