It seems this question keeps popping up on Facebook a lot lately: Can I do a Half Day at Epcot?? I get it. Disney World tickets are expensive and guests are trying to squeeze the most out of shorter trip. And so people want to be able to fit Epcot into a half day and then head either to Disney Springs for Dinner or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic. Personally, I find Epcot to be an amazing full day of exciting attractions and incredible dining choices (especially if you are visiting during a festival!). I usually plan a full day at Epcot, but maybe you only have 3 days or you have small kids that you know you need to go take a break mid-day. So to answer the question of can you do Epcot in a half day? Yes....but its going to be pretty tough to see it all. My advice: break it down into an Morning trip around Future World (mostly) or a PM trip around the World Showcase. Need a touring plan? Take a look:
Morning in Future World
If you are a thrill seeking family and you want to get the most rides or attractions out of Epcot that you can, I suggest hitting Epcot right at rope drop. (What's Rope Drop, you say? Find out here!) Being at Epcot waiting in front of Spaceship Earth for Rope Drop will allow you to head immediately to one of the top tier attractions without the need for a Fast Pass. Epcot has a tiered fastpass system that only allows you to prebook a fastpass for 1 top tier attraction per day. So at Rope Drop head immediately to Test Track or Soarin'. Those are going to be your longest lines you will want to avoid.
Another option here for families who have a Frozen obsessed kid (or adult...no judgment) is to go right to Frozen, ride that and then swing into the line for the meet and greet with Elsa and Anna. From there I would then head back into Future World since the World Showcase does not open til later in the day.
After you've hit that first ride with little to no wait time, I recommend trying to get one more big ride. The line will have grown a bit, but most Epcot queues are indoors so at least you're not roasting in the sun! Soarin' is a good choice for this one because it lands you near The Land and Nemo if they are next on your to do list.
Now hopefully its around 10:30 - 11:00am and you can now use those fast passes! After that, I would head for lunch and stroll around the World Showcase until time for you to head to your next park or back to your amazing vacation rental (Adventureland Villa or The Turquoise Palms...just throwing those out there!).
Afternoon at The World Showcase
What about if you want to eat dinner at Epcot or enjoy any of the food booths during a festival? Well then I would say Epcot is a perfect half day park for the afternoon/evening. If you can book a fastpass at an attraction around the time you plan to arrive at Epcot, get that done first. Then head towards the World Showcase. From there you are free to walk, taste, sip and enjoy the different countries at your own pace without worrying about Fastpass times. Attractions in the World Showcase are fairly limited at the time being. Frozen in Norway is incredibly popular and you can anticipate a long line for that if you don't have a fastpass. In Mexico the Three Caballeros ride is a family favorite. Sometimes I am shocked by the length of the line, but a lot of times its fairly empty. And soon there will be a new Ratatoille ride in the France pavallion...Don't know the opening date for this yet, but once it opens expect to be fighting the crowds for those fast passes.
Once you have soaked up the World Showcase, check the times for the Fireworks show. Right now that is still Illuminations, but it was just recently announced that it will be changing soon! I usually try to head back towards the bridge that leads to Future World and watch the fireworks from there. You can beat a lot of people to the parking lot!
So, do I think Epcot can be a "Half Day" Park? Yes. But you have to make a choice as to what kind of day you want it to be: Mornings for riding rides and the thrilling attractions or evenings for exploring the pavilions. Which Epcot do you prefer?? If you'd like a bit more help on touring plans or just have a quick question, message me! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @glam_disney_vacay. I'm always happy to help!
Let's say you have picked your Fastpasses for Magic Kingdom (If you haven't then check out our previous blog post here!), and you got every ride you wanted at the perfect times! Yay you! You can stop reading here and check out our other blog posts! You should also go buy a lottery ticket because you got skills or major luck going for you. Now...if you are like every other Disney planning traveler I know, you maybe got 2 of your top rides or maybe you didn't get any of your top Fastpass choices. Its ok! In this post I'm going to walk you through how to still ride all the top attractions utilizing the worst kept, but under appreciated, secret in Disney planning - ROPE DROP!
What is "Rope Drop"??
So what is "Rope Drop"?? Rope drop is the time at which the Cast Members drop their ropes that block off the attractions and officially begin allowing guests into the line queues. Most of the time this is right on the hour the park opens to the public.
