This year’s long and chilly winter held the Northeast in its grip well through April, only to let up in time for an early summer heatwave. But while we northerners may have suffered a shortened spring, for Disney fans heading south, it was springtime-as-usual at Epcot’s 20th Annual International Flower and Garden Festival which ran from March 6th – May 19th, 2013.
2013 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, photograph by Samantha McElhaney
Every spring, Epcot dazzles in brilliant rainbow hues as elaborate flower beds and intricate topiaries are on display for two months, showcasing beloved Disney characters in a most magical and eco-friendly way. The 2013 festival was Epcot’s 20th and it featured many popular topiary displays from previous years, along with some brand-new exhibits promoting Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University.
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For more than 40 years, Cinderella’s Castle has stood tall as the Magic Kingdom’s most indisputably iconic landmark. At 190 feet high (and cleverly designed to look even taller), the castle has dazzled millions of visitors with its polished stone walls and 27 turrets which strike an elegant silhouette against the expansive Florida sky.
Cinderella's Castle, photograph by Valerie Champagne
The castle’s central location – where Main Street ends and the Magic Kingdom’s six lands converge – has guaranteed that Cinderella and her Prince reign as the supreme royals of Walt Disney’s Florida kingdom. Of course, they’ve never had any real competition. Until now.
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If you’ve never seen a spectacle of five million brilliant lights dancing in sync with beloved holiday songs, then you’ve never experienced Christmas at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, photograph by Samantha McElhaney
Disney first acquired the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in 1995 from Jennings Osborne, an Arkansas family man who designed the holiday display for his young daughter. Over the years, the residential display grew increasingly more popular – and elaborate – attracting thousands of visitors every year until a court case initiated by overwhelmed, angry neighbors forced the family to shut it down.
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When it comes to thrilling attractions, Epcot might not rank highly on the Walt Disney World theme park scale (Test Track and Soarin’ are standout exceptions), but what Epcot lacks in rides, it makes up for in sheer square footage and seasonal events that draw thousands of visitors every year.
2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, photograph by Samantha McElhaney
For more than six weeks in the fall of 2012, Epcot hosted its 17th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival which featured mouthwatering edibles and thirst-quenching drinkables from more than 20 countries worldwide.
During the 46 day festival, park visitors were encouraged to “Taste Your Way Around the World“, by visiting Epcot’s expansive World Showcase International Marketplace and sampling delicacies from around the world. 2012’s Marketplace featured booths dedicated to the cuisines of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Poland, Scandinavia, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea.
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In the fall of 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion dollars, transferring control of Marvel’s comic book and movie library to Disney, along with a library of 5,000 characters, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Daredevil, and Captain America.
Logos from Various Marvel Superhero Franchises
This summer, Disney released the blockbuster megahit, Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), which grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide, and the studio has several more Marvel films in production, including Iron Man 3 (2013), sequels to Thor (2013), Captain America (2014), and The Avengers (2015), and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), a film starring that OTHER team of Marvel superheros: Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, and Gamora. Never heard of them? Me either!
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