Wednesday, April 28, 2021

What We Ate At EPCOT's Festival of the Arts

One of my favorite parts of our Walt Disney World trip this year was our experience at Festival of the Arts! Our plan for the day was to spend the afternoon wandering World Showcase, taking our time, and snacking our way around for lunch and dinner. 

The crowds weren't super heavy either, so we never waited in any long lines and it was SO nice!

First stop was at POP Eats for the Tomato Soup with French Onion and Bacon Grilled Cheese

At the end of it all, this turned out to be our favorite dish of the entire festival!

We also tried the Pop't Art at POP Eats. It was a sugar cookie with strawberry filling and just tasted "ok" to me. 

In Mexico, Jason wanted to try the Chile Relleno and I wanted to try the Taco de Chocolate, so we each shared one. 

The chile relleno was a poblano pepper filled with steak, black beans, and tomatoes with a poblano cream sauce drizzled on top. The taco de chocolate was just that - a chocolate mousse filled taco.

Both dishes were very good!

While meandering our way to the Refreshments Outpost, we spotted something that sounded heavenly - a Warm Brown Sugar-Stuffed Pretzel with Banana Soft Serve ice cream on top!

This was good (and big) and filling and ended my dessert taste testing. Out of the three we tried, this was my favorite dessert!

Our next stop was in America, where we ordered the Beef Wellington. Jason says this was his favorite dish, hands down!

We decided to skip the sushi donut in Japan for the Mediterranean Flatbread in Morocco and I'm so glad we did. This dish was SO VERY good and definitely topped my favorites list!

Near Morocco was the Vibrante & Vivido Food Studio booth where the Blue Corn Pupusa was located. I'd heard such great things about this dish, I knew I had to try it. After reading the description, I still had no idea what I was getting myself in to, but I went for it and it was very good! (Blue corn pupusa stuffed with cheese ((they had me at cheese)) and topped with shredded pork, guajillo and arbor chile sauce, cabbage slaw, and aji amarillo crema.) 

Our final stop on our grand tour around World Showcase for Festival of the Arts was in France for the Creme de Brie en Petit Pain. It was a delicious warm bread bowl filled with cheese and YUM! Another one that topped the favorites list!

That ended our day at EPCOT and our time tasting our way around the world. EPCOT festivals are one of my favorite things to experience because they give you a chance to try new dishes or tastes you wouldn't otherwise order/try for yourself (hello, blue corn pupusa)! We had so much fun with our friends and can't wait to visit the Food and Wine Festival later this summer! 

Have a fabulous day! (Hope I didn't make you too hungry!) :)

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Disney 2021: EPCOT

The timing of the EPCOT day on our most recent February trip worked out perfectly for me, because it gave me plenty of time to run the virtual Princess 5K, then get ready for the parks. With EPCOT opening later in the morning, I wasn't rushed at all. Have I mentioned I kinda loved these "revised" park hours? Cause I kinda did....

So with that, I was able to sleep in a little bit (as opposed to a normal runDisney race weekend), shower, get dressed, meet up with our friends, and still get to EPCOT before the park opened! 

And of course, we ordered Joffrey's on the way there! :)

Although it wasn't quite time for the Flower and Garden Festival just yet, there were several topiaries out and about for the occasion!

Our plan for the day was to spend a few hours in Future World, then the remainder of the afternoon/evening/night time in World Showcase, eating around Festival of the Arts.

This plan should have worked out perfectly but I didn't do my research well enough prior to park arrival. 

Apparently Test Track is the current "hot commodity" ride in EPCOT and since I didn't realize that, we rode Frozen first with little to no wait...and then we literally waited a little over an hour to ride Test Track. Whomp whomp!

While waiting in line for Test Track, I spotted the all-new "candy cane" wall and had to jump over for a picture. 

This wall is in the funniest spot! It's literally between the entrances to the men's and women's restrooms! Oh well, it serves as a cute photo op so it works! :)

I had to laugh at this beautiful portrait, too...Brayden peeping through the table and my husband trying to eat the sunflowers. We make quite the interesting family! 

