Think you know everything there is to do at Disney World? Think again.
Sure, you know about the theme parks, the water parks, Disney Springs, and maybe even about those tours. But Disney World has TONS of unique offerings for guests to enjoy and there are some that even the experts don’t know about! Recently, we checked out one of these exclusive experiences and officially became a MASTER…a master of sangria that is. 😉
There are lots of ways to experience some “edutainment” (that’s an experience that’s educational and entertaining) in Disney World — think The Seas with Nemo and Friends (learning about the ocean) and Figment (learning about the senses). But now there’s a way to get some edutainment AND drink Sangria — win, win, am I right? What we’re talking about is the unique “Sangria University” experience you’ve probably NEVER heard of.
What Is “Sangria University?”
Sangria University is a special dining event that takes place at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Guests at Sangria University learn directly from a sangria sommelier and enjoy tasting four house-made sangrias paired with an appetizer while learning about the history of sangria. (Believe us, even if you weren’t a fan of history in school, this is one history class you’ll probably enjoy!)
A highlight of the class is the ability to make your very own personalized sangria. And, get this…you’ll even receive a Sangria University diploma in recognition of your accomplishment! That’s right — take down those university, high school, and kindergarten degrees — this is the only diploma you’ll need to hang in your home or office!
Like any Disney special event, there are some extra details to be aware of before booking this experience:
- The cost is $59 — which includes tax and gratuity.
- The cost has to be prepaid at the time of booking.
- Guests have to be 21 years old or older to participate (government ID required)
- Want to bring a kiddo with you? Those who are younger than 21 can come, but they have to be accompanied by someone who is 21 years old or older. The kiddo will be charged full price and will be served a flight of non-alcoholic beverages.
- There is a one-day cancellation policy. If you cancel late or are a “no-show,” you’ll be charged the full price of the experience.
- If you have any allergies, make sure to indicate them when you book.
- The menu offerings are subject to change.
- When making your own sangria, you can get some premium spirits at an additional cost.
- The experience takes place at the Three Bridges Bar and Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Check-in is 15 minutes before the reservation time.
- Large groups might have to be split up at different tables.
How to Book
If you want to book a spot at this University, there’s no SAT exam required and no need to submit a personal statement or report card! 😉 Sangria University can be booked through the Walt Disney World website and found under the Enchanted Extras Collection.
Advanced reservations are required and can be made online. Classes typically run for around 90 minutes, usually starting at 2PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
Now that we’ve gone through the fine print, let’s dive into this unique experience! As we mentioned above, Sangria University is hosted at the Three Bridges Bar and Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
While other bars and lounges can boast long-lines and big reputations (lookin’ at you La Cava del Tequila and Wine Bar George), Three Bridges Bar and Grill at Villa del Lago at Coronado Springs is more of a hidden oasis with fresh dishes and fabulous drinks.
If you’ve never been to the Three Bridges, this location has some open-air dining areas on either side of a large bar, and sweeping views of the surrounding lakes and the glistening Gran Destino Tower. As a lounge, it’s typically open in the evenings, opening around 4:30PM and usually closing around midnight, though hours vary based on the season.
For Sangria University, guests are split into the two open-air dining areas and there is a sangria sommelier in each room providing history, insight, and tips to the guests as they sip on their sangria.
What Do You Get to Do?
While the course typically begins at 2PM, during our experience guests started lining up at around 1:30PM. There is a check-in station just inside the restaurant entrance. Upon check-in, guests are taken to their designated seats.
Cast Members confirmed that this experience has remained popular since it started in 2020 and usually has full classes each weekend. So if this is an experience you’re excited about, you’ll want to book it early to guarantee a seat!
On the Disney website, it does mention that the course can be canceled due to inclement weather since this is an open-air dining environment, so that’s something to keep in mind. If being outdoors in the (somewhat) unpredictable Florida weather concerns you, just rest assured that there are plenty of heaters available to warm guests in cooler months, and fans to circulate the air on those hot summer months!
