Our whirlwind search for insignificant quick service menu changes continues at Epcot with the hope that we’ll uncover something…anything…more interesting than a 10-cent price increase on “crisped rice treats.” Spoiler: We don’t.
The flag flies at half staff to commemorate the National Day of Service and Remembrance and to honor the 2,977 killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
We’ll sneak into Epcot in front of the start of the Food and Wine Festival on September 25th.
With evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and the 7pm close for Night of Drugs at Magic Kingdom, crowds are a little heavier than they would be otherwise. Spaceship Earth is still streaming people through the extended queue at 5pm. Looking over waits over the course of the day:
It looks like Spaceship Earth was down for about an hour and a half in the morning, which doesn’t help standby waits later in the day. Remember that when an attraction goes down during your FP+ window that you can then return to that attraction any time later in the day. This post covers FastPass+ cancellations and what will be offered as replacements should you experience downtime during your time slot.
Compare those waits to the most recommended day just one day prior:
It’s quite the difference, which we see a lot more of during Mickey’s Party Season.
One week prior saw even lower wait times. We’re not going to see an average wait of 19 minutes at Soarin’, 28 minutes at Test Track, or 5 minutes at Spaceship Earth on very many more days this year. I didn’t think Test Track’s wait time sign was capable of posting a “2” as the first number unless it was 200.
Back to what’s important – Fountain View and the other Starbucks on property are serving the pumpkin spice lineup for the fall.
Electric Umbrella switched out its $8.49 Hand-tossed Caesar for a more expensive “Energy Salad with Roasted Chicken:”
The salad does look more interesting. Like a lot of locations, Electric Umbrella has also added slushies, including two alcoholic versions.
I’m surprised the $9.49 Vegetarian Naan Wich has survived. I’m not sure if anyone has had a better experience, but I thought it was the biggest insult I’ve been served in some time. You’re paying nearly ten bucks for 30 cents worth of shredded broccoli in a pita.
Walls and shrubs are up around Future World in anticipation of additions for Food and Wine. This is outside Innoventions East.
On the Test Track side, the water play area sees more substantial walls than usual.
Beer lovers will be dejected to learn that Bear Republic Racer 5 is no longer available near Test Track:
It was one of the top three or four beers available at Epcot. Don’t despair too much as we will see some positive additions in the UK.
Taste Track continues to operate near the Test Track exit/store. That’s Mouse Gear to the rear on the left.
$9.50 for a bottle of Magic Hat…Each of the entrees are otherwise up about 75 cents each. The sandwich outlet has otherwise been operating daily from 11am-6pm, which is surprising considering this has historically only been open during very busy times.
“Innoventions – where dreams go to die.” – Walt Disney
At least they have last year’s Madden on PS3.
Epcot is serving their pretzels with cheese sauce for a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan. The snack lineup at this kiosk in between the Land and Imagination Pavilions is a little strange.
$5.75 buys you half a string cheese, two unripe strawberries, and nine grapes. They are seemingly unpopular as these were packaged on 9/9 with a sell by date of 9/11. They continued to sit there. Poor guys.
Flavored popcorn is still available at the kiosk across the way:
I haven’t heard particularly good things.
Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion is arguably the best theme park quick service in any WDW theme park.
The Pork Chop now comes with the addition of corn on the cob for the same money as before. On the other hand, the salmon is now topped with a tomato salsa thing and no longer comes with roasted potatoes.
The Asian Shrimp Stir-Fry replaces the Spicy Thai Green Curry Shrimp.
Vegan Korma with Gardein Meatless Chik’n replaces the Tamarind Vegan Beef.
A Cuban Sandwich was supposed to be added but it doesn’t look like it made the final lineup.
The Turkey Meatloaf for kids is new.
I tried the new Asian Shrimp Stir Fry, which arrives with several small shrimp in addition to carrots, water chestnuts, pea pods, red pepper, and cauliflower.
You have your choice of side – jasmine rice, fried rice, or the lo mein noodles. Neither Lisa or I could tell what the cast member behind the counter was saying and I ended up with a side of fried rice. The entree had kind of a bland, lingering, generic spiciness to it. Luckily mine was fresh, but it was late in the evening and they had at least 15 entrees worth sitting out waiting for someone to order. My estimation is that the shrimp aren’t getting any less gummy under the heat lamp. Anyway, I didn’t think this was a standout dish, but it was filling and potentially a little fresher tasting than the usual fried food or burgers.
The previous Spicy Thai Shrimp were probably too spicy for your average tourist.
Lisa ordered the Vegan Korma, which I think is supposed to arrive with a much creamier curry paste flavored with nuts, coconut, and other spices than what’s served here. Instead, we received similar vegetables as the stir fry, only with peas replacing the pea pods and red peppers in a thin, virtually flavorless sauce. It tasted largely of jasmine rice. With that said, you could do a lot worse on the vegan front, which tends to be dominated by simple steamed vegetables. There are also just a couple small bites of the chik’n, which doesn’t taste any different than the rest of the dish.
