Returning to Epcot on May 17th for a little more of not much.
Test Track from the Monorail:
Still gutting it. It’d be nice if they could ratchet things up about 5x and have it done by say, August rather than November.
Spaceship Earth at 11:43am. Very similar to the line we saw in the previous post around the same time on May 17th.
The dining availability chart outside Guest Services. Remember, Guest Services is happy to book a reservation for you. “Check At Restaurant” basically means “No.” This is indicative of what you can expect to see most days at Epcot. When crowds are much heavier, some of those limiteds are going to change to “Check at Restaurant” and dinner choices will have less availability, but lunch is generally available at most restaurants. Marrakesh, San Angel Inn, Nine Dragons, and Tutto Italia should virtually always have availability throughout the day.
Wait times are close to what we saw this past Monday, when Epcot was also the most recommended Park with 60 minutes at Soarin’ and 40 over at Character Spot. The 30 minute wait listed for Nemo is probably over exaggerated. Living with the Land was offering FASTPASS this week and may continue to with the Test Track refurbishment continuing for another six months.
The front/back face shirts are now available in a long sleeve version in Hanes Comfortblend:
I’m about as likely to buy one of those in July as I am a Helly Hansen parka over in Norway.
The short sleeve version.
A popcorn sampler:
Six different flavors of what appears to be one to three ounce bags for $12.95.
16 ounces for $9.95.
“Cream of Tartar” is my favorite food.
A 14 ounce container of Mickey Pasta will set you back $6.95.
Or in a 12 ounce package with cheese mix for the same price.
Will set you back $12.95.
The current Buy More….Buy More campaign.
I don’t know what this is for. It’s empty. Perfume sticks I guess?
$27.95 seems excessive. I don’t even think it dances.
Body bars for your body:
Hold the Tetrasodium Etidronate.
Mickey soap dispensers – $9.95.
A moderately reasonable $4.95.
A less reasonable $27.95.
Always nice to see a crowd for World Showcase entertainment. They should put a lumberjack show in Canada. With beavers and hockey.
Belle appearing right at 12:15pm with book in hand. A nice touch.
The second shortest line you’ll see here all day. The shortest being when she first appears at 11:15am.
Marching through Morocco with few people around at 12:07pm.
Popping into Mitsukoshi Department Store for the popular pick a pearl:
It continues to be a neat activity. There’s a little ceremony there with a Mitsukoshi cast member hitting the drum. The cost is about $17 and there is occasionally a wait later in the day when World Showcase crowds pick up. The heftier cost comes in the pearl setting you choose, should you choose one. We’ll take a closer look at those options in a future post, but you can also bring your own if you prefer. Pricing is cheaper on eBay and the like.
Lunch is at Tutto Italia this afternoon. George was nice enough to invite me out with his Premium Plan, which means everyone is going to be ordering three courses. What a life. You may recall that I reported a positive overall experience on the day Tutto reopened after its lengthy refurbishment in this post. Since it has been open for a few weeks, we should get a better idea about the food/service, especially with the multiple courses. As a reminder, here’s the lunch menu:
It includes several relatively inexpensive items. That’s ten entrees that cost $22 or less. You may remember the previous menu was much more expensive, with a lot of items that hit $30 or more.
Greg started with the Fiori di Zuca ($12), which are fried zucchini flowers with ricotta, lemon, and parmesan. One might argue the presentation is somewhat lacking, but these were really good. You might think “heavy” when you see fried, but they were surprisingly light and crispy with a subtle, but present lemon flavor. It isn’t a ton of food for $12, but I would guess preparing these suckers isn’t easy. And compared to the famous $9 scotch egg over at Rose & Crown, these babies are a bargain.
I ordered the Calimari Fritti with Marinara Piccante ($15). As you can see, this is a large portion that’s easily sharable with about two dozen individual pieces. I may be biased, but this was my favorite of the appetizers. It’s a lot of food for the money. The calimari was also lightly fried and served hot and crispy. Recommended.
The Prosciutto di Parma with Parma Ham, “Gnocco Fritto,” and Frutta di Cremona ($16). This is the same prosciutto that’s readily available over at Tutto Gusto. Actually, you can order any of these appetizers next door at Gusto. Most any of them would go well with a nice glass of wine. On the left is/are the Gnocco Fritto, which is/are fried dough filled with what I remember being cheese. But they may not have been full of anything. Overall, this was a nice serving of the prosciutto alongside some interesting items.
For an entree, I ordered the Risotto Ai Frutti Di Mare, which is carnaroli rice, shrimp, squid, clams, and muscles in a light tomato sauce. I was happy to see that Tutto didn’t dumb down the flavors on this one. You can see the pepper sitting on top of the seafood in the middle of the dish. It had a subtle spice to it that didn’t overwhelm the other flavors. Perfect. The rice wasn’t overcooked, which is all too common. It’s also topped with a decent amount of seafood, to the point where you can’t really see the rice sitting underneath, other than a few patches on the outskirts.