Tip 1: Plan Which Day to Rope Drop
To best utilize Rope Drop and to make sure its worth getting you and your family to the parks early, its best to preplan what day you are going to Rope Drop. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that if you are staying at Adventureland Villa or The Turquoise Palms, you could be lining up to get into a park where on-property guests have already been allowed in for the previous hour or so. You can still get some quality rides in, but it won't be the best use of your time. So take a look on the Disney website for Park Hours and make sure you are not going to be competing with those EMH guests.
Tip 2: Get There 1 Hour Earlier
Above, I mentioned that Rope Drop is the opening hour of the park. This is true, BUT, the act of being at Rope Drop begins earlier than that moment...To Rope Drop a park and best use the low crowd times, you want to make sure you are in a decent spot nearest to the rope as possible. This can mean arriving up to 1 hour before the rope actually drops! The great thing about some of the parks, such as Magic Kingdom, they allow you to enter the park well in advance of this. You can get through bag check, the turnstiles, head up Main Street, get your Starbucks, and THEN find your spot to wait.
Tip 3: Know Where You're Going!
The third tip I have is to make sure you have a plan in place. What ride didn't you get a Fastpass for or do you just have a favorite ride that you need to do to start your day OR are you attempting to get all the attractions done in one day? You really can choose whichever ride/attraction appeals to you and your family. I would recommend not using this time for the rides with short wait times. For example, I wouldn't get to the parks this early to head to the Tea Cups or to Aladdin's Magic Carpets. These are rides that you can easily wait for later in the day OR even better, grab additional fast passes for after you have used your first three. So definitely pick an attraction that your family wants to ride, but know that this strategy yields the best results when aimed at the higher wait time rides.
Tip 4: Know The Route To Get There!
Whatever that first ride you have chosen is, make sure you are at the optimal spot to most efficiently get to attraction's queue. For example, if you couldn't get FP for Seven Drawfs Mine Train, but you just have to ride it, head to the rope that is to the right of the Castle that leads guests between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. From there you will quickly be able to get around the Castle, through the Tea Cups, and land in the queue for Mine Train. (One more quick Mine Train tip here...you may see a HUGE line when this happens. It will look like its going to be an hour wait from rope drop. Most likely this is not the case and that the interior queue areas have just not been fully opened yet. Usually, rope dropping Mine Train means I am on and off within 25 minutes. So don't get thrown off by that line!)
Tip 5: What's Next?
Again, to best utilize Rope Drop, have a set plan of where you want to head next after that first ride. My suggestion is to try and hit all the top priority attractions that are right near you. For example, If you headed first to Thunder Mountain, don't try to go to Space Mountain next! Hit up Splash Mountain or Jungle Cruise, two rides that aren't too far away. You've beat the crowds, don't then waste those precious few hours in the low crowd morning walking around. Have a plan and stick to it. Leave the afternoon for impromptu choices!
Tip 6: Fastpass Times Begin at 10:30-11am
This is one of my biggest tips for hitting a park and getting as much done in a day as you can. If you rope drop a park, you can easily ride 3-4 top attractions before 10:30 am. Between 10:30 and 11am, is when the parks begin to get a little more crowded as more and more guests arrive for the day. This is when I like to schedule my FP. If you have them starting around 11, that means you have gotten in several major rides before then AND you now don't have to wait around in long queues for your next 3 attractions. By the time early afternoon hits and everyone is cranky and hot, you will have gotten in 6 -8 MAJOR attractions. You can relax. You can grab a Mickey Bar, find a shaded spot, and plan the rest of your day! Trust me when I say this is game changing.
Tip 7: Don't Overtire Yourself
My final tip is that unless you are a super early morning family and just love to go hard core ALL THE TIME, don't try to rope drop every day of your trip. While Rope Dropping can mean really optimizing your time in the parks, if overused, it can be exhausting and leading to complete Disney fatigue. No need for that! Disney World is for fun and vacation...don't overwork yourself by trying to use this every day. (This is a tip I would do well to follow myself some trips....)
Well thats it! Those are our top Tips for how to Rope Drop a park at Walt Disney World. I hope you found them helpful and let me know if you tried them out! We'd love to hear from you in the comments. And if you like reading our tips and tricks for Disney World, check out our blog post on our best tips for Relaxing at Disney World here!
