Disney Foodie Decor: Walt Disney World Gingerbread Houses

Get a comfy chair, my friends, ’cause this is a long one! Lots of great photos of the Walt Disney World Gingerbread Houses, including some fantastic detail shots that I can’t wait to share with you. Tuck yourself into your snuggie, get a cup of hot chocolate, and off we go to tour the WDW Gingerbread Houses!

Disney’s Contemporary Resort
One of my favorite parts of Disney World is Mary Blair’s gorgeous mural on the Grand Canyon Concourse, and this 17-foot-high tree fits perfectly within the look and feel of her masterpiece.

Disney's Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Tree

Disney's Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Tree

And, as is common in Disney’s gingerbread displays, there’s a hidden Mickey!

Contemporary Gingerbread Tree Hidden Mickey

Contemporary Gingerbread Tree Hidden Mickey

Here are the stats on this Gingerbread display:

Contemporary Display Ingredient List

Contemporary Display Ingredient List

Contemporary Gingerbread Display Ingredient fun facts:
136 lbs. of honey
101 lbs. of flour
50 eggs
75 lbs. of icing
5 lbs. of spices
5 pounds of sugar syrup

And there are even a few beautifully designed character cookies for sale, so you can take a piece of this work of art home with you.

Contemporary Kids

Here’s a close-up of my very favorite one:

blair cookie

Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Over to the Epcot resorts to visit the traditional gingerbread carousel at the Beach Club! According to Disney, this holiday season marks the 10th anniversary of the carousel, a “fully detailed, life-sized carousel in the resort’s lobby that is created from a recipe that uses gingerbread, chocolate and sugar paste, and tons of enthusiasm, energy and talent.” Remember if you’re visiting: once a day, a guest is chosen for a photo with pastry chef Stefan Riemer!

10th Anniversary

Beach Club Carousel

There are always gorgeous details and intricate additions to the carousel; here are a few of this year’s special additions:

Minnie on the Carousel

Minnie on the Carousel

Tink Herself Crowns the Carousel

Tink Herself Crowns the Carousel

This year, 10 “hidden Mickeys,” one for each year, can be found on the carousel! There are also a few additional gingerbread structures flanking the spinning masterpiece: A princess castle, Chip and Dale’s Tree House, and a “What Will You Celebrate?” carousel horse, complete with an invitation list!

Beach Club Gingerbread Castle

Beach Club Gingerbread Castle

Chip and Dale's Tree House

Chip and Dale's Tree House

Carousel Horse

Carousel Horse

What Will You Celebrate? Invite List

What Will You Celebrate? Invite List

Beach Club Carousel Ingredient fun facts:
36 lbs. of honey
96 lbs. of bread flour
100 pints of eggs
10 lbs. of spices
10 quarts of simple syrup
100 lbs. of icing
50 lbs. of dark chocolate
10 quarts of egg whites
100 lbs. of confectioner sugar

If staring at all of this gingerbread makes you hungry, head over to the merchandise center nearby to get your own gingerbread treats:

Items for Purchase at Beach Club Gingerbread Center

Items for Purchase at Beach Club Gingerbread Center

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
I love the Boardwalk Inn’s display this year! It’s funny, joyful, bright, and packed with detail. This year, the lobby of Disney’s Boardwalk showcases a gazebo made of gingerbread and chocolate — and one Donald Duck in quite a predicament!

Boardwalk Gazebo

Boardwalk Gazebo

Look out Donald!

Close Up Donald

Luckily, Daisy and Stitch are prepared to step in…kind of…

Daisy at Boardwalk

Stitch at Boardwalk Gazebo

And here are some incredible details found in and around the gazebo:

Donald and Daisy Claus

Donald and Daisy Claus

See the Hidden Mickey

See the Hidden Mickey

Chip and Dale Roasting Marshmallows

Chip and Dale Roasting Marshmallows

Second Hidden Mickey

Second Hidden Mickey

And, of course, the Ingredient list:

Boardwalk Ingredient List

Boardwalk Ingredient List

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The biggest and most famous of the gingerbread displays, the Grand Floridian’s life-sized gingerbread house is a classic tradition at Walt Disney World.

