News: Updates to Disney’s Standard Bar and Lounge Menu

’Tis the season… and we’re not talking about Fall or the Holidays (though they are soon upon us here at Disney World). Nope, it’s about that time of year when Disney World bars and lounges receive a menu makeover.

Classic Margarita with a View

Classic Margarita with a View

If you’d like to explore all the options including beer and wine, we’ve got the updated Disney Bar and Lounge Menu for you here. And today we’re going page-by-page through the Specialty Cocktails to explore the new offerings, and see which of the favorites have stuck around. Allrighty, then… here we go!

Pimm’s Punch and the Rye Manhattan are both returnees that are included in the updated menu.

Pimm's Punch and Rye Manhattan

Pimm’s Punch and Rye Manhattan

Pimm's Punch as served

Pimm’s Punch as served

But the Moscow Mule, Blue Mule, and the Sidecar Noir (nominee for favorite name!) are all [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Festival Center Tour

Whew! The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is half over, and it feels like it just began!

There’s been a ton to do and see, but we couldn’t let another day slip by without showing you around one of the must-visit spots — Festival Center.

Festival Center

Festival Center

Located in the old Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World East, the venue comes alive each year for the Food and Wine Festival. This is your spot to attend low-cost seminars and demonstrations and other special events. You’ll find Festival information, Intermissions Cafe, and some great shopping here as well.

Festival Center Sign

Festival Center Sign

We recently toured the spot to bring you pictures of every corner. There’s a LOT to cover, so let’s get started!

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — Festival Center

Festival Center is THE place to begin your Food and Wine Festival Adventure. Helpful Cast Members provide you with information regarding all aspects of the Festival — from Marketplaces to Special Events.

Check out this map [Read more…]

What NOT to Eat at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Can you believe it? We are nearing the halfway point of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival already!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

So far, we’ve shown you delicious dishes — both brand new options and returning favorites — that are featured at the International Marketplaces located around World Showcase. But I’m thinking that leaves another question:

What are some of the items that we would definitely cross off the list?

Of course, in a perfect world, where there would be unlimited time, money, and stomach space, I know you’d gladly try everything on offer. But here in reality, those dollars (and Disney Dining Plan snack credits) must be spent wisely.

So while we’ve told you several dishes and beverages that we don’t think you should miss at this year’s Festival, today, I thought we’d run down the list of items that we plan to cross off. Because, well, something’s gotta give. :-) I’ll also give you some suggestions for what we’d get in place of these items.

Ghirardelli Sundae at Fife & Drum

In the past, Fife & Drum Tavern in the America Pavilion has had Festival success with extra menu additions like the Frozen Red Stag Lemonade. (That one proved to be so popular, it was added to the menu permanently.)

But while the Ice Cream Sundae with Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce on the menu this year is good, it’s not “skip another awesome menu item” good.

The sundae is Vanilla Soft Serve with a few pumps of Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce. There are way more tempting options all over World Showcase.

Ice Cream Sundae

Ice Cream Sundae Made with Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce

Instead, why not go for a frozen treat with international flair? Skip the soft serve, and go for some Kaki Gori at the permanent Japan stand, Kabuki Cafe.

Guylian Seashell Truffles at the Desserts & Champagne Marketplace

So, here’s where we make a bit of a confession. If there were one booth I’d outright skip at the Festival it would probably be Desserts & Champagne.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s just that I find so many more compelling options circling World Showcase Lagoon. Case in point: one of the menu items here is Guylian Seashell Truffles. This is not a dish. This is something that the Cast Member takes out of the box and hands to me.

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles

Sure, they’re only $1.75. But they can be bought at the grocery store…and when we are Food and Wine Festival-ing, we are definitely passing on this in lieu of more exotic fare.

If you’re looking for a truly satisfying chocolate dish, head to the Ireland Marketplace and try the amazing Warm Chocolate Pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard, which is more than worth the price difference.

Dole Squish’Ems at Refreshment Port

If you want to stop at the Refreshment Port for a Croissant Doughnut, we are totally on board with that.

But one featured Festival food we will not be making time or money for is the Dole Squish’Em. The prepackaged, applesauce-based snack may be a big hit with the preschool crowd.

