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5 Reasons We Love Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

Running from September 27 through November 11, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival opens this weekend with even more flavors to discover – it’s our favorite time of year, and here’s 5 reasons why…

1.  The Food

Epcot Food and Wine Festival - Food Choices

Whether it’s shrimp from Australia or griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey, there are so many choices from the 29 marketplaces around World Showcase.   With all those booths, and each booth offering 2 to 4 food choices,  there are dozens of food options to choose from all over the world.

2.  The Beverages

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - The beverages

From wines to beers, mixed drinks, to aperitifs, the Food and Wine Festival brings us beverage options that are not only tasty and refreshing, but also an eclectic sampling of what the world has to offer.  Only during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival can we sample beverages from around the world all located in one place and many are paired with the food offers at each marketplace.

3.  The Special Events

5 Reasons We Love Epcot's Food and Wine Festival - Events

Epcot’s Food and Wine is not just about the food and beverages at the marketplaces, there are several special events that that you can attend.  Some of the events like “Party for the Senses,””Dessert Dinner Discovery,”and Celebrity Chef Demonstrations, there are several different special events to attend.  Many are free and included with your Epcot park admission, but some do require an extra fee.

4.  The Merchandise

5 Reasons We Love Epcot's Food and Wine Festival - Merchandise

The merchandise available during the Food and Wine Festival is some of the most imaginable and creative that Disney offers all year.  From bottle openers, wine toppers, Mickey Chef Ears, wine glasses, and so many other merchandise options, there something for everyone to take home with them from this amazing event.

5.  The Cast Members

5 Reasons We Love Epcot's Food and Wine Festival - Cast Members

The Walt Disney World Cast Members are always amazing, but there is something special in the air this year, that makes them even more magical.  Each booth has been challenged with keeping themselves energized and you can even hear them all over World Showcase chanting and keeping everyone laughing and having fun.  You can feel the energy all over the festival and it rubs off on you…it’s awesome.

There is still time to get down to Walt Disney World and enjoy all that Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival has to offer!

It’s not too late to book your trip to experience
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!

Contact Kingdom Magic Vacations Today!

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Brazil – Guest Blog Post

Brazil makes its triumphant return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in 2013, and the menu it’s bringing with it is, in my opinion, outstanding.

When last we saw our Brazilian friends, in 2011, we were treated to their National dish – Feijoada. If you have an interest, Feijoada is typically a stew of black beans with beef and/or pork. Sounds good, eh? The Brazil marketplace also served us Seared Mahi-Mahi with Steamed Rice, Hearts of Palm, and Coconut-Lime Sauce – a dish that I absolutely loved that year.

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report:  Brazil

Well, in 2013, armed with a seared scallop and a delicious, but slightly small, portion of pork belly, Brazil absolutely storms back into Disney. And, if their 2011 mahi-mahi is an example of what they can deliver, we’re all going to be very happy to see them back in business!

Food & Wine’s offering of mahi-mahi has since moved on to be presented by our friends at the Singapore marketplace, but Brazil has responded by snatching the festival’s seared scallop away from New Zealand. I found New Zealand’s scallop to be quite good last year, and I’m counting on Brazil’s rendition – described as a Seared Scallop with Ragout of Tomatoes, Peppers, Hearts of Palm, and Steamed Rice – to be equally tasty. Hopefully it will be even be better!

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report:  Brazil

New Zealand’s 2012 Seared Scallop

I got the chance to sample Brazil’s Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado, and Cilantro at Tables in Wonderland’s Food & Wine Preview event back in late July. Although it was a bit of a small dish, the flavors were outstanding! The ingredients meld together in a symphony of “delicious-ness”, so, when you try it, make sure you get some of everything in every bite.

Pork Belly.jpg

A symphony of “delicious-ness”!

Brazil’s 2013 menu is rounded out by your choice of beverages:

  • Cervejarias Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer
  • Carnaval Moscato White
  • Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça

I enjoyed some of the Xingu black lager at the Tables in Wonderland event. Its color does its name justice, and I found it to be quite good. If you like craft beers, it’s definitely worth the price of a sample.

The Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil. Made from fresh lime, muddled with natural sugar, and mixed with Cachaça (a rum-like spirit) and ice, how can you pass by giving a frozen serving of this a try?

All in all, I’m pretty pleased by the offering Brazil brings in its return. As enthusiastic as I am about their menu, however, I think the absence of a dessert is a little bit disappointing. As a pre-festival “grade”, I’ll give them an “A-minus”.

It’s not too late to book your trip to experience
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!
Contact Kingdom Magic Vacations Today!


