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3D: Disney’s Dessert Discovery Event at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Disney has introduced several brand new events as part of the 15th Annual Epcot Food and Wine Festival, including this 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery event! A friend and foodie, Colin Buchanan (you might know him as @ParadisePeer on twitter), has written up an incredible review of his visit. Take it away Colin!

3Ds: Delicious Decadent & Delirious
As part of my 15th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival excursion I chose to attend the inaugural “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery event. Actually, my entire week was scheduled around this event. As soon as this year’s events were announced, the 3D event jumped off the page with the lure of desserts, cordials and a V.I.P. view of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

After a speedy check-in, the crowds gathered first outside the World Showplace Pavilion and then in a large room just inside the building.

Crowd Outside of Event

At this point, the crowd was deceptively peaceful while we speculated on the evening’s offerings and discussed the event’s sponsor, Dekuyper, identified on the welcoming sign. We also played with our cardboard Mickey-vision goggles that produced Mickey rainbow effects similar to the effects produced by the glasses given to Annual Passholders during the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

3D Vision Goggles

As a voice welcomed us to the event, the curtain separating us from the main floor of the pavilion was drawn back and we had our first glimpse of the event. What happened next was a foodie’s version of rope drop in a room full of Toy Story Manias. Some of the guests gasped at the nearest table of chocolate, some ran to the far end of the room to take in the full view, all while a trio bravely played relaxing music reminiscent of the band on the deck of Titanic.

Live Music at the Event

Eats
My little group sized up the situation quickly and headed toward a table that would become our mother ship for the night. This is perhaps my best piece of advice for anyone heading to a future 3D or a Party for the Senses event: select a table first before being distracted by the temptations. In addition to the tables with chairs, several pub-height tables were provided for those willing to stand; plus we spotted guests relegated to sitting on the floor. Personally, I prefer my gluttony while seated at a table.

Once settled, we assigned roles and sent out scouts to collect reconnaissance.

Wide View of the 3D Dessert Event

The main floor of the pavilion contained several buffet tables, each one duplicated to provide two locations. Each buffet table consisted of two longer sides offering a different theme such as chocolate, warm desserts, mini pastries and doughnuts. Wait, doughnuts?

Some of the Goodies At the 3D Dessert Event

Two smaller tables sat at each end and provided the cordial offerings, including champagne, whiskey, and schnapps. In total, there were around eight of these dessert table islands.

For the dessert selections, the immediate favorite in our group was the Red Stag doughnut. Each doughnut was flambéed with Red Stag black cherry bourbon and sugar. While an amateur may have been content to stop there, the servers then added Red Stag infused ice cream and chocolate sauce making for a truly decadent tribute to the flavored bourbon.

Red Stag Doughnut

The dessert table with the longest lines was the hot dessert selection, which included a cobbler, a bread pudding, and a chocolate soufflé-style dessert that demanded further attention. The warm chocolate ganache torte was light and spongy like a cake, yet fudgy and dense like a rich brownie. Topped with more chocolate, it became a chocolate dream stuck somewhere between a chocolate soufflé and a lava cake. I think we can call it a lava soufflé.

Individual dessert items were not marked for allergies, but there were plenty of cast members available to answer any questions.

Initially, the crowd focused their drink selections on the champagne and dessert wine table. It was common for this line to stretch around both sides of the table. As the evening progressed, people discovered the great selection of whiskies, bourbons, schnapps and other cordials spread around the room. Our table became downright giddy when we discovered the Red Stag table offering the new Red Stag Lemonade so popular along the World Showcase promenade. We also had our chance to taste the bourbon on the rocks to appreciate its unique flavor.

Sadly for the sponsor, Dekuyper, their extensive line of schnapps was relegated to a corner table at the back of the room. As such, I fear many missed sampling the unique offerings. Hopefully during future events they will be moved to the front or their flavors will be paired with individual desserts to highlight the complementary flavors.

Dessert Drink Options

One disappointment voiced throughout the event was the lack of a wine offering. While the event focused on cordials, an offering of wines would have enhanced the pairings. We found ourselves enjoying the cordials between dessert courses rather than as an accompaniment the way a glass of wine might be enjoyed.

While the evening started with a mad dash to grab seats, a glass of bubbly, and first dibs at the most decadent desserts, the lines were easily absorbed after the first hour. Once settled, it was very easy to return to any table and select a dessert or cordial. While some folks still wandered the hall like sugar zombies inspecting each offering, most guests sat back and chatted with their neighbors discussing the event or their experiences during the first days of this year’s Food and Wine Festival.

Illuminations Viewing
As the culinary portion of the evening came to a close, we were guided to our V.I.P. viewing area for IllumiNations. Surprisingly we were not herded to the terraced viewing areas near the International Gateway. Instead, we were directed to Showcase Plaza directly across the World Showcase Lagoon from the American Adventure.

Illuminations, Reflections of Earth

To those not familiar with this area, there is a water-side viewing area that opens fifteen minutes before the show starts but you must sit on the ground during the show. Directly behind this area is a larger expanse where you can remain standing. Due to its close proximity to The Globe, you are treated to what is likely the sweetest spot for viewing the show.

As the show began, long-time visitors had their new Mickey-vision goggles in place mostly out of curiosity. As soon as the first shell exploded, I was surrounded by giggles of joy. What seemed like a new gimmick for an old idea gave way to an entirely new way of seeing the show. Each firework became a constellation of Mickey shapes around each pinpoint of light.