The gingerbread house is so large, it doubles as a bake shop selling cookies, gingerbread ornaments, stollen bread, chocolate-peppermint bark, lollipops, and Grand Floridian logo boxes filled with truffles. Demonstrations of how to decorate a gingerbread house take place in front of the gingerbread house daily except Sundays.

Grand Floridian gingerbred house

GF House

Of course, this gingerbread house has plenty of detail as well:

Front Door Detail

Front Door Detail

BIGGFSnowman

Can you find Timon and Puumba?

close up GF timon puumba

Cool view from above! Check out that footprint!

BIGGFfromabove

And on the other side…some friendly Cast Members waiting to share their wares!

BIGGFsalespeople

Gingerbread house fun facts:
Chefs spend 400 hours baking the gingerbread and 160 hours decorating the house.

Structure Composition:
16 feet high
17 feet wide
1,000 board feet of trim
60 sheets of plywood
40 window panes
80 square feet of retail space
100 square feet of display
10,000 pieces of gingerbread used

Gingerbread Ingredients:
1,050 lbs. honey
600 lbs. powdered sugar
35 lbs. spices
800 lbs. flour
140 pints egg whites
180 lbs. apricot glaze

Here’s a Jeff Lange video of this phenomenal display:

American Adventure and Italy Displays at Epcot’s World Showcase
Finally, we head back over to Epcot to visit some lesser-known gingerbread displays!

GB house announcement AmAdv

Santa’s Bake Shop at Liberty Inn at the American Adventure pavilion is another life-sized gingerbread house made entirely of gingerbread, cookies, and icing. Stop by to purchase drinks and goodies here, too!

Gingerbread House at American Adventure

Gingerbread House at American Adventure

AmAdv Gingerbread ingred

Here are the costs for the goodies inside!

Costs for the Goodies

Costs for the Goodies

Italy has its own intricate gingerbread display. Can you see a hidden Disney character?

Italy's Gingerbread Display

Italy's Gingerbread Display

Even the detail here, on this smaller display, is amazing. Check out Santa as he heads out into the canal!

close up of italy gb house

And here’s that Disney character I mentioned — it’s Luigi from Cars!

Can You See Luigi

Can You See Luigi

Heading Home
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our Gingerbread Display tour through Walt Disney World! I am grateful to Disney Moms Panelist Erin Foster, DisneyFotoBlog.com’s James Chapman, and GD Pinvestigation Blog’s Pinvestigator Cody for contributing their fantastic photos for this collection.

And our Disney Holiday Foods week at the Food Blog will continue, too. On Wednesday, we take a gander at even more holiday treats; then on Thursday, we’ll take a look at how Disney Gingerbread and Disney Collectibles collide!

Note: Thanks to StitchKingdom.com for forwarding along Disney’s press release with ingredients info!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: November 15, 2009

Eat hereIt makes my belly rumble to see all of these delicious posts. For those of you enjoying the Children’s Miracle Network Classic Wine and Dine Walk this weekend, I hope we get to see photos!

Big news this week comes from the Main Street Gazette blog that Taqueria del Lago, the Mexico City Food and Wine Festival stand, has become a permanent (not sure how long that will be) fixture in the Epcot Mexico pavilion! Click the link to see the menu. Thanks, Ryan!

Here are this week’s masterpieces:

Disney History Institute, Paul F. Anderson’s new (and exceptional!) blog, includes a guest post by Disney Historian Jim Korkis highlighting Macaroni Mickey Mousse. This recipe, one of Walt’s own, comes from a February 1934 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

DisneyContemporary learns a nautical alphabet at The Sand Bar.

The Orlando Sentinel’s Daily Disney questions the staying power of Club Cool based on recent experiences.

