You've probably already seen the pictures from Sunday's
Princess Half Marathon event at the Walt Disney World Resort. Where 26,000
runners raced through Epcot and the Magic
Kingdom during the early morning
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All
... only to have Rachel Booth of Mandeville,
LA wind up as the winner for the second
year in a row. Completing this 13.1 mile course in 1:17:38, 33 seconds faster than her 2012 pace.
But what you may not have seen was how WDW cast members actually
got the Resort ready for Disney's Princess Half Marathon. They had to block off
access to half of Epcot's parking lot late last week.
Photo by Jim Hill
Which made parking at this theme park on Thursday, Friday
& Saturday something of a challenge. With cars temporarily being parked wherever
there happened to be a bit of open space around Epcot, up to and including all
of the green space outside of this futuristic theme park.
And speaking of green ... Members of Walt Disney World's
horticultural staff were out in force late last week, clipping and trimming ...
... watering and planting ...
... as they got this theme park ready for the 20th annual
International Flower & Garden Festival. Though we're still a week or more
out from the official opening of this Presented-by-HGTV event, a few of the
brand-new additions for the 2013 edition have been at least partially unveiled.
Take -- for example -- the Land of Oz ...
Given that this all-new garden and children's play area
draws its inspiration from that upcoming Walt Disney Pictures release, "Oz
The Great and Powerful," if you'd like this particular International-Flower-and-Garden-Festival
experience to unfold just as the Sam Raimi film does, might I suggest that you
enter from the Future World side of things ...
... where you'll find yourself on the midway at the Baum
Bros. Circus. Here, you can laugh yourself silly during a visit to the Fun
... or try your hand at a game of skill with the Pie Toss
... where -- if you win -- you may be awarded a "Oz The
Great and Powerful" pin featuring a picture of the Wicked Witch of the
... or a seed pack for Yellow Marigolds. Which will then
allow you to plant a Yellow Brick Road
of your very own once you get back home.
Mind you, if you actually find yourself following in Oz The
Great and Powerful's footsteps ...
... you'll eventually find yourself in the Merry Old Land of
Oz. With the transition point between these two very different portions of this
International-Flower-&-Garden-Festival themed garden coming by way of a
colorful field of glass poppies that self-taught artisan Craig Mitchell Smith
created expressly for this year's event.
There are 63 blooms in this poppy field. Each of them made
out of hand-cut pieces of glass, with each flower then taking upwards of four
days to assemble.
The look of this garden-full-of-colorful-glass-flowers
echoes the look of the world that Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel
Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs first encounters when his balloon crash-lands in Oz
And speaking of balloons ... The designers of the
children's-play-area component of the Land of Oz garden did something very
clever with the envelope of this balloon. You see, they draped it over a set of
wooden patio furniture ...
... thus creating a shady place for parents to hang while
their children clamber all over the Cozy Domes® ...
... and Evos® play systems that have been set up along this
walkway which leads to World Showcase Lagoon.
And speaking of World Showcase, were you continue around
that 40-acre lagoon last week and made your way to American Gardens Theatre,
you would have discovered the latest piece of Disney Limited Time Magic
... where -- in honor of Presidents Day Weekend -- the
Voices of Liberty had slipped away from their usual performing space indoors at
the American Adventure pavilion ...
... and were now outside onstage at the American Gardens
Theatre, singing an assortment of patriot songs. Among them Woody Gutherie's "This
Land is Your Land" and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA."
This Limited Time Magic event ended with the audience on its
feet as the Voices of Liberty sang our National Anthem.
Given that these Limited Time Magic concerts full of American
song were being presented just as the Land of Oz (which is based on a motion
picture that draws its inspiration from L Frank Baum's collection of American fairytales) was soft-opening ...
... last week was a very interesting / patriotic time to get
a sneak peek at this year's edition of the Epcot International Flower &
Garden Festival. Which will run at that WDW theme park from March 6th through May