The Vegan Beef was better in my opinion. Gardein may have put the kibosh on that.
Dessert options are largely the same. The seasonal dessert is a warm peanut butter brownie.
If nothing sounds good or you’re on the go, Sunshine Seasons has an array of often-overlooked cold items like the very good Antipasto Salad that’s reminiscent of what used to be served at Pinocchio Village Haus, in addition to Tabbouleh Pin Wheels, Asian Chicken Salads, Chicken Wraps, Tuna Salad Croissants, and more.
I’m not usually a Disney dessert person, but we gave the Strawberry Shortcake a shot. The cake was a little too dense and it was served at a temperature that was a little too cold, but it was stuffed with strawberries and had a nice natural sweetness about it. It’s also a sizable portion suitable for sharing at $4.39. Not bad and much better than your usual mass-produced-dessert-cup.
Back outside, this walkway is closed while Disney preps what should be the Dominican Republic area.
The area outside Innoventions West is also shrubbed off. This should be where The Chew booth is.
Forget Star Wars Land, the best theme park news of the year arrived with the announcement that the cranberry bog will be returning this year after being disembogued in 2014.
Most of the Food and Wine Festival booths are already set up, probably in an effort to further advertise the event.
With the vegan Terra booth not returning this year, Florida Fresh takes its place.
I think the only other newsworthy note is that the Japan booth has a brand new look to it.
It used to look like this. The new version looks better I think.
Heading towards Canada, Promenade Refreshments already did away with the Bacon and Bison Sausage. It will turn into the Desserts and Champagne booth for Food and Wine in just about two weeks.
Refreshment Port’s Dragon Berry Refresher is up 75 cents and the Croissant Doughnut is up 30 cents.
I’ve had exactly one of these suckers, but it’s one of my favorite things at Epcot. Hopefully quality hasn’t declined.
Canada Cart still offers La Fin du Monde on draft. We’ll see if Food/Wine brings something special.
It was otherwise a pleasant day on the water.
Some good news at the Rose & Crown beer kiosk. Crabbie’s Cloudy Lemonade replaces Strongbow Cider. I haven’t had a chance to pick one up, but it’s supposed to be “4.8 percent alcohol by volume, and features an aroma of fresh lemons, and a zesty lemon taste with a refreshing, tart finish.” It’s otherwise an 11-ounce bottle. Samuel Smith Pure Organic Lager replaces the Guinness Can and Innis & Gun replaces Stella on draft. Both positive changes. You can always go inside the Pub for a Guinness or Stella draft.
The Scotland booth at Food and Wine has served it for the last Festival or two. It’s very good and one of the best and most unique beers available.
Yorkshire’s fish is up another 50 cents and the sponge cake will cost you an extra dime.
In France, the L’Artisan des Glaces menu has expanded to include things like ice cappuccino with ice cream and whipped cream. The goofy prices are due to how tax works out – the single comes out to $4.50 for example. Interestingly (not really), the $11.50 Ice Cream Martini comes out to $12.25.
I didn’t order any this time around, but it’s very good, decadent stuff and they looked to be large scoops. It’s worth a stop and significantly better than any of the soft serve nonsense or ice cream bars available elsewhere.
The Boulangerie menu looks to be exactly the same as our last visit for Bastille Day in July. See this post for a review and more menus.
Some ummmmm…”interesting” merchandise available in the store.
Most of which was on sale.
This Marie merchandise might have been around forever, but I don’t remember seeing so much.
Brazil looks to return to this large space with an expansive seating section for Food/Wine. Belgium is a little further down.
Morocco uses the Disney Dining Plan symbol a little strangely. You usually see these logos on snacks. Spice Road Table, a table service restaurant, uses the same logos next to the entrees on its menu.
The Yuzu Spray is a new cocktail. I’m not sure what that entails. The cast member might just throw the drink at you. The Sapporo Premium is no longer available on the beer menu and while we’re here, note the $8 price on the Sapporo draft.
Looking at the Katsura Grill menu outside, I was taken aback by the price increase on the teriyaki. But if you look at the fine print, you’ll see that each is “served with beverage and ice cream.” It seems a little strange to bundle those items together at a significantly higher price point than most other quick service entrees.
Otherwise, the Frozen Cocktails are new.
The Sushi is more expensive and the “Tokyo Sushi Combo” is now a “Platter” for $1 more. The Garlic Shrimp are new.
The Teriyaki Chicken Bun is new, but it doesn’t look like it’s a snack credit like a lot of similar items at Animal Kingdom. The menu also notes that teriyaki is available a la carte for those that don’t want to bundle the drink and dessert.
