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‘The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!’ Now Playing at Epcot

Star-Lord and Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy” are now taking Guests on a musical journey through the cosmos in “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!” at the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot®.

You can catch “Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live!” five times a day from now through Aug. 19, 2018. It’s included with theme park admission and is part of a lineup of “Incredible Summer” offerings at Walt Disney World®Resort.

Guests can also stop into the American Adventure at Epcot where they’ll find special offerings inspired by the new “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Live!” At Liberty Inn, they’ll find an adorable Groot Sipper Cup that comes with their choice of fountain or frozen beverage and a Rocket Fuel Slushy with frozen Coca-Cola and bourbon. Over at Fife & Drum Tavern, they can sip on an “I am Float” Root Beer with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and mint leaves or the Awesome Mix Slushy with layers of frozen lemonade, blue raspberry, and strawberry. There’s also the chocolate Galaxy Cupcake with buttercream and a white chocolate piece featuring Groot!

 

Spring Bounty to Feature Blooms, Flavor-Rich Cuisine, Interactive Gardens, Concerts

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will kick off spring at Walt Disney World Resort Feb. 28 and continue through May 28, 2018, with seasonal fun for all. What began in 1994 as a 38-day celebration of Disney-style gardens and topiaries has grown over the years to a 90-day spring extravaganza with something for every generation.

The 2018 festival, which takes place during the 35th anniversary of Epcot, will showcase millions of brilliant blossoms, flavor-rich cuisine from 15 Outdoor Kitchens, Disney topiary stars, interactive play gardens and live chart-topping musical acts during the Garden Rocks Concert Series.

The 90-day festival will open with an irresistible array of sights, sounds, tastes, aromas and tactile discoveries:

  • New and creative dishes will debut at 15 Outdoor Kitchens encircling the World Showcase Promenade. Guests can sip and savor their way around Epcot, enjoying chef-inspired noshes and refreshing libations.
  • A bonanza of Disney character topiaries, including classic-character favorites Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many others, will play a starring festival role. Returning this year, Belle will be featured in France along with Beast, Snow White in Germany with the Seven Dwarfs, and Anna and Elsa in Norway.
  • A brand-new Future World interactive play garden and a revved-up Road to Florida 500 garden featuring new games and play challenges will set the pace for family festival fun. The new interactive area in Future World will feature a play maze, a sensory garden, an activity zone and a covered seating area. The redesigned “Cars”-themed garden based on the Disney•Pixar sequel, “Cars 3,” will add more fun activities like highway bingo for families.
  • A brand-new Epcot front-entrance topiary garden will set the milestone anniversary scene with a kaleidoscope of blooming color where topiary icons Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will greet festival guests.
  • The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will feature hit makers of the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s on the America Gardens Theatre stage. Three evening concerts each Friday through Monday present musicians that span multiple genres.
  • Garden Rocks Dining Packages will be available on select days at a number of Epcot restaurants.

Each Outdoor Kitchen will feature its own raised-bed or in-ground garden of herbs and produce that can inspire the growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow what they eat.

“The culture of growing your own food continues to trend, and our guests each year have quite a few questions related to edible gardens,” says Eric Darden, festival horticulture manager. “They get a big kick comparing items in our gardens with the herbs and produce our chefs incorporate into the festival’s Outdoor Kitchen recipes.”

And there’s more:

  • The back-by-demand Figment topiary garden between Future World and World Showcase will offer the perfect selfie backdrop and family photo opportunity.
  • The Royal Tea Garden Tour will return for a second year each festival morning at the United Kingdom pavilion. For a small fee, guests can follow a knowledgeable guide through the tranquil tea garden setting to learn the history and artistry behind growing and blending tea. A post-tour treat of tea and scones is included. The shorter, complimentary English Tea Garden Tour also will be offered on select days.
  • Among the nearly 100 festival topiaries will be returning favorites like the pandas and Bromeliad dragon at the China pavilion, The Three Caballeros at the Mexico pavilion, Disney-Pixar’s Woody at the American Adventure pavilion and Buzz Lightyear in Future World.

Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers” and beds of multi-colored blooms will transform the park’s landscape. At least 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.

Introducing the Two Properties of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites & Dockside Inn and Suites

Universal Orlando’s first Value properties, Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites, introduces extra affordability to your clients’ Universal vacation, so now we are offering a hotel option for every style and budget. The vibe at these hotels is relaxed and easy, with a fun surf and beach theme woven throughout. In addition to standard rooms with rates as low as $73, both hotels will feature spacious, two-bedroom suites that sleep six for as little as $111 per night, making this the perfect spot for families of any size. Surfside Inn and Suites is the first hotel of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. Here, your clients will enjoy exclusive benefits like Early Park Admission* and complimentary transportation. Surfside Inn and Suites will open in Summer 2019 and Dockside Inn and Suites will open in 2020.