Join Progress City USA for “an enjoyable experience in an atmosphere suited to relaxed dining” as he remembers some fantastic Disney vintage advertisements.

Theme Park Insider has an Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trip Report, complete with Robert Irvine photo, for your enjoyment.

Disney and More has a fantastic article about Disneyland Resort Paris’ Last Chance Cafe Terrace. Some great photos here.

Disney Every Day shares a video of the Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House Construction.

Dining With the Mouse, a new website that shares stories of making Disney Parks food at home, shows us her version of S’mores from 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Yum!

Also wanted to share a few posts that I missed last week, but are noteworthy:

Princess Fee at DF’82 answers a reader question about where to eat in Disneyland Resort Paris.

The Daily Mickey takes a look at the long history of the Village Fry Shop, a.k.a. The Friar’s Nook, in the Magic Kingdom.

And Zannaland reviews Epcot’s La Cava del Tequila.

Disney Snack Series: Kaki-Gori

Kaki-Gori Sign

Kaki-Gori Sign

One of my favorite Disney World treats is Kaki-Gori, a Japanese dessert made with shaved ice (or “shave ice” if you’re from Hawaii) and fruit-flavored syrups.

And if you’re asking yourself, “How is this not just a sno-cone?” you’d be asking a very good question ;). I’ve actually heard that sno-cone ice is shaved more finely, but I’ve also heard that Kaki-Gori ice is shaved more finely, so, in my research, I haven’t found too much of a difference. All in all, the concept is the same.

Price List at Kaki-Gori Stand

Price List at Kaki-Gori Stand

If you’re ready to sample Kaki-Gori, head over to the Japan pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. It’s only $3.28, and you can choose from Strawberry, Cherry, Melon, Tangerine, or a rainbow collection of the flavors. You get a pretty healthy-sized serving, too!

Kaki Gori Flavors

Kaki Gori Flavors

Once you’ve got your snack, head over to the koi pond or gardens in the beautiful Japan pavilion to relax, refresh, and know that you’re eating something fat free in Disney World!

Kaki Gori

Kaki Gori

And don’t forget to grab a straw!

San Angel Inn Review

Special thanks today to Chip over at Chip & Co. for this great guest review of San Angel Inn in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion! Also, thanks to Annabel Freeman for contributing the fantastic food photos!

A lot of people overlook San Angel Inn in Epcot’s World Showcase, and I have to ask myself “why?” San Angel Inn Authentic Mexican Cuisine has something for everyone, and if you give me a few moments I will show you some of the nuances that make it a restaurant you will not want to pass by on your walk around the World Showcase.

San Angel Inn Entryway

San Angel Inn Entryway

First off, let me talk about the ambiance:
When you walk into the marketplace you are greeted by what I feel is one of the most breathtaking views in Epcot. A beautiful wishing fountain greets you as you walk down the ramp. You hear the buzz of the people in the marketplace checking out the different wares for sale. The soft glow of the lights makes you feel like you have stepped back in time to Central Mexico. The view of the Aztec Pyramid in the background rises high over the marketplace, and upon walking into the restaurant the bold and beautiful colors of the tables are scattered before you. A gentle glow of the lamps on the table adds a sense of romance to this breath taking view.

San Angel Inn Pyramid and Dining Room

San Angel Inn Pyramid and Dining Room

You can hear the sounds of the newly updated Grand Fiesta Ride with Donald Duck in the background, which reminds you that you are not in Mexico, but still at Disney World. For some, this might be a bad thing; but for me, I want to remember I am at one of the greatest places on Earth: Walt Disney World!

