Springtime at Disney

Exploring the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing some of the magic you can expect at the 2017 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival.


Flower & Garden

Lightning McQueen stands watch over the Flower & Garden Festival (2011)

Over at Epcot at Walt Disney World, each year the creative geniuses turn out two major events that are a highlight for those that attend.  In the Fall is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and in the Spring is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.  Today marks the start of the 2017 edition of the Flower & Garden Festival, and the festival runs until May 29th.  If you are lucky or fortunate enough to be able to visit and enjoy the festival, that’s great, but the good thing is that many of the topiaries will be around Epcot even after the festival has concluded.  The picture at the top of this post was taken in June 2011, some weeks after that festival ended.

I’ve not actually been to Epcot during a Flower & Garden festival before, it’s one of those things that I’m looking forward to enjoying one year, but so far we haven’t been able to do so because of school schedules.  So at this point I’ve got pictures that were shared with me from my friend Alicia, and my imagination will take me the rest of the way.

I really love the topiaries, and look forward to seeing them one year.  What I’m most looking forward too, though, is being able to take my wife Cindy to Epcot on her birthday and experiencing it first hand.  Tomorrow is her birthday, so we would be right in line with seeing the start of the festival.  Here’s how I picture it in my mind’s eye.

It’s an absolutely incredible spring-like day.  The sky is a brilliant blue, with a few wispy clouds  dotting the landscape.  Cindy and I are staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, a resort that we’ve visited before but have never stayed at.  For Epcot, it’s a great resort because you can just walk to the park, enter through the International Gateway, and take in the festival. In fact, on this day, that’s just what we did.  We visited all of the pavilions that we enjoy, Canada, China, the American Adventure, Norway, Italy, Germany, France, Mexico.  In fact, we visited them all because today was a special day, a day when it was just Cindy and I, walking hand-in-hand, enjoying being at Walt Disney World, and sharing our love for each other with those we encounter.

Everyone has a smile on their face, because when you are at Disney, that’s what you do most of all — you smile.  You take everything in, and you don’t worry about anything because at Walt Disney World, everyone turns into a version of their childhood once again.  After we walk around the festival, we ride some of our favorite rides: Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, and we remember fondly those attractions that aren’t around anymore, like Maelstrom.

The reality for me is this. Visiting Walt Disney World and Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival would be great because it would mean that I am able to visit Disney with my wife once again, something we haven’t been able to do for a while now.  It would mean that things are much better than they were, and when we go to Walt Disney World next, it will truly feel like this is the first time we have been.  What are your thoughts about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? Please share them with us, and make sure you check out the rest of the posts from this loop.  Thanks for stopping by!

For more of what you can expect at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | 2017 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Loop:

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Eight Weeks

45 Years of Magic Kingdom = $45 Disney Gift Cards!

45 Years

45 Years of the Magic Kingdom is turning into a unique opportunity for you!  This month only, October 1-31, 2016, I’ve got a special offer just for you!

Normally when I book a vacation package for one of my awesome clients, if they are traveling with their kids, I’ll include a small Disney Gift Card to help them celebrate, as my way of thanking them for choosing me to help them with their trip!  But for the month of October, in celebration and honor of the 45th Birthday of the Magic Kingdom, I am offering a $45 Disney Gift Card for any of my clients that books a trip with me and pays their deposit during the month of October.  A few stipulations:

  1. This offer is for new bookings only, existing bookings are not eligible.
  2. This offer is for Walt Disney World vacation packages.  A package consists of lodging at the Walt Disney World Resort and tickets.  The Disney Dining Plan is optional.
  3. The amount of the new package must be $3,000 or greater. Your gift card will be included in your travel documents that you will receive from Pixie Vacations prior to your check-in.
  4. The travel must be for 2016 or 2017 Walt Disney World trips.

