Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports10/thefear.jpg. Against my better judgement, I set out for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival on Saturday, September 28th.
This is the line for Greece at 1:45pm. No, you can’t see the actual booth from here. And no, they don’t even serve a cocktail or beer.
Greece does offer whatever this is for $4.00 though.
The end of the line for Ireland actually isn’t in this frame. It’s further down on the left. And no, you can’t see the front of the line either, which winds around down on the right. In other words: “Excellent photograph, you’re really capturing the whole story here, Josh.”
Work continues on Spice Road Table in front of its 2k13 opening later this year.
Extremely bloggable wall pic.
Part of the building out from behind the walls, much to this woman’s amusement it appears.
A 20ish minute wait to order something from France in the distance.
Fortunately, we only waited about ten minutes for some sushi in Japan.
The Chase Lounge moves to the United States Pavilion this year, which is much more convenient than last year’s location in the corner of the Festival Center in Future World. There’s actually a line that winds around and around circled. It’s hard to say how long it would take to go up, but you can assume people only go up when others come down. And if you’re waiting 30 minutes to go up, you’re probably going to spend some time up there drinking “free” Diet Coke. And thus, a longer line forms.
Stairs or an elevator bring you up to the third floor where tables, chairs, and two Freestyle Coke machines await inside the lounge. There is also a cash bar with a limited number of beers and cocktails available.
In the other room, a few high tops, board games, and a couple televisions entertain the limited number of people that fit. The soft drinks are complimentary and there are bathrooms. We walked right in on a Friday night when it was raining and there shouldn’t be a line most weekdays. But if there is a line, you’re probably better off paying three bucks for a Coke at Liberty Inn rather than waiting 20+ minutes for this.
Anyone who has tried to use the restroom around the United States Pavilion during Food/Wine knows how long the wait can be (or walk to Morocco or Germany if you don’t want to deal with it). Fortunately, Disney opened a large restroom structure a few weeks ago.
Heritage Gifts, located to the right of The American Adventure, has added a bunch of new food items for the Festival
That includes this 26-ounce jar of barbecue sauce for $6.95 or other items like jams, pasta sauces, cookbooks, and whatnot.
Liberty Inn received an updated menu last month, like most of the other Epcot quick services. I decided I would be that bro that bypasses the Food and Wine booths and orders a burger from the U.S. HAHA.
This is the Grilled Chicken BLT Sandwich with Monterey Jack, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Pepper Aioli, and choice of grapes (yeah right) or fries – $9.19.
I was going a little crazy with my Sigma 35mm F.14 lens at F1.4 while Food and Wine Festival touring. As you turn the F-number lower numerically on your camera, you’ll notice that less and less of the frame is in focus. The two pictures of the sandwich above were taken with the same lens at about the same distance. The one with more of the frame in focus was taken at F8.0 while the image directly above was taken at F1.4. The blur is useful when you want to call attention to a specific part of your photo.
I was impressed by the freshly grilled strips of bacon, ripe tomato slices, and large leaf lettuce on a fresh bun.
Unfortunately, the chicken was dry and the red pepper aioli was either missing or flavorless. I may still be trying to swallow the last few bites of the chicken, I really don’t know.
While it might not look like much, I preferred the previous Flathbread option that was served here. I might have had worse luck than you – it was a filling meal and it had the right idea, but the execution was lacking on the chicken.
Heading toward Italy.
Via Napoli is again offering their pizza window in the back of the Pavilion.
It might seem, at first glance, that Via Napoli is offering an opportunity to pick up a slice of their excellent pizza at a reduced by-the-slice price. But that is not the case as this pizza is completely different, with a thick crust and lower quality ingredients. Also, $12 for a 16-ounce Moretti is absurd. Unless you’re looking for a bland slice of pizza or an overpriced beer, this window is best skipped.
Of course, a relatively short line for a lousy slice of pizza might seem like a good value compared to this line for a $5.75 ravioli.
End of line for The Brewer’s Collection in Germany, where the amount of beer they pour down the drain over the course of the Festival could get the entire country of Germany drunk for a week. Or think of the hungry kids in China. Or whatever the saying is. I always weep a little as they pour a third of my dunkel down the drain before trying to fill it up to the top.
It’s 2:50pm and crowds will only worsen as it gets later in the day.
