Ugh More Epcot! Topiaries, The American Dream is Over, American Adventure, Tutto Gusto Has Good Beer! Canto Loopy – 2/28/13

We’ll head back out to Epcot, I guess.  I’m open to suggestions if anyone has a better idea of something to do.  There isn’t a whole lot going on these days.  And with the Beer and Fake Topiary Festival starting Wednesday, it’s probably back to Epcot again.

Phineas and Ferb replace last year’s turkey “topiary.”  The scene looks to be about as inspired as a pitch for John Carter 2.

Buzz looks like he’s missing a glass of scotch in his hand.  I’d toast to that.  Considering the on-ride video for Mission:SPACE looks like it was made in 1995, the same year Toy Story came out, I guess the topiary fits.

Test Track remains your top priority in most situations.  My recommendation remains doing Test Track first, then Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and then collecting FASTPASSes for Soarin’.  Alternatively, you could do Soarin’ -> FASTPASS Soarin’ or Test Track -> Test Track Single Rider -> Sum of All Thrills -> Mission: Space.  That would work better if you were skipping Sum of All Thrills.  If you have someone willing to do some walking in the morning, you could also have someone collect FASTPASSes for Soarin’ and then have them meet the group at Test Track to ride single rider.  Then ride Sum of All Thrills and Mission: Space before heading over to Soarin’ to ride with FASTPASS.  The problem is obviously that Soarin’ and Test Track are so far away from each other and the standby lines build quickly.  If you were to ride Test Track and then Soarin’ in the standby line, the wait for Soarin’ would be 30ish minutes and you’d have to return to the other side of Future World for Sum of All Thrills and Mission: Space.  If you were to do Soarin’ and then Test Track in the standby line, the wait for Test Track would be 30 to 50 minutes.  If you head straight to Test Track and enter the single rider line, everyone should be able to ride together, though you’ll bypass the design stage.  That’s the fastest way to experience Test Track.  Single rider lines are also short – waits are usually 10 to 20 minutes, even in the afternoon, which is less time than it will take in the standby or FASTPASS lines in most instances.

Mater moves from Japan to outside Mouse Gear.

Lightning joins him.

Along with a small playground.  It looked like this walkway will be themed to Cars rather than a straight to DVD Tinker Bell movie.

Nants ingonyama bagithi babaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Lion King replaces Phineas and Ferb.  Disney invests approximately $43.14 in the Garden and Liquor Festival each year.  You should recognize almost all of these “topiaries” from last year.  Even the neat Fantasia scene at the front of Epcot last year was created using 100% recycled stuff.

This is what the 43 bucks bought you – a fun Monsters University scene.


Monsters University comes out June 21st.

The butterfly house returns in the same location behind Innoventions West.

I keep trying to get a picture of these parrots.

But always fail.  I never noticed the crocs down below.

At least the door at the end of the creepy sturgeon tunnel wasn’t working.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush with FASTPASS+…………….

One of my favorite things in the whole world is “The American Dream” from the Fife & Drum Tavern in the United States Pavilion – Frozen Strawberry, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Frozen Blue Raspberry – $4.25.  Very patriotic.  Sort of looks like blood and guts.

I was crestfallen and rather despondent to find out that Fife & Drum no longer serves The American Dream up with slurpee straws, those fun straws that have the semi-worthless spoon on the bottom.  Nobody said The American Dream was going to be easy and I think the slurpee spoon represents this perfectly.  When I asked about the slurpee straw, I was told that they no longer had them and was offered one of those self-serve straws that don’t come in a wrapper – the kind that you can never quite be sure how many people have touched them or previously had them in their mouths.  I asked for a spoon, knowing the straw wasn’t going to do me a whole lot of good with soft serve ice cream.  It was only 61.8% as good as usual.

Woody is still lonely, but at least he has some bales of hay to keep him company.  Pulled Pig Slider with Cole Slaw, Smoked Beef Brisket with Collard Greens and Jalapeno Corn Bread, and Rocky Road Brownie Mousse are on the menu here in the United States come Wednesday.  Hopefully that fun size smoker can keep up with demand.  I wasn’t able to shake the feeling that The American Dream was over, so I visited The American Adventure.

Check your Times Guide to see when the Fife & Drum Corps starts playing outside.  It’s usually 12:15pm, 1pm, 1:45pm, 2:30pm, 3:15pm, 4pm, and 4:45pm.  15 minutes later, the Voices of Liberty begin performing inside.

