This spring has been uncharacteristically cold. In early April, we endured freezing temperatures, cold rain, and an occasional threat of snow. A Fun in the Sun Vacation was definitely in order. So my husband and I went to the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World in Florida.
Our family has enjoyed Disney World several times over the past few years. Each trip is filled with new experiences, as there is so much to see and do at Disney. This trip was just my husband and I. We had a great time at Disney World without the Kids and so can you.
First, I want to than my Mother-in-law. The kids stayed with her while we were away. Surprisingly, they were thrilled to spend the time with their Ga'am and weren't at all upset not to go to Disney. Thanks Ga'am!
Our trip coincided with EPCOT's 20th Annual Flower and Garden Festival. The festival is an annual event running March thru May. It showcases colorful floral presentations, over a 100 topiaries, guest speakers from HGTV, special weekend concerts, and so much more. As soon as you enter EPCOT, you are greeted with a larger than life cookout scene of topiaries featuring Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy (photo above). Throughout the park, Disney set up gardens, playgrounds, butterfly house,and more for guests to enjoy.
This year was the first time that they introduced food to the festival. Each country around the World Showcase in EPCOT featured food and beverages that showcased some type of vegetable. There were too many offerings to try everything, but we had a few that we loved. I realized, as I was writing this, that we didn't get as many pictures as we usually do. So I had to borrow a few snapshots from the web. Here were our three top samples:Potato, Chive and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare and Sour Cream. Photo Courtesy: Disney Food Blog Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Corn, Tomatoes, and Cilantro. Photo Courtesy: Disney Food Blog Spring Pancake with Grilled Chicken and Green Apple. Photo Courtesy: Disney Food Blog
Outside of the Flower and Garden Festival, we spent time at Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney and touring other resorts. We also toured the Disney greenhouses in a tour called Behind the Seeds at the Land Pavilion in EPCOT. I'll more on that in a future post.
Here are some of the highlights from this trip:
We had friends come up from Tampa one night and we enjoyed a great meal and drinks at Tutto Gusto, the Italian wine cellar in the Italy Pavilion at EPCOT. We enjoyed this great antipasto platter filled with grilled vegetables, cheeses, meats, and bread. This is one of the best experiences I've had at Disney. Sadly, I don't have any photos of dinner. But a bartender at the Rose and Crown Pub was nice enough to take this photo as we enjoyed after dinner drinks in the UK Pavilion.
After Dinner Drinks in UK Pavilion in EPCOT. My new favorite drink is Cider & Black (left)
The new Be our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom is a MUST try. This new restaurant is themed after the castle from Beauty and the Beast. The food was simple and AMAZING. We dined there for lunch which is a quick service (fast food) option. At dinner, the restaurant features a table service dining experience. We enjoyed French Onion Soup, Braised Pork cooked Coq Au Vin style, and Vegetable Quiche with a Mixed Green Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette. Here's a shot of what the restaurant looks like inside. My food photos didn't come out. So I borrowed photos from Disney Food Blog.French Onion Soup
Photo Courtesy: Disney Food Blog Quiche and Salad. Photo Courtesy: Disney Food Blog Braised Pork. Photo Courtesy: Disney Food Blog
Our third favorite thing was hanging out in the evenings with a beverage and great entertainment. We caught several bands/musical groups on this trip. While in Downtown Disney, we caught an Irish group performing outside at Raglan Road. The guys were fun and encouraged the crowd to get involved. With drinks in hand, we sang allow and enjoyed it. I discovered a new drink that I love. It's called a Cider & Black (click for recipe).The photo is a bit grainy, but you get the general idea.
The fourth thing we enjoyed were the bakeries. We visited bakeries in EPCOT's World Showcase. We enjoyed breakfast in France and dessert in Norway. The Disney bakeries were filled with wonderful treats and food items. In France, we opted for a very quiet breakfast with quiche, croissants, tea, and coffee. Few people know that the French bakery opens at 9am while the rest of the World Showcase opens at 11am. We walked back to France while everyone else was running to rides like Test Track and Soarin'. We were the only ones back there. It was a nice change of pace. We even go to watch as they shot (photo) advertising material featuring these two little boys playing near a fountain.
Les Halles Bakery in EPCOT's France Pavilion
In Norway, we always stop for school bread, shown below. It's a cardamom and saffron flavored yeast bread that is filled with a vanilla custard and topped with coconut. You can't have just one, so we got two. I finally have a recipe for this and hope to share it with you very soon.
School Bread in Norway
Sadly, we wrapped up our trip to Disney and came home to three very excited children.
All in all, we had a great trip. We ate some great food, great drinks, and great times. We thoroughly enjoyed some fun in the sun. Will we go back? Definitely. If only I had ruby red slippers. I could say, “There's no place like Disney. There's no place like Disney.”