Bring on the grub:
I recommend ordering the ceviche with any flavor of Frozen Margarita as an appetizer. If you don’t like seafood, the nachos are great, too. The Margarita is a lifesaver after a long day of trekking around the park. If you are there with a special someone be sure to mix those drinks up so you can sample one of each. You won’t be disappointed.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa are served to every table

Tortilla Chips and Salsa are served to every table

All the entrées are fantastic; I have yet to have anything I didn’t like. A fair warning though: the food here is different from the typical “American-ized” (I hope that’s a word) Mexican food you have back home. My first time eating here I was expecting just a traditional meal that I would have at my local restaurant (which is very good I might add –- shout out to La Hacienda), but I was caught off guard by the flavors and spices used at the San Angel Inn!

Combination Plato -- Enchilada, Burrito, Steak

Combination Plato -- Enchilada, Burrito, Steak

Be daring and try something new is what I always say when on vacation. (Insert cheesy sarcastic comment here!) What my family and I always do is order different items so we can sample more than one dish. Everything on the menu is full of flavor and just blows your taste buds out of the water.

Polly a las Rajas -- Grilled Chicken with Peppers, Onions, and Cheese

Polly a las Rajas -- Grilled Chicken with Peppers, Onions, and Cheese

If you have a child like we do, the childrens’ menu will not disappoint. It is by no means chicken fingers (where is that part on a chicken by the way?) or hamburgers. Your kids will be able to sample some good, authentic, Mexican cuisine.

On to dessert, all I can say is WOW! I could eat the items on the desert menu everyday for the rest of my life. (Of course I would probably weigh 800 pounds if I did.) I have never had Flan before I came to San Angel Inn, and though I have tried it since, none can compare to the texture, smell, and melt in your mouth goodness of the Flan they serve there.

You have heard the good; now on to the bad and the ugly:
For 2010, Disney has dropped the San Angel Inn from its Disney Dining Plan. This makes me quite upset! My family and I absolutely love eating here, but now are going to have to either pay money out of pocket or maybe try to pop in for a drink and dessert. If any Disney Execs are reading this, maybe they could do Chip a favor and add this wonderful restaurant back!

Editor’s Note: See comments below for good discussion on this topic; some restaurants may sign up for the plan later than others. Our fingers are crossed!

Wrap it up already:
OK…OK… Overall, the San Angel Inn dining experience is one of my personal favorites at Disney World. Between the romantic ambiance and the scrumptious food I can think of no better place to take my family. It is good for a romantic couple’s meal (try to get seated near the water) or for a fun family experience. The service there is second to none.

So next time you are on your trek around the World Showcase, stop by Mexico, have a delicious meal at San Angel Inn, and think of me… OK maybe not… Enjoy!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: November 1, 2009

Eat hereA belated Happy Halloween to everyone! I hope you all had some wonderful treats (and very few tricks!).

Welcome to November and the first Disney Food Post Round-Up of the month — there’s already a LOT happening… . And remember, this week is your last chance to experience the incredible Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Click that link for information, highlights, and photos and menus from the World Showcase international marketplace kiosks!

On with the Round-Up!

Disney Parks Blog highlights an invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner at Disneyland in the Disneyland Hotel. Sounds delicious!

Scott Joseph Orlando has an exclusive — the recipe from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie. This recipe was featured in the Cork, Ireland, marketplace kiosk.

Meet The World in Progressland shares a truly wonderful post revealing some incredible Halloween Disney details in Tokyo Disneyland’s popcorn carts.

Main Street Gazette showcases the Animal Kingdom’s Royal Anadapur Tea Company — one of my favorite places to have breakfast in the World.

5 Kingdoms compares the different “Casey’s Corners” throughout the Magic Kingdoms. Take time to read it and not just look at the pictures ;)

The Disney Chick is back with another wonderful Disney recipe, complete with photos of each separate recipe step. This time, try out the Shrimp With Tomato Feta Compote from Citricos in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Daveland presents us with some great indoor and outdoor photos of Disneyland’s Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen –> River Belle Terrace.

Theme Park Insider reviews Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans. (You really owe it to yourself to look at these photos today. Trust me.)