We all know Epcot is really at the center of Disney's culinary renaissance, but most of the attention tends to be paid to the signature restaurants in the World Showcase or on the food booths that are out during the varying festivals. But what most people miss is Coral Reef. Coral Reef is a great dining choice and also in Epcot. I, like so many guests, totally pass this place up because it is secluded and doesn't get the attention. But it is actually a great dining choice! Here is a review from our recent experience there.
I always like to start a dining review with a look at the location and decor of a place. To me that can play almost an equally important part in whether you enjoy your dining experience. Coral Reef is located on the backside of the large building that houses The Seas with Nemo & Friends. If you weren't looking for it, you might not ever even notice it. That seclusion leads to both it being a very quiet, peaceful restaurant but also that its off the beaten path. This is likely to be somewhere new for you just as it was for me!
Inside the restaurant is decorated in watery blues and greens. From the tiles to the carpets, every detail is provides for the guest a very tranquil and soothing experience. This is dramatically different than many of the other restaurants on Disney Property. So for this fact alone, I would definitely choose this restaurant as a place to retreat during a hot, long day in the parks. You can seriously recharge here.
However, the main focal point of Coral Reef is the panoramic windows into the The Seas' aquarium. The aquarium is the largest inland saltwater environment ever built and holds enough water to fill 54 Olympic-sized pools. So this thing is massive! It is also filled with over 4,000 sea creatures including fish, turtles, rays, and sharks! Every table in the restaurant is angled to the aquarium and it provides an entertainment while you dine. I found myself mesmerized by the sea creatures and the entire ambiance of the restaurant. Another plus to the aquarium is that the few children that were dining in the restaurant were relatively quiet as they were also entertained by the fish. This just further promotes the tranquility of the dining experience.
Ok, so yes, the ambiance is amazing, but what about the food?? Overall the menu is dedicated to very seasonal dishes with an emphasis on seafood. If a restaurant makes it clear that seafood is what they do, then I try to go with that so I can experience what they think is the best dish. For appetizers, I was truly torn. I wanted to try their Lobster Bisque with Brandy so badly! But as I was running the next morning, I was concerned about the heavy cream. So what did my amazing server do? She brought me a sample! It was the perfect amount to really get that taste but without getting too full on cream. The lobster bisque has been on their menu since they opened and is a perennial favorite. And I can see why! While yes, the cream is heavy, the lobster is very delicate and flavorful. I will be back for more of the bisque!
So onto the entrees! Here I was also torn! I wanted the Lobster Macaroni or the Beef Short Ribs, but the chef's favorite on the menu was the Seared Salmon Filet with Orzo Pasta and a Citrus-Beurre Blanc. I decided to give the Salmon a try. The Salmon itself was actually a tad boring. It didnt have a ton of flavor and it was also a bit on the rare side. Now with salmon that doesn't bother me, but it was not what I was hoping for. However, under the salmon, the Orzo was delicious. It was cheesy and creamy combined with a sweet cabbage slaw. The Beurre Blanc Sauce was good, but I could have used more and all over the fish. So while my choice was not that great, I did see those short ribs over at the next table was instantly jealous. Next time, short ribs...
Another thing Coral Reef is really known for is their dessert, The Chocolate Wave. Also having been served since they opened, this is a big favorite and it was worth that extra full feeling! The base of the wave is a chocolate sorbet that was incredibly warm, gooey, and chocolatey heaven. It was topped with a light raspberry cream. I planned on only eating half...that didn't happen. I ate the whole thing!
Overall, the food at Coral Reef was really quite good. It might not have broken my top 5 places to eat at Disney World, but its a solid choice. Also the ambiance alone makes this a great option on those long hot days. This is a place where you can come, recharge, eat a good meal, and then continue on your day. Disney World needs more of those!
For several years, I have considered the Tutto Italia Wine Cellar to be my secret gem. Great food in a secluded often uncrowded oasis in Epcot. But I had never ventured into the larger, more opulent restaurant, Tutto Italia. Because I am always up for a new dining experience at Disney, I was super excited to give this one a try. Its the food I already know I'll love with a bit more ambiance. But would could it compete for my love for the wine cellar?? Here's the spoiler: YES! This place was great. Highly recommend it for couples on a date night or even with kids in tow.
Tutto Italia is one of two table service restaurants located in the Italy Pavilion in Epcot. It shares a kitchen with the Wine Cellar, but is a more upscale dining environment with more elegant layout and booths. The chandeliers and dark wooded elements coupled with the murals of Italian scenery on the walls adds to the overall feeling that you are getting an upscale Italian meal. While the menu does veer to a bit to the American version of Italian cuisine, there are a lot of choices to choose from and something for everyone.
