I want you to close your eyes. Wait. That’s not going to work. I want you to pretend like you’re closing your eyes. Okay. Now pretend this blog is like most other Disney blogs where I try to stretch a four day vacation into six months worth of content. Have it? We’re rewinding back to September 30th. Why have I failed to “blog” about this? Because I’m a huge jerk. Actually, I think we’re all a little Food/Wine’d out. A lot Food/Wine’d out. Tough bananas. It’s just going to get worse.
This is the first time I laid eyes on the new wait times board. I fell to the ground laughing so hard that they had to call maintenance to peel me off the concrete. You’ll notice that we have Twitter going strong on the right side. In their infinite wisdom, Disney decided it would be a good idea to post live tweets using the Food/Wine hashtag (whatever that is – nerds). That lasted about five minutes. I have to take some of the credit – I was standing in the back “tweeting” jokes about the people that were reading the board. In a similar vein, if you’re ever standing next to the phone booths in the United Kingdom pavilion and get a call asking for directions to Pittsburgh, it’s probably me. My mother says I have a very odd sense of humor.
The more you buy…the more opportunities you have to buy more. Disney often runs promotions like this where you can buy more stuff at a discount if your purchase totals a certain amount. Check for signs and consider pooling your purchases at one of the bigger stores should you want some of the discounted merchandise.
It’s about 9:30am. Short waits.
One of my favorite people in the world, Vern Yip, at one of the HGTV seminars.
Some of the wines available for purchase:
Reasonably priced, I suppose. My max is $3/bottle. Which is probably why I’ve yet to land a wife. Among other things.
Amusingly, Cutco is a permanent fixture inside of the Festival Welcome Center. I guess it saves them a trip to your house.
The spoon rest that I erroneously called a ladle in a previous (future) post.
Pack of 4 Stemless Wine Glasses:
$20 for the two wine glasses.
These taste seminars are “free.”
More stuff inside the Festival Welcome Center:
What I really want is a Food/Wine-branded reusable box for my wine.
Scott Hunnel from Victoria and Albert’s setting up shop for this morning’s Kitchen Memories. It’s billed as, “This 3-course lunch evokes joyful kitchen memories. A celebrated chef demonstrates how to prepare an appetizer, main course and dessert, while a winery representative pairs each course with a selection of their wines.”
Scott, Pam, and the wine-guy. Amusingly, he was talking up Beringer wine. Of course, Beringer is famous for their $4 bottle of white zinfandel which is available from pretty much every grocery store and discount wine seller. The Sam’s Club across the street sells it for $4.39. The pairings were a little disappointing as far as quality is concerned. You might recall we had a beverage seminar last week from Silver Oak Cellars, which sells a very nice $80 bottle of cabernet sauvignon. And that seminar only ran $11 – much less than today’s $110 lunch. Pam really does a good job though.
Not on the menu!!! Good eye. There was a problem with the tomatoes or something. So instead, we have a butternut squash soup. Mr. Hunnel went on and on about how the pumpkin seeds used in this are the best in the world, sourced from some hill in Austria. Whatever it was, this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted.
Bread and oil served without bread plates. Sort of odd.
Should you not be able to see the stage or the preparation, the demonstration area has cameras everywhere and there are monitors around the room showing what’s happening on stage. It basically feels like you’re on the set of an HGTV/Food Network show.
A look at what we’re dealing with.
The Dungeness Crab “Cannelloni” with Italian Caviar.
After this came out, I mentioned to my tablemates that it was going to be difficult going back to the garbage they serve around Disney World. A meal helmed by Scott and the Victoria and Albert’s staff is dangerous.
Under normal circumstances, the stage on fire would be something to worry about. But this guy has like five diamonds. Nothing to worry about…….I’m sure.
Smiles all around. I guess if I was going to die on Disney property, a fire started by Scott Hunnel would be better than say….crushing my spine on Space Mountain.
The veal. I would gush, but you already hate me right?
Erich Herbitscheck (sp?), the executive pastry chef for Victoria and Albert’s.
During the entire meal, the chefs are preparing the dishes on stage and explaining about how the recipes came to be. Interestingly, Scott, Erich, and the wine-guy go back like 20 years to a chain restaurant in Chicago.
The Apple-Cranberry Cobbler with a “sour cream” ice cream in place of the cinnamon ice cream. The cobbler was huge. I lamented that the squash soup was such a tiny portion and this thing was as big as a Volkswagon Bus.