Mouseplanet reminds us what’s great about San Angel Inn in Epcot’s World Showcase. (Stay tuned to the Disney Food Blog this week to see even more great reasons to enjoy San Angel Inn!)

Global Disney Pinvestigation shares the latest news and concept drawings of the restaurants on the Disney Dream cruise ship! Also, check out his great Epcot Food and Wine Festival photo blog.

Touring Plans reminds us to stop by the ESPN Club on Disney World’s Boardwalk.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Disney food posts! If you spot a great food post this week that you think belongs on the round-up, be sure to let me know — just click on “contact me” at the top of the page!

Thanks for reading!

Epcot’s World Showcase Wine Walk

WineWalkLogo

The Myth of the Wine Walk
For a long time, the World Showcase Wine Walk was a myth for me. I’d heard tell of a “pay-20-bucks-and-get-six-glasses-of-wine” type of thing, but I searched the web and found no specifics about this fantastic option in Epcot’s World Showcase.

Then, out of nowhere, the Wine Walk was mentioned in the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Guide. Finally, I had clarity!

So on my recent trip, I stopped into Italy’s Enoteca Castello shop and asked all about the Wine Walk. And while I wasn’t able to do the walk this trip, I’m really looking forward to getting it on the list for next time.

(If anyone out there has had the opportunity to do the Wine Walk, drop me an email or a comment and let me know what you thought! I’d love to hear reviews, both pro and con.)

Wine Walk Specs and Details
In the meantime, here are the details: $20 = 6 wine samples and a beautiful walk around World Showcase!

To begin, head to one of these three shops: the Weinkeller in Germany (the shop with all the wine)

Germany's Weinkeller

Germany's Weinkeller

Enoteca Castello in Italy (that’s the shop with all the wine — the masks are in the back)

Masks in Epcot's Italy

Masks in Epcot's Italy

or Aux Vins de France in France (there’s a lot of wine in there, too).

Aux Vins de France

Aux Vins de France

Request a Wine Walk Passport at any of these locations. From there, you simply flash your passport in each of the three countries and enjoy your samples! Like other Epcot passports, cast members in each pavilion will give you a stamp for each sample.

The Wines
The wines you get to try are the following:
Germany

  • Valekenberg Madonna Spatlese: Since my Food and Wine Festival R.A Pruem wine seminar earlier this year, Spatlese is the word I look for to find a wine I’ll like. Spatlese = sweet and smooth, in my opinion (all it really refers to is the grapes being picked during a late harvest, making the sweetness and flavor a bit more intense). According to Disney, this particular wine will pair well with crustaceans like crab, shrimp, and lobster.
  • Valekengerg Madonna Leibframilch, Castello: The passport bills this wine as having a “lush, seductive bouquet” backed by mild acidity. It pairs well with stronger flavored fish and meat dishes, and works well when sipped alone as a pre-dinner drink.

Italy

  • Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio, Tuscany IGT: This wine will go well with light dishes, and probably will be best as a pre-dinner drink. The clean, fresh taste is touted as being perfect for an aperitif.
  • Castello Banfi Rosa Regale, Piedmont DOCG: For those of you who have no idea what DOCG means (like me), it stands for “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita,” which basically means it’s been quality-control tested by the Italian government. Translation: it’s high-quality. This is a sparkling wine, and word is that this is the wine to eat with chocolate!

France

  • Georges Duboeuf Pouilly Fuisse, Macon: A Chardonnay from Burgandy, Disney says try it with cheese…yum.
  • Fuisse and Chateau Tour de Segur Bordeaux, Lussac St. Emilion: This rich red is described as “structured” (word-lovers like me just gotta love these words — who would ever think to describe a liquid as “structured?”). The predominant grape is Merlot, and the main aroma is of dark fruits. Do this one with red meat.