Normally, I am at Epcot with at least my husband allowing us to try multiple courses and a variety of things on the menu. This trip I was solo to run in the Princess Half Marathon Weekend events, but I still tried to give as much food as I could a try! But let me tell you, the portions at Tutto Italia were huge! First up: gotta have a glass of wine! Being it was Italy I decided to give the Spumanti a try. Spumanti is the Italian Sparkling Red Wine that is sweet and refreshing. I love it, but tend to only order it in true Italian restaurants. I also was served olives and olive oil. That was not enough olive oil for me, but I made do.
Another huge favorite of mine is Calamari Fritti. Well battered calamari is a perfect appetizer. Tutto Italia's was nothing less than great. It was also a huge portion. I ate more than I should and it was still not half gone. I needed some help on that one! The one thing I would say is that the accompanying marinara sauce was a bit heavy on the red pepper flakes making this too spicy for me. I scraped off as many as I could, but I think someone went a bit heavy handed on that. My husband would have liked it...Other appetizer options included Prosciutto, Caesar Salad, Insalata Di Mare, and Minestrone Soup.
The main courses are broken down into Pasta, Fish, and Meat Choices. I had just finished the 10k that morning and I was ready for some carbs. It was hard to make a choice on which pasta dish to choose! Lasagne Al Forno ended up being the winner for me. It is described on the menu as a traditional preparation with Meat Ragu, Bechamel and Parmesan Cheese.
Again, the portion was huge! I barely made it through half, but did manage to get this packed up and finished later that night! While lasagna is a fairly standard Italian dish that can be found almost anywhere, this one was pretty freakin' great.
The meat ragu was well seasoned and cooked perfectly, and the Bechamel cheese was in spot on proportion to the meat and noodles. This was a great lasagna and I would have no problems eating this again!
At this point, however, I was stuffed. I could not eat another bite of food and so I feel like I missed trying some truly excellent desserts. The options were a Tiramisu, a Cannoli (OH MAN I LOVE THESE!), Panna Cotta and a Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake. Next time I will come prepared and will definitely make it to dessert!
Overall, I left Tutto Italia very full and satisfied with the meal. While this may not be a new top favorite, it is a great choice of restaurant in Epcot's World Showcase and I would say that is especially true if you have picky eaters in tow. There is really something for everyone here and you don't have to sacrifice the flavor to make sure everyone is happy. This is an easy recommendation!
So far this year, I have heard so many guests comment on how cold it is! And its true. The past few weeks have dealt Central Florida some truly cold temperatures. And this can easily come as a surprise since most people escape to Florida for the sun and palm trees. So ok, its cold or raining (or both!) what do you do now?
1. Buy the Right Clothes
One of the first things you can do is make sure you have enough layers. One trip we took in February, we were woefully under-packed. And while it was pricey, we hit up the Gift Shops at the Polynesian and the Emporium at Disney Springs for sweatshirts. My youngest has also been known to buy a blanket which doubles as warm gear at the parks and a great souvenir for home. Another option if you have a car or more time on your trip is to check out the local Walmart and Target. They will have much more affordable options and still have a lot of Disney themed gear if that is what you are looking for. I think the main thing here is, if you are going to go to the parks in the rain/cold, get yourself in the right clothes. If you don't, it can be miserable and you will have spent money and time on a trip that is just not going to live up to your expectation. Do yourself the favor and buy the sweatshirt or the hat or whatever it takes!
2. Stick to the Shows at the Parks
If you are braving the elements (and I mean why wouldn't you? How often are you at Disney?), then I would look for some of the great shows that each park offers. At Magic Kingdom I would look for Country Bear Jamboree or the Carousel of Progress are great options. For Epcot several pavilions have wonderful movies such as China and France. Hollywood Studios has the Launch Bay with a Star Wars Movie and Character Meets plus there is also the Frozen Show. Animal Kingdom has the Festival of the Lion King. All of these shows provide both great entertainment but also a significant respite from the cold and rain.
3. Use the Amenities at Adventureland Villa or your Resort
4. Make Table Service Reservations
This tip comes from personal experience and from Disneyland! If its raining (and even more so if its cold) see what table service restaurant reservation you can grab. Most table service restaurants are indoors and take some time to complete the full meal. These can be a great way to dry off and warm up before heading back out. One of my favorite spots for this is Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom. Usually last minute reservations are available and they even serve beer.
