Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

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Spring Has Sprung! Epcot’s annual International Flower and Garden Festival begins TODAY, so I thought I would do a little post about how much I am completely in love with this event!

Last spring if I wasn’t scheduled at work, there was a really good chance that I was at Epcot! Looking back, I can definitely say that Flower and Garden was one of my most favorite events I got to experience during my College Program (the other being Awaken Summer at Animal Kingdom). No matter how many times I visited Epcot during this time (which was a lot since Epcot is the closest park to where I worked at Disney Springs), it never seemed to get old! There was always more to see, more to eat, and more fun to be had!

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“Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today!”

The festival has multiple components, so I was glad I had a lot of time to soak it all in. Between The Festival Center, shopping for super cute merchandise, the Garden Rocks concerts, the amazing flowers and character topiary displays, Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House, and the Outdoor Kitchens; there is just SO MUCH to experience. This year’s festival runs from March 1st through May 29th giving Guests 90 days to enjoy everything the festival has to offer 🙂 In 2017, the festival will also see the addition of several new topiaries as well as two new Outdoor Kitchens!

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If any of you know me at all, you won’t be surprised to hear that the Outdoor Kitchens were my favorite part of the festival, and the main reason I visited Epcot so frequently last spring. In 2016, there were a total of 13 Outdoor Kitchens, and I challenged myself to eat at least one thing from each of them. I am proud to say that I succeeded in accomplishing that goal 🙂  I also had a lot of fun keeping track of everything I tried with a Flower and Garden Festival Passport. 

Below are some of my favorite dishes I sampled during the festival! (5th place is tied; I couldn’t make up my mind)

Top 5:

  1. Macaron Chocolat Framboise (Fleur de Lys)
  2. Beef Teriyaki Udon (Hanami)
  3. Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade (Pineapple Promenade)
  4. Watermelon Cucumber Slush (Florida Fresh)
  5. Pulled Pig Slider (The Smokehouse) & Jamaican-braised Beef (La Isla Fresca)

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If any of you are planning to visit Epcot during Flower and Garden, I hope you love it as much as I do! ❤

See ya real soon,

Ryan

 

PROTIP: It is worth noting that Eggstravaganza also occurs during this time (as supplies last), so you can have a little Easter fun in addition to Flower and Garden. Trust me when I say, this egg hunt is not just for kids!

PROTIP: I would suggest trying to avoid visiting the festival on the weekends as many local Annual Passholders tend to attend Fridays-Sundays which can make the park quite crowded.

 

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2016 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Recap

HAPPY HALLOWEEN Y’ALL!! (I had fully intended for this to be up by Halloween, oops…)

In September, I attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom for the very first time so I though I would share about how the night went!

When attending a Halloween party you of course have to dress up, and this was no exception! I REALLY wanted to go as Boo from Monsters, Inc. and after some convincing, Caitlyn and Devan agreed to go as Mike and Sully. I love any excuse to craft, so after multiple trips to Michaels/Walmart and sufficiently covering Devan’s living room in glitter, our costumes were complete! The costumes turned out super cute and I’m really glad we decided to do a group costume. We received tons of compliments on them (even though half of those people thought I was Randall) and Disney Style even asked to include our costumes in one of their articles which is super cool!img_6738We arrived at Magic Kingdom around 4:30, got our party wristbands and treat bags, then immediately headed off to take pictures of our costumes while we still had the sun and before it started raining.

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PROTIP: Listen to our protips

Three weeks ago my friend Kristen came to visit and we had the absolute best time together! We spent one day at Universal Studios and three days at Walt Disney World. Despite higher crowds than predicted (thanks a lot Playlist Live and Cheerleading Worlds), we still got to do pretty much everything we had wanted to do! Kristen and I thought it would be funny to do a post about all of our PROTIPS, so listen up friends! (UPDATED: 10/21/16) Kristen helped me come up with this list and if you ever want to check out her blog you can do so here.

PROTIP: Bring a poncho if there is rain in the forecast! It is also handy for keeping your bags dry on water rides.

PROTIP: If it does rain, the majority of people will most likely end up leaving the park and this can be a great time to take some awesome pictures and encounter shorter wait times for attractions.

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NO LINE for Escape from Gringotts

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PROTIP: When utilizing the free lockers at Universal Studios, try your best to get one at the end of a row. The locker area can get super crowded and it’s a waste of time to have to push through a mob of people to get to your locker and then back out again.

PROTIP: Bring an extra pair of clothes if you plan on riding any of the water rides at Universal Studios. If you don’t have Chacos, bring a pair of flip flops to change into for these attractions! Shoes are required on all rides and you don’t want your tennies to get soaked. Also, at any merchandise location you can ask for a plastic bag to put your wet things in afterwards.

PROTIP: Make sure to delete as many pictures off of your camera and phone as possible before your trip so you can take a ton of pictures. We took almost 600 photos!!

PROTIP: Get comfortable with asking PhotoPass photographers and random strangers to take your photos!! Yes it’s awkward and uncomfortable, but you’ll be thankful in the long run.

