Mouse Beat

An unofficial guide and Disney photo blog. Pictures and reviews of Disney, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom are updated daily. We moved to the Orlando FL area (Kissimmee-Celebration) to take advantage of all Disney has to offer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Your own topiary – Epcot

Your own topiary

It is so much fun to run around Epcot and try to find all the different pieces of topiary but sometimes as I mentioned this week it is hard to get pictures of your favorites without other people in the shot. A way to combat this is to 1) wait until your favorite piece is people free (sometimes this is just a few minute but if it is Cinderellabration at the main gate you may be waiting for a long time) 2) search for pieces that are not that popular (like Bambi and Stitch) or 3) buy your own topiary for your home! There are several pieces that you can buy at any of the outdoor booths. Here is a list of prices of the pieces available…

Topiary Prices

Some of my favorites are the Bears and the large Mouse. If you have a garden with Disney topiary in it I would love to see the pictures. Have a magical weekend!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stitch – Epcot

Stitch (5)

Today is another piece of topiary that is not listed on the map. In fact if you look at the map in the Mission Space area you will see that there are no markings for anything special. Located to the right of the Mission Space entrance is Stitch. Surrounded by a cluster of red flowers Stitch is very impressive. Look at his teeth! This Disney Character topiary is another that is overlooked and you can spend a lot of time with him taking photos at many different angles.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Characters of Bambi – Epcot

Bambi (2)

Today’s Disney Character hunt characters are not on the map. I was surprised to find in Canada Bambi, Thumper and Flower from Disney’s Bambi. Set right in the middle of Canada you will find the three stars. They are not a popular stop on the topiary scavenger hunt, in fact many people almost miss them while they are taking pictures of Canada. While I was taking my shots I heard a little girl tell her mother after she spotted me leaning over the little fence to take photos… “Oh… there is Bambi!” If you want to get a good shot without many people of Disney Character topiary this spot is your best bet. A lot of people walk by but there are not many stoppers.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let’s Get Moving –Epcot

Goofy playing tennis

Another great place to find Disney Characters depicted in topiary is in the Imagination Walkway. Here you will find Goofy, Donald, Pluto , Minnie and Mickey all playing their favorite sports. This is not just a place where you can see classic Disney characters doing their favorite outdoor activities it is also a place where little ones can also play. There are structures to climb on and outdoor work out equipment. One of the favorites that I saw a line for was the mini stair steppers perfect for children 2-5 years old. The space is small so for the photo hunters it might be best to take your shot and then move on.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Fragrance Garden- Epcot

Fragence Garden

What a great week I have had. It was truly a celebration. Well before we all go and have fantastic weekends I thought I would take you to another of my favorite places in Epcot during the International Flower and Garden Festival. Normally I am not a perfume type of girl but right now the fragrance garden in France is a fantastic place for the nose. Look at the lovely topiary shaped as beautiful perfume bottles. As soon as you get to this point in France you can smell the plants and flowers. From citrus to vanilla there are so many smells that will intoxicate you. Way in the back there is a large field of flowers that smells wonderful …

Pink and Blue (2)

I have to admit not only do these flowers smell wonderful but they look so soft and delicate that I can imagine laying in the midst of them on a breezy Florida evening. I wonder when they will add that attraction to Epcot? As if the smell of the flowers was not lovely enough there are also perfume samples (made from the flowers and plants in the garden) all around. Just look for little displays like this one…

Frangence Facts

The one above is a perfume made from Magnolias. Lift the little door and you can smell the perfume and then read about it to the right.

Hope you had as much fun as I have celebrating my birthday at Epcot this week. Have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

English Tea Garden- Epcot

Amanda in the UK

I thought since it is my birthday week that I would share with you one of my favorite places during the International Flower and Garden Festival… the UK. I love the tea garden. Many of the photos of flowers last week were from the tea garden. Now I know many of my readers are well aware that I am an avid coffee drinker but they may not know how much I also like herbal teas. My favorite is peppermint tea which they just happened to have in the English Tea Garden…

Pure Peppermint

The smell of peppermint is absolutely lovely. If I am ever reported lost at Epcot look for me in the English tea garden somewhere near the peppermint, chances are I will be there. :) Not only is the tea garden a lovely place for fragrance and flowers but there is of course entertainment. Here is a video of one of my favorite songs on just another perfect night at Epcot….