To the strains of the IllumiNations post-show anthem “Promise,” we gushed about seeing the show from an entirely new perspective and commented on images never previously noticed on The Globe. We also debated our favorite tastes from the earlier dining extravaganza and recommended the best of the 2010 Food and Wine selections. It was at this point that I truly appreciated the magic of such an event bringing together both Disneyphiles and Foodies to share their common passions.

Overall
Overall I felt that the event was well-priced with a great selection of both desserts and cordials. I certainly broke even on the Red Stag Lemonade. Many in the crowd compared the event to the Wishes! Dessert Party and agreed that the 3D Event was a much better value and provided a much more extensive selection. I have done the Disneyland Fantasmic! Dessert Party and would certainly agree. For anyone looking to participate in a special Food and Wine event, the 3D Event seems like a great place to start. Now, what’s for dessert?

Thanks Colin! For more information about the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival’s special events, check out our 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special and Signature Events Page! You can also check out our live coverage from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival here!

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12 Comments

  1. Kelly says:

    We did the Wishes dessert party this year, and had to admit defeat after just 1 plate! Wayyyy too much sugar that late at night. (I know, blasphemy!) Though I can see me hitting all the desserts and my fiancé standing and trying different scotches & bourbons!

    I heard that people brought their kids to this event and it wasn’t really a family environment, so what say you: kids? no kids?

  2. Sandra says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to review this event. We are booked for Nov. 5th and I love having enough information to have a plan and still leave a little room for surprises!

    Do you remember if there were any Ports to sample? I am surprised there were not many wine choices also but look forward to trying new pairings.

  3. Amie says:

    I am also interested in knowing if kids will feel welcome. My family will be attending next Thursday and my son is 8. Seems it may be more adult than I thought?

  4. Colin Buchanan says:

    Sandra, thanks for the response! I don’t remember seeing any ports. There was a white dessert wine that I believe was a Muscat. A deep port would have been fabulous! Perhaps we missed it so be sure to ask–I believe the Muscat was at the first table on your right as you enter. Have a great time!

  5. Colin Buchanan says:

    Amie, I think kids would be more than welcome! The crowd was mixed between those dressed for a night out like you’d expect at Party for the Senses but we were dressed for a day at Epcot and Food & Wine and felt right at home too. A few non-alcoholic drinks were offered including a caramel apple cider and lemonade plus water. Be sure to ask and I’m sure you can get juice and soda. This would be a great special Food & Wine event to introduce kids to the foodie world since you could roam free–it wasn’t a sit-down presentation like some of the other special events. I really think your son will have a blast and be made to feel really special. Enjoy!

  6. Colin Buchanan says:

    Kelly, as you can see in my response to Amie, the event was setup like a Party for the Senses event. It had the feel of a cocktail party. That said, it was still casual or perhaps casually elegant. At the end of the day you’re still experiencing a special event at Epcot so the entire family will always feel welcome. And who can’t resist the awesome IllumiNations location?

  7. Josh says:

    Great review Colin. When they showed the events list a while back the 3D Dessert Party is definitely the one that jumped off the page to me. Usually during the fourth up here they give away similar Glasses that have the special effects. I really think a Mickey pair would be neat though. ;)

    Also, I take it (mainly because of the alcoholic drinks) that this is a 21 and up event?

    Thanks!

  8. Colin Buchanan says:

    Josh, I don’t recall seeing *any* comment about over 21 only! Worth verifying for anyone that might be affected.

  9. caitlin says:

    Hey great review! I read it last night before I attended the event. It really is a lot of fun and I preferred it over the Wishes dessert party. It was nice they put out an assortment of cheeses to break up all the sweets. I only saw a handful of kids though. While they can attend most the desserts were geared for adults. For example the donuts are flambeed in a bourbon sauce and the ice cream is also bourbon flavored. As a kid Id be on the hunt for a nestle choc chip cookie or mickey bar that you just won’t find there.

    The firework viewing area was perfect. The glasses were a fun surprise as well. Be sure to grab a table in the middle!

  10. Colin Buchanan says:

    Caitlin, thanks for the update! Glad you enjoyed the event and thanks for helping to clarify the under-21 questions. Mmm, now I’m craving a Mickey bar…

  11. Jodye Kasher says:

    Good advice to get a table FIRST for the 3D dessert party. The lack of seating for everyone paying that exhorbitant price to get into the party, is just one of many reasons I won’t be doing this one again. We did it last year, and ended up going in only about 5 minutes after start time, and couldn’t get a table/chair all night. Plus, we expected something along the lines of the fabulous kinds of desserts you see at some of the restaurants at Disney (at least a few), and were unpleasantly surprised by desserts that you could pretty well pick up anywhere, nothing really special. The cookies that were supplied even seemed to be box cookies and not homemade. Strawberry shortcake and pretty simple dessert fare (mousse, etc.), nothing really special. Won’t waste my money on this one again. In contrast, we LOVED the seminars, which were 100 percent better than we thought they would be. Will be putting our money there this year. Everyone has their own preferences, but if you want a good dessert party, go to MK Fireworks dessert buffet or something like that, which is MUCH better for the price.

  12. Kim says:

    I have to second Jodye. I won’t do this again either. While most of the staff were very nice, when I left early for the Illuminations show (which I’d been told by one staff would be held at a place with seating) I was told by one of the staff on the way out, I should “go and make friends” after I explained I was leaving early because there was no place to sit. All of those sitting around me were grumbling about the seating and how the event wasn’t worth the price. I was also unimpressed with the desserts, mostly ho-hum and nothing notable

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