Dole Fruit Squish Ems

Dole Fruit Squish’Ems

But unless you’re under 3 (or you really, really like flavored applesauce), we wouldn’t worry about checking this box off your passport. If you’re looking for a fruit fix, the [Read more…]

Friday Happy Hour: Winter Berry Margarita at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post

UPDATE: Please note that Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post — intended as a temporary location — is now closed. 

Even though Frozen Summer Fun has officially come to an end at Hollywood Studios, that doesn’t mean the fun has ended altogether!

A few elements of the special event that ran throughout the summer remain, including For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, and a new home for Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Snowground.

Sign to Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

Sign to Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post

Since there is Frozen food to be had there, we couldn’t resist stopping by its new spot across the street from Studio Catering Co.

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post

Entrance into the Snowground

Entrance into the Snowground

Food isn’t the only thing you’ll find at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. It still remains THE place to build your own snowman in Central Florida.

"Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?"

“Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?”

Snowman!

Snowman!

And there may be… oh, a little bit of Frozen merchandise available for purchase ;) .

Frozen Merchandise

Frozen Merchandise

Elsa and Anna dolls

Young Elsa and Anna dolls

Olaf plush

Olaf plush

But we’re here to check out the Sweet Treat Bar, tucked in the corner next to the Snowground. It maintains the same cozy, lodge feel that it did over the summer. They even brought out the snowflake decorated trash cans in honor of the wintry occasion.

Sweet Treat Bar

Sweet Treat Bar

And the menu, for the most part, remains the same as well — with a few [Read more…]

News! “Maelstrom Margarita” at Epcot’s La Cava del Tequila

It appears that Norway’s next door neighbor (well, in World Showcase, that is!) is offering a tribute to Maelstrom, which carried riders on a “High Seas Norwegian Adventure” for the last time earlier this week (the attraction was closed to make way for a Frozen-inspired refurb).

The Mexico Pavilion’s La Cava del Tequila is serving Maelstrom Margaritas to honor the beloved attraction.

Maelstrom

Maelstrom

The Maelstrom Margarita features “Premium Ambhar Tequila blanco, mango puree, orange liquor, and agave nectar served with blueberries, habanero peppers, basil and Tajin chili powder on the rim.”

©cavadeltequila

©cavadeltequila

The drink debuted on October 6th for La Cava’s “Margarita Monday,” and while we assume this drink will only be available for a very limited time, according to La Cava’s Twitter feed: “Maelstrom Margarita will be available until you stop buying it, so it all depends on you. Made in honor of the ride.”

So, if you find yourself in the Mexico Pavilion today while tasting your way around the World, stop by La Cava to raise a glass… and to remember [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Pictures and Review: Farm Fresh and Hops & Barley Marketplace Booths

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is well underway, and we’re hearing from lots of you that you’re really enjoying this year’s offerings!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Today, we’re taking a closer look at those little outposts of deliciousness, the Marketplace Booths found throughout World Showcase. Up to this point, we’ve focused on international flair, but this time out, let’s visit two uniquely American spots — Farm Fresh and Hops & Barley.

These two spots include some of our most beloved festival offerings this year.

(Get the bacon hash. Get. It.)

The Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth

The Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth is sort of something old and something new at the same time. The marketplace actually debuted as Florida Local in 2012.

2014 Farm Fresh marketplace booth

Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth

This year, Festival chefs wanted to expand the scope of the food served here. Rather than source ingredients from Florida only, they looked to showcase regional flavors. But the emphasis is still farm-to-market-fresh.

2014 Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth Menu - Click for larger image

2014 Farm Fresh Marketplace Booth Menu

You get the sense that they’re taking a back-to-basics approach. Dishes are homespun, but are executed with attention to detail and bold flavors.

For example — the Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash. This thing is just off the charts. I seriously ate it in, like, 30 seconds while I stood there like an idiot taking up space. It includes Nueske’s Bacon, plus lots of fresh ingredients like Sweet Corn, Potatoes, and Pickled Jalapeños. But the best part? The Hash is topped with creamy Hollandaise. Shazam.

Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash with sweet corn, potatoes, hollandaise and pickled jalapeño

Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and Pickled Jalapeño

The Griddled “Yard Bird” is another fun dish. It’s pretty straightforward, actually. Chicken Thighs are seasoned and then [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Pictures and Review: France and Mexico Marketplace Booths

We’re back today with another delicious look at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

It’s always exciting to see what new Marketplaces and other experiences pop up each year at the Festival, but I’m always eager to indulge in my tried and true favorites as well!