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Herman’s Hermits – Epcot

My birthday celebration at Epcot started on the day before my birthday. Norwood and I joined two friends that we had meet through Mouse Beat for the very exciting Herman’s Hermits concert and (see the video above… yes indeed that is Norwood and I singing along) then we went to my favorite Disney eatery… Kimonos (shocker I know :)). If you have never seen the Herman’s Hermits play Epcot add it to your to do list. They were awesome. If you have already watched the video above you can see how much fun we had and that was just one song. To top off the humor and the great music Peter Noone had CDs that he walked around and handed out to lucky fans sitting close to the stage. The concert was a blast and the perfect start to my birthday celebration week. Tomorrow come back and I will tell you about the “Free admission on your birthday” fun.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Bonsai Collection- Epcot

Japan (2)

During the International Flower and Garden Festival Japan is home to an impressive bonsai collection. The miniature trees are delicate and surprising old. The large Bald Cypress in the middle of the gold fish pond that is 150 years old. Psst Hidden Mickey fans… if you have not found the Hidden Mickey yet in Japan that is close to the gold fish pond here is a hint…

Hidden Mickey in Japan

Anyway back to the bonsai collection in Japan. There are several different types of Bonsai on display. I had no idea there were such intricate rules to the maintaining of bonsai nor that there were so many varieties. In Japan you can view several different varieties of bonsai as well as learn the history and purchase your own bonsai for home. I hear they are a very relaxing hobby.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Amore nel Giardino – Epcot

Lady and the Tramp (5)

One of the best Disney movies has got to be Lady and the Tramp. The romance, suspense and the cute dogs… what could make a better movie? In Italy they celebrate the 1955 Disney movie in topiary with their Love in the Garden (Amore nel Giardino) exhibit. I absolutely love the Lady piece. Look at her ears it is amazing that it actually looks like fur. Besides looking and marveling that the work of the Disney artists here you can also find out about using plants and flowers to create drama in your garden. There are tips on using color and textures … like Lady’s ears for example they designers could not have picked a better plant to depict the texture of her ears. This is a popular spot in the World Showcase for people to stop and have their pictures taken in front of, in fact I had to wait in a small line for a couple of quick shot without anyone in front and then for my photo in Italy I walked over to the bridge which surprisingly was less crowded…

Amanda in Itay

I guess the allure of amore was too much for people so they were drawn to Lady and the Tramp and not the bridge that overlooked the gondolas and the rest of the World Showcase.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Flowers at the International Flower and Garden Festival- Epcot

Flowers from the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival

I thought we would spend today admiring the real stars of the Spring Celebration the flowers! Disney World is a fantastic place to take photos of flowers on a daily basis, but during the Flower and Garden Festival Epcot becomes the place where people who love taking photos flowers flock with their cameras and all day long you can see people bent over trying to capture the color and delicate petals and leaves. I am one of those people. From the collage above you can see just a few (yes there are many, many more) of the flower photos that I have taken and continue to take each time we go to Epcot. There are just so many and if you pay attention you can find little cards and signs that will tell what the flower is that you are looking at and during the complimentary tours they will also tell you how you can you can grow those flowers in your own gardens or like they do in Italy give you tips on how to arrange the flowers so they make a stunning presentation. I will tell you more about Italy tomorrow… now let’s admire the lovely flowers. :)

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pirate Adventure Zone- Epcot

Pirate Adventure

Well the adults are rocking out in the America Gardens Theatre kids with the adventurous spirit can be found in the Pirate Adventure Zone. Located next to Germany the Pirate Adventure Zone is just a place off to the side where jungle gym is set up to passersby. But dare to venture off the sidewalk and into the cushy ground that is the land of pirates and you will be taken into the scenes of Peter Pan.

