Starting Aug. 13, Disney will relaunch the attraction with a brand new experience and an enhanced version of the “classic” Mission: SPACE.
If you think you’ve got “the right stuff,” take on the Orange Mission for a truly intense experience that lets you feel the force of an actual space launch en route to Mars. On this mission, you’ll dodge meteoroids, slingshot around the moon and attempt a precision landing on the Red Planet’s alien surface. This “mission” has been enhanced with new, HD video to make it even clearer!
Or, embark on the more family-friendly Green Mission – a new mission that takes you on an exciting orbit around Earth. On this amazing new adventure, you’ll take in sites like the Hawaiian Islands, Italy’s “boot” and the Northern Lights—as seen from space, of course—before finally landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. No matter which mission you choose, it’ll be a journey that’s totally out of this world.
In addition to all the “mission” updates, our partners at Walt Disney Imagineering have also made this attraction MORE family-friendly. Younger astronauts can now ride – the height restriction will be changed for the Green Mission side with the addition of new X-2 booster seats allowing children 40-44” to ride.
I’m looking forward to the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year’s event will feature millions of blooms, great entertainment and new food offerings from March 6 to May 19 at Epcot. Last year, I enjoyed visiting Epcot on multiple occasions to photograph many beautiful flowers (I also snapped some wonderful images in the butterfly garden). This year, my photographic journey started at the Festival Center. This highly-themed destination is located between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy, and it’s home to demonstrations, seminars and a merchandise shop.
This year, the merchandise location resembles a garden oasis. The sound of gentle water and chirping birds filled the air as I took photos. Last year, we introduced artwork that featured Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as topiaries. The artwork was incredibly popular with guests, so we added a Minnie Mouse topiary to the mix for this year. You can find her image on apparel, a reusable tote bag and, my favorite, a new coffee mug (look inside the mug for a cool detail).
There were a few other items that caught my eye, including a new topiary-inspired headband, a strawberry ear hat, Duffy the Disney Bear in overalls, D-Tech on Demand iPhone cases and more. We are also introducing new garden statues that look like Grumpy and Dopey. Look for additional character topiary statues in the weeks to come.
I can’t get enough of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. I believe I have been around the world at least five different times this year! My favorite foods kiosks are Hawai’i, Australia and South Korea (hello, lettuce wrap!). A great place to start is at the Festival Center located in Future World next to Mission: SPACE. This themed area is home to food demonstrations, special activities, and an extensive merchandise location. If you enjoy fine art, there is a section within the Festival Center called “The Art of Food and Wine.” This store-within-a-store showcases artwork from several talented artists including Noah, Heather French, Patryk Poslednik, Liné Tutwiler, William Silvers and others.
Artwork from Disney Design Group character artist Brian Blackmore recently joined this section at the Festival Center. You may recall my conversation with Brian back in early September about his artwork found at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot. We recently introduced some canvas wrapped giclées based on that art. Brian also created one-of-a-kind original paintings based on his four designs. Each of these original works will measure 2-feet by 4-feet, and will be introduced starting October 26.
If you are headed to the Festival in the coming weeks, please stop by the Festival Center to meet Brian during these dates and times: