After spending some time looking around Future World in this projects update, we’ll catch up on World Showcase happenings before the Food and Wine Festival takes over on August 31st.
This post will focus more on pictures than commentary, but we’ll make a few stops here and there, including checking out the new Pick-A-Pearl spot in Japan, stopping for ice cream in France, and considering what’s coming to the China Pavilion.
Painting continues on the exterior of the pyramid in Mexico:
It looks like the finished product will be similar to what it looked like before work started.
Here’s the pyramid last year.
The main difference might just be that it’s clean(er) now.
During the Future World update, I mentioned that Test Track’s wait times over the last four weeks have eclipsed Frozen Ever After’s.
Here’s a chart of Frozen ride wait times over similar dates last year.
This year, the overall average wait for August 1st-27th was 66 minutes versus 78 minutes for the two weeks during 2016 shown in the chart above. That’s a 15.3% drop, due in part to increased uptime, but probably also due to a slight decrease in interest. I have a feeling that the thrill of Test Track makes it a higher priority for a lot of guests versus what many probably consider to be a “boring, girly” ride in Frozen.
The China Pavilion will be receiving a new, “seamless” Circle-Vision film at some point in the future.
The current film is pretty dated:
Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland are probably the driving force behind the update, though Reflections of China should be at least 15 years old by the time it gets replaced, having debuted in May, 2003.
Of course, one can’t visit China without stopping at Nine Dragons, here with the new-ish Spicy Honey Chicken, available at lunch for $18 or at dinner for $20. And don’t worry, a new review is incoming.
Continuing on to Germany:
A lot of the Food and Wine Festival booths are new this year.
Germany had looked like this for years.
Stereotypical…perhaps…but it’s pretty cute. I may move in.
Canada is a log cabin. Take note of the flowers underneath the window.
They look like this close up.
Here’s what should be Spain.
Africa, why don’t you turn that frown?
Thailand, probably. As in past years, the website will be on hand over the first couple of days of this year’s Food and Wine Festival to try one of everything. I recommend not speaking to me during that time.
Please excuse the phone picture, but I would be remiss for not reminding you that you want to stop at Karamell-Küche for pretty much anything, including this delicious Salted Caramel Cupcake with an incredibly rich buttercream frosting that’s made all the more addicting with a pinch of salt. It’s really chocolaty and really sweet, but somehow still light given a relatively dense, fudge-y cake base. Disney cupcakes are typically over-hyped, mass-produced disappointment, but just about everything at the Küche is made fresh right there. You might even base what you ultimately order on what’s being freshly prepared while you wait. Treats here are also categorized as merchandise, so they take an Annual Passholder discount too, making the transaction all the more sweet.
And I don’t care what those snobby beer bloggers say; I’ll pair it with a Schofferhofer Grapefruit if I want to!
Speaking of drinks, the Africa Cool Post in between Germany and China is currently serving a couple new-ish cocktails and slushy flavors.
We may again see different offerings for the Food and Wine Festival, but the Frozen Elephant with Amarula Cream Liqueur is incredibly refreshing, albeit $3 overpriced.
The “Outpost” now sells beauty supplies rather than those beads made out of re-purposed Park maps.
Continuing onto the United States Pavilion.
Liberty Inn joins a growing roster of quick services offering mobile order through the My Disney Experience app, though Electric Umbrella is the only other location at Epcot that offers it.
There are a couple of potential downsides: Currently, a credit card attached to your account is the only way to pay – there is no mechanism to use Disney Dining Plan credits. That may soon change as a recent update now shows the number of Dining Plan credits left inside the app. Discounts also can’t currently be applied and those with allergy concerns will still need to speak to someone in person to make sure everything is on the up and up.
But the app will save you time in line and also allows for some customization choices that you might not think of. With the steak, you can select it to be cooked “medium” or “well” and also choose to have the butter left off right inside the app. This is particularly useful for Kids’ Picks as what’s included is clearly laid out.
There is no Chase Lounge at this year’s Food and Wine Festival. The air-conditioned respite served as an oasis from the heat and humidity of the afternoon, in addition to providing “free” soda. “Rumors” persist that Epcot’s Club 33 addition will open upstairs at some point in the future.
The railing outside Teppan Edo on the second floor of the Japan Pavilion can be a fun spot to catch IllumiNations.
It’s not typically very crowded and may be worth checking out about 20 minutes before the show begins if you have interest.
If not, there’s always Spice Road Table.
Mitsukoshi Department Store has seen some major changes, including the popular “Pick A Pearl” moving across the way to a dedicated area.
A screen shows the pearl as it’s being removed from the oyster, which makes it a little more exciting for those watching. Everyone seems disappointed when a copy of “The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit – 2018” doesn’t materialize.
We’ll take a better look at the changes once work is finalized.
Otherwise, there’s now even more retail space.
Perhaps we’ll see additional theming. A Mikimoto pearl necklace on display here will run you a cool three grand or ten times more money than this website makes in a year.
There’s another live entertainment shakeup on the way with Food and Wine getting underway. “Musique Aramenco” will return to the Morocco Pavilion beginning September 1st.
The courtyard area in between France and Morocco will again be utilized by the Brazil booth during Food and Wine with Belgium hidden behind the walls. In a few years, we’ll be talking about the Ratatouille ride instead.
If you’re looking for rich, luscious ice cream, then L’Artisan des Glaces may be the best stop on property.
A couple of the flavors switch out seasonally, but you should expect to find most of these available during a visit.
One tip: the cast member at the register doesn’t care what flavors you’re ordering – you’ll take your receipt to an ice cream artist that will scoop up your selections.
A single scoop of “Yogurt and Blueberries” on the left with “Candied Peanuts with Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge” on top a two-scoop cup on the right. One thing to keep in mind: if you order a flavor with “stuff” in it, then there is going to be a whole heck of a lot of “stuff” in it. I mention this because I don’t really like to chew my ice cream, which is what you’re going to be doing if you go with one of the nut or crunch options.
Otherwise, prices are reliably high, but the superior quality probably justifies the cost versus a lot of other options.
When you don’t carry a tripod, you sort of just put your camera on top of garbage cans and whatever else is flat.
Otherwise, Canada Cart now serves the very good Maple Popcorn, in addition to a “Montreal 75” featuring gin. Both are pre-made, but pretty tasty in the grand scheme of things.
We’v enjoyed walkways that look like this all summer, but things are about to heat up heading into the fall.