Captain Hook (4)

While we took photos of the topiary and flowers the children all around us are shouting and laughing while they all try to make it to the top of the ship while evading the fellow pirates (other children). I have to admit they all sounded like they were having so much fun that I was I tempted to try and make it to the top myself… but just before I got up the nerve to rush over I heard another adult tell another adult that the Flower and Garden Festival specifically says that the Pirate Zone play equipment is strictly for children and that he was well beyond any age that could be mistaken as a child… well at least we can go and sing and dance at the Flower Power Concerts. :)

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Paul Revere and the Raiders-Epcot

Paul Revere and the Raiders

Welcome to our continued celebration of the International Flower and Garden Festival happening right now in Disney World’s Epcot. The International Flower and Garden Festival is full of flowers, topiary, events and music. It is happening now and ends on May 31, 2009. Last week we started walking around the world together checking out the Flower and Garden Festival one exhibit at a time before we head out this week I want to stop and tell you about last weekend’s Flower Power Concert. Readers of this blog will often hear this line… “I never knew this until I found out about it at Disney World…” It seems that not only I am having a fantastic daily vacation at Disney World I am also being educated on the “World” and so many bands. So here we go with my weekly confession of “not knowing…”

Last weekend we made our way to Epcot specially for the purpose of seeing the Flower Power Concert Series (concerts for all events at Epcot this year are now only on weekends). Before heading out we looked at the schedule to see who was playing after reading it I looked and asked… “Who is Paul Revere and the Raiders?” Assured by almost everyone person I asked the question to I was told that although I did not know the name or the people I would no doubt know the music when I heard it and would definitely like at least one song that was played. Well… everyone was right! Ask me today to recall the names of the songs and I will have them in my head, know the tune but tell you to wait while I google them. But like the many people who told me I will tell you if you cannot draw a recollection from the mere name of the band… trust me, you have heard them and you will most definitely like at least one of their songs. And the show! I have never laughed so much. From the props to the music it was one of the best concerts I have seen at Disney World. Besides singing some great songs there were jokes… many, many jokes. One of the crowd favorites was when Paul Revere told the audience that they became rich because they were paid to put on the tights and then proudly he held up what the tights looked like before they put them. Let me just say a small doll could not fit into the tights he held up. It was great.

Come back tomorrow and we will continue our tour of Epcot during the International Flower and Garden Festival…

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Bromeliad Dragon- Epcot

Bromelaid Dragon

Dragon in China

Have you ever been in Epcot and seen some part of the landscape that made you say… “I would like to have one of those in my back yard?” Well each time I go to Epcot during the 2009 Flower and Garden festival I find myself saying that about the pond in front of the Temple of Heaven. Normally the entire area is beautiful but right now during the Flower Festival right in the middle is the Bromeliad Dragon. Bromeliad are a type of tropical plants that are often found in Latin American and the Caribbean and sometimes in the Southern US states. A typical Bromeliad is the pineapple. For China’s topiary exhibit the Dragon is created from different Bromeliad plants. It is amazing to see the detail in this topiary exhibit.

So here we are at the end of another week I still have not told you about everything that is at the International Flower and Garden Festival 2009. Next week I will continue the tour, including an interlude for some musical entertainment.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sand Sculpture from Disney Earth – Epcot

Earth Sand Scuplture (2)

Perhaps many of you already know this but until I went to the International Flower and Garden Festival knew nothing about Disneynature. For those of you not in the know, Disneynature is a film studio that is dedicated to producing at least one film a year that celebrates the wonders of nature. It was inspired by the 1948 series that Walt created about wildlife. The films are designed to show the fragility and beauty of the Earth. This year’s film is called EARTH and it will premier on April 22, 2009 (Earth Day). The above photo is one of the exhibits that is sponsored by Disneynature. It is completely made out for sand and it depicts many different animals. It is like the Tree of Life except with sand. If you are going to the International Flower and Garden Festival this year you can find this exhibit behind Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden on your way to the World Showcase.