This is literally the only time you’ll ever see old people sitting cross leg on the floor.  If you have an ECV or wheelchair in your party, you can take the elevator up to the second floor and enter the theater before everyone else.  As you walk inside, take a right and you’ll see the elevator almost immediately to your right again.

The theater is one of Disney’s largest and most comfortable.

As temperatures start getting up there, it’s one of the best places in the World Showcase to rest.  Impressions de France is a close second.

I think my favorite thing about America is that the taxes on the colonists were more than fair.

I think someone asked about the wine walk in the World Showcase:

I thought there used to be more options.  Remember that we tried six nice Italian wines at Tutto Gusto last time for not much more money.  That would be a lot more relaxing.  Italy, Germany, and France sell wine by the glass with a lot more options if these don’t sound appealing and you’d like to explore a little.

Speaking of Tutto Gusto, we’re back for some day drinking!  A bit more from the menu:

I was surprised to see solely Italian beers on the beer list.  They’ve been here since December.

Gusto opened with the usual Yuengling, Bud Light, and Sam Adams Seasonal along with the Mortetti beers and Toasted Lager from Blue Point.

I have a hard time paying a high premium for beer.  I’ll pay a premium for a carefully crafted cocktail, since I’m too cheap to purchase the necessary ingredients and too lazy to bother with a recipe, but I can pop a bottle cap myself.  But the Birra Amiata beers, along with the Tutto Gusto, are going to be rare to find, particularly on draft.  On the other hand, there are a lot of people just looking for the comfort of a Miller Light.  There are plenty of opportunities for that too.

I ordered a flight with the four I hadn’t tried.  First up is the Birra Amiata Contessa Pale Ale.  According to Googe Translate: “This beer can be found hints of grass and flowers and the scent of summer and full moon, you can try visiting this beautiful plateau in summer. A key ingredient is revealed also the water, the water supply of the Fiora, particularly pure and light, because through long layers of porous rock of volcanic origin.   It ‘a top-fermented beer, which employs the yeast of American origin, fermented twice, the first in a fermenter and the second bottle.”

I’m not sure about the scent of the full moon, but this was my favorite of the four.  Coming in at 6.9% ABV, the U.S. considers this an IPA, even though it’s bottled as an Italian Pale Ale.  This is one of the smoother IPAs I’ve tried with grass, citrus, and pine notes.  It’s more hoppy than one might expect from the Pale Ale moniker, but I’m an IPA guy and I enjoyed this one immensely.  I would have liked the other 8 ounces and would love to happen upon a 6-pack sometime.

The second is the Tuscan Chestnut Ale, which wasn’t to my taste.  Its Italian name is “Bastarda Rossa,” which doesn’t sound quite as sexy as chestnut ale.  Actually, Red Bastard may be better.  Anyway,  this one tasted of nuts and smoke, but was too bitter and sour for my palate.  I would definitely add it if you’re ordering the flight though – it’s worth trying and you may enjoy it more than I did.

Nex up is the Birrificio L’Olmaia La Nove.  Birrificio L’olmaia is fun to say if nothing else.  Like the Chestnut Ale, this one comes in at 6.5% ABV.  Unlike the Chestnut, it’s a Belgian Pale Ale.  I enjoyed it, but I’m not as fond of the Chimay family of Belgians as some.  I find them to be too sweet and caramel-y.  This was neither – more complex with more of a citrus orange flavor than anything and a nice dry finish.  I liked it, but wouldn’t have the need to order a $12/glass.

Porters are my least favorite of the major beer varieties, but Tutto Gusto’s seemed to be on point with more coffee flavor than your typical American porter.  It would pair nicely with one of the chocolate desserts, but it wouldn’t be my personal choice for a $10 beer.  It could just as easily be Kona’s Pipeline Porter in my book.

Overall, I give big props to Tutto Gusto and the Patina Group for importing some choice Italian craft beers that aren’t going to be found in many other places.  I don’t think you can get the Contessa Pale Ale on draft anywhere else in the United States.  That’s pretty special.

And of course, they still have wine.

280+ bottles.  I have a nice Brunello waiting to be drank/drunk/dranken/drunken if anyone wants to come over.  After a bottle you might be able to convince me to open my bottle of Lasseter Paysage.  As a warning though, I’m pretty sure it’s just Franzia in a bottle.