Overall, Disney World (and actually any vacation in my opinion) is what you make of it. Ok, so its cold and/or raining. You can either wait it out in your rooms or complain about it, or you can saddle up and figure out how to best manage the day. With some thought, you can still enjoy the day and hey! Its still Disney World! I'd pick a cold and rainy day near that castle over most any day!
Have you ever had trouble getting the ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) you want? Maybe you missed the 180 day window or are planning a last minute trip or maybe you just changed your mind. No matter how you got here, you now find yourself without that ADR for Cinderella's Royal Table or Be Our Guest or 'Ohana. That happens to me all the time! So what do I do? Well, I have a 2-pronged approach. First, pull yourself together and book a close substitute. Second, keep watching the My Disney Experience Website or App for a miracle. They happen! While I cannot help you with the miracle step, I can help with suggesting some substitutes to the most popular ADRs. Since there are so many hard to get ADRs I'm going to break this down into several posts. Today's: What to do when Cinderella's Royal Table is Booked!
No Cinderella's Royal Table?
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
The first great substitute is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Akershus is located inside the Norway Pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase. The breakfast menu is an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet, while the lunch and dinner menus have a Norwegian flare. The kid's menus are standard Disney kid options of pizza, mac & cheese for example. However, if you have any picky eaters in your group, you may want to steer clear and look at 1900 Park Fare (see below). The real draw here as a substitute for Cindy's is the Princesses. While certain characters are not guaranteed, the usual princess are Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, and Ariel. The decor inside Akserhus is also a great substitute as it mimics that of a German Castle (not sure why this is in Norway except for the food). So at Akserhus the food is not as good, BUT the characters and atmosphere are an almost perfect match for The Royal Table.
Bon Voyage Breakfast
So your family may not find the Norwegian cuisine to be enticing, or perhaps even this ADR is booked at well (it is also very popular, or Epcot may not fit into your trip planning, what then?? If any of those are the case, don't fret, there is still another great newer option at the Bon Voyage Breakfast. It is newer and therefore still popular. You may have a more difficult time finding an ADR here than at Akershus, but it is another one to keep in mind when booking those ADRs.
Located on the Boardwalk at Trattoria al Forno, the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast features Rapunzel, Flynn Rider (EUGENE!), Ariel, and Eric. The breakfast runs from 7:30am - 11am and offers a menu of prix fixe options. While the restaurant is definitely Italian in decor, the menu is not. However, it is also not a standard Disney character buffet! The options include several egg dishes, but the most enticing to me is the Royale Breakfast of steak, cheesy-egg torte, roasted potatoes and crispy onions! Oh and did I mention the adorable pasty basket? So at Bon Voyage you get two princesses and their princes with above average food, but definitely miss out on the regal decor and ambience of The Royal Table or Akershus. But you also get to be on the Boardwalk which is one of my favorite areas outside of the parks!
1900 Park Fare
So if somehow none of the above fit your needs or maybe they are ALL booked, there is still a great character option at 1900 Park Fare. Located in the Grand Floridian, it is a short monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom. In my opinion the atmosphere is a less than magical, but the characters can make up for that. At 1900 the characters vary depending on the meal. For breakfast you may meet the characters from Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, and Winnie the Pooh. Dinner is a bit fancier with the characters from Cinderella making an appearance. Both meals are buffet and are nothing amazing. BUT if you care about characters over all else, this is a good option.
Overall, if there is an ADR that you just have to have to make your holiday magical, then certainly plan well ahead! Know which days your want them and be ready at 6am EST on the 180 day mark. If that can't happen, be flexible. There are so many great hidden gems to discover. And lastly, keep checking. Look every single day if its that important. It might just work. How do I know? Because I just cancelled a coveted reservation at 'Ohana because I realized it just didn't work for our day's plan. Someone else probably got to nab that! So stay positive, keep checking for what you want, and book a substitute!
One of the best "secrets" of Disney World is the amazing plethora of unique, fun spots to grab a drink, both in the parks, at the resorts, and in Disney Springs. Most people assume that Disney World, being an amusement park aimed for kids, is only for kids. Boy are they wrong! Disney puts a lot of thought and mixology into their bars and it shows. However, don't let the fact that these are "secret" spots fool you. They can and will have long lines to get in and find a spot to sit.
