As you may be aware from my $bux post, this website was rather amused by the “outcry” generated by Disney Parks Blog when they announced that “Main Street Bakery will close for refurbishment in January 2013 and reopen as a Starbucks location in early summer.” I think there’s a little bit of semantics confusion here, as they meant that Main Street Bakery will be a location where you can find Starbucks coffee – not that it would be the location of a Starbucks store.
On the topic, I think it’s important to keep in mind that the “Main Street Bakery” is a fake bakery located near the front of a theme park operated by one of the world’s biggest money grubbing conglomerates of all time. Of all time. I would say they’re the biggest, but I’m not that familiar with Asia. As far as “evil Starbucks” taking over for Nestle, I think we can be proud that a homegrown, American company is taking over for the much larger Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, which is a Swiss multi-national corporation worth over 200 billion dollars. Starbucks, on the other hand, is worth less than 40 billion.
For examples of reactions to the story, you could gaze at this 63+ page thread at DISboards.com titled “Goodbye Main Street Bakery” or this 934+ post thread over at WDWMAGIC titled “Main Street Bakery to be a Starbucks.” Well, it used to be called that – as of this evening it’s, “Main Street Bakery to Serve Starbucks Coffee.” Or this entertaining DIS Unplugged blog entry. Of course, the first two sentences in my post were, “There are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is that the ‘Main Street Bakery’ is not going anywhere.” And it won’t be as stated more clearly in this Disney Parks Blog update. It’s odd that Parks Blog botched the announcement so badly. Parks Blog really has two major functions – one of which is to be a liaison to other “media” outlets. The other being to feed the Disney faithful pixie dust. The fact is 99.9% of the people in the world have absolutely no attachment to Main Street Bakery whatsoever and the thought of a Starbucks coming may be exciting to a lot of them. But for those .1%, almost all of which either read Disney Parks Blog or visit sites that post stories from it, the “replacement” warning was scary and confusing.
Larger: https://www.easywdw.com/reports5/dollarbux.jpg. I tried to reason with DISboards without success. As it turns out, the Ice Cream Sandwiches will indeed be available right next door at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Arteries around the world rejoice.
Like my other MAGICal cooking demonstrations, I will also have the recipe for the Ice Cream Sandwiches, so you can make them in the comfort of your own home. I’m just waiting for the cookies to be the right age (four days) so they come out “authentic.” While the recipe is a mind boggling 17 steps, only two are really necessary.
Disney continues building this hole at the Ticket and Transportation Center.
Inside, things should be ready to go at Test Track, which officially opens on December 6th. The attraction is expected to be passed on to Park Operations on November 21st, which could signal the first day it will be operating. This picture was taken from the monorail on the afternoon of November 12th.
So it’s Saturday November 10th at 11:57am. Epcot’s parking lot is full and people are already parking on the grass.
It’s my understanding that part of the parking lot was closed for refurbishment, which is the reason for the grass parking so early. When I left, there were probably 150 cars waiting to get into Epcot. They were told the parking lot was full, that they needed to head to Hollywood Studios to park, and that a bus would transport them over.
These are people waiting to purchase tickets at noon.
And on the other side.
And the turnstiles. I was posting these pictures on Twitter and a few people were asking me why it was so crowded. It wasn’t unexpected. The overall crowd level was ratcheted up to an “8” over the weekend, which is the same crowd level you’ll see in July and and a few days during Thanksgiving Week. It’s Veteran’s Day Weekend. It’s the end of Jersey Week. It’s the last Saturday of the Food and Wine Festival. And Disney moved the incredibly popular Wine and Dine Half Marathon to this weekend on top of all that that.
So yeah, it’s pretty nutty.
BUT!!!! These crowds don’t have a lot of impact on the attractions (lol) as evident by no wait for the Mickey stickers or to have bubbles blown in your face!
But the crowds do congregate in World Showcase on days like this. It’s 12:15pm.
There are 74 people in line at the Hawaii booth. The best plan of attack at the Food and Wine Festival is to be ready to move into World Showcase at 10:30am. They’ll usually let you into the rest of World Showcase and open the booths at 10:45am. And then you want to make a beeline to France or China. Continue moving in that direction and you’ll be in front of the crowds in the morning and then be able to visit the first booths later in the afternoon when the crowds have moved on. I popped back over to the Hawaii booth 3:06pm and there were less than ten people in line.
I tried to take a picture of the Christmas Tree when this wild jet craft photobombed me. Some airplanes are so rude! I took my complaint straight to Guest Services and demanded a personal concert with the Test Track All-Stars.
That’s a little better. If you saw the tree last year, you’ve seen it this year too. It’s the same.
And as busy as it is already, more are arriving.
When it’s this crowded, you might just want to hang out with a flowerbed. And as it gets closer to close, you’ll see more and more people bent over them vomiting. Or maybe we’re all just taking pictures of them?
It’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of this space outside Test Track. It used to be a kiosk serving Disney pizza. I may ask Duffy if he can get me an office there.
A couple new shirts:
Gaston and I have a lot in common. I’m as big as a barge these days too, just not in a good way.
And a Turkey Leg sweatshirt to go with your Turkey Leg T-shirt and Hat. Hopefully we’ll see some Turkey Leg Long Pants.
