Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Magical Moments: Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

 Starting on Sept. 28th and running thru Nov 12 of this year is the 17th annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, one of WDW's most popular events.  During this fesival you can sample delicious food and wine from around the world, see some of your favorite singers from the 80's and 90's in concert and attend special events throughout the park.
 Located in Future World is the 2012 Food and Wine Festival Welcome Center.  It is here where you can plan your day by picking up your Marketplace Discovery Passport which identifies the food and wine kiosks or "marketplaces" set up around World Showcase.  The Welcome Center is also home to a variety of events including book signings and cooking demonstrations.
 The theme of this years festival is Taste Your Way Around the World.  There will be 29 marketplaces set up througout World Showcase where you can purchase sample sized portions of food.  You will be able to try food from places as diverse as South Africa, Ireland, Greece and China.  New this year are the Terra and Florida marketplaces.  Terra is the first ever vegan marketplace while the Florida marketplace will put new twists on local cuisine.  The samples range in price from about 3 to 8 dollars.
There are a number of Special and Premium Events that take place during the Food and Wine Festival. Special Events include book signings, bottle signings and seminars.  One seminar is the Home Entertaining Seminar hosted by your favorite personalities from HGTV.  Premium Events, in which there is a separate admission, include: Mixology Seminars, Culinary Demonstrations and Wine and Beverage Seminars.

A favorite Premium event of mine is the Party for the Senses.  With the Party for the Senses you get a reserved seat at the Eat to the Beat concert playing that night as well as a beautiful dinning experiece featuring international cuisine.  Entertainment is provided by Cirque de Soleil.  This event is pricey (60 dollars per person) but it is worth it.  You won't be disappointed.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a great event, but because it is one of the most popular events at WDW the crowds will be large.  Start your day early as it tends to get busier as the day goes on.  If you plan on attending one of the Eat to the Beat Concerts plan on getting a spot in line at least 30-40 minutes before the show so your sure to get a seat.  If you do attend the festival we hope you have a great time!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Magical Moments - First Aid and Baby Care

Walt Disney World - the happiest place on earth, where it never rains, the temperature is perfect, birds land on your shoulder and tweet along a tune with you, people are always smiling and where absolutely nothing can go wrong.  Well, not quite.

I love Disney – as is apparent by the mere existence of this site – but regardless of the measure of my admiration for all things Disney, regardless of the unquestionable ability to escape nearly all parts of the “real world”, stuff still can and still does happen at Disney World; especially when you have children.  The good news is that the magic of Disney customer service allows certain provisions when Murphy and his law tag along on your vacation. 

One memorable occasion occurred a few years ago as we visited WDW.  Our youngest son was 4 at the time and we still used a stroller for him in the parks.  Although we have rented the strollers available in the parks, we decided to bring our own jogging stroller for this visit to EPCOT.  My son was so excited about another day in the park, he decided to leap into his stroller as he exited the Disney transportation bus.  The only problem, the stroller had not been fully extended, and as a result, his finger got caught in the locking handle.  I’m not sure who screamed the loudest – him, my wife, or me.  Our kids just stood crying and praying out loud as we struggled to get his thumb unstuck.  Though it doesn’t happen often, I panicked.  I thought his thumb was crushed, or severed.

This is when I realized that a cast member had called the Disney EMT.  After a few short moments, my son’s finger was free and he was being attended to by the Disney professionals.  Miraculously, my son’s finger was fine.  No broken bones, no lacerations, nothing.  Yet, the Disney EMT professionals kept watch for a few moments – and all free of charge.  Amazing!
Hopefully, you will never be forced to meet these Disney professionals.  However, in the event that you fall victim to illness or ailments while in the parks, just know that Disney has a place for you to receive special medical assistance.

Two notable places for such attention are found in the Magic Kingdom, between Casey’s Corner and the Crystal Palace.  The First Aid Station (also in the 3 other parks) is more than a benefit if you fall suddenly ill.  However, the real focus of this post is the Baby Care Center located next door to the First Aid Station.
As any parent knows, there always seems to be some health related need when it comes to babies and toddlers.  Whether your child needs a moment out of the sun, you want to nurse your infant in private, or you need an essential baby related item, this is your place! 

Band-Aids, formula, nipples, powder, diapers, sipper cups and diaper crème, are all available here (for a price of course – it is Disney after all).   

And, for those like me who have more than one child, there is a nice waiting room, complete with TV and other items, to keep everyone occupied while you wait.

So, if you are worried about taking your infant or toddler on a trip to WDW, please lay your fears to rest.  A little peace of mind as a parent is sometimes the best customer service possible – and the First Aid Stations and Baby Care Centers offer more than simple peace of mind. 

Have you ever used the Baby Care Center or First Aid Station at Disney?   What is your story?