Welcome to Our Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Review for 2016
Thank you for listening to episode 10 of The Photo Flunky Show about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
We visited on opening day to get some photos and experiences to share so you know what to expect.
We covered the overall atmosphere and experience, the merchandise and of course, the food and wine. However, you'll also want to hear our reports of our favorite spots for food, wine, craft beer and a great place to relax between your food binges.
Kids aren't left out at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, either. We found a Ratatouille Hide & Squeak are for kids to partake in a scavenger hunt.
There are items in the Food & Wine passport guide that show a pear symbol next to some options for kids.
If you like music, you can enjoy one of many Eat to the Beat concerts. We tell you how to get preferred seating for the show.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Photo Gallery
Here are some photos from the first day of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in 2016. Click the images for a larger view.
[justified_image_grid download_link=no lightbox=foobox mobile_lightbox=foobox lightbox_max_size=full]
THE ORLANDO LOCAL SHOW
William: Welcome to the Orlando Local show, episode number ten.
Hi, thanks for joining us on the Orlando Local Show.
Hi, my name is William Beem.
Lee: Hi, my name is Lee Beem.
William: Today we are going to be talking about Epcot International Food & Wine Festival for 2016.
Lee went out there on opening day. It was Wednesday of last week and she checked things out so she has now got a lot of photos that she is going to be able to share with us – obviously not on the podcast.
Lee: No visuals on the podcast.
William: No visuals on the podcast, but we will have some of those maybe in the show notes and then we will have another article about that too.
Give me a sense of it. When you walk in, what does it feel like when you go there for Food and Wine?
Lee: I think even entering the park at park opening, although the World Showcase is not open until 11 am, when I got in it was just around 9 am and there is a definite festival kind of feel when you walk in. They’ve got the whole display set up where they do it when they have events there, in front of Spaceship Earth, and people were stopping for their photos. There was definitely a feel.
The only thing was that I’m used to being able to go either to the right or the left and I tend to veer to the right first and pick up a map and a guide there and they didn’t actually have any maps on that side, so I had to kind of circle around and go to the left. That messed with my head first thing in the morning.
William: Do you think they were unprepared?
Lee: No, I don’t think it was that. There must have been a reason why they had done it. Maybe for some reason they just hadn’t set it up. At about 5 pm I went back there to have a look and I also didn’t see any maps or guides on the right hand side, as you are entering, so I am not sure if they just moved that for a specific reason or if it was an oversight.
William: That’s a little odd.
Now, I know most of the Food and Wine Festival happens around the World Showcase, but there are a couple of places that are up in the Future World part. Were they open, or do they also wait until 11 am or after?
Lee: No, they also waited until 11 o’ clock and although they are there, it’s going to be easier if you have a look at the photos when we put them on the blog, because you’ll get a sense of it if you haven’t been to these before and seen the ones at Future World. They have sectioned them off; they’ve got little closed off areas where they are. But no, nothing was open until 11 am and they were prompt. I think it was a couple of minutes before 11 am that they were starting to get the lines started.
William: So there are two areas I’m thinking of where they have got Food and Wine specific things happening in Future World. One of them is kind of between Universe of Energy and Mission Space. And that’s where they’ve got the chocolate and the beer. Oh wait … no .. It’s not beer.
Lee: It’s wine! Because it’s Food and Wine. My mistake. So did you venture by the chocolate or wine? I did both, but not in the Festival Center. I went to the Festival Center to take a picture, but it really was just a case of running out of time. There was quite a lot of stuff I wanted to cover. I am a wine girl, but I found wine elsewhere and I will touch on that a little bit later.
William: Alright. That sounds cool. And then the other place is that oddly shaped little building that is kind of on the lake before you get to the World Showcase.
Lee: The Odyssey Center?
William: The Odyssey Center! That’s why it’s oddly shaped. The Odyssey.
So this is where they do the demonstrations and lessons and so forth?
Lee: No, that’s where they do the Craft beer.
William: I knew there was beer.
Lee: Yes, there was beer there. I went in there and it was pretty cool. They had almost casino lighting. Everything had this sort of feel of darkness. It was like night time with the fluorescent lights and the blue tinge to it and everything. It was pretty cool.
William: I’ll have to go back there now and take a look. I don’t even like beer.
Lee: I’ll teach you.
William: I’ll go for the casino vibe. You can probably get me into the building with wine and chocolate though.
Lee: Yes, that was on the other side; in the Festival Center. And the Festival Center tends to have more of the seminars and courses and demonstrations and most of them come with a fee. Some are as little as $15 per person.