The Passport
Here are a couple of photos of the actual passport, so you know what you’re looking for:

Epcot Wine Walk Passport Side 1

Epcot Wine Walk Passport Side 1

Epcot Wine Walk Passport Side 2

Epcot Wine Walk Passport Side 2

Finally, as far as I know, the Wine Walk has always been offered year-round. Its mention in this year’s Food and Wine Festival Guide makes me wonder if it’s been reduced to just an Autumnal experience. Fingers crossed they’ll keep it year-round so that everyone can enjoy this wonderful, and relatively inexpensive, way to sample some of the great wines from the World Showcase!

Salute, Sante, and Prosit!

Miyuki: Epcot’s Japanese Candy Artist

This is the season for trick-or-treating, which means candy! And when I think of candy in Disney World, I think of Miyuki Sugimori.

Miyuki the Candy Lady

Miyuki the Candy Lady

About Miyuki and the Japanese Art of Candy Sculpture
Disney only works with the highest-quality artists and entertainers, and that standard remains in tact with this incredible candy artist from from Tokyo. Miyuki learned the craft of candy sculpture from her grandfather — a renowned Japanese candy artist — and is the first and only woman to receive training in Amezaiku in Japan. To date, she is one of only 15 people officially trained in the art.

To see Miyuki perform, simply head over to the Japan pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase to catch one of her shows. Her “stage,” equipped with heating elements to keep the candy pliable and with fans to cool down finished pieces, is located just outside the front entrance of Mitsukoshi department store.

Miyuki's Stage

Miyuki's Stage

Her candy sculptures begin as a ball of hot, malleable rice starch candy — this looks a lot like pulled taffy. Miyuki takes requests from the audience to determine what her sculptures will look like, adds food coloring to the candy ball, and begins stretching, sculpting, and painting the candy to create delicate, detailed works of art. Miyuki then hangs the piece in front of a fan to cool down the hot candy and set the design.

Miyuki mixes edible food coloring into the rice candy

Miyuki mixes edible food coloring into the rice candy

What animal will it be...

What animal will it be...

An Alligator Emerges

An Alligator Emerges

Or A Seahorse Makes its Debut

Or A Seahorse Makes its Debut

Is That A Pink Leopard?

Is That A Pink Leopard?

Most of Miyuki’s sculptures for Epcot visitors are of animals — frogs, swans, snakes, alligators, tigers, elephants, etc. She seems to specialize (or maybe the guests do!) in fantastical creatures — dragons and unicorns are her most requested items. By the way, general protocol is that the person who makes the request for a certain sculpture gets to take that sculpture home as a free souvenir, so be sure to arrive early for Miyuki’s shows so you can be in the front of the “line.”

Miyuki has a wonderful “melodic” way of working that’s hard to portray in pictures, so I wanted to add a couple of videos to this post so that you can get a better idea of what it’s really like to watch her.

Where and When To Find Miyuki at Epcot
You can see Miyuki’s show Sunday-Thursday at 12:55, 2:15, 4:00, 5:05, 6:05 & 6:55pm. To double check times before you go to Disney World, check Steve Soares’ Walt Disney World Entertainment Site. Once you’re in Disney World, grab an Epcot Times Guide for the most up-to-date show times.

Miyuki Sign

To celebrate Miyuki on the web, visit her YouTube page or join the (unofficial, but still fun!) Miyuki Facebook Group.

Have you or your kids received a candy sculpture from Miyuki? Share your stories by leaving a comment below!

Dining In Disney World With Kids: Part 1

Introducing the Disney Food Blog Dining in Disney World With Kids two-part series! Thanks to Zannaland for guest blogging Part 1, where she includes a few of her favorite family secrets. And stay tuned for tomorrow’s Part 2 in the series, where Disney World Moms Panelists determine the best dining locations for kids of certain ages. There are some very informative and surprising ideas that I think you’ll enjoy!

Parent or not, the wonderful dining options and experiences for kids at Disney World are no secret. But what if you don’t want to spend your entire vacation doing character meals? (Not that there’s anything wrong with those — they offer some of the best food on property!) What I’d like to share are some of the dining secrets we’ve discovered over the years as the best options for something different. They may just become regular favorites for your family!

