Well, I hope everyone enjoyed Al's post about his fishing trip. There was just no way I could tell the story, having not been there. I think he did an admirable job :-).
We've been pretty busy finishing things up in preparation for our departure next Wednesday, but we did take time to spend a day at EPCOT's Flower and Garden Festival. What we didn't plan on, however, was the weather making the leap from late-in-the-year frost warnings to summertime high temperatures in the space of a few days! We had already selected the date of our day trip based on activities and appointments, so even though the weatherman was saying highs in the upper 80's to 90 degrees, we forged ahead with our plans. The dog sitter was coming in to take care of the pups, and two carloads of family members headed to Disney. Upon arriving at the parking lot, we unloaded the cars, got the wheelchairs set up for the older folks, made the obligatory pit stop at the restrooms, and proceeded to get in line, not for anything fun, but for the bag check :-(. Ever since 9/11, security has been beefed up here at Disney as well, and anyone who has a bag of any kind must have it searched by security before going into the parks. Sometimes this seems like the longest line of the day! Another line to get your ticket scanned, and then we arrived at our destination...
One of the things the festival is noted for is the beautiful topiaries of well-loved Disney characters. Here we have the Fab Four getting ready for a barbeque.
Daisy and Donald having a game of badminton
The Lion King characters
Behind Spaceship Earth flower trees decorate the square around the fountain.
Our first destination was Tinker Bell's Butterfly House
Tinker Bell herself was on hand to greet you.
It was difficult to get pictures of the butterflys as they wouldn't sit still for very long, but I managed a few.
As we exited the exhibit, we saw the floral displays set up around the lake. The colors were brilliant this year.
The floating islands of flowers are always one of my favorites.
A close-up view of the flower beds.
As we headed down the walkway to the World Showcase, we passed these beautiful blown glass poppies that had been designed for this exhibit highlighting the new movie, "The Great and Powerful Oz".
This is Ginny, Patti and Aunt Doris "acting terrified" as their basket blows away from the hot-air balloon in a photo display set up.
A brand new topiary display this year highlights the characters Mike and Sully from the movie "Monsters, Inc."
More "monsters"; its so interesting to see how they shape the topiaries and make them look so much like characters.
A new feature this year at the festival is the introduction of "food booths" similar to what they have during the Food and Wine Festival in the fall (which I LOVE!!). Small booths are set up along the promenade around the World Showcase, and you can purchase "tasting size" portions of different regional foods. Sadly, because of how beastly hot it was by this time of the day, we were only able to sample a few items. I find I don't care to eat too much when it is so hot. These are a few things I remembered to take pictures of before they were consumed :-). Starting clockwise from the left upper corner, is a Dole Whip (pineapple and soft-serve ice cream blended together and swirled, yum!); Tacos de Carnitas (pork tacos topped with tamarindo salsa served on a flour tortilla with chicharron); Spring pancake with chicken and green apple ( from China); and finally a Pan-fried vegetable bun with a spicy sauce, also from China.
I also tried the German potato pancake with homemade apple sauce, and from England the Baked Goat's Brie with Kumquat Chutney. Both were delicious. There were so many other interesting looking tidbits to try, but the heat just beat us. Next year :-)!!
We met an interesting troll in Norway....
saw some beautiful scenery in Italy...
along with some favorite characters, Lady and the Tramp.
Japan has beautiful displays of bonsai plants, brought in for the show by local bonsai enthusiasts.
This is a 65 year old bald cypress displayed in the center of the water garden. Even with multitudes of people around, the gardens of the Japanese pavilion always seem quiet and serene.
Quiet, that is, until the Matsuriza Taiko drummers started their show. One of the fun things about EPCOT is being able to take your time wandering the different countries, and stopping to see all the interesting cultural shows they have in each pavilion.
The American Pavilion featured, naturally, Woody from the movie "Toy Story". Their food booth was The Smokehouse, and had delicious tastings prepared in the giant smoker they had on display...
Princess topiaries rounded out our day, with Snow White....
and Cinderella dancing with her Prince.
A visit to the festival headquarters finished our day, and we said a fond farewell to Mickey and Minnie as we left the park.
The next couple of days will be very busy as we make final preparations for departure. It wouldn't normally be as difficult as this year, but we have everything that we had in the trailer in the garage, which all has to packed into a u-haul trailer and taken to Indiana. I had kind of forgotten how much stuff it really is (selective memory??), and it's going to be quite the task getting the trailer put back into "home-living" shape. Sunday we are having a farewell luncheon for all the family here in Florida with us. Monday we'll be cleaning and packing the truck and trailblazer, and Tuesday we will be packing the u-haul. Wednesday we will be back on the road, driving at least as far as north of Chattanooga, TN, with arrival in Goshen IN Thursday night. Friday we'll pick up the trailer and do the walk-through, and then head to Shipshewana South Campground, where we'll spend the weekend re-organizing all our "stuff". Then we'll head to Bar Harbor, Maine, swinging through the Lancaster PA area for a brief stop to enjoy all the Amish goodies. From there, we'll head north through PA and NY, then west through MA on up to Maine. On to new adventures :-)!