1. Trader Sam's Grog Grotto
Located inside the Polynesian Resort, Trader Sam's is perhaps my favorite spot in all of Walt Disney World. Why? SO MANY REASONS! First, the theming: It is a Tiki Bar set in the South Seas where depending on the drink ordered at the bar numerous special effects take place. For example, order a Krakatoa Punch and you can watch the skies darken and the volcanoes in the windows erupt. This place is a Tiki-lovers paradise! Second, the drinks are delicious and creative. My personal favorite is the HippopotoMai-Tai which blends run, orange curaçao and lime juice to make the perfect (STRONG) concoction! But my second order is always a Dark and Tropical Stormy. Third, the food is also on point. Their menu focuses on shareable bites such as Hawaiian poke, Chicken lettuce cups, and banh mi sliders. I tend to go for the pan-fried dumplings, but everything there sounds amazing! My one note about Trader Sam's is to get there early! They open at 4pm, but by 3 there will already be a line forming outside. The bar is not very large and seating is limited. My advice is to get there around 3pm, put your name on the list. You will get a pager and then can wander to the outside tiki bar area and enjoy the sunshine and drink until time to open. Also, if you get a choice, sit at the bar!
2. Nomad's Lounge
Found inside the Animal Kingdom near the entrance to Pandora is Nomad's Lounge. Inspired by the Asian and African travels of the Imagineers, Nomad's Lounge is designed to be an oasis in which to relax and enjoy a drink during your travels. The vibe of the lounge is laid back! The chairs are mostly low slung couches with indoor and outdoor seating. It invites you to order a drink and sit for a while.
The cocktail list also reflects the nomadic theme by featuring fusions of exotic liquors and mixers. I went with the Annapurna Zing which mixes Sapphire Gin with passion fruit, lime juice, syrup and ginger beer. This fruity drink is the perfect cocktail is sip away the time with.
The food menu is comprised of small tapas sized portions. While the food is not as exotic and exciting as the cocktail menu, they do appeal to a wider audience including kids if they happen to be with you. The charcuterie board and artisanal cheeses is always a good bet, but the wagyu beef sliders and the beef brisket poutine are the standout dishes!
Another personal favorite bar/lounge for me is the Abracadabar on the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a often missed area of Disney World because it is tucked behind the International Gateway of Epcot and just a walk away from Hollywood Studios. Abracadabar has also a unique, but distinctly cool theme. The alleged backstory is that it was the hangout spot for magicians and other entertainers back in the early decades of the Atlantic Boardwalk. The wallpaper and drapers are heavy and rich giving you a full respite from the hot and sunny Florida sky. The walls are also lined with glass cases holding vintage magician props.
The menu consists of both "curious cocktails" and small plates. While the cocktail menu does feature lots of imaginative and fun looking cocktails, the vintage vibe of the place had me wanting a French 75 (my favorite!). On the food menu, the Thrice Spiced Fries and the Kurobuta Pork Belly are amazing!
While Nomad Lounge definitely was kid friendly, this bar is not. They certainly won't bar kids from entering, but Im not sure they would enjoy the food or the vibe of the bar. So definitely take that into account.
4. Jock Lindsay's Hangar
Jock Lindsay's Hangar at Disney Springs is also an awesome spot to grab drink, bite to eat, and just sit and enjoy the scenery. This is also a huge favorite of locals and cast members, so while kids are very welcome here, it certainly has a most adult, local vibe than say, T-Rex Cafe.
The theming inside the Hangar is Disney's imagining of the back story of Jock Lindsay, Indiana Jones' laid back pilot. Most people don't remember the character at all, but Disney has give Jock a new life, or past...The details are set around a globe-trotting, adventure-seeking pilot's vintage aviation collection. The walls are filled with maps, photos, and memorabilia from Jock's imagined life. There are a number of seating options which I like as you can choose where to sit depending on if you're there for a drink, some food, or just in search of a water view. But did I mention the Diver Bell? You can cozy around a small table inside a large, rustic Diver Bell. Definitely one of the cooler seating areas I've ever seen!
To drink I went for the Bedtime Story, a mix of Mandarin Vodka, Ginger Liqueur, Hibiscus Syrup, Lemon Juice and Ice Tea. It was delicious! And the Hibiscus Flower on top is actually edible. While the flower was not that great tasting, that was a cool touch.
