World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered

A different visit to Epcot World Showcase today, with much of it before the main rush of tourists – so I took lots of photos of empty space, a rare sight at Disney!

This tour was quite fascinating; in many ways it’s “just a walk around World Showcase”, but being guided and learning of details and sights we’d never previously noticed, made for a very different visit. Finishing with a bonus of Soarin’ is nice, too!

Epcot Flower & Garden 2017, first visit

We tried to “beat the rush” and visited Epcot today rather than this weekend, with this years Flower & Garden festival just started:

 

There’s a lot of Butterfly theming this year:

Including some “chalk art” on the ground which had people standing / posing on it for photographs. Amazing to look at the side image and the “proper” front image – no doubt those people would seem to be flying!

 

It’s getting harder every year to tell the difference between the Flower & Garden Festival, and the Food & Wine event – there were food / drink stalls all around World Showcase, and long queues at a few of them.

Our First Disney, twenty years ago

Twenty years ago (!) we’d arrived in USA, and just completed our purchase of our first USA home; almost immediately we left and headed south to Walt Disney World (little did we know that we’d eventually live nearby!)

Here are pictures from that trip – all this of course was astonishing for us that, growing up, only knew that Disney was some wonderful place that was so far away, we’d never go there …

 

Safari plans

Living near to Walt Disney World we can visit Animal Kingdom and ride their Kilimanjaro Safari ride when we wish – but of course it’s not like a real Africa Safari. Margaret has always wanted to go to Africa and do a real safari, and we’ve now made plans to do exactly that, later this year!

Meanwhile, we headed to Animal Kingdom today to do “safari practice”, giving me a chance to check out my new camera on hard to photograph distant animals, while riding a bumpy vehicle! Here’s the results (the lion was REALLY HARD to get – I was sitting on the wrong side of the vehicle, too):


We also posed in our safari hats, and met Mickey & Minnie in their “matching” hats:

Disney Springs

Over the last few years the Downtown Disney shopping area has been massively rebuilt; for most of that time we refused to go there because it was so chaotic – early Disney activities removed many parking areas and created nothing except traffic jams! But finally now there is some finishing – there are now two multi-level parking garages, although still today the entrance we used to the new “lime” garage was poorly designed, leading us to only three of five possible levels with those three being almost full while the last two remain empty!
Still, from the top level of the garage, it’s possible now to get a good overview, including the nice landscaping near the new bus transfer station area andĀ of all the new shopping – back view, at least! There’s loads of newly opened stores there, none of them are Disney related and none of them hold any interest for us (I can’t imagine many Disney tourists have any interest either!):


Further into Disney Springs there are MANY new restaurants and other food choices – many are very expensive ($30-$40 entrees) but still there’s some interesting possibilities. We were very attracted to the new Amorette’s Patisserie:

 

We also went up to the top floor “bar” of the new Coca Cola store, via it’s very strange multi floor ramp walk that goes around the outside of the building – another great view there, though the transparent walls make it scary!

 

We’ll surely be back, but I think we’ll still need to be careful to avoid busy times since the new area still needs more improvement to traffic flow …