If you are interested in getting a quote for your next Walt Disney World vacation, reach out to me!  There are many ways to do so:

  1. You can submit a vacation quote request online.
  2. You can email me at Mike@PixieVacations.com.
  3. You can call or text me at 919-606-6725.
  4. You can send me a message on my Facebook Page.
  5. You can send me a tweet on Twitter.

My family was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom, and while we aren’t able to be there for the 45th birthday, we want you to be able to celebrate for us! That’s why we are offering up our 45 Years of the Magic Kingdom special offer! This won’t last long, though, so make your plans now to take advantage of this offer!  Once November is here, this offer is gone!

Coming Thursday: Our Next #BlogorailChat

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Coming this Thurday, September 22, 2016, from 9PM – 10PM Eastern Time, our next #BlogorailChat being run on Twitter!  This month, we are chatting about Fall at the #Disney Parks — whether it be #Disneyland, #WaltDisneyWorld, or even one of the other great parks!  Come join in the fun!

This month, we’ve even got a great giveaway, a unique gift that only the Blogorail can provide!  What it is for now is a surprise, but we think you’ll like it!

So remember, Thursday, September 22, 2016, starting at 9PM Eastern Time, login to your Twitter account and search for the hashtag #BlogorailChat.  We’ll be talking about Disney in the Fall!  We look forward to chatting with all of you!

Six Years of My Dreams of Disney

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Today, my friends, marks the 6th anniversary of the date I started My Dreams of Disney.  Throughout the past six years, the site has seen some changes, and of late, posting has been less frequent than it was in the past.  However, devoting six years to any blog is, in my eyes, a big deal, and today, I want to spend the anniversary taking some time out to thank those that have been along for the ride and helped me along the way.

1) My Family

This blog would not have been possible at all without the support of my family.  You may remember that My Dreams of Disney started as a way for me to document the memories I had of trips to Disney, but when it took a life of it’s own, my wife Cindy and daughter Sophie were there for the ride with me.  In fact, Sophie is even one of the author’s on her spare time, and Cindy, well, Cindy is part-time cheerleader, part-time proofreader, part-time content generator, and full-time love of my life!  Add to that mix Stephanie and Shane and some of the content they have provided, and it becomes obvious that My Dreams of Disney is a family-run site!

2) The Blogorail

Outside of my family, one of the groups that I am most involved with is the Blogorail.  That group of bloggers from around the world is more than just a group I hang out with; they are an extended family.  Friends such as Heidi, Mary, Melissa, Rosanne, Becca, Lee, and countless others help me laugh, comfort me when I’m down, and support me in crazy hair-brained schemes day in and day out.  They are special to me, and if you haven’t seen their sites, go check them out and find out for yourself how special they really are.

3) Pixie Vacations

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In February 2013, Lisa and Steve Griswold, the owners of Pixie Vacations, hired me to be one of their part-time travel agents.  On that day, my love of all things Disney came full circle as I began helping families all around the country plan trips to their favorite place, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and even the occasional Disney Cruise. Being a travel agent isn’t all roses all the time, but hearing about the memories that my clients have made on trips that I’ve helped them plan has more than made up for it, and I thank all of my Pixie Family, but especially Lisa and Steve, for giving me the opportunity to join their family.

4) Walt Disney

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again; without the influence that Walt Disney brought to this world, this site — none of the countless Disney fan sites, in fact — would not exist, and as a result, it is to him that each and every one of us owes a debt of gratitude to.  I think perhaps two of my all time favorite posts are the one that finished our series “100 Days to Disneyland”, titled “It’s all about Walt” and my special post that my friend Didi allowed me to contribute for her 60 Days to 60 Years series titled “Happy Birthday Disneyland!” In each of these posts, they express what this site is all about in my eyes, at least — sharing our love of Disney and saying thanks to the man that started it all.  One of Walt Disney’s famous quotes is that it all started with a mouse, but in reality, that’s not true — the reality is that it all started with Walt Disney.