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

Imagineering Food & Wine Festival: Scotland – Guest Blog Post

Food & Wine 2013 is less than four months away, and the first big revelations as to what new things we can expect at this year’s festival have been unveiled.  The big news is that Scotland is joining the party!

Scotland joins the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Personally, I am very excited to see Scotland’s menu.  We could easily say, “Here comes the haggis!”.  Thinking about it, it’s hard to imagine how you can have a Scottish kiosk without including some rendition of their most world-renowned (or, should I say infamous) dish, but I just can’t see how a mostly-American clientele will take to a sheep’s liver, heart, lungs and other organs cooked inside a stomach.  Even if the dish is “Americanized” somehow, Scottish cuisine has so much more mainstream than that to offer.

Food in Scotland is a mix of many cultures and is littered with soups, broths, game, dairy products, fish, fruit, and vegetables.  Aberdeen Angus steaks are mouth-watering.  Seafood, such as Scottish salmon (either smoked or fresh), wild trout, salmon, oysters, and langoustines [also known as scampi] is world-renowned. Oh, and don’t forget their whiskey!

Aberdeen Angus steaks

Aberdeen Angus Steak

So, where does this leave us for Food & Wine ’13?  Let’s try to help out Jens Dahlmann and his team of world-class chefs.  What should Epcot offer at their Scotland marketplace this Fall?

We’ve already heard about “The Rusty Nail”.  A basic blend of Scotch whiskey and Drambuie, a Rusty Nail is a simple drink.  It isn’t going to cut it in my opinion.  Produced all over Scotland, the number of distilleries and unique varieties and flavors of Scottish whiskey can’t be contained in this article.  Suffice it to say that Chef Jens and his team should start their menu by designing Food & Wine 13’s flight of genuine Scotch Whiskey.

Scotch Whiskey Flight

Scotch Whiskey Flight

Cock-a-leekie soup is a Scottish soup dish of chicken and leeks in chicken stock.  It is also called “Scotland’s National Soup”.  Scotch broth is a filling soup that sports barley, cuts of lamb, mutton, or beef, and root vegetables such as carrots or turnips as its main ingredients.  Either individually, or sold as a sampling of both, we’re adding it to the menu on Chef’s behalf.

Cock-a-leekie soup is a Scottish soup dish of chicken and leeks in chicken stock.

Cock-a-leekie Soup

Scotch broth is a filling soup that sports barley, cuts of lamb, mutton, or beef, and root vegetables such as carrots or turnips as its main ingredients.

Scotch Broth

Scottish salmon accounts for 60% of the U.K. “catch” of fish.  I’m convinced that salmon speaks loudly of Scottish cuisine, and it has to be part of this kiosk’s menu.  I’m going to leave the culinary details to Chef and his entourage, but I’m imagining some type of combination of grilled salmon and langoustine as this marketplace’s main course.  Bring it on, Chef!

Grilled Scottish Salmon

Grilled Scottish Salmon

Of course, we can’t forget dessert.  Scotland is famous for its puddings, but my research led me to, what I think, has to be the “slam-dunk” of desserts – Crannachan.  Made from a mixture of whipped cream, Scottish whisky, honey, fresh raspberries, and toasted oatmeal that has been soaked overnight in more whisky, it uses a plethora of Scotland’s most famous ingredients. I’m anxious to try it, Chef!

Scottish desert crannachan

Crannachan

So, let’s review … we’ll grab a Scottish Whiskey flight to whet our whistles.  Then, we’ll start with small helpings of Scotch broth and Cock-a-leekie soup to fill the role of our appetizer.  The main course will be a culinary masterpiece of salmon and langoustine.  And, it will be followed by a serving of Crannachan.  Outstanding!  I can’t wait until September!  Let the festival begin!


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.


Walt’s Legacy of Protecting the Environment is Part of the Story at New Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, including the just opened Lion King wing, taps into Disney’s rich legacy of beloved characters and stories. It also taps into another part of the Disney legacy; a commitment to conservation and the environment that began with our company’s founder, Walt Disney, and is a key focus of our present and future.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort is Committed to Walt’s Legacy of Protecting the Environment

 A few of the environmental enhancements at the new resort include:

  • The opportunity for guests to help save wildlife and nature by contributing to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
  • Energy-saving LED lighting in the Ink & Paint Shop, the resort’s merchandise shop, and other areas of the resort.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort is Committed to Walt’s Legacy of Protecting the Environment

  • Reusable plates and utensils in the Landscape of Flavors food court.
  • Recycle bins in key locations in the resort’s public areas (the most for any resort on property) and, of course, recycle bins in every guest room.
  • Environmental information integrated into cast members’ overall training and guidelines.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort is Committed to Walt’s Legacy of Protecting the Environment

Walt Disney World Resort maintains the state of Florida’s Green Lodging designation for all of its resort hotels. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn was among the first resorts in Florida to receive the designation when the program launched in 2004. As our newest resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will be undergoing the process required to achieve this designation after the final wing of the resort, themed after “The Little Mermaid,” opens in September. To achieve the Green Lodging designation, resorts must focus on five categories: water conservation, education and awareness, waste reduction, energy conservation and indoor air quality.

