My Christmas holidays usually consist of a few common themes; a few feet of snow on the ground, a good red wine, Frank Sinatra playing in the background, and the joyful camaraderie shared with family and friends. However this year, wanted to do something a little different.  With Martin being unable to go back home to visit his family, we decided to have our very own Christmas celebration, on a smaller scale.  He surprised me by getting a two night stay in the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel. As soon as I got out of the car, my mouth dropped. The hotel honestly looked like it belonged in Las Vegas, not Orlando. Nevertheless, it was strikingly beautiful.

The hotel definitely succeeded in the ‘getaway without getting away too far’ sense.  I was beyond impressed by the architecture and grandiosity of things.  Whoever the architects were for this place, I wish I could find them and shake their hands.

The hotel

Hotel lobby

Convention area of hotel

Walking out of convention area; high nave ceiling, similar to a Romanesque cathedral

Hotel by day

I’ve never been to Disney during the holidays, so was curious to see what it was all about.  Martin and I decided to check out Epcot. As a child living in Ohio,  the only time I got to see Disney in all its splendor was when I went for a visit at my grandma’s place in Kissimmee, Florida. When you’re young everything is on a larger scale, things are more bold and surroundings more sparse. But Disney hasn’t lost its creative streak; even now, 26 years old, I can still sit back in awe at the things they can create.  Disney has succeeded in cultivating a sense of magic within the heart, whether young or old.

The thing I especially liked about Epcot was how you could tour the different countries, and, although not actually dispersed on foreign land, could still get a feel for how each country is individual to their celebration. We started in Germany, my favorite, for the architecture, food, and atmosphere.  I admired the baroque, tudor influence on the buildings, with red roofs, windows adorned with flower boxes, and murals among some of the building exterior.

During the holidays, the Germans drink a hot, mulled wine called Glühwein. The recipe consists of red wine, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaf, orange zest and lots of sugar. Its taste is sweet, but tart.  This is enjoyed by many during the cold, dismal winter nights.

Glühwein

After two mugs of Glühwein, I was feeling pretty relaxed and eager to see more, so Martin and I decided to trudge a little bit more through Epcot, checking out the various ‘countries’.  Our next stop was China.  The Chinese pavilion reflected the architecture and traditions of China.  There was a small show going on with acrobats when we first entered, I stood awhile and recorded some of their graceful, physical feats.

Chinese acrobatic performers

Gravity defying feats

Amazing...

What got me, was the young age of these boys.  Presumably, around the age of, 8-10 range.  Even in their young age,  the maturity they exhibited during their show was evident.  Very focused, poised and calm.  Beautiful show, really liked it.

Temple of Heaven replica

This temple serves as the main landmark when you enter into China.  It’s a half scale replica of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China, built in 1420 A.D.

Temple entrance

The interior was just as magnificent as the exterior, I learned from the Epcot host that details down to the intricate tiles contained within the walls and ceiling were carefully studied before being painted…

Temple interior

Next was a stop to England, I enjoyed the authenticity…complete with alleys, cobblestone streets, uniform light posts, even a fish and chips spot!

England

Me, enjoying (epcot) England

And let’s not forget the English telephone booth, exemplary of the UK…

Did you ring???

Italy was an impressive display, as soon as we walked in to the pavilion, the smell of marinara, garlic and fresh bread tickled your nose. The architecture was Italian, that kind of Romanesque, romantic feel to the buildngs.  Because it was Christmas, many of the balconies were adorned with ornaments and garland.

Neighboring Italy was the France pavilion, I enjoyed the lattice adorning the buildings, quaint storefronts and topiary gardens throughout…

Adorable store front

The Japan pavilion was indeed aesthetically pleasing, the main pagoda, greets visitors at the entrance. Behind it, a small Japanese garden, the hanging lanterns projecting small color splashes of yellow and blue on the ground…

Pagoda

Lanterns

Closing in on our holiday tour of Epcot, was a towering Christmas tree, measuring at least 20 feet, lights glittering within it…

Epcot Christmas tree

All in all, I enjoyed my not so traditional Christmas.  Of course the focal point of the holidays is to surround yourself with those you love and appreciate, but why not mix it up sometime and do something different? Kudos 🙂

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