We really did enjoy all of the beautiful photo opportunities throughout EPCOT! 

I took this photo just minutes before the bottom fell out of the sky. Since we needed shelter from the rain, we decided to hop inside the Land pavilion and ride Soarin!

The line wasn't terrible - I feel like we waited about 40 minutes or so.

Like a typical Florida rainstorm, the rain was done by the time we were off Soarin.

By this point, everyone was hungry and we decided to begin our tour of eating around World Showcase. I'll share an update of all of the delicious food we tried in the next blog post so this one isn't terribly long.

Another "traditional" photo stop for me is in the Germany pavilion. I talk about this every year at Christmas, but this is where NSYNC sat for an interview in their "Holidays in Concert" Disney Channel know, way back in the day. Well, I've been taking a photo here in this spot on every single Disney trip since! :)

Brayden's shirt was fitting for our afternoon of eating around the world!

We also made sure to take part in the Disney Vacation Club scavenger hunt game. It was fun learning new facts about EPCOT that we otherwise wouldn't have known. 

Along the way, I spotted Laura and Jennalyn and we stopped to talk for a few. It was so nice to catch up with them!

To top off our evening, we wandered back over to Future World and a ride on the Seas with Nemo and Friends as well as Spaceship Earth.

I thought it was hilarious what the ride did to our photos with our masks!

No ride on Spaceship Earth is complete with a photo at the Bubblegum wall! :)

We had a really nice day at EPCOT and this actually turned out to be one of my favorite days of our trip. It was nice to relax, walk around, take our time, eat a lot, and just simply enjoy vacation!

Up next: Indulging at Festival of the Arts :) 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

2021 Virtual Princess 5K (at Pop Century!)

With our Disney trip still in the works despite the virtual switch of the Princess Half Marathon weekend,  I knew I still wanted to save some of the races for our time on actual Disney property. Although I'd only initially registered for the Fairy Tale Challenge alone, I added on the 5K after the virtual switch. I'll admit, it was the theme that got me. Prior to this, I didn't own any Little Mermaid runDisney anything!

The night before my run, I took a look at the running route around Pop Century which mostly included the path around Hourglass Lake (roughly 1.3 miles). 

Off we go!

Character "stops" anyone? Well, I found a few! It never dawned on me that I could have taken some of these photos in the Little Mermaid section at Art of Animation. (face palm)

The Skyliner began operating during my run and it was so beautiful and peaceful in the morning! 

Mile 2...almost done!

...and with that, my Disney Princess 5K was done! I'll admit, it was nice not having to wake up at 2:30 a.m., take a bus and sit in a random parking lot for an hour waiting on a race to begin. With that being said though, I really really miss runDisney!!

Throughout this run, I encountered so many runners who were out there doing the same as me...running bibs, costumes, sparkle skirts, and all! Everyone was so encouraging and friendly, and there was even a group out there handing out bananas to runners! Even though it wasn't a "true" runDisney event, these little elements sure made it feel like "home" and it made for an amazing and memorable experience. 

Up next: Our day at EPCOT! 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Disney 2021: A Day At Hollywood Studios

On our first full park day with friends, we planned to visit Hollywood Studios and hopefully obtain a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. We also had another Hollywood Studios day planned later in the week, just in case a Rise boarding group didn't work out that day. 

So, around 6:50 a.m. my little group met up in the courtyard outside of our rooms (near the Lady statue) to try our hand.

Sadly, the odds were NOT in our favor for the 7 a.m. boarding group round. It was ok though, because we could try again at 1 p.m. from inside Hollywood Studios and we were ok with that!

Since we were up and ready to go, we decided to join the Skyliner line and hit up Hollywood Studios early. We'd heard that they were letting people inside of the park before official park opening time and we wanted to experience that if so.

The Skyliner line was quite the orchestration at the Caribbean Beach hub, but those cast members knew exactly what they were doing and it all flowed very very well! (However, it looked like a hot mess to the outsider!) 