5) Chip and Company

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I would be remiss at this point if I did not take time to thank my friend Chip from Chip and Company for the help that he provided to me early on in my days as a blogger.  He was always a good friend to me, and while we don’t speak as much as we used to, I still consider him a friend, and hope he feels the same.  Life tends to get in the way sometimes, and that is the case here, but at the end of the day, I know that if I have any questions I can call on Chip for assistance, and he can do the same.  So, to Chip and all of the team at Chip and Company, I say thank you for the help over the years.

6) You, Our Friends

Lastly, my friends, but certainly not least by any stretch, I would like to take time to thank you for supporting us throughout the years.  It has been a great ride these six years, and while the blog was started as a way to document our memories of trips to Walt Disney World, it became something more because of the passion and excitement that you all contributed in your many comments, well wishes, questions, and even guest posts, and the blog became as much your site as it is ours.  I always said that My Dreams of Disney existed to help you make My Dreams of Disney into Your Dreams of Disney, and it has done just that!  So, my friends, thank you for joining us these past six years, and here’s to at least six more years of fun covering all things Disney and beyond!

 

 

 

Disney Cruise Line Decorative Pillow

If you’ve read our trip report about our first Disney cruise, then you know that the best part of it was getting the decorative pillow shown in this post. Click the link to read about our horror story… if you dare! Don’t worry, there are lots of good experiences too.

But we have truly enjoyed seeing this pillow on our bed each day:

Corduroy with Gold Braiding

Corduroy isn’t used much these days due to its association with that ugly decade called the 1970’s. For those unfamiliar with, or trying to forget, this fabric: Corduroy is a textile composed of twisted fibers that, when woven, lie parallel (similar to twill) to one another to form the cloth’s distinct pattern, a “cord.” Modern corduroy is most commonly composed of tufted cords, sometimes exhibiting a channel (bare to the base fabric) between the tufts. Corduroy is, in essence, a ridged form of velvet.

The detail, specifically the characters, doesn’t stand out too much at first. It takes a little closer examination to appreciate the work that went into the design. Let’s take just such a closer look:

Mickey in the spotlight

There isn’t too much detail in each character rendering due to the limitations of the thread, but would it have been more appropriate to have Mickey in his Captain uniform?

Next we see three characters each to the left and the right of Mickey. These are mirror images of each other with the exception of the first two characters, each directly next to Mickey. Here they are together:

 

Daisy to the left, Goofy (?) bodyboarding to the right

Daisy could be in Victorian beach wear with her parasol (literally: For the Sun). And the next character might look like Pluto at first, but it seems to be Goofy bodyboarding. And that is defined as: Bodyboarding is a water sport in which the surfer rides a bodyboard on the crest, face, and curl of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore. Bodyboarding is also referred to as Boogieboarding due to the invention of the “Boogie Board” by Tom Morey. The average bodyboard consists of a short, rectangular piece of hydrodynamic foam. Bodyboarders typically use swim fins for additional propulsion and control while riding a breaking wave.

Again, for some reason, these two characters are not mirrored. But the next two are:

 

Pluto romping in the waves

 

Mickey Mouse on a Jet Ski

I would have thought that this would have been Donald Duck, as he is one of the Fab Five and a main character used by the Disney Cruise Line. But from the ears in silouhette it certainly more closely resembles Mickey. I guess Donald wasn’t up for a day at the sea!

Oh, and if you’d like a little information about what Mickey is riding: Jet Ski is the brand name of a personal watercraft manufactured by Kawasaki. It was the “first commercially successful” personal watercraft in America, having been released in 1972 (after reaching a license agreement with the inventor of the Jet Ski, Clayton Jacobson II when his license agreement with Bombardier expired). The term is sometimes used to refer to any type of personal watercraft.

So we have a pillow with a mystery. Why are some of the characters mirrored and others not? And why is Minnie Mouse missing along with Donald Duck? We may never know.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with the inspirational saying found on the back of the pillow: