Sunday, May 21, 2017

Epcot 2017 Part 1 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last Star Wars Dark Side Weekend post, but I've finally had some time to finish up my post about Epcot.

If you missed my previous posts, please take a moment to catch up.

Let me start this post by saying, I've been to Epcot and except for Soarin', I have always thought that the park was pretty boring.  Yes they have beautiful flowers and very creative topiaries (or shrubs-of-art).  But I never understood what the big deal was of the park, especially when you have to pay over $100 to get in.  My thoughts and expectations changed on my last trip.
Usually on my runDisney weekends, I don't go to the parks very often.  Maybe once a trip.  It's just too hard to be on my feet and then run all of the races and the park prices are just too expensive.  I usually can fit it in after the 5k and then rest after the 10k.  It worked out well when I did the races in Disneyland in January.  So I decided to do the same thing.  I was thinking about going to Magic Kingdom since I haven't been to that park in a few years.  Kelly sent me their itinerary and for Friday they were heading to Epcot.  To say the least, I was a bit disappointed, but they were doing a Tea Tour that sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided to head with them to Epcot.

The Royal Tea Garden Tour is a 45 minute tour around the tea garden behind The Tea Caddy.  It's more of an in-depth explanation of the garden then you would get in the regular tour that happens a couple times in the afternoon.  The Royal Tea Garden Tour is only offered once a day in the morning.

The Tea Tour was a lot of fun, but since we had to be there at 9:15 AM, we had to bust our buts to get back from the 5k, shower and change, and get to Epcot by the time it opened.  And we did, with a few minutes to spare.  We were to check in at the Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom Pavilion and then the tour would start.

Our tour guides, Katie and Natalie, lead us to the gardens right across the street.  They both are from the UK and in the middle of a year long internships at Disney.  It was nice to be there before most of the crowds hit that part of the park.

We learned how the popularity of tea came about, because in the 1600's and early 1700's there were coffee and ale houses, tea was not really served in England.  We learned that basically all tea comes from the same type of plant, Camellia sinensis.  The big difference between the teas like green and black depends on the Oxidation.   Black tea is fully oxidized, which gives it its black color and green tea is still green because the oxidation process is left out.  The differences between each type of tea, like within the green tea family, is where the plant is grown and the weather and soil conditions.  Like the differences in wine types and where the grapes are grown.

We also learned that herbal tea isn't made from tea leaves at all.  They are made from dried fruit and spices to make up different flavors.  I do have to say, I'm a huge fan of herbal tea.  One of their suggestions, that I will be using this summer, is not only to make iced tea from it, but freeze it in pop cycle trays for a summer treat.  Or freeze it in ice trays to add to your ice tea and that will stop the ice from watering down your tea.

Also, tea bags were a concept that came up accidentally.  Apparently in the early 1900's they shipped the tea in silk bags to keep the tea together while it traveled.  The people who received it was supposed to take it out of the bags to brew, but they ended up brewing it in the silk bags.  And hence then the tea bag was born.

After the tour was complete, we were invited into The Tea Caddy to have a cuppa and some scones.  I tried their Buttermint tea, which if I remember correctly is a Twining's exclusive.  They also talked about another exclusive tea, the Lady Grey blend.  I'm not really a fan of black tea or Earl Grey, but this blend is supposed to be lighter and have some citric flavoring to it.  I wish they had it there to try.  I'll probably just have to buy a box somewhere to try.  While we were having our tea and scones we had a few visitors begging for food.  While I don't give them food, it was fun to see them up close.

After we had our tea and scones we saw that Marry Poppins was there for a character meet.  She was so prim and proper and a lot of fun.

We walked through Canada and decided to see the O'Canada! Circle-Vision 360 movie.  It was really cool to see a movie from all directions.

We headed through France, trying to figure out where to eat lunch.  Kelly loved the French quick-serve, but Franklin had bad memories of it.  So we decided just to stop and watch the movie there instead.  It wasn't as interesting as the Canada one, but we were able to sit down.  My feet were already starting to hurt a lot.  I really should have brought better shoes to walk around the park in.

We decided to hit Liberty Inn for lunch.  The sandwich and fries were really good, especially for a quick-serve.

This post has been getting pretty long, so I'll break it up into two parts.  Click here to read about the second half of the day!

Have you ever done any of the tea tours at Epcot?  Or any other tour at Epcot?  Have you had lunch at the French quick-serve?  Was Kelly or Franklin right about the place?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.


  1. I ran WDW half 6 years ago--we made it a family vacation. I used to think Epcot was boring but I have to say they really upped their game! We had such a good time. I don't think the tea garden was there when I was.

    1. I think so too. I'd can't wait to go back.

  2. We've been to Epcot several times, and I never knew the tea garden experience was there. I'm a dork in that I like all the different country's exhibits and seeing the various cultural things from each.

    1. I enjoy those things too, but I never thought there was more then just the restaurants and shops. I didn't know there were movies and exhibits like the tea garden.

  3. I had no idea there was a tea garden tour! Is it only in the Spring for the Garden and flower festival? -m

    1. I have no idea. The way I read it on the website, it sounds like it's year round. It was very enjoyable.

  4. I've been to Epcot once in my life, can't say I really remember much of it! (I was 18... so it was 30 years ago!). I love tea though, super interesting tour, it sounds like!