Explore the New Bourbon Trail at Disney Springs

There’s something exciting – and tasty! – coming to Disney Springs on May 1. Kick off your summer by exploring this brand-new Bourbon Trail, where guests ages 21 and older can discover bourbon-inspired beverages and food pairings. Meander through the many shops and restaurants throughout the area and find your favorites!

Each of these drinks has been carefully paired with a delicious dish, and there’s even a map that shows where to find all of them! Whether you’re a bourbon aficionado, or just enjoy sipping and savoring new drinks, this trail is perfect for an afternoon stroll or a night out with friends.

I’ve put together this guide to everything being offered on the trail, so be sure to read up and prepare your taste buds, because these offerings will only be available through June 17 and you won’t want to miss out! You might even find me strolling about and sipping on a tasty beverage myself …

House of Blues Restaurant & Bar

  • Fine and Mellow – featuring Knob Creek Bourbon, St. Elder, lemon juice, strawberry, and rhubarb bitters
  • Hurry Sundown Old Fashioned – featuring Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Benedictine, butter pecan syrup, bitters, and caramel pecan bacon
  • Smoked Brisket or Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • Homemade Bread Pudding – topped with toffee sauce and bourbon butter
    Splitsville Dining Room

    • The Trifecta – a stirred concoction of Old Forester 100, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Benedictine, and Pimento Dram
    • BBQ Chicken Pizza – smothered in BBQ sauce, topped with marinated grilled chicken, BBQ sauce, smoked gouda, mozzarella, cilantro, and red onion

    Bongos Cuban Café

    • Angel’s Envy Bourbon Mojito – featuring Angel’s Blue Envy Bourbon, simple syrup, soda water, and fresh mint leaves
    • Authentic Cuban Style Churrasco Certified Angus Beef – a 10-ounce skirt steak hand-cut and served with house-made chimichurri sauce, white rice, and beans

    YeSake

    • Strawberry Bourbon Sour Slushie – bourbon, sweet strawberry puree, and lemonade

Citrus Fresh – salmon, green leaf lettuce, cucumber, onion, spinach, and jalapeño tempura crunch wasabi ponzu sauce (available as a bowl or wrap)


Planet Hollywood Observatory

  • Bulleit Frontier Old Fashioned – featuring Bulleit Bourbon, sugar, and bitters
  • BBQ Ribs – fall-off-the-bone St. Louis-style ribs, slow cooked in-house, smothered with BBQ sauce, and served with triple fries

STK Orlando

  • Double Down – featuring Woodford Reserve and lemon juice
  • Double Smoked Bacon – served with date chutney, oven-dried tomatoes, and crispy garlic
  • Bag O’ Donuts – enhanced with dulche de leche filling and spice chocolate and raspberry sauces

Enzo’s Hideaway

  • Enzo’s Bourbon Swizzle – featuring Bulleit Bourbon, lemon juice, ginger syrup, bitters, and fresh mint sprigs with notes of spice, rye, and cedar

Salumi and Formaggi Board – an impressive selection of meats and cheeses


The Edison

  • Peach Tree Downs – a refreshing peach mint julep with a nutty pecan finish featuring Knob Creek Bourbon and Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey, with a rich, sweet, woody, full-bodied and almost-fruity flavor and aromas of toasted nuts, grain, and oak
  • DB Clothesline Candied Bacon – maple and black pepper-infused bacon served with a sour pickle

Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas

  • Kentucky Sunrise – featuring Jim Beam Bourbon, orange juice, and grenadine
  • Argentinian Skirt Steak – 10-ounce char-grilled skirt steak topped with caramelized onions and chimichurri and served with wasabi or truffle fries

The Ganachery

Woodford Reserve Bourbon – comprised of more than 200 delectable flavor notes, from bold grain and wood to sweet aromatics: spice, fruit, and floral notes


Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant

  • The Gold Cup – featuring Bulleit Bourbon, Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and muddled mint, lime, and cucumber
  • Dub Schpuds – herb roasted potato wedges with a Smithwick’s & Dubliner cheese dip

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

  • Coffee Old Fashioned – Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Kahlua Coffee Liqueur, Joffrey’s Cold Brew Coffee, Vanilla Syrup, Aromatic Bitters, and served with a coffee ganache square

Snakebite Sliders – three gourmet beef sliders with tomato-bacon jam, house-made pickles, shredded lettuce and cheese


The Boathouse

  • Orlando Pride – featuring Old Forester Bourbon and a homemade blackberry citrus purée

Calamari – hoisin chili marinated calamari rings lightly fried with a medley of peppers and served with a side of hoisin chili sauce


