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Taking the Kids: A dispatch from a visit to Walt Disney World

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

“School is online and so much has been canceled … I knew a trip here wouldn’t get canceled and it gave us something to look forward to,” said. Sarah Bates, here with two teens from Boston. “I think they are doing a great job and we feel totally safe,” she added.

Cee Fisher came from Maryland with her daughter Ryah. “It was her sixth birthday,” she explained, adding there were many disappointments this year, including a canceled trip to Africa. “We’re going to Animal Kingdom instead,” she joked.

There are also new, and not so new, attractions that guests are experiencing for the first time — like Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s the first time the world’s most famous mouse duo has been featured in an attraction where guests step into the animated action. “It’s like being right in a cartoon,” that’s really fun,” said Parker McDaniel, whose family drove from their home near Sarasota, Fla.

The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Show will last this year until July 5, with nearly 100 topiaries of Disney characters. Look for Remy in the France pavilion, Anna and Elsa in the Norway pavilion, and Tinker Bell in the United Kingdom pavilion, as well as special-themed scavenger hunts (follow Spike on his pollination trail!)

Many come to Epcot’s festivals specifically to sample new food. (How about an Impossible short rib or shrimp and grits? Maybe lavender mustard-marinated chicken flatbread or cheesecake at the Honey Bee-stro, where you can learn about honey bees’ critical role in the environment.

Rick DeCicco, Epcot food & beverage proprietor, said he got the idea for the pink, blue and green Froot Loop shakes watching his own kids finish off the milk in sweetened cereals. “There is something for everyone,” he promises, whether you are a foodie, want to try something different, or simply want a bite to eat.

Because festivals are so popular, The Food and Wine Festival will kick off on July 15 and run until Nov. 20. Soon after, it will be time for the ever-popular Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. EPCOT incidentally is in the midst of a multi-year transformation with a grand opening on Oct 1 of the much-anticipated Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure where guests will shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant. Afterward, in the French pavilion, stop for a bite at the new La Creperie de Paris.


Also, just in time for Walt Disney World’s 18-month 50th Anniversary Celebration kicking off in October, Harmonious will be one of the largest nighttime spectaculars celebrating the way Disney music inspires. Think massive floating sets, LED panels, moving fountains, fireworks, lasers and more. There will be four neighborhoods — World Show case, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery with new experiences.

Said Scott Mallwitz, executive creative director/Walt Disney Imagineering, “Walt Disney always said EPCOT was the place that was about the magic possibility.”

For kids, observed Parker McDaniel, “You are in the right place to have a good time!”


(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The Kid’s Guide to Philadelphia, the 13th in the kid’s guide series, was published in 2020, with The Kid’s Guide to Camping coming in 2021.)

©2021 Eileen Ogintz. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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