The year was 1988. I was 12 years old and two of my favorite things on this planet were Disney World and Glass Tiger. Fast forward over three decades and both are still two of my favorite things! Now that I have my own child, we are creating new memories to cherish at Disney World and Glass Tiger remains in heavy rotation on my Spotify (I would listen to the cassettes, but during the last few days of its life, my Sony Walkman destroyed them all).
This year, my husband and I decided to bring our six year old son to Disney World for Spring Break. While planning our holiday, an epic adventure in itself, I noticed the 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival would be taking place during our visit. This sparked my interest because I am an avid gardener and after the long, cold Canadian winter, I was really looking forward to seeing some colour. Something else also caught my eye as I was exploring the My Disney Experience App. Something called the Garden Rocks Concert Series. To my delight, Glass Tiger would be playing while I was visiting. My heart skipped a beat, maybe three! It was serendipity!
Since it was the first night of our arrival, we decided my husband would stay back at our resort, Pop Century, so our little guy would be ready for a full day of riding Slinky Dog Dash and the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios the next morning. As I was sitting on the Disney transportation bus to Epcot, it finally dawned on me. An evening exploring Epcot and Glass Tiger, by myself! No stroller. No baby wipes. No “I’m bored!”, “I’m hungry!” or “I’m tired, can you carry me?” An incredible warmth began to seep into my cells and it wasn’t just from the beaming Florida sun! It was the feeling of complete freedom, just for a few fleeting moments until I became “Mama” again.
Anyone who has been to Disney World knows how easy it is to become overwhelmed with the sights, smells and sounds saturating your senses. Add the incredible Disney character topiaries and the lush landscaping and I was thrown into sensory overload. I could not stop taking pictures. Each topiary was as amazing as the other. Beauty and the Beast at the France Showcase was my absolute favorite, followed by Elsa and Anna at the Norway Showcase.
The Garden Rocks stage is at the America Gardens Theatre in front of the American Adventure Showcase well into the heart of the World Showcase. This meant I was able to meander through the many outdoor kitchens offering food and drink. First stop, a divine grilled lobster tail with Meyer lemon emulsion at The Citrus Blossom. I made my way through the many merchandise kiosks clutching desperately at my purse, willing myself not to buy anything yet, it was only my first day! Next stop, Bauernmarkt in the German Showcase for a Hugo cocktail made up of sparkling wine, Elderflower and mint. So good!
I finally arrived at the America Gardens and was able to get a seat in the third row, very close to the stage. Glass Tiger, ever the consummate professionals who love what they do, played as if they were in a stadium with thousands of screaming fans instead of a few hundred middle-aged people, mostly women, still rocking their 1988 Diamond Sun world tour concert t-shirts. Their playlist consisted of their top hits which really helped to draw in those who may never have heard of the band, but have heard their catchy tunes on the radio before. They were awesome and the intimate venue allowed the band to be a little more casual and interact with the audience. Everyone left feeling great!
As I walked out of America Gardens, I noticed the crowd thickening and people milling about. I found a spot beside the World Showcase Lagoon right in front of the Italy Showcase to hunker down and enjoy a chocolate gelato from Gelati. I was about to leave in a state of ice cream bliss when the couple beside me asked me why I was going to give up such prime real estate when the fireworks were just about to begin? In the past, I have always been ambivalent about fireworks. In fact, I always took it as my cue to get to the Transportation Centre before the massive throngs of people did. This time, I figured I was on my own, no cranky child, I may as well experience everything Epcot has to offer. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth was unbelievable! From the fireworks display, the accompanying music and the images on the Earth-shaped steel ball in the centre of the World Showcase Lagoon. I was blown away!
Disney World is an awesome place for creating precious family memories, I just discovered that it is a pretty extraordinary place for adults too. I wonder if I can convince my husband that I must attend the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival happening this Fall? All in the name of research for the readers of One Cut Reviews, of course!
Book your Disney Magical experience like this one at https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/disney-vacations/
*Written by Special Guest Writer: Diana Andreacola