At each guest’s seat was a plate of fruit additions or garnishes including a strawberry, raspberry, lemon slice, lime slice, orange slice, and a cinnamon stick. Additionally, there was a long-stemmed stirring spoon, a glass of water, and two small juice glasses containing lemonade and cranberry juice. We know it’s tempting, but don’t dig in just yet, you’ll need those for your unique sangria creations!
Once all of the guests were seated, servers came around with fresh chips and guacamole from the Three Bridges menu and a tower of the Sangria Flight. (Yes, it is a tower and it is impressive! Why can’t all sangria come in a tower?!) Guests were encouraged to sip on the sangria flight throughout the presentation but save the fruit juices and garnishes for the custom sangria building at the end of the lesson.
The sangria sommelier made their way around the dining room explaining some background of the restaurant before diving into the history of Sangria and its connection to Walt Disney World and walking guests through the sangria flight.
The house-made sangrias were organized on each tower with the lightest on the top, and the darkest on the bottom.
The top sangria was the Espumoso (Sparkling) Sangria with Freixenet Blanc de Blancs Brut Cava, Peach Liqueur, a splash of lemon juice, and a strawberry slice. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine, which can be similar to Champagne. This one was of a brut nature, meaning it was dry.
The peach liqueur and strawberry provided a nice balancing sweetness to the dry sparkling Cava for a refreshing flavor without being too sweet. It is referred to as a “celebration” sangria, perfect for toasting the 50th Anniversary Celebration!
The next glass was the Blanco (White) Sangria with Macabeo Wine, Torres Magdala Naranjas del Mediterráneo, St. Germain Elderflower, Passion Fruit, and a lemon slice.
The Magdala liqueur had a subtle citrus flavor and the passion fruit juice also added a bit of sweetness to the mixture. The St. Germain provided a nice aromatic contribution, but the flavors were primarily tart and citrusy.
The third glass was the Rosado (Rosé) Sangria made with Garnacha Rosé Wine, Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin, Apricot Brandy, and a raspberry garnish. This was the sweetest of the sangrias, as you might imagine with all of those fruity liqueurs!
It was also probably our least favorite as it was slightly reminiscent of fruit-flavored cough syrup. Not exactly ideal to be sitting on a beautiful patio, overlooking a gorgeous Disney World resort, while drinking what tastes like Children’s Robitussin.
Now, don’t get us wrong — we still drank it! (Hey, we paid for the experience, right? Gotta squeeze out that value!) But it was our least favorite of the flight. If you like very fruity drinks though, this one might be just right for you!
The final and bottom glass of the tower was the traditional sangria, the Tinto (Red) Sangria made with Garnacha Wine, Torres Magdala Naranjas del Mediterráneo, a splash of orange juice, and garnished with an orange slice.
For red wine drinkers and sangria purists, this is the sangria for you! It had bold and bright flavors with just a hint of citrus.
While guests sipped on the sangria flight, the sangria sommelier made their way around the room, described each sangria, and went over the history of sangria and its connection to Walt Disney World.
Just a quick note that you can get these sangrias on their own during a regular visit to Three Bridges, and you can get a sangria flight for $21 (again during regular hours), but of course, that doesn’t come with all of the “extras” of this experience.
History of Sangria
Pull out your notebooks and pens class, it’s time for what will probably be one of the most interesting history lessons of your life (if you like Sangria of course).
According to the information shared with us during this experience and information shared by Food & Wine, sangria probably began being created way back in the Middle Ages. Why did people have to turn to drinking wine, you ask? Why couldn’t they just drink water? Good question. Well, at that time water was generally unhealthy to drink (ya know, bacteria and all that stuff). Drinking fermented beverages was actually less risky at the time. So people would mix wine (which Food & Wine notes was “lighter and less potent than what we are used to today”) with spices.
In the following centuries, sangria became popular in Europe. “Sangria” itself is the Spanish term that was used for the mix of fruit and wine that became popular.
But how did Sangria reach America? Well, apparently the drink really came into the scene in the U.S. when it was served in the 1964 World’s Fair in the Spanish World Area.