Outside at Kabuki Cafe, “HAKO Sushi” is new:
Also note that a bottle of Sapporo out here is $12…
What it looks like.
Block & Hans out in front of the United States Pavilion is still home to craft beer.
You want the Dogfish.
Liberty Inn usually sees the most changes as Disney continues to try to find something that works:
The All-American Burger, Fried Shrimp, and Hot Dog are new as is the Warm Peach Cobbler. For kids, the Chicken Nuggets and Fried Shrimp are new additions. That means last year’s additions are all gone – the Louisiana Shrimp, Maryland Crab Cakes, and Surf and Turf Burger. The full menu:
And if you’re wondering if the burger is actually served like that…….it is. The very good Anchor Liberty Ale returns and Disney finally got the capitalization on “SweetWater” right after two years. The Simi Cabernet costs more than twice the original price of $4.25 and the Hess is up $2.
For whatever reason, Columbia Harbour House’s Fried Shrimp are among my favorite things and these are exactly the same as what’s served at the popular Magic Kingdom eatery.
You receive eight lightly battered, golden crispy shrimp and a side of fries. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The presentation is pretty lacking though.
The Old Bay seasoning in the coleslaw adds a bit of zestiness, but isn’t at all overwhelming. I am not usually a coleslaw person because it’s so commonly overdressed, but this worked well.
Overall, I think there’s plenty of other more interesting items to enjoy at Epcot over fried shrimp, but they’re here if you’re in the market. Most people will probably want to search them out at Harbour House, where unique entrees are few and far between.
Fife and Drum Tavern is mostly price increases:
The Phineas and Ferb items are still available and the Angry Orchard is a new addition.
Light crowds in World Showcase here at 6:30pm, though it started filling in around 7:45pm as people arrived from Magic Kingdom.
Good news for train fans as it looks like Germany’s model set is coming back as track is laid back down.
The Germany Bier stand added how much beer you receive.
While the Trinken Cart in front of the Pavilion makes no such designation.
The Warsteiner Dunkel is a relatively recent addition, replacing the Radeberger.
The Currywurst here on the right is no longer available. It’s potentially a shame as it was quite good.
Karamell Kuche in Germany is another good choice for your Disney Dining Plan snack credits, particularly now that you can get a $6.79 caramel peanut apple or the $5.99 large bag of caramel corn.
Africa Cool Post added Ace Pineapple Cider. I wouldn’t.
Work continues on adding the third theater to Soarin’ in front of the new film expected to arrive late next year.
The Joy of Tea added a “Chef’s Selection:”
With a picture of three even though you get two.
The Tipsy Ducks in Love is one of my favorite World Showcase drinks, though your bourbon pour may vary depending on who’s manning (womaning? personing?) the bottle. You might do what I do and watch for a minute to see how much bourbon is going in the cup before committing. Those of you Drinking Around the World may want to consider sticking with beer. You never know what liquorless sugar bomb Disney is going to serve you on the cocktail front.
Not the most subtle change on the Tsing Tao beers, which are up 25 cents each. At least they didn’t try to cross out the previous price and write the new one above it, I guess.
Unsurprisingly, there aren’t any changes at Lotus Blossom.
I actually enjoyed my meal here a month or so ago quite a bit. But still, your local takeout spot does it better.
No changes to the old Maelstrom facade.
It may be a shame that Kringla is so small that they can’t really do anything other than sandwiches and treats. A larger operation would have been welcome along with the Frozen invasion. I’m guessing the “Norwegian Club” is not “A Traditional Norwegian Favorite.” At least not like Anna and Elsa are.
Construction continues to go more vertical at the Sommerhus Meet and Greet area. Or should I say, “Character Greeting” as Disney now officially calls them.
From the front. We’re still eight-or-so months away by all accounts.
Most of the Margarita Stand’s shots have changed and/or gone up in price:
The Sangrias are completely new and assuredly a waste of time and calories. The Flight is up a full $2.
The La Cantina menu doesn’t look to have changed since July:
I reviewed the Ensalada Mexicana and Tacos de Pescado in this post. I wish they would offer flour tortillas.
Pretty, but finding a table at this hour is difficult.
Disney has launched a new line of allergy-friendly cookies and other treats:
As far as I know they’re basically or exactly the same as the previous “Enjoy Life” branded items, but it’s potentially nice that they now arrive in Disney-themed packaging instead of the sad, generic clear plastic.
Star Wars is taking over. Most of the Disney Traders store is now Episode 7 (which I’m sure Disney would like me to remind you comes out on December 18th) merchandise.
I won’t bore you with the full rundown.
These are kind of funny. And there are shirts, of course:
A lot of it is BB-8 themed.
That sums up what’s going on at Epcot.