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 [Read more…]

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Preview Dinner Details

Thanks to Zanna from Zannaland, who graciously agreed to cover the Tables in Wonderland 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Preview Dinner for us on July 16th, 2011! Here are a few tidbits of info she gathered at the event… . Please note that all photos are copyright Suzannah DiMarzio for Disney Food Blog and are not to be used without explicit permission from Disney Food Blog.

First, A Few Announcements:

The event revealed some important info, including the following:

  • The Festival Guide will be published on www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine on August 12th.
  • A weekly Festival Guide will be available at Epcot during the festival.
  • Reservations open August 16th at 7:00am ET — book events by calling 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) or book online at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.
  • Epcot will close at 10pm on select Fridays and Saturdays during the festival.

Don’t forget to check out the 6-page Special Events Guide with all the details as published by Disney.

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Theme

The new theme this year is a nod to travel from a pre-World War I perspective, with vintage luggage tags with a culinary flair and transportation icons.

2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Theme Intro

The banners that will be seen throughout the World Showcase will be [Read more…]

Interview: Marianne Hunnel, Epcot Food & Wine Festival Content Development

Chef Marianne Hunnel

As you know, I was given the opportunity to speak yesterday evening with Marianne Hunnel, Area Manager, Event Content Development for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. She has a job that seems to be in equal parts exhilarating and difficult — and she loves it!

Without further ado, let’s jump into what I learned about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and its true headliner, Marianne Hunnel! At the end of this post, we have a few pieces of news about what you’ll find that’s new at the 2011 Festival!

How A Festival Comes Together

With five years of directing content development for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (six festivals altogether), Marianne Hunnel is an expert at shepherding her small, mighty team when it comes to building something bigger and better every single year. Of course, her 15 years working as a Chef on Disney World Property doesn’t hurt in terms of knowing what Disney guests are looking for when it comes to a dining experience!

Planning and development for these 45 festival days takes all year, and includes a lot of research. The first place they turn? Last year’s Food and Wine Festival guests! “[We] take a look at feedback from guests — what people liked, what was not doing very well. We really listen to the guests.”

After taking stock of what you, me, and the rest of the guests preferred last year, the team begins scouting the global trends taking over the food space and begin putting together menu items and tastings. To get unique and authentic input, Hunnel and the team speak with cast members — especially those hailing from countries represented in the World Showcase Marketplace Booths — to collect ideas, reviews, and even family recipes!

According to Hunnel, the festival should always be “interesting, exciting, and educational.”

Trends and Concepts Affecting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Healthy Dining
An ongoing focus of the festival is healthy dining. “[We are] trying to incorporate fresh and healthy foods that are indigenous to the regions represented around the marketplace. …And we do it in subtle ways. Guests can say, ‘Wow, you can eat healthy and enjoy going to a festival without feeling really guilty,'” says Hunnel.

In fact, a new event focusing on families and healthy dining will take place on October 29th, featuring Andrew Zimmern and two other celebrity chefs, Bryan Voltaggio and Chris Cosentino. The event will “show the Chefs as Dads. They’re going to have their kids with them, who will be showing techniques that the family can [Read more…]