An exhaustive title, but not a whole lot to this one really. Maybe there will be though. Since I haven’t written it yet, I don’t know how carried away I’ll get. Boss edit: You got carried away.
It’s Epcot on October 26, 2011. A Wednesday with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. Around 5pm.
Spaceship Earth with a short wait – less than five minutes.
A lot of people in World Showcase, as we would expect on a “non-recommended” day. It’s still less busy than this weekend though!
Short lines at the booths.
It’s a little early for dinner and we also see longer lines at the booths further into World Showcase by 5pm.
This ledge is up the stairs in front of the pyramid in the Mexico Pavilion. It’s a good place to stop for a minute and enjoy your food with few people around. Disney has also installed a few tables up here on the other side. They are usually available because they aren’t visible from the promenade and few people know they’re up there.
This is the Crispy Shrimp Taco (Chipotle Lime Mayo and Cabbage on a Flour Tortilla): $4.95 from the Mexico booth. This has garnered positive reactions from a lot of people, but I thought there were way too many flavors going on with it. At five bucks, it’s not necessarily a compelling value on sheer size either. It gets a “skip it” from me.
Not terrible by any means. Just wait for Saturday!
The bathrooms on the Odyssey Bridge are a good choice. As any woman attending a weekend at the Food/Wine Festival can attest, bathrooms are sorely lacking in the World Showcase, particularly around the United States/American Adventure Pavilion. As far as the World Showcase is concerned, the bathrooms in Norway and Morocco are best, though not necessarily far and away less crowded than those in Germany or the United Kingdom. Whatever you do, stay away from the United States.
Wait times at 5:45pm:
This is the Milagro tequila mixology seminar. Officially, “A mixologist demonstrates the art of preparing trendy and classic cocktails, then serves you the final product. Cheers! At 6:00 p.m. daily. $12 per person, tax included.” I’ve been promoting these sorts of demonstrations for the entirety of my Festival coverage. Not that I get a cut. I should though, right? They’re all fun and even if the presentation is lacking, you still get the drinks that the mixologist is creating on stage. At $12, it’s hard to go wrong.
Should you want to tackle the drinks at home, you’ll be provided with the recipes:
Easy to make should you have all the ingredients. I didn’t think any of them were better than my (patent pending) drink – scotch in a cup.
The drinks as created. Pretty!
And as served. Sorry, I drank the yellow one before taking a picture. Bad blogger! Bad blogger!
I absolutely recommend any of the culinary/beverage/mixology seminars if you’ll be visiting Epcot over the course of the Food and Wine Festival. If nothing else, it’s a nice air-conditioned way to get off your feet for 45 minutes.
Lake Buena Vista is getting dark much sooner. It’s just past 7pm here and already dark…and crowded.
Probably the best part of the new China Acrobats show is the very beginning, with the procession of the dragon over to the stage area.
It gets people excited about the show and probably increases attendance (at the show). The shows that I’ve seen haven’t been good though.
This is the Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw ($3.00) from the South Korea booth. A perennial favorite, this is priced right and is fun to eat.
The Boolgogi BBQ Beef with Steamed Rice and Kimchi ($4.25). I’m not a kimchi person, so I may not be the best judge of this dish. I didn’t like it at all, but I also think kimchi is disgusting. The beef wasn’t anything special either. In my opinion.
The Kielbasa and Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream: $5.00 from the Poland booth. A lot of the Food/Wine Festival fare is overpriced, but I felt like this was somewhat insulting. Two bites of sausage and a frozen pierogie for five bucks. A waste of money.
The Belvedere Strawberry Balsamic Chiller ($9.00). This was way too syrupy, to the point that it was somewhat unpleasant to sip. Not a lot of alcohol in it and like most of the Food/Wine drinks, served from a pre-made mix.
A poor shot of the popular Boyz II Men finale show. Generally speaking, you can arrive about ten minutes before the start of the show and get seats somewhere in the theater. If you want seats in the first few rows, you’ll need to arrive about an hour early. No kidding. There’s actually a line that forms outside the theater on the far right side (as you look at the stage). For the most popular shows, Disney hands out tickets to those in line to reduce the number of “line cutters.” If you don’t have a ticket, you’ll have to wait until everyone that does have a ticket enters. It’s kind of silly because people save seats for whoever doesn’t have a ticket anyway. Disney clears the theater after each show so you can’t camp out.
Another terrible picture of the BoardWalk at night. Should you want to see a nice photo that makes you say, “Wow, the BoardWalk is a place we should visit!” I recommend looking at the end of this post: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/trip-report-disney-world-october-2011-6/ on Tom Bricker’s site. It’s also one you should bookmark (if you haven’t already).
We’re headed to Jellyrolls. As you may be aware, Disney World is lacking in true non-theme-park-entertainment at night. In the summer when Magic Kingdom is open until at least 11pm every night and Hollywood Studios also sees 10pm closes, it isn’t as big of a deal. In the fall and winter, when Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm on three or four nights each week, Animal Kingdom closes as early as 5pm, and Hollywood Studios closes at 7pm or 8pm, there’s a limited amount of things to do “after hours.” You could head to Downtown Disney, but unless you’re interested in sitting in a bar or lounge (see you there), there isn’t a whole lot to do other than shop in clothing stores. Jellyrolls is one of the few legitimate “night clubs” on Disney property, operating from 7pm to 1:45am nightly.