Best Location For a Nap

    maya

  • Maya Grill - This restaurant became a favorite of ours during a stay at Coronado Springs Resort when we were unable to secure a breakfast reservation anywhere else. We had been to Maya Grill for dinner on its opening night, but hadn’t tried it for breakfast. We were so pleasantly surprised by the food as well as the fact that it was not crowded at all. It was nice to enjoy a peaceful, leisurely breakfast for a change. For that reason, it makes it a great location for a stroller-bound child to enjoy a nap without interruption. The location also makes for some lovely scenery as you walk off your meal.
  • Columbia Harbor House - Magic Kingdom’s hustle and bustle excitement is sometimes too much for the littlest guests, and all the over-stimulation leads to not wanting to nap at all. Columbia Harbor House is a respite from that stimulation. The dark paneling and dimly lit interior ensure no distractions for tired kids. Even on the hottest of days, it’s always cool and calm inside. Sometimes, the second floor is open for even more secluded dining. Once they wake up, there are some great kids’ favorites here like Mac & Cheese and Chicken Nuggets.

Best Entertainment

    sanaa

  • Sanaa - Animals are perhaps the most engaging entertainment for little kids. Young kids are just learning different animals’ names and habitats, but even older kids will be fascinated by the on-going show happening just outside the dining room windows at Sanaa, located in Disney’s Kidani Village in Animal Kingdom
    Lodge. The best part is the show is completely unpredictable and different each time you visit. Your server is also able to tell you more about the animals as well as the unique cooking options offered at Sanaa, making it a great learning experience for all.
  • Germany’s Biergarten - One of my fondest childhood memories at Disney World is seeing the German Ocktoberfest show in Epcot’s World Showcase for the first time. More than just the great music and singing, guests are invited onto the dance floor to show off their best polka moves. Wonderful memories and photo opportunities are to be had here watching kids dance with parents and grandparents. It’s also an easy-to-walk-in location if you don’t have reservations.

Best Kids’ Activities

  • Olivia’s - Disney Food Blog’s recent entry about Olivia’s reminded me of this favorite spot, located at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Amazing food and scenery aside, Olivia’s offers a special treat for all children – Olivia’s Artist of the Day. Upon arrival, kids are given a coloring sheet and crayons to color however they wish. Then they turn in their masterpieces, and twice a day – morning and evening – cast members choose an Artist of the Day. The chosen artwork is displayed at the front hostess stand, and the winning child gets to ring a bell in celebration. Despite the sibling rivalry when my son was chosen first, both kids were chosen during our stay and it made for quite the memorable experience.
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe Warnings

    Whispering Canyon Cafe Warnings

    Whispering Canyon Cafe - This is perhaps not a real secret to many Disney World fans, but I couldn’t pass up talking about it. Whispering Canyon Cafe offers some of the best entertainment around, and there really isn’t a set show at all! Here, your servers are the entertainment, often yelling back and forth to each other and joking around. For even more fun, ask for ketchup. (If you’re shy, sit back and wait for someone else to ask for it; I’ve never been there when someone hasn’t asked for ketchup, and the fun ensues.) There are also several times when kids can engage in pony races using wooden hobby horses. There is definitely no shortage of entertainment for kids and adults here.

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Taste of Puglia Seminars

he 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival features a wonderful, free-with-cost-of-admission seminar series called Taste of Puglia. Chefs from this region of Italy (Puglia — the heel of the Italian “boot”) visit the World Showcase outdoor kitchen several times daily to demonstrate cooking techniques and ingredients that make this region of Italy so famous. To see detailed recipes, click here.

Seminar Times for Taste of Puglia

Seminar Times for Taste of Puglia

Kitchen Set Up for Taste of Puglia

Kitchen Set Up for Taste of Puglia

On the day I visited, the chef was demonstrating her pasta-making technique. What I found very “authentic,” though some might find it distracting, was that the chef described the techniques in Italian, which was translated to the audience by an interpreter.

