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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!