We had time to stop at Joffrey's for coffee, so we ordered toffee flights! With an incredibly short wait time at the hub, we were off to Hollywood Studios! (I'm pretty sure it was right at 7:45 a.m. when they started running - and HS wasn't set to open until 9 a.m.!)

After arriving at Hollywood Studios, we joined the line for temperature and security screening and by 8:25 a.m., we were inside of the park. It was SO strange seeing it so empty but also incredibly cool to be among the first to enter the park that day!

A new to all of us ride was Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, so we all headed straight there and it was a walk on! 

Runaway Railway is seriously the CUTEST ride EVER! We all loved it! Sadly, we only had the opportunity to ride it one time this trip but will definitely remedy that next time! I think this is Brayden's new favorite WDW ride!

After Runaway Railway, we walked over to Slinky Dog and waited maybe 10-15 minutes to ride. It wasn't long at all! 

So so cute!

After Slinky Dog, Brayden spotted Alien Swirling Saucers which was yet ANOTHER walk on!!

We felt like we had been transported in some kind of magic Disney bubble because this couldn't be real life!

By this point, it was officially 9 a.m. and "park opening time" and we'd already hit three rides - two of them being major headliners with little to no wait!

Next up was Star Wars Land and a ride on the Millenium Falcon. By this point, the lines were growing throughout the park and this one had about a 40 minute wait. Still not bad considering!

After flying the Falcon and crashing horribly, we all enjoyed a little blue milk treat. I've tried both and prefer blue over green. Anyone else?

We returned to Toy Story Land and Toy Story Mania. The posted time here was 75 minutes but we didn't end up waiting that long, thankfully!

He's not a toy but he sure is a cute little fella!

Before lunch, I had to take my traditional "Karen" photo at One Man's Dream. These date back all the way to 2007! On one trip, they changed the outfit to "Cubby" but it was back to Karen and has been ever since!

By this point, it was closer to noon and definitely time for lunch! We tried ABC Commissary and their new (to us) menu. I really really enjoyed the curry shrimp dish. This is totally something I would never order while out and about around home, but I like to try new foods and was pleasantly surprised!

We hung around ABC Commissary for a little while, waiting on 1 p.m. and the time to snag a Rise boarding group. I was also trying to get Brayden to take a nap, but he was not interested in any of that!

Thankfully, we were successful this time and were set to go! YAY!

While waiting for a boarding group, I sent Jason and our friends over to Rock n Roller Coaster while Brayden and I shopped around and again attempted a nap.

The runDisney merchandise inside of Hollywood Studios was by far the best selection I saw out of any and all of the parks! So, if you're headed there, be on the lookout - this store was on the road way headed to Tower of Terror.

This time, our nap time attempt was successful, and we hung out for a few minutes beyond our rise boarding group return time to give him a little time to sleep. People over on instagram were amazed that he still takes naps in the stroller and yes, he definitely does!

Rise was just as amazing as we remembered and Jason tried to get us all in trouble by attempting to convince the resistance that he actually belonged on Tatooine. They were quite funny in their banter back and forth! 

Our last quest of the day was the brand new Scenic Selfies challenge hosted by Disney Vacation Club. After scanning a QR code at a DVC desk, scavengers set out throughout the park to take selfies with the various landmarks/clues put out by the website.

After completing the challenge, you return to the DVC desk, show the guide your completion, and obtain your button! It was a lot of fun and we learned some trivia/facts about the parks we wouldn't have otherwise known!

Our plan for the evening was to return to Disney Springs for dinner. We wanted to try Chicken Guy as none of us had been there yet.

This salad was SO good!! I would definitely order it again!

We ended our evening with dessert at Ghirardelli and it was truly the perfect way to top off our day!

My plan for the next morning was to run the 5K around the lake at Pop Century prior to heading to EPCOT. I truly loved not being at the parks until midnight then waking up and doing it all over the following day. We actually had a chance to relax and get some sleep on this trip and it was perfect to me!

Up next: EPCOT and Festival of the Arts!

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