It’s somewhat difficult for me to say whether this sort of thing is “worth” $110. I think it is…you get four glasses of wine, four courses, and an intimate two hours with a famous chef describing how to create the food that’s being served and a little bit about their overall “process.” Plenty of time for questions. When I was trying to decide if I wanted to do a Kitchen Memories lunch, I rationalized that this was probably going to be the cheapest and easiest way to have a meal prepared by Scott Hunnel. Considering your other option is basically Victoria and Albert’s , which starts around $200 with wine (and without tip), $110 wasn’t terrible. Now, this experience isn’t anything like Victoria and Albert’s, but I didn’t mind the casual atmosphere and the fact that the food was actually prepared by a different staff.
At this point, I popped over to Magic Kingdom as recounted here: https://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/popping-into-magic-kingdom-september-30-2011/
And now we’re trying to kill a few hours while waiting for the 6pm culinary demonstration.
Storm Struck is located in Innoventions East, near Sum of All Thrills. It’s my second favorite Innoventions activity, which isn’t really saying much.
There’s a brief pre-show video before the “attraction” begins. This introduces the audience to the storm machine.
Storm Struck is a 4D show, similar to Captain EO, only with an interactive element added (making it 5D?). The show begins with a 3D animated video of what happens to a house during a significant storm. After the storm destroys the house, a set of questions will be presented onscreen with two possible answers. The questions ask what changes should be made to the house to protect it from the storm, like “Should you spend time taping the windows?” and “Should the door swing in or out?” You push the corresponding “A” or “B” button depending on your answer. Majority rules. Once you finish the questions, the video will be replayed with your choices worked into the scenes. For example, if you picked tape, the windows will be shown with tape. If you chose the door to swing outward, the door in the video would swing outward. A cast member then goes over the choices and explains why the audience was correct or incorrect. It’s kind of fun. This is a good second day afternoon activity, but I’m not sure I would put it at the top of your “must do” list. The capacity is abysmal because the theater is so small, but it’s rare that you’ll need to wait any longer than it takes for the next show to begin.
On to House of Innoventions:
This is a fairly new “attraction.” If you previously thought Epcot (or Disney World in general) is one big commercial…this won’t change your mind. Honestly, I had never been through here before. 25 minutes of your life you’ll never get back.
Basically, you’re led through a house full of “cutting edge” products with a narrator explaining what each product does. Here, we have an oven that can cook a turkey perfectly in three minutes. Just kidding. That would be neat though! The bottom lowers down so you don’t have to bend over to pull something out…I guess. I sincerely hope this is not the future.
Some kid playing Microsoft Kinect for a few minutes.
This computer has some sort of HP sound technology that makes it sound good.
The table and chairs are mare entirely of cardboard!!!!!!!! Please…tell me this isn’t the future.
The bed spins.
An HP printer.
This guitar is electronic.
Tools. And I think there’s something going on in the back there with a water heater that doesn’t take up any space or doesn’t use a lot of energy or something.
Ummmm…I forget what this does. I looked it up and apparently it converts air to water. That is, “The system draws in moist, outside air through an air filter. The moist air passes over a cooling element, condensing the moist air into water droplets. This water is then collected, passed through a specialized carbon filter and is then exposed to an ultraviolet sterilizer, eliminating bacteria.”
This grill is “just there.” It isn’t part of the presentation and when someone asked the host about it, he said that it was “just a grill.”
Ready to buy?
The final piece of Innoventions East – The Test Limits Lab. Unfortunately, much of it is often broken. Ironic, really.
Over to the Festival Center.
All of the culinary demonstrations take place in the back of the Festival Welcome Center.
It’s a nice space.
This one featured Bill Clark from the Grand Floridian Bakery preparing brie wrapped in a puff pastry.
And Casa Vinacola Prosecco. A representative from the beverage pairing should be on hand to explain it and field questions.
Bill is actually one of the friendliest, most genuine Disney employees you’ll ever meet. He oversees the monstrous Grand Floridian Ginerbread house, so you may very well run into him over the holidays. Like the other culinary demonstrations, he walks you through the preparation of the dish, answering any questions along the way.
And then you’re presented with it:
Amazing. These demos run like $11-$13. A total steal.
He brought bread to go along with the rest of the brie and invited anyone up to the stage to sample some and ask questions.
Hopefully that’s the last of the backlog.