If you’re stuck going on a Saturday, whether because it’s the only day you can go or a special event you’re attending is scheduled that day, you can still sort of make it work. Head up to World Showcase by 10:45am, hit the first booths you come across quickly, and continue up to the second or third Pavilion (China or France) to linger a bit. That will put you ahead of this crowd. But once 3pm rolls around, most booths are going to be swamped. Scotland, Africa, Japan, Morocco, and Desserts/Champagne tend to have the shortest waits and are good choices in the afternoon. And those booths have some of the best and most unique food options, so you’re not missing out on that front.
Future World wait times are not affected as much by the staggering World Showcase crowds. It’s just more likely whoever is next to you in line at Soarin’ will be talking about how much the University of Florida sucks in slurred kind-of-English. Future World wait times otherwise look like an average day at Epcot, crowd-wise.
The Festival Center returns to the old Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World East, in between Mission: SPACE and Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
It’s your opportunity to pick up some Cutco knives.
And a Disney Visa.
Beverage (generally wine) and Mixology (liquor) seminars take place here.
Every year, Disney gets chintzier and chintzier with the pours the companies are allowed to serve. I wouldn’t be surprised if by 2017 they just distribute pictures of glasses of wine to the audience. The mixology seminars tend to be an infomercial on why someone’s $40 bottle of super premium vodka is better than someone else’s $40 bottle of super premium vodka. They’re otherwise fun and informative way to get off your feet for 45 minutes in a comfortable, air-conditioned environment. Just don’t expect three 2-ounce glasses of Macallan sitting in front of you. If you’re traveling alone or can’t get your husband to attend the scotch seminar with you, cast members seat you as you arrive, so there’s no awkwardness on that front.
The culinary demonstrations take place in the back of the Festival Center and are one of the best deals at the Festival.
For $14, you’ll enjoy a 45-miunute presentation by your hosts and receive a glass of wine and whatever food item they’re preparing while you watch. Not all of the presenters are as famous as Carla Hall, but some of the lesser known chefs are some of the most fun. The pricier morning seminars are more of a gamble as you really don’t know what you’re going to get for a lot of money. The atmosphere here in the Festival is not particularly outstanding when you’re considering a meal or presentation that runs $75 – $150 per person.
Ghirardelli returns to educate you on the history of chocolate, minus that whole Ivory Coast child slavery thing.
The Chocolate Bar in here almost never has a line.
Women love Rosa Regale.
Further back, Ghirardelli is giving away chocolate squares of your choosing, unlike previous years where they force milk chocolate or peppermint bark on you. Oh the totalitarianism.
A completely moral, legit enterprise I’m sure.
Disney chefs have put together some amazing chocolate sculptures again this year:
The Taste Seminars take place on the Spotlight Stage inside the Pavilion. As you enter, it’ll be on your right across from all the merchandise.
These seminars are “free,” first come, first served. If you can walk in with a short wait, they’re worth doing if you have some extra time. You should walk away with no less than a sticker and a tote bag.
Intermissions Cafe returns with a robust menu and nonexistent lines.
A slew of merchandise is available, of course:
This year’s Festival logo sort of looks like some poor chef is trying to deliver a glass of wine to a table at Les Chefs de France during a natural disaster. But the theme is actually Mickey conducting flatware a la Fantasia.
Non-Disney merchandise is also available at the Festival Center:
A lot of it is actually pretty neat.
Art of Food and Wine returns in the corner:
This is also where most of the book signings take place.
Just inside the Festival entrance on the left, you’ll find bottles of beer, wine, liquor, etc. for purchase. Most of the items are available in one way or another at the booths:
Bottle pricing is generally pretty reasonable.
And they have Bison Grass Vodka, which was illegal in the U.S. up until last year.
Total Wine pricing: Jim Beam – $18.99. Blonde – $55.99. Troy & Sons – Unavailable. Jim Beam Maple: $12.95.
Glenfiddich 18 – $89.99. Highland Park 12 – $49.99. Laphroaig – $55.95. Macallan 12: $49.99. Macallan 15 Fine Oak: $89.99. Knob Creek Rye: $43.99. So if you’re looking to bring a bottle back to the room, this may be a good opportunity without having to bring something with you or going to an off-site liquor store, many of which will overcharge you anyway.
That’s the Festival Center.
Not sure what’s up next. Maybe more Epcot or maybe Universal.