Wait just a minute. We’ve heard about that 1964 World’s Fair somewhere. OH YEAH, it was at this same 1964 World’s Fair that Walt Disney created several attractions for different pavilions, many of which the world continues to enjoy like “it’s a small world”! Who knew the start of the craze for sangria in the United States and the notoriety of the success of Walt Disney with his incredible animatronics would start at this same time?!
But did you know that the word “sangria” is a bit more…dark than the drink? It comes from the Latin word for blood (Spanish speakers will recognize the word “sangre” meaning blood). But do not be afraid. It’s not like there was blood IN the drink. It was named that way because of the reddish color sangria originally had (thanks to the red wine used in it). Now, there are all kinds of types of sangria (as you saw above!).
Want more info on the history of sangria? We’re sorry — that’s reserved for MASTERS only — you’ll have to take the class to get your diploma!😉
After the lesson on the history of sangria, it was time to create our own customized sangria creation!
Guests are able to select one choice of wine among Red, White, Rose, or Sparkling, and one choice of liqueur from the options of Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin, Apricot Brandy, Peach liqueur, Torres Magdala Naranjas del Mediterráneo, St. Germain Elderflower, Triple Sec, and Grand Marnier.
Guests also had access to the full bar of the Three Bridges if they wanted to choose an upgraded or additional liqueur for $4 per additional shot.
Once guests requested their wine and liqueur components, they could then use the juices and fruits at the place settings to further customize their drinks.
When we attended, we created our sangria based on an herbal aromatic blend. We chose white Macabeo Wine, Peach liqueur, St. Germain Elderflower, and Rosemary. The rosemary was not one of the traditional offerings, but the Cast Member was very attentive to the desired flavor combination and brought out several herbal options including rosemary, thyme, and mint.
Guests were then encouraged to mix their sangria and enjoy! While sipping on the custom concoctions, the sangria sommelier came around one last time with four recipe cards for each of the house sangrias tasted during the class and a certificate for each guest marking their successful completion of Sangria University! Easiest university degree we’ve ever received.
Since the experience was pre-paid, guests only received a bill if they ordered additional liquor above the wine and one option allotted. Otherwise, guests were free to linger or leave as they pleased once the class was complete.
Must-Do or Skip?
So is Sangria University a must-do or a total skip? For $59, we actually think this is a great way to expand your knowledge and experience of cuisine and culture. And for a 90-minute experience, it is a unique offering that won’t eat too much into your park touring.
This could be a great experience for couples or friends over the age of 21, giving them the chance to tap into the more sophisticated side of Disney World and see an often overlooked resort and restaurant. It also gives you the chance to drink 4 sangrias as part of the flight, create and drink your own sangria, eat an appetizer, and learn about sangria.
Again, as we noted before, the Sangria Flight on its own (if ordered during Three Bridges’ regular service) is $21. So basically you’re paying $38 for the ability to make your own custom sangria, the history lesson, the appetizer, and the private experience.
That might not be worth it to you if all you really care about is drinking the wine. But if you’re looking to make your next Disney experience a more unique one, want a special way to celebrate a birthday or other occasion, or just want to do something out of the ordinary (that is also more relaxed than going to a park), this could be a good fit.
If you don’t care for wine, have young kids (as you’ll have to pay for them to attend as well), or if you’re more focused on attacking the parks and attractions and less on the leisure-side of Disney offerings, then this is probably not an activity you’ll want to prioritize.
Ultimately, it is up to you on what kind of vacation you’re looking for, but if you’re looking for a unique experience with some classic Disney “edutainment” and tasty adult beverages that won’t break the bank, this could be a great option. PLUS you’ll get a “certificate of mastery” and get to call yourself a MASTER of sangria! Seriously, the bragging rights alone might be worth it.
What do you think? Would this be an experience you’d like to try? Tell us in the comments! And, as always, stay tuned for the latest Disney news!
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Would you like to attend Sangria University? Tell us in the comments!