It’s located at the end of the BoardWalk and is very convenient if you’re staying at the Swan, Dolphin, Beach Club, Yacht Club, or BoardWalk Inn/Villas. From the other resorts, it’s not quite as convenient assuming you’re using Disney transportation and coming from your resort. From Downtown Disney or one of the theme parks, you could just hop on the BoardWalk bus. The easiest way to get to Jellyrolls from your resort would be to take the bus to Hollywood Studios and either walk or take the boat to the BoardWalk. You can also opt to walk through Epcot, exiting at the International Gateway and continuing to the BoardWalk. Assuming you’re already at Epcot, it’s actually very convenient because it’s just a ten minute walk from the International Gateway. Getting back to your non-Epcot-area resort would be a hassle without a car. You’d have to take the BoardWalk Inn/Villas bus to Downtown Disney and then get on your resort bus. Should Magic Kingdom still be operating (or one of the other theme parks), you could take the bus from the BoardWalk and then transfer there. You may want to do Jellyrolls on a night when one of the theme parks is hosting evening Extra Magic Hours, as it would mean later bus service. For example, if Magic Kingdom was open until 1am or 2am for evening Extra Magic Hours, you could very easily transfer to Magic Kingdom and then get on your resort bus. Of course, you could also leave Jellyrolls earlier (blasphemy). Basically, you want to avoid transferring at Downtown Disney if you can help it.
Anyway, Jellyrolls is a dueling piano bar with a $10 cover charge and a minimum age of 21 years. It is a “bar” after all and basically your only opportunity on property to be completely away from children. Actually, I should say that Atlantic Dance Hall is right across from Jellyrolls, but you would not believe how dead it is!! At least any time other than 11:30pm on Saturday night. When I walked over at midnight, there were about 15 people in the whole place. Relatively speaking, that’s crowded. On the plus side, it’s free, the drinks are cheap for Disney standards, and it’s a lot of fun if you have a large group or don’t care that you’re dancing with just yourself.
You may very well be familiar with the format here. It’s two guys playing the piano. Every song played is a request, so you’ll want to bring some $1 bills to bribe them to play your song (or look babealicious). A $10 “donation” will more assuredly get your song played. I requested Van Halen in honor of Len Testa along with $2 and they didn’t play it!! Maybe I should have introduced myself. Or requested it earlier. Or looked babealicious.
Each night, there are two “teams” that take turns playing one hour sets. It’s my understanding that this is the most popular duo, though I like Michael (the owner) too. Scotty, on the left, does a mean interpretation of Kermit the Frog and also knows the Duck Tales song. In this author’s opinion, they play wayyyyyy too many Billy Joel songs. It’s not necessarily their fault since apparently Billy Joel fans have the deepest pockets. The songs that aren’t typically piano songs are the best. Bon Jovi. Lady Gaga. That sort of thing is a lot more “fun” than Piano Man, Rocket Man, and most any other piano song with “Man” in the title.
That $10 cover does come with an unlimited basket of popcorn. As you may be aware, page one of “How to Run a Bar” says, “Give out extremely salty stuff for free.” This in turn makes people thirsty and causes them to purchase more drinks.
Jellyrolls doesn’t offer any food other than popcorn. When you enter, you get your hand stamped and you could feasibly head out to the BoardWalk for a slice of pizza, basket of chicken wings, etc. I wouldn’t advise coming hungry unless you’re planning to leave to grab something to eat. I think I gained seven pounds just in popcorn butter. And then another 14 pounds in excess water from all the salt.
Be aware that this is the face of someone concocting a plan on how to best harass you. Other than songs, these guys have an array of tricks to play on unsuspecting tourists. For the appropriate number of dollars, you can ask them to do a variety of things. For example, one poor man had to stand on top of the piano and perform the “My Little Teapot Dance.” Since he didn’t know the dance, an audience member had to teach him on the fly. After making it through the first dance, he had to perform the “Sexy My Little Teapot Dance” which is an interpretation of the dance with more hip movement (“literally” your hips, I mean) and an occasional flexing of your huge muscles. Or in this author’s case, sort of sticking out his gut and gyrating to the general discomfort of the audience. Anyway again, you can request to have a member of your party appear on stage to do any number of things. Be creative. HOWEVER!!! You’re not allowed onstage unless you’re putting down a request or get invited by the piano players. There are actually “bouncers” on both sides of the stage should you get a little too crazy. They also don’t allow filming, so be discreet.
Now I’m going to tell you something that may seem uncharacteristic for a website that seems to be mostly about avoiding crowds. Jellyrolls is at its best when it’s packed and people are drunk. That means Friday and Saturday nights are usually best, though it can get crowded on weeknights too. We arrived around 8:30pm and there were probably 15 people there. By the time we left at 12am, there were more like 50 people around. If you’re visiting on a weekend night, try to arrive by 9pm to secure a table. Otherwise, you’re sitting at the bar looking away from the action or standing around in the back.
The Kermit Song.
Garbage pictures of one of the two bars:
Drink prices were reasonable. I had six or seven beers along with a soda (a lean night) and the total was $30.50. Not outrageous for a bar setting like this by any means and cheaper than most Disney restaurants. All they have on draft is Budweiser and I want to say Michelob Amber Bock, which was a little disappointing. It would be amazing if they had Orlando Brewing Partners or another local brewery on tap. Speaking of money, they “authorize” a charge of $50 on your credit card to make sure you’re good for it.
It’s not a large place by any means. It actually looks much larger from the outside, but it’s a loud, intimate setting once you get inside.
Jellyrolls is a lot of fun, but your “mileage may vary” depending on the crowd and piano man lineup. Every night is different. If you’re looking for an “adults only” night out, this would be a good choice, but then your options are somewhat (severely) limited. Personally, you’d probably find me at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney sipping beer and enjoying the live music there before you’d find me at Jellyrolls, but it’s certainly a lot of fun if you’re looking for something a little different.