5. La Cava del Tequila
My final favorite (but definitely not my least favorite) is La Cava del Tequila. This is a cult hit among those who have ever ventured down into Epcot's Mexico Pavilion and waited in the 20+ minute line. But what is on the other end of that line? Delicious margaritas and a well of over 100 tequilas! I do like tequila, but an icy margarita to walk around the World Showcase is always a winner. My favorite is the Avocado. While initially I was skeptical, it is creamy and delicious. Really give this a try! Another major favorite is the Blood Orange margarita topped with berry foam. I really cannot recommend this place enough for an amazing drink! Now that Epcot has opened Choza de Margarita, a "margarita shack," outside the line may shrink a bit. Either way, its worth it!!
Epcot is an incredible park. While yes, many aspects of Future World have lost their luster or applicability, the attractions, the food and drinks, and the beauty of the World Showcase still remain top notch. When you walk through the World Showcase you are not just sampling a taste of their cuisine, but for a few minutes you visually enter that country. I know that everyone has their favorite pavilions, whether it be Germany for their beer or France for their macarons, but have you ever stopped to just appreciate how beautiful each pavilion is? Here are my top 5 most beautiful Epcot Pavilions:
The China Pavilion sits between the Norwegian and the German Pavilions and is hard to miss! Themed to resemble an ancient Chinese city, the entrance is marked by a large, ornate ceremonial gate modeled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The intricacy of the cravings, as well as the peaceful beauty of the gardens, make this is a perfect spot to take a breather!
Immediately adjacent to the China Pavilion is Germany. Centered around a statute of St. George slaying a dragon, the pavilion is themed primarily as the fairy tale villages found in the Bavarian region. The pavilion is a popular one for the restaurants and beer, and so it can become crowded during peak dining times.
While this is not my favorite pavilion for dining (I find Restaurant Marrakesh to be seriously lacking in flavor), I do find this pavilion to be enticingly beautiful, especially at night. The fountains combined with terra cotta tiles and intricate mosaic work, make this one of my favorite pavilions to just walk through and enjoy the beauty.
The Italy Pavilion is a must do for any guest! Whether you are grabbing a pizza or just a glass of prosecco, the Italy Pavilion is truly transporting! Designed to replicate St. Mark's Square, the intricate beauty of the pink and white "Doge's Palace" and the "Fontana de Nettuno" make this an area I could just sit and relax all day!
And to round out my top 5 is Canada. For me the beauty of this pavilion really lies in two distinct areas. The first are the beautiful gardens that lead up to the entrance of Le Cellier. The gardens are meant to replicate the Butchart Gardens in Vicotoria. And the second is the majestic Rocky Mountains and waterfalls located in the back of the Pavilion.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think? Are you drawn to one pavilion more than the others? Share your photos!
Maybe its the upcoming holidays, or just that Disney Depression is setting in, but I am seriously missing the mixologists at Disney World. The beverage offerings all throughout Disney World seem to be an ever-expanding foray into unique and delicious. No place is this more evident than at Epcot. A park almost as famous for its alcohol (and its consumption) as its attractions. But unless you are intent on drinking at every pavilion in the World Showcase, you will likely want to selective choose your drinks to optimize both their value but their deliciousness. In that mind, here are our time 5 adult drinks in Epcot!
1. Avocado Margarita from the Mexico Pavillion
2. Schofferhofer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen
3. Prosecco from the Italy Pavillion
4. Frozen Kirin from the Japan Pavilion
5. Grand Marnier Slush from the France Pavillion
If your eyes immediately roll when you hear Spaceship Earth referred to as a Golf Ball, you are not alone! Spaceship Earth, besides being the central focal structure of Epcot, is also a nice fun ride through the past. Yet, so many guests miss this classic attraction. Maybe they are just super pumped for Soarin' or Test Track. Maybe they are heading to the World Showcase or Frozen. Maybe you are one of them? Even if you are one of those that head straight pass "the big golf ball" or just love it like we do, here are a few of our favorite scenes from the ride!
Spaceship Earth (AKA The Big Golf Ball)
The Romans Constructed The First "Super Highway"
"Call It The First Back Up System"
The First Computers Were As Big As A House!
Our Spaceship Earth
Are you a fan of Spaceship Earth? Or haven't tried it yet? It really is a fun slow moving ride through time! And don't forget, if you can read this blog, thank the Phoenicians!
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!