Paddlefish

Southern Sangria – featuring Medley Bros. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, peach liqueur, Tempranillo, and seasonal fruit with warm notes of caramel, oak, and spices that are followed by touches of creamy vanilla, milk chocolate, and caramelized sugar

The Pork Chop – a 10-ounce pork chop served with house-made applesauce and fresh green beans

The Polite Pig

Winner’s Circle – featuring Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Pamplemousee grapefruit liqueur, and elderflower tonic, with a rich and complex flavors and hints of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit

The Southern Pig Sandwich – mouthwatering pulled pork, fennel-apple slaw, tangy mustard BBQ and Dukes Mayonnaise

Frontera Cocina

  • Bórbon Néctar – featuring Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, 3 dashes of organic agave, 5 drops of Elemakule Tiki Bitters, and orange peel with lean oak, corn, and caramel flavors and finishes of warm toffee, spice, and drying wood
  • Carne Asada – garlic and red chili-marinated Creekstone Natural Black Angus Steak, black beans refritos with queso fresco, and caramelized plantains with crema and Cotija cheese and served with tomatillo salsa and warm tortillas

    D-Luxe Burger

    • Smoked Bourbon Gelato Shake – vanilla gelato blended with Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon, hickory smoke, and dark chocolate sauce and topped with a bacon strip
    • Southern Burger – signature blend beef patty topped with a fried green tomato, pimento cheese, lettuce, grilled onion, and bacon

    Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

    • The Old Fashioned Elder – featuring Michter’s Bourbon and St. Germain Elderflower
    • Basil Hayden’s Mint Julep – featuring Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, simple syrup, and sprigs of fresh mint
    • Famous Thigh High Chicken Biscuits – three biscuits topped with Chef Art’s fried chicken thighs, drizzled with hot honey, and served alongside bread and butter picklesEverything on this tasty Bourbon Trail will be available at Disney Springs from May 1 to June 17, so come on out, grab a drink and a snack, and take a walk with us! You can even pick up a Bourbon Trail Passport that contains all of this info and more at the Disney Springs Welcome Center and at any participating location.

Thanks to  Alex Dunlap and the Disney Parks Blog for this post on the Bourbon Trail at Disney Springs!

 

What You Didn’t Know About Watching Disney’s Happily Ever After Fireworks | New Tips

There’s a new nightly fireworks show at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom called Happily Ever After and you want the best viewing experience possible. What do you need to do?  Start with throwing out all the “tried and true advice” from friends who had seen Wishes, the blog posts you’ve read about Wishes and any type of advice that dates back to the old fireworks show. Happily Ever After is a whole new type of show with a new set of rules.
This is a show that you’re going to want to see more than once if you can. There is so much fighting for your attention, in a good way, that there’s no way you can take it in one time. I found myself watching the projections so much that I would forget about the fireworks, then I would focus on that and miss the projections.
Here are 5 Suggestions for a having a Happy, Happily Ever After Viewing Experience….
1. It’s essential that choose a location in the hub area so you have a full view of the castle and all it’s turrets. What do I mean by the hub? The park is laid out in a hub and spoke design, with the Partner’s Statue of Mickey and Walt in the Center. You want to locate yourself in the yellow area below.
Why: With Wishes, the fireworks and Jiminiy Cricket told the store and any castle projections were icing on the cake. It’s the exact opposite with Happily Ever After. The castle projections are essential to the story, with the fireworks in more of a supporting role. We had a spot back by Main Street Ice Cream Parlor and there were times when the story was a little disjointed because we couldn’t see all the projections on the castle to know what was going on.
2. If you really want to see Happily Ever After, don’t try to watch it from Fantasyland. With Wishes, you used to be able to get a good view of the show, not missing a lot from the back side of the castle if you were in Fantasyland…not anymore. You would miss about 90% of the show this way, again, because the projections are now telling the story. You won’t see any of this from Fantasyland.
3. Be considerate of those around you, everyone wants to see the show. If you put your children up on your shoulders, you’re basically saying, “I don’t care about anyone behind me being able to see”. Admit it, you would be upset if your child’s view was blocked….remember, everyone is there for a good time, you all spent the money to come, instead, get there a little earlier and head to a viewing location where doing something like this isn’t necessary. It’s safer for your child anyway if they are not up on your shoulders, perched on a rail someplace etc. Consider instead holding them up in your arms…it’s a safer alternative if they can’t see from the ground.
4. If this is a vacation that your family will take only every other year or couple years, I understand…Disney can be expensive, but you want to give your family the best experience. So consider booking a Fireworks Dessert Party to guarantee your family a great viewing location and a special treat. There are currently 2 dessert party options for Happily Ever After. The Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party gives you access to a dessert buffet and viewing from the Tomorrowland Terrace locations. The Plaza Garden Fireworks viewing party gives you access to the same dessert buffet, but then you are guided to a viewing location out in the plaza garden area to see the fireworks show. This is a less expensive options because it will involve standing only. Now you have a great location, you can relax and you’re not fighting the crowds.
5. For the sanity and enjoyment of everyone around, TURN OFF YOUR FLASH on your camera or phone. The flash is good for about 4 feet..it’s not going to help, it’s just going to annoy everyone around you. Don’t hold your phone up over your head the whole time either to record the show. Again, you’re just annoying everyone else, and you’re going to be so focused on recording that you’re going to miss the whole show you waited to see. Don’t watch it through your phone, watch it “in the moment”.
Grab your family, grab your friends or grab that special someone and head over to Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom to experience the new show. In fact, I loved the song enough to download it from ITunes!