William: I think that’s right, because usually it’s over and above what you are doing for your park entry. The same thing with the food. Clearly you are paying with that. It’s not like they are just passing all of this stuff out for free. Speaking of other things that you need to pay for, usually there is specific merchandise for these events.
Lee: The merchandise is really fun. I like the merchandise.
William: Did you find anything interesting and useful?
Lee: I found a huge coffee mug. It must have been like a pint. I don’t mean an American pint. It was like a British pint and what I call “a decent cup of coffee.” It was a really nice mug for $17.95.
They have them at Mousegear. Mousegear had a lot of the stuff so if you find it congested in the smaller stores and little shops in the World Showcase, you could always stop at Mousegear if there is other stuff you want to pick up and pay once with a card or something.
William: Was there anything specific to cooking or food and wine, because I know there are always going to be T shirts and coffee mugs. When you were out there looking at the Flower and Garden Festival, they would have things that were specific to Gardening. Do they have any cooking equipment or displays out?
Lee: They had oven mitts with Figment on. There are pictures of those as well. They had fridge magnets ….
William: I’m surprised you didn’t bring that back.
Lee: I was so tempted.
William: You are a Figment freak.
Lee: I am a Figment freak. I love Figment. Figment features on the Food and Wine things. He’s the Festival character.
William: They’ve got him running around in a little chef’s hat.
Lee: He’s so cute! He is cute! They had Mickey toys as well, with the chef hats, the Mickey plushes, and they have cookery books. Actually some of the food I really liked is on the cover of the book. There are photos of the cookery book as well. There is a photo that went out on Instagram on Wednesday, if you want to check it out. I just put a few of them out because I had to snap those with a phone and it was really difficult to see what was going on in the glare of the sun. I had to hope and pray.
William: That’s a good point. If you haven’t checked out our Instagram account, Lee was out there shooting things and sharing them live. So at Instagram we are orlando_local and there is more on Twitter, where we are just @orlandolocal.
Lee: No underscore.
William: No underscore on Twitter. Someone on Instagram beat me to it and doesn’t use it.
Lee: Isn’t that rude?
William: It’s horrible! But that’s OK. We’ll keep on moving. OK, so the cook books. I thought that makes a lot of sense for Food and Wine.
I imagine a lot of the chefs are that are coming out there to do some teaching are probably going to have a book that they are promoting or something as well.
Lee: Another thing you can do, when you are walking around you get those little cardboard containers or maybe a plastic or a polystyrene plate when they serve the portions of food or your plastic glasses – you can actually buy the souvenir glasses. This is all plastic but it is kind of like picnic ware, but it looks really nice.
They’ve got a square Food and Wine Festival plate and there is a spot in there where you can stick your cup or your glass so you can walk with it and it does make things easier. So if you are planning to spend a day or even two days or more at the Food and Wine Festival, it is probably worth just splashing out and buying it. It wasn’t that expensive.
Now, off the top of my head, what was it? Maybe $12? Something like that. Also, if you don’t like eating with a cheap plastic spoon and you want your own stuff, they have a little plastic case and there is a knife and fork in there as well. They are also plastic, but they are more sturdy and you can keep those and take them with you.
William: Yeah, that’s one of those things that bother you at some of these events where you try to eat and you’ve got a cheap little plastic knife there that breaks or shoots your food across the table when you’re trying to cut it.
Lee: There was something I was eating and I was really struggling with the little fork. I don’t remember what it was and I thought one of those sets would be nice right now.
William: Something a little more substantial.
William: Because they don’t let you bring metal knives and forks into the parks.
Lee: Apparently not.
William: You must have had bad luck with that in the past!
Alright, enough about the merchandise. Let’s get down to business. Tell me about the food.
Lee: The food was really good. I mean, the standards are generally very high there. I thought the presentation was fantastic. Hot food was hot; cold food was cold. It was a scorching hot day yesterday. I think we were in the low 90’s and you could feel it. It was really baking down. The humidity wasn’t too bad, but anything that you got that was cold, you wanted to get somewhere quickly and consume it before it melts or evaporates or anything like that.
William: Well, did you have any favorites out of it?
Lee: You know, I did and I never expected it to be a vegetarian thing. Now, I was vegetarian for over ten years. I am not vegetarian now. I can live without meat, but I am not opposed to eating it. I stopped at Greece and thought, let me get something vegetarian because it’s something that, unless you are on a specifically vegetarian blog, you don’t always get a lot of feedback on it.
