Guest Review: Epcot Food and Wine Festival 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery

Sweet! Let’s welcome MealTrip as he shares a review of this year’s 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery, one of several special events held at this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival. This year, the event introduced a new upgrade called Sweet Seats. Take it away!

The 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery event is a ticketed dessert extravaganza held in the World ShowPlace in Epcot, and capped off with specialty viewing of the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show. Cost of this event is $55 per person.

Chocolate Art at the Disney Dessert Discovery

As the Discovery enters it’s sophomore year, we welcome the introduction of “Sweet Seats.” This additional upgrade ($25 extra) elevates your party from the mass of sweet-seeking attendees waiting patiently behind the closed doors of the World ShowPlace Pavilion and places you squarely into a private reserved table with your name on it (literally), a full 15 minutes before the official start of the event.

Sweet Seats Signage

Check-In and Atmosphere

If you don’t mind waiting in a tight huddle with a few hundred soon-to-be acquaintances, the Sweet Seats upgrade really is just an option, and not needed to fully enjoy this abundant dessert extravaganza.

The 3DDD event by itself is one of the most economical ways to get inside the World ShowPlace Pavilion, and if you have never been inside for a Party for the Senses (review coming soon!) or other private event, it’s a very unique space worth experiencing at least once.

Outside World Showplace

The check-in queue for the event begins on the World Showcase Lagoon side of the main walkway, just past Off Kilter’s stage in Epcot’s Canada. If you have purchased the Sweet Seats upgrade, your check-in is directly in front of the World ShowPlace gate, where you will receive a special glittering wrist band.

Fifteen minutes before the event begins, the Sweet Seat ticket holders are escorted directly to their tables. After an all-too-short 15 minutes, the doors are opened to all of the other 3DDD attendees.

Holding Tank for Attendees

The term “Running of the Foodies” comes to mind, and those familiar with the Party for the Senses format will feel right at home. Everyone is, naturally, looking for a table and a place to sit. While we did notice a fair number of people making use of the “standing tables,” it wasn’t quite clear if they were doing it for convenience or necessity.

There did seem to be ample seating around the room, but it didn’t “feel” like a capacity crowd, either. Your outcome will vary depending on how many guests are attending on any given night.


There was a live band again this year. Last year’s band was quite subdued and provided light background music… this year’s band completely energized the building with dessert music (Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”, get it… “sweet” songs… “dessert”… well I thought it was rather clever anyway).

The five piece band was quite good, and had many people dancing by evening’s end… including quite a few of the event service staff!

The Band


The Dessert Discovery is one of the few “dessert party” types of events that offers just about as many savory “snacks” as it does beverages and traditional desserts. I have my favorites… but everyone is sure to find something that they really enjoy.

I don’t want to bias your experience by saying anything too descriptive about any specific dish… but… how can you not love a fresh doughnut flambeed in butter and cinnamon, topped with Red Stag infused Sun-dried Cherries, and covered in a ball of Red Stag Ice Cream with a couple of Bourbon Pipettes tossed in just for good measure?

Flambeed Cinnamon Doughnuts

Cinnamon Doughnuts

Then, just to cleanse your pallet, there are chefs melting fresh cheese and pouring it on top of crusty bread or pita bread, with accouterments such as sun-dried tomato pesto and capers, onions, sliced prosciutto, smoked ham and German sausages. Gorgonzola Muffins with Prosciutto Streusel anyone?

Surprisingly, Courvoisier Rose Cognac and Club Soda really does go with everything… don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!

Savory Cheese Station

And that is the key to the whole event: Everything offered may or may not be your new favorite, but it’s not often that so many sweets, treats, fruits, savory morsels and “adult” beverages are assembled in one building, on one evening. So try a little of this and a little of that, and maybe you’ll find some inspiring new combination or treat!

Funnel Cake Bread Pudding

Strawberry Bavarois


Crave Chocolate Liqueur

With that, a special shout-out goes to BabyCakes (offering all-natural, vegan, organic baked goods free from common allergens such as wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs). They showed up en force with desserts that covered a table that was just about the same size as their whole entire Downtown Disney location!

If you’re attending one of the 3DDD events, seek them out and pick up a mini doughnut, cupcake, cookie or brownie, and see what you think. I know, a healthy dessert could be a hard sell, especially if you have no food allergies, but I have had the opportunity to try a few of their offerings now and am constantly surprised with just how delicious they are. (Editor’s Note: My favorites are the cookie-and-frosting sandwiches!)

BabyCakes Gluten-Free, Vegan Bakery Area

At the end of this post is a menu of our 3DDD evening’s offerings… certain individual items may be unique to that week’s event and not always offered on every night. I have no official first hand information, but based on last year’s event, very few items changed from night to night.

Sweet Seats Review

Now back to the Sweet Seats! There were two (possibly three, if you count the “house made truffles”) desserts that were exclusive to the Sweet Seats area.