Today, let’s take a peek at some always-busy booths — France and Mexico — to take a closer look at both classics and brand new flavors.

The France Marketplace Booth

When you visit the France Marketplace, you’re participating in Food and Wine Festival Heritage! That’s right — it’s one of the original spots from the very first event, which was held in 1996.

And though the menu has changed a bit from year to year, it’s always a favorite stop for guests.

France Marketplace Booth

France Marketplace Booth

You’ll notice that the France booth has a very robust menu. With three different savory items, plus dessert, you could easily make a meal out of the offerings here. Add to that wines and cocktails, and you would definitely want to visit the Marketplace more than once to try everything.

2014 France Menu

2014 France Menu

The big news at the France booth this year was a change to the classic Escargot offering. In the past, guests have enjoyed Escargots en Persillade in the perfect stroll-and-eat version; the escargots were nestled in rounds of Brioche.

But in 2014, escargot became an ingredient in a savory tart. The Tartelette aux Escargots combined the Snails with Spinach, Garlic, Bacon, and Parmesan, presented in a deep, rectangular savory tart.

Tartelette aux Escargot

Tartelette aux Escargots

This one has probably been one of the biggest controversies of the festival this year! We’ve heard from guests who love it, and from guests who hate it.

Me? While I’m not a huge fan of spinach or snails on their own, the combo of flavors is an absolute win here. But really, is there a way to go wrong when Bacon and Garlic are involved??

Cross section of Tartlette aux Escargot

Cross section of Tartlette aux Escargots

Also joining the line up this year is Gratin de Crozets de Savoie. The savory combination of Gruyere and Mushrooms makes this rich vegetarian dish a hit.

Gratin de Crozet de Savoie

Gratin de Crozets de Savoie

The pasta used in the dish, Crozet, comes to us from Savoie. It’s a uniquely French version of pasta, customarily a whole wheat variety.

Gratin de Crozet de Savoie -- Inside

Gratin de Crozets de Savoie — Inside

Also on the menu is another popular option from years past:  [Read more…]

Review: Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package, and Food and Wine Festival Late Nights LIVE! Event

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is underway, and this year marks the debut of several new options for Festival guests. We’re going to cover two of the most popular — and most expensive — today!

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package is available exclusively to Disney Resort guests (as well as guests at Swan & Dolphin and Golden Oak), and the Food and Wine Festival — Late Nights LIVE! after hours party, which is available for purchase to all guests.

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

Today we’re breaking down the components into a few sections beginning with the Food & Wine Premium Package. At the end of the post, we’ll go over our thoughts regarding value for the price of these options.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package

There are three main components to the Food & Wine Premium Festival Package available for Disney Resort guests: In-Room Amenities, dedicated Food & Wine Festival Premium Package Areas at Epcot, and entrance into the Epcot Food & Wine Late Nights Live! party. The package costs $199/person.

In-room Amenities

I was definitely curious to see the in-room amenities included in the package, though I had some idea from the official description from Disney: “a select bottle of wine (for Guests over 21 years of age), a festival wine glass and delicious chocolate truffles.”

I arrived to my resort a few hours early, hoping for the possibility of an early check-in. I was kindly accommodated, but since I arrived early, I actually picked up my gift bag at Concierge Services at the front desk. So, if you are participating in this package and are also an early check-in hopeful (before 3:00PM), that’s just something to keep in mind. With that said, I received everything in a thermal Food & Wine tote.

Amenities Bag

Amenities Bag

Let’s check off the list, starting with the wine, which was a bottle of “Sogno d’ Italia (Dream of Italy)” Chianti. It was one of the bottles “made exclusively for Disney Parks.”

Dream of Italy Chianti

Dream of Italy Chianti

Sogno d'Italia label

Sogno d’Italia label

Guests can find this wine sold in the Italy Pavilion (we’ll have a “math breakdown” later on to discuss more of the value).

A Food and Wine Festival souvenir stemless wine glass is part of the package as well.

Souvenir wine glass

Souvenir wine glass

Four truffles came in an edible box made of dark chocolate, topped with a white chocolate themed decoration.

Truffle box made of chocolate

Truffle box made of chocolate

Flavors included salted caramel, cherry, ganache, and white chocolate.

Truffles

Truffles

The in-room amenities are fun, and it did feel a little like a holiday, opening gifts upon arrival.