Way-Out & Mad T-Cups at Mad T Party in Disney California Adventure Park

We recently journeyed down the Rabbit Hole to the Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure park, an energetic wonderland where we danced (most of) the night away, with the Mad Hatter and Alice on vocals. Eye candy abounds in this outdoor entertainment zone, with crazy costumes, dancing flamingos, hot-pink plastic chairs and lots of neon.

But we must admit, we thoroughly enjoyed just watching the crowd, especially the Hottest Deck in Town dancers, while we sipped a Croquetini (their version of a lemon drop martini) and a Long Island Iced T Party in the adjacent House of Cards Lounge.

 light-up souvenir cups

The light-up souvenir cups for non-alcoholic drinks are a blast – from a 16-ounce Mad Hatter Hat ($7.19) to a 32-ounce Wiggly Yard ($7.59) and a 32-ounce Mad T Party Sipper ($7.59). And the flavors are as vibrant as the backdrop, like Hatter’s Mandarin Fury (mandarin orange), Tweedle Blue (cotton candy), Jabberwocky Juice (Granny Smith apple) and Cheshire Chiller (desert pear).

The Mad T Party begins about sunset and continues until the park closes each evening. Check the park entertainment schedule for the latest schedule information.

Do you have a favorite drink at the Mad T Party?

New ‘Untamed’ Dining Adventure Transports Disney Guests to Africa

Sanaa Restaurant Animal Kingdom Lodge

An all-new dining experience hosted by a Disney animal specialist is available at Sanaa at Kidani Village, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World Resort. Over lunch, an animal expert reveals facts and myths about wildlife as guests immerse themselves in the culture and flavors of Africa.

There’s no more perfect setting, as Sanaa’s windows frame grazing zebra and giraffes, Ankole Cattle and White-Bearded Wildebeest. The experience accommodates up to 12 guests, offering an intimate, fun insider’s view, with plenty of time for questions.

Adding flavor to the experience: a four-course, African-inspired lunch made in Sanaa’s tandoor ovens. It boasts many delicacies, such as warm naan bread, savory dips, slow-cooked meats, unusual sweets and more.

After dessert, diners venture to a savanna lookout, to observe and learn more about the exotic animals grazing the landscape.

The Animal Specialist experience takes place every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Cost is $49, $29 ages 3 to 9 (special kid’s menu). The price includes the gratuity plus a $5 contribution to Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund. Reservations can be made up to 180 days prior to the experience.

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16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: A Passport to a World of Flavors Sept. 30-Nov. 13

Paradise Found: Tastes of Hawaii and Caribbean now on the Menu. Exotic cocktails will pair like a tropical daydream with fresh new tastes from more than one island paradise at the 16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival epcot-food-wine-festival-2011-300Sept. 30-Nov. 13, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort®. The one-of-a-kind 45-day festival serves up international cuisine, culture and entertainment from six continents, with more than 25 international marketplaces featuring tapas-sized portions paired with beer, wine and inventive new cocktails.

Be sure to watch Travel with Rick for updates with videos, pictures and other special information direct from Epcot during this amazing event.

Afternoon Game Drive Paired with Dinner at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Animal Kingdom SafariSavannas surrounding Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offer up a panorama of wildlife as creatures large and small roam the grasses, forage for food and play in harmony. The grounds are home to approximately 200 mammals and exotic birds representing a cross-section of the African palette – bongo, greater kudu, zebra, wildebeest, impala, African spoonbills and Eastern white pelicans, to name a few.

Just before sunset, eager adventurers gather outside the lodge with a guide for a thrilling game-viewing safari. Up to 12 persons can board a specially designed vehicle for a bird’s-eye view of a typical North African safari.

Safari-goers are wide-eyed as many animals move within feet of the vehicle.  Cameras and videos are poised to capture the Africa-like wonders.

Jiko DisneyThe second part of the journey leads to the resort’s signature restaurant, Jiko-The Cooking Place, where a savory South African feast awaits safari-goers. Flavors of Africa fill the air in a memorable multi-course meal served family-style and blending regional spices and grains. Popular South African wines are paired with each course, which includes a sweet display of desserts.

The Wanyama Safari is offered to guests (age 8 and up) staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, seven days a week at 4 p.m.

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