 


Blogger, Traveler, Wife, Runner….I’m known as many different things.  But I’m here to be your Travel Professional.  Ever since I was a little girl I had an interest in travel. I would collect the postcards books that my grandparents brought back to me from their travels and I kept them in a special box that I loved to pull out and flip through. As I traveled with my family I started collecting postcards on my own and pictures, maps, and other mementos of my travels.

Believe it or not, I still have those postcards and every once in awhile I’ll bring them out and flip through smiling at the memories they bring back. Although I might not collect postcards anymore I collect photos, stories and information on my travels. I love to soak up a destination, reveling in the local food life. I absolutely love sharing my travel stories, foodie moments and special encounters.

Carrie@MustLoveTravel.com
(321) 323 – 9835

The Case of the RunDisney Addict | Kingdom Magic Runners

Hello, my name is Donna and I’m addicted to RunDisney races.  Yes, I have a problem.  I’m currently looking for a 12-step program to help me.  I knew I loved the races but I didn’t know how bad my addiction was until the registration for Disney’s Princess ½ Marathon Weekend opened.

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I found myself actually sitting on my hands, trying to control myself and NOT register for this race.  Here I was, sitting at my computer, watching the registration numbers go up, races booking up, watching the posts on Facebook and various blogs, clients calling me all excited because they got in and now they want to book their packages.  It would have been so easy, just enter your name, address and approximate race finish time.  I was doing all I could to control the urge.  I even had a support system of friends reminding me, don’t do it, don’t do it.  At the same time I was texting my running buddy Wendy, “stay strong, we can do it, it’s almost full, we are almost there”.  She was texting me back “ I just want to log on and see how it’s going.” NOOOOOO I’m “Shout texting” back, “Don’t do it, you’ll be tempted to register”.

Fortunately the Glass Slipper Challenge filled up quickly.  To complete the Glass Slipper Challenge you must finish the 10K and the 1/2 Marathon.  If we were going to go that weekend, we would only do it for the challenge.

Medals from the 2013 Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Medals from the 2013 Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

It was a long afternoon waiting for the ½ and 10K to fill up. She signed up for a fitness class at her gym so she would be busy and I went for a walk, I just had to stop looking at the computer.  Later that night she texts me, “You know, the 5K still has slots”. Evil temptress.  “No, we are NOT going that weekend” I told her.  Stay strong.  By the end of the day I was exhausted. I felt as if I had run a full marathon.

We did it!  We both made it through the day.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend.  It’s a wonderful weekend, the race is awesome, I love the costumes, the camaraderie and I really like the whole theme of the weekend.  The reason we had to stay so strong is because we are both running the month before in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  We are also hoping to register for the Dumbo Double Dare later in August out in Disneyland so we can get our Coast to Coast medals.  (Coast to Coast medals are can be received for completing a Half Marathon or Marathon in Disney World, followed by the completion of a Half Marathon in Disneyland during the same calendar year.)  I already have a Coast to Coast medal, but I’m trying to check off all of the Disney ½ marathons and figured that if we were going to go out for that race we may as well do an East Coast race and earn a Coast to Coast Medal.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this obsession.  Once you run your first RunDisney race, whether it’s a 5K, 10K,  ½ marathon or full marathon, you will be hooked!  It’s unlike any other race I have ever participated in and I’m sure will never find their equal.

Sincerely,

Donna Genco, RunDisney Addict

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Guest Blogger – Donna Genco

donna1-199x300Donna is not only one of Kingdom Magic Vacations Independent Travel Planners, she is also a runner and contributor over at Kingdom Magic Runners Facebook Page. She’s participated in numerous RunDisney Events from the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, Expedition Everest and more on the East Coast, but she’s also been to Disneyland for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon as well.  Her passion may be RunDisney races, but she has also participated in other races as well.

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