George ordered the Spiedini Di Spada if I remember correctly – Swordfish Skewers, Sicilian Style Eggplant, and Chickpea Fritters ($25). Is that what it looks like? Anyway, I DID NOT GET A BITE OF THIS, but was assured that while the portion looks to be on the small side, it was satisfying with quality ingredients.
Greg ordered the Scaloppine Di Pollo – Chicken Scaloppine, White Asparagus, Lemon, Capers ($22). He mentioned that it could have used a side of pasta and it certainly looks like that’s true. I’m sure they would bring some if asked. I was assured that this was also good, though it doesn’t just scream value at me just by looking at it.
The dessert menu.
The Torta di Noccioli “Cortemilia” – Hazelnut Polenta Cake, Nutella, Piemonte Cream ($12). I had tried this back when I visited Tutto Gusto and it is indeed excellent. The price is on the high side, but it’s certainly a good choice if you’re on the Dining Plan.
The Ricotta Di Pecora Con Insalata Di Fragole E Miele Ai Fiori ($12). No, I didn’t make that up. It’s Sheep’s milk ricotta, Savoiardi biscuits, served with strawberry salad, Moscato d’Asti. It certainly looks light and refreshing and there was no problem finishing it. I’ll let George interject with some additional thoughts on a few of these items.
I ordered the Stracciatella Gelati, which was amazing. At $9, it isn’t cheap, but it was easily enough that I would have shared with someone else. Especially after the size of the risotto and calamari. Easily the best ice cream/gelato/frozen-treat-like item I’ve ever had and a great way to finish a meal, especially as you prepare to reenter the Florida heat.
As mentioned in the previous post, little has changed inside the main restaurant. The booths are new and offer a bit more intimacy. The restrooms are now located in the back of the restaurant, since Tutto Gusto now sits where the bathrooms previously sat.
As usual, service was excellent. You may not even notice, but you’re going to have at least one servers’ eyes on you pretty much throughout the entire meal. Just in the picture above, there are at least eight servers visible around the restaurant for probably six occupied tables. Looking around throughout the meal, I saw at least one person looking back at me every time. There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but it isn’t something I’ve experienced at other restaurants. On the plus side, glasses are always refilled and they can sense when you need something. Since they see everything you do.
I don’t have any qualms about recommending Tutto Italia wholeheartedly. My two past experiences there have been among the best I’ve had inside the theme parks. The attention to detail is impressive and it’s clear that the people behind the restaurant want it to be as good as possible. With the lower pricing, I think the value is generally there as well. You could easily pay just as much at Nine Dragons, La Hacienda de San Angel, Rose & Crown, and others and come away with a much less pleasant experience. I doubt there is really anything bad on the menu. It should be easy to walk up and snag a lunch reservation without any trouble too. The restaurant wasn’t even half full.
Popping over to the Germany Pavilion and Karamell Kuche, the relatively new treats store featuring WERTHER’S WERTHER’S WERTHER’S. The company is named after the town of Werther in the Westphalia region of Germany. Unfortunately, my camera was on ISO 25,600 for these pictures, so they’re on the grainy side when expanded. Bigger, nonetheless: https://www.easywdw.com/reports4/kuche1.jpg.
Wait. I guess the two sides have the exact same items. Who knew?
She probably does. I accidentally [sic] an HDR photo. Sorry. I’ll get some better pictures one of these days, but this should give you a good idea about what to expect. It’s a ton of large, heavy, mostly caramel treats. The Milk Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt is my favorite. This is a good spot to use those snack credits if you have some. And considering the size of most of the items, $4-$5 for most isn’t unfathomable.
The overhead pricing structure. The Caramel Popcorn is extremely addicting. Proceed with caution.
Items made fresh throughout the day.
The ordering process is easy. Hop in line and check out the case, tell them what you want, and proceed to pay for/steal the items.
And some other packaged merchandise:
Another good way to use those snack credits on some easily transportable candy. Otherwise, get your Wether’s at Target.
It was Constitution Day in the Norway Pavilion.
Which is the best day of the year to pick up Norwegian cast members that aren’t on duty. You’ll see bunches of babes walking around World Showcase with Norwegian flags and $11 beers.
The Pavilion was decked out in flags.
And you could get your face painted by a real life Norwegian.
The line for Spaceship Earth at 3:17pm. It’s longer than it was on Monday, but that’s an actual wait of about three minutes. The current length is probably due to a stop for someone slow to board a ride vehicle.
Have the IllumiNations Cruise and Sunday at Star Wars Weekends next.