Chocolate Truffles

Desserts Exclusive to Sweet Seats Attendees
The first was a bite-sized chocolate souffle, which was incredibly rich and fluffy, in a very crispy little shell. Simply shrinking down a full sized dessert doesn’t always work out, but in this case, it was an actual proper little souffle. So kudos to the souffle team!

Chocolate Souffle

Chocolate Souffle Close-Up

The other exclusive deserves it’s own paragraph… Freeze Fried White Chocolate Foam. The flavor is about what you would expect with White Chocolate Foam: it’s sweet. The real fun happens in the Freeze Fried process.

A tablespoon-sized amount of White Chocolate Foam is piped onto an Anti-Griddle(tm) with an appetizer pick in it (lollipop style), and brought down to a semi-frozen state. The whole dollop is then scooped off the Anti-Griddle(tm) and placed in liquid nitrogen, where it’s flash frozen.

When handed to you, the little ball of sweet goodness is still smoking because everything around it is so much warmer.

Frozen White Chocolate

If you wait too long and take it back to your table to eat it, you’ll lose most of what makes this such an interesting morsel. Bring your friends with you, bring your cameras, and taste it right there! Blow on it and watch the frozen fog flow out into the room. Place the whole thing in your mouth and watch in amazement as you attempt to blow liquid nitrogen smoke rings.

Granted, it may not sound like so much fun reading about it in a blog, but after a few cordials, it’s more fun than you could possibly imagine.

And no… I didn’t ask her to flash freeze one of the chocolate mint whoopie pies… but I am going back to the last event in November, so there’s still time.

Whoopie Pies

As far as the Sweet Seats “specialty beverage” goes, I could be mistaken, but after doing a fair amount of searching I believe that the “specialty beverage(s)” were Flambeed Coffees. If anyone was there that night, and found something else that was exclusive to the Sweet Seats area, please write in and let me know!

Is The Sweet Seats Upgrade Worth It?
In all seriousness though, people will ask “Is the Sweet Seats upgrade worth it?”

For me, just the frozen white chocolate foam makes it “worth it.” You’re not very likely to get your own Anti-Griddle(tm) and liquid nitrogen at home, or even find it in a restaurant because it is such a fleeting, and labor-intensive process. It’s the kind of treat that fits in perfectly with the nature of a Disney’s Dessert party events. It’s the experience, and not the actual cost of the raw ingredients, that make it “worth it.”

The only thing that caused me to raise an eyebrow all evening was the Flambeed Coffee as an upgraded “specialty beverage.” I was fully hoping to find an Ice Wine or a Sparkling African Wine, a Honey Wine even… just maybe something a bit more than… Coffee. Don’t get me wrong, they were good coffees… I’m just saying.

The Sweet Seats were also all given a parting goodie bag with quite a decent-sized pallet of Storck Chocolate, Guylian truffles, and a few Werthers Caramels as well.

Sweet Seats Parting Gift Bag

IllumiNations Viewing

About a half hour before Illuminations was to begin, an announcement was made thanking everyone for attending the event. The light stick crew began guiding everyone to the reserved Illuminations viewing area at the very front of the World Showcase Lagoon (between Mexico and Canada, just in front of the entrance to Future World).

Much earlier in the evening, we were all given our special “3D” glasses, which should be used to view Illuminations. I won’t say much about those, because they are fun and surprising, especially if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

The viewing area is a great spot… and usually packed with people… but with only the 3DDD attendees in that location, there is a bit more room to move around and I could easily maintain my three foot radius of personal space.



All in all, 3DDD is a very enjoyable event. Both the Sweet Seats upgrade and the basic 3DDD entrance costs are a good value (in relation to other Disney events)… especially if everyone in your party can enjoy adult beverages.

While there are quite a few traditional desserts for the younger pallets, such as cookies and cotton candy, the Wishes Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom might be a better value for younger groups.

3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery Menu – October 7th, 2011

Doughnuts and Coffee
– Flambeed Cinnamon Doughnuts with red Stag Infused Sun-dried Cherries served with red Stag Ice Cream
– Iced Coffee Cream with optional Jim Bean Bourbon Pipette
– Chocolate Malted Milk with optional Devil’s Cut Bourbon Pipette

Cheese and Fruits
– Display of Four Artisan Cheeses with Dried Fruit Chutney Breads and Crackers
– Warm Cheese with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Capers served with Boiled Potatoes, Cornichons, Onions, and Crusty Bread
– Golden Pineapple, Ripe Melons, Grapes, Apples and Driscoll’s Berries with Agave Greek Yogurt Parfait

Sweet Classics
– Espresso Panna Cotta
– Strawberry Guava Bavarois
– Chocolate Laced Eclairs
– Linzer Diamonds
– Sugar Dusted Bavarian Cream Puffs
– Chocolate Chip Cannoli
– Mini Assorted Whoopie Pies

Confectionery Factory
– Tubes of Colorful Candies
– Werther’s Original Caramels
– Cotton Candy
– Assorted Fresh Baked Cookies
– Crispy Rice Treats
– Warm Funnel Cake Bread Pudding