Gifts inside the amenities bag

Gifts inside the amenities bag

But it may be the next three items that are of the most interest: a Food & Wine themed MagicBand, a $50 Disney gift card, and the Premium Package “credential” lanyard, which grants guests access to exclusive Premium Package Areas within the Festival.

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

Premium Package credential, gift card, and themed MagicBand

The credential is a lanyard to wear around the Festival, and while we’ll explore its design and function more in the next section, it’s worth noting that one side is printed with the dates the guest can access the Premium Package areas.

The MagicBand is decorated with the current signature artwork for the Food and Wine Festival.

Themed MagicBand

Themed MagicBand

Themed MagicBand

Themed MagicBand

Finally, there is a $50 Disney gift card. It’s the [Read more…]

DFB Reader Spotlight: Make Your Own Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tray!

So, you all know that you’re the best readers in the history of blogging. Here’s a little story sent in via email (with pictures, of course) to prove it.

As many of you are aware, I highly advocate bringing your own tray to Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival every year. After all, there usually isn’t a great place to sit and eat at every booth; so it can be helpful to have a method for carrying all of your goodies and drinks around with you as you’re looking for a good stopping point in the shade. As it turns out, this is true for the rest of the parks as well!

Disney Food Blog Reader, Jocelyn Martins, explored the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (and other Walt Disney World parks) with her own Disney Food Blog Tray!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 2.35.04 PM

That’s right; she took our unique bumper sticker and attached it to the food tray she brought from home. Totally L.O.V.E. that she brought it to Disney with her!!!

Jocelyn reports that she loved using the tray and apparently other guests admired it, too. She was asked several times where to get one! Take a look…

DFB Tray with Eats and Drinks

“I had to grab just one more pumpkin ice cream macaron sandwich, but couldn’t pass on the martini either… thank goodness I had my own DFB Tray to balance on the stroller!” (We knew we loved her.) Head to L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France for your own ice cream treats.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

“Luckily I knew  from the DFB to look for the Harambe Popcorn Cart because our most-awesome-ess server, Neil, at our Tusker House Breakfast had worked there forever and had no idea where I could find the Jungle Juice Slushies.”

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

Jocelyn then used her homemade DFB Tray to [Read more…]

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Food Pictures and Review: Brazil and Puerto Rico Marketplace Booths

We are continuing our LIVE coverage from the first week of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

We’ve been busy eating at the various Marketplaces and attending events to bring you lots of good information.

And today, we’re ready to offer you the first in-depth look at two booths that are crowd favorites — Brazil and Puerto Rico.

Let’s go!

The Brazil Marketplace Booth

The Brazil Marketplace returned last year after a brief hiatus, and wasted no time establishing itself as a favorite stop on festival guests’ trip around the World. And this year, it’s back again on a big ol’ plot of World Showcase land all its own (with a WATERFALL! and LIVE MUSIC!).

2014 Brazil Marketplace Booth

2014 Brazil Marketplace Booth

This is the old Belgium location (Belgium has been booted next door), so there’s a seating area set up covered with colorful flags.

Gorgeous Seating Area for Brazil

Gorgeous Seating Area for Brazil

There’s a little waterfall (which the Cast Member made sure I knew about; they’re super proud of it). And if you’re lucky, you might catch some live Brazilian music while you’re there.

Brazil Marketplace Scenery

Brazil Marketplace Scenery

The food is pretty much all new, except for the pork belly. And the drinks include some good offerings.

2014 Brazil Menu

2014 Brazil Menu

We were interested to see a new seafood dish debut at the Brazil Marketplace. The Moqueca de Pescado features responsibly farm-raised Regal Springs Tilapia. It’s flavored with a Coconut Lime Sauce and is served on a bed of steamed Rice.

You guys know I’m not a HUGE seafood eater, but some of the festival’s offerings this year have made a liar out of me…including this one. I really enjoyed it! The dish is light with good flavor. But I was shocked that after I took my first tentative bite of fish, I actually went back for more. Red-letter day for me, my friends. ;-D

Moqueca de Pescado Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

Moqueca de Pescado Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

One of 2013’s most popular dishes, Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro, returns this year. While the 2013 version also featured Avocado in the mix, we aren’t really missing it. The Pork Belly stands on its own just fine!

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro

One of our early favorites this year is the [Read more…]