The actual canopy part of the canopy is missing. Probably being switched out for something cleaner. Or just being cleaned.
Pam Smith ordinarily hosts the Culinary Demonstrations at the Food and Wine Festival.
But this time Pam was chef and host along with Schweiger Vineyards.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve enjoyed every culinary demonstration that I’ve attended, although there was one with a fish dish earlier in the Festival that wasn’t great.
Per usual, you get to sample whatever the chef is preparing. Although you may not be able to tell, the risotto was loaded with lobster. Delicious.
And a couple of ounces of wine are also served. This particular chardonnay was very good and runs about $30/bottle in store, so it’d be at least $6 if it was available out at one of the booths.
Also per Twitter, I got a few people asking me what I was doing at Epcot on this particular Saturday.
This is the reason.
The “Great Whiskey Debate” was kind of goofy. Each of these gentlemen represent one of the whiskeys. At the moment, they’re introducing their whiskey and explaining a little bit about what it means to be a “whiskey” in each country – Ireland, Canada, United States, and Scotland.
Instead of answering the audience’s questions, the host “pulled questions from Twitter,” which were obviously the same at every debate. Questions were ridiculous. Like, “How has whiskey contributed to global warming?” or some such. But it was fun and entertaining nonetheless.
Of course I voted for the Laphroaig (pronounced luh-froy-g) scotch, which is very good – it won Double Gold at this year’s San Francisco Spirits Competition and would run you about $50 a bottle. Otherwise, there wasn’t a ton of practical information shared. It seems like the biggest “a-ha moment” is when the presenters tell you that you want to shake your drink with as much ice as possible or add as much ice as possible to the glass. That results in the drink staying colder and less of the ice melting. Thus, you actually get a less watered down, colder drink with more ice.
I’m a bit down on the mixology sessions after this year’s Festival though. This was the Red Stag mixology on another night. It was the one exception and was actually quite informative, but the mixology seminars have just been a brand representative plugging their brand of alcohol for 45 minutes. As you’re probably aware, the spirit industry is over saturated with choices and it’s very difficult to get noticed unless you’re Jim Beam Inc. or LVMH. And even then, they can fail at bringing new beverages to market.
Red Stag is a brand of flavored bourbons sold under the Jim Beam umbrella. They would tell you that it’s “the only bourbon infused with natural flavors.” But the Red Cherry basically tastes like bourbon with Robitussin mixed in. On the plus side, it’s easy to mix with few other ingredients because the flavoring is so strong. I’m interested in picking up a bottle of the Jim Beam Spiced for the holidays. The Honey Tea is extremely sweet and oddly thick.
But Bobby, the presenter, really didn’t talk up the products at all, which was nice. Hopefully next year, the mixology seminars will be less of an advertisement and more about education and mixology, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
But back to Saturday’s crowds. This is 3:04pm. It feels crowded.
And the monorails are only getting fuller.
Irrelevant now that the Festival is over of course, but I would expect Hawaii’s Kahlua Pork Slider to return next year. 25 cents more expensive.
It is a very good four or five bites.
Another perennial favorite is the Coq au Vin ($5.50) from the France booth. It’s Red Wine Braised Chicken, Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, and Macaroni Gratin.
I was on a mission to get a picture that at least made it appear to be borderline appetizing. I’m not sure if I’ve succeeded or not. It looks better than any picture I’ve ever seen, but the Coq au Vin is just a disgusting looking mound of brown slop on top of yellow something. But it is extremely tasty and highly recommended. It’s a good chunk of food for the money too.
But still a pretty day! The weather has been beautiful the last few weeks. The rest of this week looks to be in the upper-70s.
And we get to say bye to Goofy on the way out!
Overall, the Food and Wine Festival obviously prints money for Disney. Crowds are insane on the weekends, particularly Saturdays. It’s funny because just about everyone would have much better, much more economical, much more authentic “ethnic” food nearby. But there’s something about consuming it at Epcot, I suppose. In some ways, I’m surprised Disney gets away with the whole thing. None of the cast members working the registers have any idea what a legitimate ID looks like. I’m not sure you could hand them a piece of construction paper with the name “Louis Alligator” printed on it and get served an $8 Bacardi Frozen Lemonade with a half ounce of rum in it, but just about everything else probably works. Not to mention that, unlike a bar or restaurant, it’s absolutely impossible to keep track of anyone. And with booths so close together, someone with a legit ID could very easily purchase two 22-ounce beers from one kiosk, hand them off to their 19 year old friends, and then walk less than 100 feet and purchase two more. I’m sure Disney has undercover security on hand, but underage drinking remains prevalent. It’s in stark contrast to Halloween Horror Nights over at Universal, where it seems like the place is half cops and they’re liable to gang tackle you if you even pass your beer off to someone underage. And over there, it’s one drink per ID. Anyway, Disney is so powerful I doubt WESH would run one of those investigative reports, but I’m sure it would hit national news that Disney is actively serving underage youth. It’s going to blow up one of these days.
I guess that was kind of a random rant, but it’s been on my mind for a while.
I’d look for next year’s Festival to run from September 27 through November 11th. We’ll discuss it again once the hype starts back up again. Which will probably be tomorrow.
Still have a nice look at drinking in Downtown Disney (go figure) on tap as well as some strategies for experiencing the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights with the least amount of hassle.