On the food front, I ordered the $16 Gambretti – shrimp, calabrian chili, garlic, pomodorini.  It was not a tremendous amount of food, but it was topped with three large shrimp and the pasta was prepared perfectly.  Not as spicy as I was expecting.  It was a nice accompaniment to the beers.  As a reminder, you can order anything off the Tutto Italia menu at Tutto Gusto and the portions over there seem to be larger.  Particularly around lunch time, you may want to ask for Italia’s menu.

I really can’t overemphasize how pleasant Tutto Gusto is, particularly in the afternoon before the dinner rush.  You don’t need a reservation and can stroll up at your convenience.  I recommend requesting a table away from the door to get away from the sun coming through and foot traffic.

Continuing down to the Joy of Tea in China, I was glad to see that the Tipsy Ducks in Love was still around.

This one is not for the faint of heart. Unlike the cast members at most places that spritz a half ounce of Bacardi under your non-alcoholic frozen lemonade, the Chinese pull out chilled bottles of Jim Beam bourbon and load you up on top. This was a strong drink and you’re talking to someone that mixes a quarter of generic diet cola into a glass filled three quarters of the way with Evan Williams and ice.  If you like bourbon and coffee, you’re going to like this. But it tastes strongly of bourbon, which makes it ideal for bourbon lovers and not ideal for those who want something like the Frozen Jim Beam Lemonades or Grey Goose Slushes.

This time we have the Canto Loopy on the left – with Vodka and Cantaloupe juice – $7.50 and the Peach Snap! on the right – With Schanpps – $7.50.

While refreshing, I didn’t taste any vodka whatsoever in the Loopy.  If there was some, the cantaloupe juice masked it perfectly, but I doubt that’s the case.

A few pictures on Gran Fiesta Tour to close things out:


  1. Patty57 says

    I’m very much looking forward to the Garden and Liquor Festival. I’m okay with the $43 being spent on Mike Wasowski. Could have been much worse. The Phineas & Ferb thing is pretty lame though. Think we will hit up Tutto Gusto on our first day for some snacks and drinks. I want to try the Dessert Flight, even though it’s only one taste of dessert wine. It just appeals to me.

  2. Meredith says

    Last time we were in Epcot, I had the Canto Loopy for the first time. It was so thick that I could barely get it through the straw–I swear they just pureed cantaloupe and put it in my glass. And I agree–I could not taste any vodka. I joked that I probably could have put it in my kid’s sippy cup (not really of course).

  3. shalom says

    I love the American Dream, but I eat it with a spoon anyhow.

    I am old and blind and cannot see the statues worth squat when there, so many thanks for the pictures. The “Spirit of Compassion” lady looks grumpy. But she also looks like my mom, who is a nurse, so whatever.

  4. pfalcioni says

    93 photos? Why not make it an even 100? My puny internet connection just exploded.

    That pic of the rotunda with Voices of Liberty singing is awesome.

  5. websteroni says

    I’m glad it’s not my imagination that the topiaries are the same every year! I have a bad memory so for me to remember something must mean I’ve seen them over the course of several years. Adding the food & drinks to the F&G Festival will at least ensure something is different this year!

  6. teacherkim says

    Josh, since you asked about ideas for where to go……how about the water parks? We are coming down in June and love both the water parks. Have you ever considered a walkabout at Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach?

  7. amberpi says

    Hey Josh, would you consider covering the non Disney resorts on property – like the Swan (my fave in WDW as it tends to me a little more adult and I don’t need the “magic” 24/7 but LOVE the convenience); even though I’ve been there a ton of times, there may something awesome I’ve missed! I’m also personally really interested in the Waldorf at the Bonnet Creek area, what’s the transport like, etc. – how far is it to cab it to the parks? I stayed there for a conference for 2 nights, but didn’t really get a feel for where it was in relation to the parks, as I tend to cab or WDW transport it everywhere, so I’m like a Hufflepuff kid figuring out the relations to places I can’t walk…

    To add, I really enjoy your site. Even though I consider myself a pro at WDW, your site made my last 2 visits in Sept. and Jan. even better.

  8. Heather says

    Rocky Road Brownie Mousse?? Now I’m even more excited for our trip this week!

    Slightly stalker-ish side note, I’ve shown the kids pictures from the blog so they can be on Josh-lookout while we’re there. My husband thinks we’re a bit nuts 😉

  9. Monica says

    “….I’m like a Hufflepuff kid….” haha!