Chef Explains Flour Textures

Chef Explains Flour Textures

The Mirror Mounted Above the Cooking Surface Shows Detail

The Mirror Mounted Above the Cooking Surface Shows Detail

Close-Up View of the Dough

Close-Up View of the Dough

On the day I was there, and every time I’ve walked past the outdoor kitchen since, the seminars have been packed. It’s first-come-first-served, so consider arriving a bit early to ensure a seat.

Here’s a fantastic view of the finished product!

Finished Product

Finished Product

For more information and photos of the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visit our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Index Page.

First Look!: 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Entrance

Just returned from my first stroll around the 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Tarps were being rolled up on the booths, food was being prepared, and merchandise was out en force. It’s shaping up to be a wonderful Festival.

In the meantime, I’ll keep adding links to my main Food and Wine Festival page; you can always look there for the latest.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the preparations that are happening and a couple food pics that I was lucky enough to snag. Here we go!

Foodie City Banners Line the Walkways

Foodie City Banners Line the Walkways

Food and Wine figures direct you to the Festival Center — the Wonders of Life pavilion:

Pointing to the Festival Center at the Wonders of Life Pavilion

Pointing to the Festival Center at the Wonders of Life Pavilion

Don’t forget to grab your Food and Wine Festival wrist gift card!

Wrist Gift Card

Wrist Gift Card

Champagne and desserts booth looked fantastic!

Champagne and Desserts was ready to go

Champagne and Desserts was ready to go

Yum!

Yum!

Headed over to Cork, Ireland, for a taste of some yummy cheese and apple chutney!

Cork, Ireland Booth

Cork, Ireland Booth

Kerrygold® Cheese Selection: Aged-Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Ivernia Cheese with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread

Kerrygold® Cheese Selection: Aged-Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Ivernia Cheese with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread

The Marrakesh, Morocco, booth was displaying some wonderful options!

Marrakesh, Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco dishes

Marrakesh, Morocco dishes

Books Being Sold at Morocco Booth

Books Being Sold at Morocco Booth

Cape Town smelled AMAZING as I wandered by — they were putting together the seared beef tenderloin with sweet potato puree and mango BBQ sauce!

Cape Town was rustling up some great-smelling grub

Cape Town was rustling up some great-smelling grub

Sweet Potato Puree for the Seared Beef Tenderloin

Sweet Potato Puree for the Seared Beef Tenderloin

Seared Beef Tenderloin

Seared Beef Tenderloin

I even got a chance to sample an avocado margarita while I was checking out La Cava del Tequila!

Thanks, Rafael!

Thanks, Rafael!

Paris was unloading boxes when I first walked by, but in early afternoon they were “cookin’!”

Paris was up and running

Paris was up and running

...and serving escargot!

...and serving escargot!

Some of the booths, including New Delhi, displayed plants and herbs from which they took flavorings.

New Delhi booth

New Delhi booth

Peppers!

Peppers!

CMs from Canada and Italy were very excited to share their countries’ foods (and bevvies)!

The Moosehead Tap in the Montreal Booth

The Moosehead Tap in the Montreal Booth

CMs in the Bologna, Italy booth were having a great time

CMs in the Bologna, Italy booth were having a great time

Can’t wait to try this one out tomorrow!

The flavorhood

The flavorhood

Flavors at the Flavorhood

Flavors at the Flavorhood

And the Eat to the Beat pavilion is all ready to go.

Eat to the Beat is ready to rock

Eat to the Beat is ready to rock

Hope you liked today’s photos! More to come!!

Also, I’m looking for your suggestions. I can’t eat everything at the festival, and I’d love to hear what you’d like me to sample and photograph while I’m here. Take a look at the booth menus and let me know via facebook, twitter, or email. Hopefully you have some ideas, because I need direction! Everything looks too good!