Sunday, November 9, 2014

Last bit of Fall Color in Michigan

This post is for those that are already getting discouraged with the changing seasons.  I took these pictures on my recent trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is a color blast from the beautiful trees all over the U.P.  From covered roads to right along the highways, fall color at its best in Michigan.  Enjoy!   




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Food & Wine Festival

If you are looking for a great adult vacation at Disney, check out Epcot's Food & Wine Festival.  This festival runs from September through November.  It has everything you might like, great food, excellent music, and beverages a plenty.  My sister and I came down here for a girls weekend and to celebrate my birthday.
We walked into Epcot and headed straight to the World Showcase.  The most obvious direction that everyone takes is to start at Mexico and go around the lagoon clockwise.  I tend to not follow the obvious so, we trekked it over to Canada.  

One thing about the Food & Wine Festival is to be prepared to eat lots of good food!   
Map of the International Marketplaces

Don't forget to pick up you Discovery Passport at the entrance.  This has a list of each food & wine per country.  When you go up to order and pay make sure to get a stamp for your passport.  If you collect all stamps you can get stamp of completion for your passport.  I was only able to get through 12 stamps out of the 36 offered.  We were full after 5 or 6 choices so, it took us 2 days to finish what we did.  Since there were two of us, we were able to try a couple of choices at each stop and share with each other.  Plus, it was super helpful that my sister is going to culinary school and was able to answer all my stupid questions...What is in this?  What is that?  Is that going to be spicy?  She probably was sick of me by the end but, I really appreciated all her knowledge!

Kalua Pork Slider

Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll

Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote
Cheddar Cheese Soup
Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi
Boeuf Bourguignon

These are some of the pictures of what we sampled.  What was hard to do was to figure we eat all the main foods first then deserts or do we just eat what was at the next booth? Most of all the food & wine items cost anywhere between $3 and $10.  You can get a festival-themed gift card that hangs around your wrist to pay for all your samples chosen.

My absolute favorite was the Pavlova from the Australian booth.  A Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Berries and Vanilla Custard, I could have eaten this all night or at least until my sweet tooth was satisfied!

One of the neatest things to see is that each booth is designed with the country in mind.  You could spend lots of camera photos on all the interesting displays all around Epcot during this festival.

Beside all the food choices there are even more beverage choices.  When my sister's family comes my brother-in-law loves to try all the different wines.  My personal favorite this year is Aulani Sunset from the Hawaii booth.  This is a definite must try and is great to walk around the lagoon and sip it while people watching.

And in case you do have kids with you, there are activities at each major country, Kid Cot stations and even Perry the Platypus missions for the older kids. 
Kid Cot Station

To top off all the good food, there is music to listen to at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.  When I was there Hanson was playing that weekend.  I was surprised at all the girls waiting hours in line to get seats when you can stroll right by and hear the music without waiting in lines.

Plus, don't forget to stick around to see IllumiNations, Epcot's fireworks display in the evening.

This is definitely one of the Disney events I plan to come to year after year.  Check it out and you might become a frequent visitor like me!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Happy Halloween from Walt Disney World!

 Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is one of my favorite times in Walt Disney World! 
There are many reasons to go ahead and splurge on the extra ticket for this party:
- weather is usually very nice this time of year
- less crowds since kids are in school
- beautiful fall decorations
- villains a plenty
- Trick-or-Treat
- perfect time for an adult to be a kid!

 Make sure to look around and you might see some of the little touches that Disney does to make your experience a bit nicer.

Dressed and ready for Halloween

The hardest picture to get ever!
There are many people that dress up into costumes, some more elaborate than others. But, you don't have to worry if you choose not to wear one. One year I took my niece and nephew and we all had appointments for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. This year my sister and I (on a girls only weekend) just wore our Minnie ears. Another enjoyable event is eating dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern on the night of the party.  Everyone including the characters & servers are dressed up.  If you don't plan on eating dinner there are plenty of other choices of specially themed Halloween treats throughout the whole park.  

The parade is a must do.  They have two parades before and after the fireworks.  I would recommend skipping the first one.  During this time you can get your trick-or-treating done plus, get on all your favorite rides without big wait times.  Most of the people head out after the fireworks so, to avoid the crowds I would stay in the back of the park.  One of the neatest places to watch the fireworks is a very surprising spot my sister and I found recently.  If you are on the path between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, you will experience an incredible array of fireworks exploding all around you.  It is an unbelievable sight!  Make sure to get a spot early for the second parade.  If the weather is good you might catch a glimpse of the headless horseman riding past you.

Did this by accident but, loved it!  They actually look like ghosts!

The parade has all the characters from my favorite rides: Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.  The grave diggers are exceptionable with the shovels and the sparks on the pavement.  The ghosts dancing are beautiful.  Then all the villains show up to party.  I was standing next to a lady that was messing with her camera and the evil queen came right up to her and stared at her.  She was completely startled when she looked up.  Of course all of us around her were laughing so hard.  Don't get caught not paying attention to these guys!  You never know what they might do.
My haul!
Treat Locations throughout the Park
My sister and I had a blast getting our candy bags filled up.  She filled up two bags (one for each of her kids).  We went from one treat station to another all around the park.  Even with all the fun we were having Mother Nature had other plans and opened up the flood gates.  It rained so hard and fast that Disney's drainage system was a little slow in getting rid of the water. My sister and I were running through Fantasyland to get to shelter and we both ended up stomping in puddles that were over our ankles.  We had our ponchos on but, having squishy sneakers did not feel good.  Surprisingly it was a funny way to end the evening.  We were laughing all the way out of the park to the monorail.  

My advice is to always be prepared for the unexpected when visiting Disney and when it happens try to remember why you are there in the first place to have fun!