Why Disneyland at Halloween is the Best Disney Ever

No Disney is bad Disney – but some Disney is definitely better than others. For me, Disneyland at Halloween is the actual best. I wrote about it for Forbes: read it here. But here are some spoilers, like the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion. IMG_4607

Then there’s also the Cars Land makeover into Radiator Screams, which is adorable, even for someone who really doesn’t like that movie (at. all.). See?

Then there’s all the characters dressed up for Halloween, which might be my favorite part of all.

 

Nah. Who am I kidding? It’s the Haunted Mansion.

Epcot World Showcase Guide: France

Yes, Disney is a magical place, and wherever you go, there will be fairy dust falling from the sky. But for everyone, there are more magical places than others. Mine is the France Pavilion in the Epcot World Showcase. To me, there’s nothing more special than sitting under the little Eiffel Tower, sipping pink champagne from Les Vins de France, watching Belle and Princess Aurora say hello to excited little (and not so little) fans. But did I mention the pink champagne? Here are my can’t-miss picks for what to see, eat, and drink (and eat and drink again) in France.

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France Pavilion in Epcot: Best friend not included

Les Vins de France

This wine bar is everything. My family always jokes that if they can’t find me in Epcot, I’m at the wine bar in France. They. Are. Never. Wrong. Conserve wine by buying the $5 souvenir glass that has a proper stem. Otherwise you’ll be walking around with those tiny sample cups and spilling your precious French vin everywhere. The selection of French wines here is really excellent, whether you’re a wine snob or not, but do yourself a favor and get a glass of bubbly. I love the (very pricey) Moët Pink Champagne, and the Nicolas Feuillate Champagne. My preferred World Showcase route is to start in France with bubbles, do the entire lap, and circle back to France for a glass of red Chateauneuf du Pape at night.

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Les Vins de France: Honestly, how can you pick?

Les Halles

This bakery is a little bit hidden behind a gift shop, but the croissants and desserts are worth finding. I challenge you to try just one thing. You can’t do it. The chocolate mousse and raspberry mousse have been among my favorites, but you can’t really go wrong. Pro tip: if the line at the wine bar is long, you can get almost everything they serve in here, too.

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Raspberry Mousse with Chocolate Cake, plus Champagne

Wine and Champagne Cart

There are two kiosks in the main walkway through France – one serving quick snacks like French Onion Soup, and one serving adult beverages. If you want wine, go inside to the wine bar, because the selection is much better. But that’s beside the point, because what you want here is a Grand Marnier Slush, a frozen drink made with Grand Marnier orange liqueur and Grey Goose L’Orange vodka. When they ask if you want to supersize it and add an extra shot – don’t think, just say yes.

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Grand Marnier Slush from the Wine & Champagne Cart

Monsieur Paul

One of the great tragedies of my life is that, despite having been on five WDW vacations in the last three years, I’ve never eaten at Chefs de France. I’ve made and had to cancel four different reservations there. But I have eaten upstairs at the fine dining Monsieur Paul, and it’s one of the best meals I’ve ever had, not just at Disney, but anywhere. I had Soupe aux Truffes, an oxtail broth-based soup with beef, vegetables and black truffles, topped with puff pastry; and Grilled Beef Tenderloin with potato macaire and oyster mushroom fricassee. But all that was eclipsed by the amazing dessert: a Milk Chocolate Sphere with chocolate almond cake and chocolate ice cream inside, with a warm chocolate cognac sauce poured tableside that melted the top of the sphere and gave me access to the deliciousness inside.

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Milk Chocolate Sphere from Monsieur Paul

A Breath of Spring at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival

Of all the times you could visit Epcot, my hands-down favorite is the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. Every spring, Imagineers transform Epcot into a magical wonderland, filled with real floral sculptures and topiary art. It’s so beautiful that it’s hard to imagine Epcot in any other way… and even when you go back a few months later and wine is falling from the sky at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, it’s still kind of a bummer that there isn’t a Tinkerbell made of flowers in England. Here are my favorite moments from this year’s festival.

Future World

Norway

 

Germany

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Africa

 

Italy

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England

 

And, Of Course, France

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