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Sanaa-Lunch Review

I thought I would start a bit of a “series” on some of my favorite restaurants I’ve gotten to try since I’ve been here in at Walt Disney World. First up, Sanaa!

Sanaa is located on the bottom floor of Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The restaurant looks out onto the Sunset Savannah and it was SO cool to eat lunch while there were giraffes and zebras literally right outside the window! I had heard really great things about this restaurant on the internet and as Cast Members we get a good discount at this dining location, so I was very eager to try it out. Sanaa apparently means “Work of Art” in Swahili and there is certainly nothing boring or bland about their Eastern African and Indian cuisine!IMG_5531IMG_5525I was most excited to try the Indian-style Bread Service. We opted to get all five breads and all nine sauces to share! The breads included Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kucha and Paneer Paratha accompanied by Cucumber Raita, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, and Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle.

We ended up loving every bit of it! Honestly, the five breads didn’t taste all that different from each other to me, but each of the sauces were distinct and delicious my favorites being the spicier ones.IMG_5523For my entree, I ordered the Pojite Inspired Butter Chicken and Braised Beef with the Five-Grain Rice Pilaf. The meat was super tender and flavorful and I loved every bite! Caitlyn ordered the same thing as me while Parker ordered the Tandoori Chicken, Rachel opted for the fish, and Amber got the Grilled Beef Sirloin Steak. Some of the girls also shared a Kenyan Press Pot Coffee which they were extremely impressed by and compare all other coffee to till this day.
IMG_5526IMG_5528.JPGIMG_5530I hope to go back to Sanaa at some point because all of the desserts looked amazing and we unfortunately were too full to order any after having both the bread service and entrees. Overall, we all enjoyed our meal and I can’t wait to return to one of the most unique and delicious restaurants on Disney property!

Kwaheri

Ryan

Easter!

Since Easter was this past weekend, I thought I’d share a little bit of all the Easter fun that’s been going on here at Walt Disney World.

First up, Epcot’s Eggstravaganza! Trust me when I say this egg hunt is not just for kids! I barely finished it in two hours, and some of the eggs were so difficult to find that I started following other people around in hopes that they would find it…. For a small fee, you get the map and the sticker sheet with all the egg stickers on it. You have to find the egg in each country and put the correct, corresponding sticker on that country on the map. Can you spot all the eggs in my pictures?IMG_5575

When you finish (and even if you don’t), you can redeem your map for a prize. The prize is your choice of Easter egg that looks like a Disney character. There were a couple of options, but I chose Woody!IMAG0499-001 Continue reading

Back to the Beginning

Long time no blog, friends. It’s crazy to think that I have been here over a month already! I’ve been having a great time and I will tell you all about it, but first we need to go back to the very beginning.

Tuesday, February 9th was the day I had been anxiously waiting for! That morning I packed everything back into my car, left the hotel, and drove to Check-In! Once I arrived, I met up with some girls I had met on Facebook that I was hoping to room with. We checked in and found out that we weren’t going to be all together or even in the same apartment complex, but three of us were placed together in Chatham Square and the other three were placed together in Patterson Court. We were a little bummed that we weren’t going to be closer together, but we’ve all been hanging out a ton anyway so it’s fine.

12705432_10209048471075379_6591822078247070578_n - CopyEmily, Caitlyn, and I were put in a one bedroom apartment (yes, we have a bunk-bed) that is actually plenty roomy for three people. Our carpet is SUPER ugly and our floor-plan is a little funky (you have to go through the bathroom to get to the closet), but it’s starting to feel like home.

At check-in we got our apartment keys, our ID card for our housing complex, and we also found out where we would be working! I am working Merchandise and was placed at Once Upon A Toy in Disney Springs. Emily and Caitlyn are also working Merchandise and one is at Magic Kingdom and the other is at the Boardwalk.

My parents came and helped me move my stuff into my apartment before they had to go to the airport to fly home 😦 Later that day around 1:00 pm, I got on the bus to go to my appointment at Casting!

At Casting we just did some new-hire paperwork, got fingerprinted for our background checks, and got our schedules for training that would start the next week. In true Disney fashion, the building was decorated with some of its beloved characters.

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Breakfast on the Boardwalk

So in my last post I said that these posts would be extremely “picture heavy” and then I only put one picture…. This post will contain tons of pictures of one of the prettiest places on Disney property: The Boardwalk!

Last Sunday was my first day on Disney property in 8 years!!! It was so great to finally be back!! My parents and I made reservations Saturday night to go eat breakfast at Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club. The restaurant offered a breakfast buffet, but we just decided to order off the a la carte menu.IMG_0181

After we finished eating, we walked all around the Boardwalk. The clouds had gone away by this point and the sun had come out, so we got to enjoy the blue sky! Like I said earlier, the Boardwalk is one of the prettiest places at Disney in my opinion. It’s crazy to me that a lot of people don’t even know it exists or where it is! The Boardwalk resorts are considered “Epcot Area Resorts” and are located in between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Guests can enter Epcot through the International Gateway which will put them directly into World Showcase (in between France and the UK), or take a boat over to Hollywood Studios. Continue reading