– Ocean Spray Craisin Polenta Cakes
– Gorgonzola Muffins with Prosciutto Streusel
– Crave Chocolate Chile Muffins
– Seasonal Mini Cinnamon Pumpkin Buttons
– Sliced Prosciutto, Smoked Ham and German Sausages

BabyCakes NYC
– Assorted Flavors of Mini Cookie Sandwiches
– Assorted Flavors of Mini Doughnuts
– Brownie Bites

– John DeKuyper & Sons Crave (Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Chile)
– Cruzan (Car #9)
– Thatcher’s Organic Liqueurs (Blood Orange Margarita with Sauza Tequila Blue, and Apple GInger Cooler with Cruzan Single Barrel)
– DeKuypers Cordials & Liqueurs with Coffee
– Red Stag Hot Cranapple Pie
– Devil’s Cut Bourbon
– Grigich Hills Estate (Grigich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Grigich Hills Chardonnay, Grigich Hills Fume Blanc)
– Opici Wine Company of Florida (Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz Western Cap South Africa, KWV Tawny Port, South Africa, Clayhouse Malbec)
– Courvoisier Rose
– Martini Asti and Martini Rose
– Twinings Premium Teas

Sweet Seats Upgrade Area Offerings
– Variety of House made Truffles
– Freeze Fried White Chocolate Foam
– Warm Mini Chocolate Souffles
– Flambeed Coffees

Let us know what YOU’D try at the 3D Disney Dessert Discovery event! I think this one might have to be on our list next year — it’s a great value!

See more reviews and breaking news from the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival here.


  1. John B says

    I was at this event last week and LOVED it! It was a great value, by Disney standards, at $55 (of course, it depends how much you eat and drink . . .). The donuts were my absolute favorite. My only complaint would be that it was really DARK in there, I could barely see what I was eating. I did not do the Sweet Seats, and really don’t think it’s necessary. There were really no lines for anything and nothing seemed to be gone until very late in the event. They gave the goodie bags to everyone, not just Sweet Seat people (although mine did not have the Martini book, but they also gave that out at the Sweet Sunday). The addition of the savory items was nice, and I actually think some of that stuff was better than the desserts. I would defiantly do this again!

  2. Kathy Coppola says

    I attended the event (with the Sweet Seats) on Oct. 14th, which also happened to be my birthday. I don’t recall what the specialty beverage was with the sweet seats, but I think you’re right in that it was coffee with some kind of alcohol in it. I will say, though, that there was Iniskillin Ice Wine at one of the regular tables. They had both a white version and a red version and they, of course, were very tasty! Also, for my birthday, they brought out a white chocolate Mickey Mouse and some cookies on a plate on which they had written “Happy Birthday”. Quite a nice unexpected treat, even if I was too full to eat it! Thanks for your reviews. I always look forward to reading them and adding more items to my Disney Food Bucket List!

  3. Linda K says

    We attended (with the Sweet Seats) on October 14th also. The Cinnamon doughnut was my favorite that evening. We were celebrating our Anniversary and they brought out the plate with Mickey Mouse. And we also enjoyed the Ice Wine. I loved watching Illuminations – it was like an explosion of Mickey Heads!

  4. JoAnn says

    I won’t be attending this year. I will keep this in mind for future trips to the Food & Wine Festival.

  5. Sue says

    I read the review Oct. 20th about the Sweet Seats and set out to upgrade my reservation for NOv. 11th. Called disney dining and the cast member knew NOTHING of this upgrade. I was put on hold for close to 15 minutes and then was disconnected!
    I called back later and was told it was not available. My daughter in the Air Force is able to join us (!) and thought it would be such a nice surprise. Does anyone know if the Sweet Seats are really sold out?

  6. Erin says

    Went to this tonight and it was fabulous! Felt it was totally worth the $ and we had an excellent time. No problem getting a table and ended up sharing it with an adorable couple. The fireworks viewing location was perfect and we LOVED the 3D glasses effect!

  7. mealtrip says

    – Sue, There is a special festival booking phone number, (407) 939-3378 which is different than the normal dining number, presumably the reservationist would have specific Food and Wine Festival knowledge. My only other thought here, might be that it is all booked out already. The Sweet Seats area itself is not very large in relation to the rest of the building, so it’s conceivable that they have booked them already. The 3DDD is a great event though, even without the Sweet Seats upgrade, and they are still booking general reservations to the event (the booking agents know it simply as “Dessert Discovery” or “Dessert Discovery with Sweet Seats” … occasionally they’ll get hung up on the event names). Best of luck with your booking!!!

  8. patty says

    I have always wanted to go to an event like this or the Party For The Senses but have heard that the initial “run for a table” is awful. I can’t believe Disney allows this scramble to happen. They are always so organized and put such an emphasis on safety first. With that being said, my family and I do plan on attending one of these events this October since I hear it is AMAZING!!
    Thanks for your great blog.

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