1. NEW TOPIARIESDisney’s topiary boss, Eric Darden, knows he’s got one chance for a “wow” first impression, and this year, he scores with two new topiaries at the entrance to Epcot: Ranger Mickey, the famous mouse dressed in ranger gear to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service, and Donald Duck with his nephews, Huey, Dewie and Louie.
2. New TastesThis year, two new outdoor kitchens capitalize on two trends: La Isla Fresca, featuring Caribbean food, and Cider House, showcasing all things cider, especially hard cider.
“Retro flavors are making a comeback,” Kesting says, “and that’s reinventing the hard soda and hard cider world.”
At the Cider House, you can try hard ciders in black cherry, blueberry and pear flavors — or mix the black cherry with a lager from Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, and you’ve created a Snakebite.
Kesting’s favorite food at this fest is the beef brisket burnt ends hash with white cheddar fondue and pickled jalapenos. That’s served at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews, the most popular outdoor kitchen at the festival, in the American Adventure pavilion.
That’s also where you get that frozen lemonade with moonshine.
3. New Teas
The 20-minute tour is held a few times a day. Check daily program schedules and get to the Tea Caddy in the United Kingdom to sign up as soon as the World Showcase opens.
4. New Tunes – Garden Rocks
Little River Band
5. New Temptations
For dessert? An “Ice Pop Grand Marnier Peach Cocktail” in France.
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