We took many more photos of the sand sculpture check them out in our Sand Sculpture.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden- Epcot

Minnies Magnificent Butterfly Garden

Yesterday we talked about fairies and today we will talk about another tiny creature… butterflies. Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden is also located on the Test Track Walkway right next door to Pixie Hollow. This was by far one of my favorite exhibits. There were so many butterflies flying around it was truly magnificent. Norwood and I spent awhile inside trying to get a few shots when different butterflies would land. We got a few really nice shots. Here is my favorite…


This is the Zebra Longwing Butterfly. It was one of the butterflies that would often land on the flowers so if you go to our photo album you will see many different shots of the Zebra Longwing Butterfly. In Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden there are seven types of butterflies. As we go back to Epcot this Spring I am going to try and capture at least one shot of all the different butterflies… wish me luck. :)

Beside the delicate butterflies that are so hard to get photos of there is also an easier subject in Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden…

Amanda and Minnie

The flowers of course! Above is my favorite topiary piece. Can you guess why?

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pixie Hollow – Epcot

Amanda taking photos at Pixie Hollow

Tinker Bell and her friends are celebrated in Pixie Hollow. Located in the Test Track Walkway is a lush little garden where Tinker Bell and the other Fairies from the new Tinker Bell movie are depicted in topiary. As you enter through the gate a Disney cast member will hand you your honorary Fairy badge…

Become a Fairy Sticker

For the kiddies you can run around the garden, climb on the outdoor playground or tinker at Tinker’s Nook Workshop or participate in the Fairy and Princess Procession (2pm daily).

For Norwood and I (because of course we passed through the gate to see the world of fairies) we took photos...

Amanda taking photos in Pixie Hollow (3)

Norwood taking my photo

We spent awhile taking photos of the flowers and topiary but then we had camera war and began trying to take funny photos of each other. Strange enough each time we turned to take a photo of the other there was a camera in the way...hmmmm. :)

If you want to see more photos of Pixie Hollow check out our Pixie Hollow Photo Album.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Celebrate the Art and Music of Fantasia

Mickey Mouse (2)

Celebrate Fantasia

Welcome to week two of our Celebration of the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival. To kick of this week we will begin with a Celebration of the Art and Music of Fantasia. The garden behind Spaceship Earth has been turned into scenes from the Disney movie Fantasia. While you stand there and take photographs of the impressive flowers and topiary the music from Fantasia plays in the background. The main scene is one very similar to the topiary exhibit in Hollywood Studios. Mickey with the Soccer’s Hat Stands in the middle of the display and directs the magical brooms who have buckets of fragrant flowers.

It is really a pretty scene, and just the first this week of great photo opportunities so break out your cameras!

Amanda taking photos of Fantasia

If you want to see more of Norwood and my photos of the Celebrate the Art and Music of Fantasia check out our Music and Art of Fantasia photo album.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Garden Town Discoveries – Epcot

Garden Town

The next stop on our tour of the International Flower and Garden Festival 2009 is Garden Town. After exploring and photographing Cinderellabration Norwood and I moved on to number 2 on the Garden and Festival map, Garden Town. Over near the Universe of Energy, Garden Town is the place where you can hear tips and tricks for gardening, Reflections of Earth a photograph exhibit all about Earth (it is inspired by the Disneynature movie Earth which will start April 22, 2009). Also in Garden Town you can talk to folks from the University of Florida about the best ways to plant your own garden. In addition to the daily exhibits and information there will also be guest speakers who will give information on gardening, flowers and landscapes. Even if you are not a gardener there are speakers that will intertest everyone. For example, I am not a gardener but there is one speaker that really interests me that Norwood and I are planning on seeing. Susan Belsinger, food writer and photographer will be at Garden Town on April 3-5. Since my MA thesis was on dining culture in 18th century novels I am really interested in hearing about food writing and of course photographing.
There is so much more happening right now at Epcot that next week will we continue our celebration of Spring.

