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There are so many exciting changes coming to Epcot, and if you missed out on D23 Expo, there’s another, new chance to check out what was showcased at the convention - The Epcot Experience! This exhibit gives us a close up look at what’s coming to Epcot in the near future, including a 360 degree view. Let’s check it out!
Where is it?
The Epcot Experience is where the old Odyssey restaurant used to be (and the structure is still the same) - if that’s not ringing a bell, it’s because it hasn’t been used much over the last few years, most recently housing some Flower and Garden Festival merchandise earlier this year. The building has some new signage and a fresh coat of paint, and is located on your way to the World Showcase from either the main bridge or the area by Test Track -- it’s where the bathrooms and first aid are located on the water near the Mexico Pavilion.
There are a few little pieces on display, including Remy in a jar and Chef Gusteau’s book in one, and some Mary Poppins memorabilia in another. The main focus, though, is the 360 degree experience and the photo ops located throughout the building. There’s also a spot to grab a snack and a drink with some tables and chairs near the posters of all the old and new attractions coming to Epcot (if you saw the posters at D23 Expo, it’s those!). You can also buy some Epcot merchandise featuring the new logo! You can also see a huge mural of the concept of how the park will look once completed, especially the front by Spaceship Earth.
What’s the 360 experience?
There’s a film that’s from floor to ceiling, featuring projection mapping on a model of Epcot’s layout, that showcases what’s coming. Whereas D23 focused more on concept art, we have more actual footage this time. The whole cycle is only 12 minutes long and you can expect to see a teaser for the upcoming Moana attraction, the upcoming Mary Poppins attraction in the UK Pavilion, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Spaceship Earth, the new fireworks show HarmonioUS (coming 2020), the play pavilion, the Guardians of the Galaxy ride (called Cosmic Rewind), and more!
What photo ops are available?
We found Photopass photographers ready at four different photo ops that put you inside a difference aspect of Epcot; there were two on each side of the experience. One side features you in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and also floating away on some balloons, and the other side puts you in the heart of Food and Wine Festival (featuring Remy and Emile!) and standing on Spaceship Earth looking to the stars.
All in all, this is a great way to see what’s coming to Epcot in its multi-year expansion that won’t take a ton of time out of your trip. What are you most looking forward to? There are so many things coming over the next few years, and I’m excited to see what the future holds!
My favorite Epcot festival is upon us: International Flower and Garden Festival!
Flower and Garden didn’t always have a ton of food stands but now, it’s similar to Food & Wine Festival but with different theming and the beloved topiaries.
If you want to enjoy sampling different food items but also don’t want to feel the guilt, here are some of the better-for-you options at every stand at Flower and Garden (as of 2018), running February 28-May 28!
While some of these options may be best described as the lesser of evils, it’s worth noting that these food items are more meant for sampling, which is awesome for people who don’t eat a lot of junk food because if you really do want to try something, you’ll get a small portion versus some large, super high calorie meal.
The Berry Basket: Field greens with fresh strawberries, crisp quinoa, strawberry vinaigrette and spiced pecans
Northern Bloom: Either the seared scallops with French green beans, butter potatoes, brown butter vinaigrette and apple-wood smoked bacon or the beef tenderloin tips, mushroom bordelaise sauce, whipped potatoes with garden vegetables; depends on how you’d rather spend your calories/points/etc (butter and bacon vs sauce)
La Isla Fresca: Caribbean conch salad with mango, papaya, and pickled red onions or Jamaican-braised beef with pigeon pea rice and micro cilantro
Cider House: Pear cider-brined shredded corned beef with braised cabbage and Branston dressing with pears
The Honey Bee-stro: Roasted cauliflower with buckwheat honey carrot purée, wild rice pilaf, asparagus, honey blistered grapes and sunflower brittle
Pineapple Promenade: Dole Whip! Listed as pineapple soft serve on the menu
Jardin de Fiestas: Pork taco
Lotus House: Vegetable spring rolls
Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market: Potato pancakes with house-made apple sauce
Primavera Kitchen: Frittata di Asparagi (asparagus frittata, mixed greens and citrus dressing)
The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews: Pulled pig slider with coleslaw (everything at this booth seems pretty high fat, if we’re being honest)
Hanami: Teriyaki salmon with Furikake seasoned brown rice; the frushi also gets an honorable mention if you want something sweet!
Taste of Marrakesh: Harissa chicken kebab with dried fruit couscous salad
Florida Fresh: Spicy blackened shrimp and stone-ground cheddar cheese grits with brown gravy and local sweet corn relish
Fleur de Lys: Provencal tomato tart with sautéed onions, fresh thyme and rosemary on a flaky pastry crust
Some of these are really anybody's guess, but based on your menu options, these seem like the best choices - and at some stands, it'll be more obvious than others. Enjoy the topiaries and have fun!
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) doesn't have to be scary for you if you're trying to avoid candy and sweets!
The event offers not only trick-or-treating, but also exclusive treats such as alcoholic beverages and baked goods that are Halloween themed and can be very tempting... but have no fear! There are plenty of things to do where you don't even have to worry about candy and Halloween themed snacks for sale around the Magic Kingdom for the event.
Just have fun!
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is my favorite event at the Magic Kingdom and in the past, I've gotten so busy that I forgot they even have trick-or-treating! There are so many great character photo opportunities, amazing shows, and the fireworks are my favorite.
There's also a dance party every year - usually with Monsters, Inc. characters - so you can even burn some calories enjoying that!
If you really want a piece of candy...
In my experience, WDW doesn't give out full-sized candy bars for trick or treating, but the mini or fun sized ones, which means it's something you can look up in the tracker ahead of time and pre-plan for if you want to! If you really don't want to miss out, just get a single piece and give the rest of your candy to some kid and make their night!
Have yourselves a merry little Christmas...
Similarly to MNSSHP, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) is a seasonal, additional ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom that can strike fear in the hearts of Weight Watchers members because of all of the holiday goodies it has to offer!
Here are my tips for surviving the event.
Avoid the free cookies. They aren't worth it!
You can get free cookies and hot chocolate at certain stations at the Magic Kingdom if you seek it out. I had the cookie in 2015 when I went before I was on Weight Watchers and honestly, the cookie tasted gross. It tasted really cheap, not like something you'd expect from Disney World, so don't waste your Weight Watchers points or your macros on it just because it's free. The hot cocoa also isn't the greatest because they're churning out so much for no additional cost to guests so the quality isn't going to be super high. Don't waste your time on these!
Busy yourself with activities!
There are plenty of things to do during MVMCP that unwanted food distractions and temptations are easy to avoid. To focus solely on going for Christmas treats would be a shame because the Magic Kingdom during the winter holiday season is, in my opinion, when it is most beautiful. Between the decorations, fireworks, the parade, the special shows, the rare character meet and greets, and the rides still being open, there is far too much to worry about besides a cupcake with frosting that looks like a Christmas tree or a gingerbread cookie. Don't cheat yourself of a great time and skip the guilt in the process!
I personally would recommend finding spots for parades and shows fairly early, and getting in line for the more in-demand characters (like the Seven Dwarves, Jack Skellington, Santa, or some of the princes with the princesses) even earlier. As far as characters go, if you're interested in meeting Jack and/or the Dwarves, they always have the longest lines so it's recommended you get there before the 7 p.m. party start time so you don't waste party time on them. I'd also recommend trying to catch the later parade/show showings since it's usually got a lighter crowd.
Jessica is a huge Disney and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.