    And while we’re at it: for a blogger who was considering riding Pteranodon Flyers, would it be too much to give a Legoland report? My 16 y.o. is attracted but kind of embarrassed in case it is not cool to admit that.

  10. ProudAFWife says

    Have you noticed if there is currently a “Spend so much money on our other stuff and you will qualify to buy this thing or this thing” promotion in the shops? They’ve had watches and blanket throws in the past. Just curious!

  11. RebeccaMcK says

    I agree about checking out the water parks, the Dolphin and Swan hotel areas, Legoland……also, how is the construction coming along for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster? I really hope it’s done before 2014 but I doubt I can go this year anyway. Just dreaming, and still hoping it’ll be done early.

  12. Mindy says

    @ E. regarding Frederick Douglass – this is my favorite comment on this thread. Because I went to an insane liberal arts college, I once had to write a paper about patriotism in pop culture and general insanity of The American Adventure was a key component of the project.

  13. Christina says

    We were there that day! I am honored to have been at the same park as the almighty Josh lol. AND I had a cantaloopy. I can’t speak for the alcohol in it…cause I had a drink in every other country too lol. It was tasty though. And my kids loved that playground.

  14. Abe4disney says

    Please, please, another vote for the waterparks! We are headed there this summer, and I am clueless about them.

  15. Terri Torrez says

    I’ve never been to Flower & Garden before so the Topiaries are all new to me. Once the festival opens looking forward to descriptions/reviews of the various foods and “exhibits”. I saw the map/brochure yesterday. There seemed to be lots of exhibits but it wasn’t clear what any of them were.

  16. mike says

    just an idea for a new ws country kenya. could do a poc and snow white mix with aniamatronic story and a boat ride

  17. TriSeb says

    On the Recycled front… are those Gran Fiesta Tour picts from a recent, never published and freezing wind Candle Light Processional night? 😉

  18. QuackQuack says

    Hey Josh! I really enjoy your blog. I spent the afternoon on a ladder chipping ice out of the gutters, so a new Josh post was a welcome escape from my wintery life.

    FP + on Nemo? Hmm. What other rides/attractions will be getting fp+ that don’t have it now?

  19. says

    I can’t think of a more awkward, creepy situation than a drunk, disheveled man stumbling around a family-centered water park taking pictures with a giant camera through the bushes. Also, Adobe Lightroom can only do so much to make a 300 pound, Speedo-wearing, hairy and sun-burnt American look good.

  20. Tricia says

    Strange… your cantaloupe loopy from your visit this week and from my trip in 2011 look very different. I just looked at a picture and mine was pink/peach colored. Yours looks more peach/orange.

  21. Vicki says

    Josh – great shots of the American Adventure show – so clear and crisp. I like the Canto Loopy thing and I’ve had it made strong and not strong, they don’t seem to be very consistent with that.

  22. CaFeeney says

    Hi Josh,
    We are heading down tomorrow for the Flower and booze fest. Hope we run into you at some point – love to buy you a spiced Dole Whip and meet the famous Josh in person.

  23. Kevin says


    Would love to see a crowd meter blog comparing this week, March 3 – March 8 (crowd 4 days) vs something towards the end of March where you have them all 10 crowd days.

    Comparing your Most recommended parks vs least recommended, etc would be great.

    Compare Hollywood Studios from the 3rd to a 10 non-recommended day later in the month, Animal Kingdom from the 5th. Not to mention Touring Plans had Animal Kingdom is the park to avoid today, while you had it as the recommended park. I was there today at it was definitely very nice. Not too crowded at all. I think the longest stand-by I saw was 25 mins for Safari or EE.

    I think these types of comparisons (or more often if you do them already) would be great.

    Thanks for everything.
    Kevin and Liz

  24. ceb104 says

    I’d love to know if the chocolate easter eggs will be on display again at the Grand Floridian again…

  25. Sarah says

    I had the Tipsy Ducks today, woo hoo! I didn’t see the sign for it, but I asked the guy and he happily made it for me with generous bourbon. It is pretty sweet until the ice starts to melt.

  26. Julie says

    Josh, I’m really curious about the American Dream. If you ordered it without the blue raspberry, would it be anything like the former strawberry swirl that used to be available at the, also former, Enchanted Grove? I really miss that! : )

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