Three Disney Food Blog friends and readers have graciously shared their experiences, insights, and photos with us from the recent D23 Flowers and Fireworks Event, which included some sneak peek information about Via Napoli, Hacienda de San Angel, and the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! I’ll be presenting their reports in several posts throughout the day, so stay tuned! In this first installment, Disney fans Sarah Holodick and Matthew DeGrandis share some great photos and details of their weekend, including pics and reviews of dishes from upcoming Epcot Italian restaurant, Via Napoli! (Psst…I’ve also snuck in a few D23 Via Napoli presentation pics taken by Lori Abramson — you’ll see more pics from her later today.) Take it away, Sarah and Matt!
Over the weekend, my boyfriend Matt and I attended D23’s Flowers and Fireworks Event. Check-in for the event was between 9am and 5pm at the Grand Floridian, with the dinner and presentations beginning at 7:30pm. After check-in, we received some goodies to take along, and we had the day to spend as we wanted. We decided on heading over to the Magic Kingdom.
We headed back to the Grand Floridian as it neared event time, and there were many people already there. We explored the set up, had our picture taken with Mickey and Minnie in their beach attire, then filled up our plates with food.
I filled up my plate with a burger with grilled onions, spicy brown mustard, pickles and cheese, a brat with sauerkraut, mac & cheese, and, hidden behind the top of my burger bun is a piece of chicken breast with a Floridian citrus barbecue sauce. Matt opted for a burger, some mac & cheese, and a brat (sans sauerkraut).
The burgers were better than the normal Disney burger. We both found them reminiscent of the patty they use for the Angus burger at Pecos Bill’s. Although the chicken was a little dry, the barbecue sauce was very good, and the brat was fairly standard. The cheese sauce for the mac & cheese seemed to have broken, but there is only so much you can do hosting a barbecue in Florida! I still managed to eat it all. Then the desserts! We were served Mickey’s Strawberry Shortcake and Hershey’s Chocolate S’mores Bread Pudding with Vanilla Crème Anglaise Sauce. Matt and I each sampled each other’s desserts and I was a fan of the shortcake, and he enjoyed the Bread Pudding.
As we finished the meal, we watched the Electrical Water Pageant. Once the pageant passed, we were given a presentation on the different types of pyrotechnics that are used in the parks. Needless to say, people who could see and hear them in the Magic Kingdom were confused. It was a pleasant surprise to have our own private show on the water. After the demo, we were invited to get closer to the water to view Wishes. Upon the conclusion of Wishes, we were given a gift of a bulb used in the Electrical Water Pageant. This gift was especially cool for me as I love watching that show!
The next morning, breakfast was held in the ballroom of the Yacht & Beach Club. Unfortunately we missed part of the breakfast, but we did get there in time for a few treats. I first had a parfait with fresh fruit, granola, yogurt and, of course, Mickey sprinkles!
But then came the fun surprise: Tastes from Via Napoli! (Editor’s Note: During the presentation, D23 showcased some slides about the upcoming Via Napoli. Here are some pics courtesy Lori Abramson.)
(Back to Sarah’s Report and the tastes from Via Napoli!)
Now of course, they’re not going to serve us the famous pizza they’ve been touting, but we were happy to get to sample something! The pasta was al dente, which I don’t mind, but Matt likes it cooked softer. The sauce was decent, and the zucchini it was served with was good although slightly overcooked. The focaccia was fairly standard. Out of the three desserts sampled, I liked the cannoli the best, though the filling was a little grainy.
I’m definitely excited to try Via Napoli when it opens, though I will likely go primarily for the pizza that has Disney fans abuzz.
We also got a gift bag upon leaving, which contained a wine glass from the 2009 Food & Wine Festival, a Captain EO button, some Twinings tea, perfume samples and a DVD on the Flower & Garden Festival.
The rest of the day we explored Epcot until Chubby Checker’s Flower Power Concert to which we had reserved seating. He got everybody doing The Twist!
Shortly after the concert, it was time for Illuminations and the dessert party. We sampled the cupcake, cheesecake, and cinnamon apples. We both loved the apples, and Matt thought the cupcake was very good. The cheesecake was a little on the soft side from the heat, but I managed just fine.
Paper eyeglasses were distributed to watch the Illuminations, and the lenses made the fireworks look like Mickey heads! It was great seeing the show in a different way. They have similar glasses during the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights over at Hollywood Studios, but those feature angels. We’ll have to bring our Mickey glasses with us this year.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable event and we hope Disney hosts one during Food & Wine this fall. I don’t think I’ve eaten so many desserts in my life… Fortunately there was a sweet tooth with me to pick up my slack. All for the sake of research, of course! 🙂
Huge thanks to Sarah and Matt for sharing their incredible weekend with us! Stay tuned for more photos and info about the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and Hacienda de San Angel later today!