Garden Town is only open on Friday- Sunday 10am -5pm. More information about the speaker and the Garden Town schedule can be found at the Garden Town 2009 information page.

PS... Pin Traders tonight is Mickey's Pin Trading Night at the Contemporary Resort 6-9pm. To see the pins I have for trade check out my Disney Pin Trading Blog.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cinderellabration at Epcot

International Flower and Garden Festival 2009

Where do we begin talking about the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival? There are so many things to learn about and so many flowers and gardens to see during the Flower and Garden Festival. Well the best place to start is probably at the beginning. The celebration of Spring occurs right at the entrance with Cinderellabration.

Right when you walk up to the first Kodak picture spot in Epcot you will see the Princesses and their princes in topiary all celebration the coronation of Cinderella. It is really quite amazing what they can do with plant and flowers and we spent at least 20 minutes just walking around the front garden. Here I am in front of the Beast at the Kodak picture spot…

Amanda at Cinderellabration

And here are some of my favorite shots from the main entrance exhibit…

Cinderella and Prince Charming

Here is the royal couple themselves dancing in a garden of beautiful purple, white and pink flowers. And here are a few of their guests…

Sleeping Beauty and Prince Philip

Beauty and the Beast

If we keep walking around the island that is host to Cinderellabration we run into Cinderella’s Couch (photo by Norwood)

Cinderella's Coach

And then we come back around to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarves…

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

There is so much detail right at the entrance from the topiary to the flowers it is beautiful art that definitely makes you want to celebrate Spring.

Tomorrow I will continue our tour through Epcot during the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival. Norwood and I are having a great time and sometimes we even turn the camera on each other…

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flowers and Topiary in Epcot

Before I share with you the tons of photos I have taken of the International Flower and Garden Festival I wanted to share with you some of my favorite flowers and topiary that you can find most of the year at Epcot. First up the Three Caballeros …

three amigos bushes

I know what you are thinking… “Amanda… did you know that this is part of the International Flower and Garden Festival?” When I took the photo in June 2008 I did not know that it was a leftover from the International and Garden Festival that has just ended a couple of days before the shot. This shot was taken in the early summer of 2008 right when we arrived in Florida and on one of our first trips to Epcot after five years. I can still remember that visit. Everything felt so new and I could barely put my camera down. I remembered none of what I saw, especially these neat little bushes. Then a month later I looked for the same bushes and to my surprise they were gone, that is when I realized what we had just missed by a few days. I cannot wait to share some of my photos and experiences from the actual festival. Get ready there are so photos that I will start to share … tomorrow. But before I leave you today here is one more photo from the last years International Flower and Garden Festival…

Epcot Gardens again

Come on back tomorrow for more from the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival .

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Monday, March 23, 2009

International Flower and Garden Festival 2009

All last week we talked about the details around Disney World that make each park truly unique. This week I want to continue to talk about Disney Details. This is my first ever International Flower and Garden Festival and talk about details. So many flowers and butterflies! So all this week I want to share with you just a few of the things happening at the Flower and Garden Festival. But before we get started let me fill you in on the details of the Festival itself.

The International Flower and Garden Festival started March 18, 2009 and will run until May 31, 2009 (guess where I will be for the next couple of months). All events are located inside Epcot which you will need to purchase admission to the park in order to see the flowers and tours. There are many complimentary tours that occur in the late afternoon (many are scheduled around 2-4pm). Flowers and topiary are everywhere around Epcot not just in the World Showcase so get your camera ready and tour around.

The International Flower and Garden Festival is not just about flowers and gardens there is of course MUSIC! Head on over to America Gardens theatre Friday – Sunday and check out the Flower Power concert series.

Also for pin traders, there are of course special edition pins for the Flower and Garden festival so be on the lookout throughout the park.

Norwood and I are going to do it all and we will of course be sharing our stories and photos here. If you need more information about the events and the Flower Power Concert series check out the following links…

Flower Power Concert Series 2009 Schedule

International Flower and Garden Festival Special Events

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