William: Well, exactly and I know there are always going to be people who want to have a vegetarian or even vegan kind of diet. Other people, they can kind of go with or without meat. They might enjoy something just so long as it’s delicious, whether it has meat or not.
Lee: Well, I come from a family where I’m the only person without a food allergy and some of them are life threatening. We have got a history of this, so I grew up understanding this and we’ve also got vegan family members. So this is important to cover and I appreciate how difficult it is when you are trying to maintain a lifestyle either by choice or because you don’t have a choice.
I went to Greece and they had nachos, but they were pita chips. Now they are not the corn tortilla chips like you usually get. It was like a very thin flatbread that had been backed. It was crispy, I want to say flaky, but almost like a cookie in texture, but it was really good. They were lightly seasoned and they had vegetarian sausage crumbles on it as well and – don’t make faces at me! William says it’s not sausage if it’s not meat.
William: I was going to ask you, so what is vegetarian sausage?
Lee: You know, I didn’t ask them because I’m not averse to any of the vegetarian substitutes, really, for protein. So it was probably soy or something like that. But it was really tasty and they had olives, they had feta cheese, there was some lettuce on there and some red onions and peppers and all the kinds of things that you wouldn’t touch!
William: No, I really wouldn’t.
Lee: It was just really tasty and that was the first thing I had and when I came around as far as the main meal food goes – like savory food – it remained my favorite. It was served warm and it was warm. But the warm things were warm. The salad was cold. There was something in there that was warm and I don’t recall what it was. It was just beautifully prepared and a generous portion as well. I mean, I had to walk around for a bit. I thought, I need some time before I go and eat something else.
William: See that’s one of the things about these experiences. When you go from station to station, you are usually looking for just light little bites; kind of what we were talking about the previous week when we were talking about all the other food events in town. You don’t necessarily want to have a full meal, because then you don’t really get to try any of the other sensations.
Lee: You don’t. But if you mix it up with a bit of souvenir shopping and you want to do a ride or do things in between, I think you can work this out quite nicely. Stop for a drink, have something to eat, go and do something, get something else to eat …
William: I think on the other hand, since you are paying for each place where you stop, you want to get value for your money as well.
Lee: You do. Generally, it is what you would expect for Food and Wine for value. Look, the prices are up slightly as they usually are, however sometimes Disney has a habit of reducing portion sizes. I think that is true, apparently with some of the alcohol. I didn’t really notice or pay attention to compare, but with the food, maybe it was just my perception, but I felt that the food quantities were on the slightly more generous side. They certainly haven’t done any cutbacks on that.
William: Well that’s really good to hear. If you put your money down, you want to get something back that you feel is a fair exchange for your money.
Lee: Yes. I mean, the average item that I was getting was around the $5 mark. I stopped at Japan. I really enjoyed their spicy tuna roll. They used to serve them as separate little ones, but now it was just one large one. That also went up on Instagram and/or Twitter. It is on one of our social media platforms. I really enjoyed that as well. They are always so friendly and sweet at the Japanese pavilion.
William: That’s true. Usually when you go there, especially for Food and Wine, they know people love food, they know they are enjoying it and I’ve always had a very good experience when I was dealing with it.
Lee: Oh, everybody was. Before they opened I was walking around and some of them were quite happy to pose for a photo for me.
William: That’s cool.
You went over and you had a vegetarian dish, you had the sushi roll.
Lee: I also hit up the ….
William: I don’t expect that you ate at every station, but you had a chance to check out a few things because I know you were taking photos of some food.
Lee: I did, yes. And I backtracked a few times. I think I made three or four trips … four trips around the World Showcase? So there were times when I would have to go back. You want to kind of keep moving and get along and do something else. But I got photos of a good variety of the food, including things that I either couldn’t or wouldn’t eat because I just couldn’t manage to eat it; or I didn’t have time.
William: No, you’re not a heavy eater in the first place.
Lee: I’m not.
William: So I did not expect you to go out and eat your way around the world.
Lee: No. Well, I didn’t and I also had to pay attention to what was going to fill me up so I was trying not to eat too much of the things that would fill me up. So for example, if there was a lot of rice, then I would eat the substance of the meal and if I was going to leave something, I was trying not to fill up on the rice or the pitas at Greece. Tasty as they were, I was conscious of the fact that I’ve got a low cap on what I’m able to eat on the go.
William: I know we looked at the menu and there are a couple of returning favorites out there. One of them was the Kalua Pork Slider.
Lee: Yes, I got a photo of that. It looked good.
William: I love pulled pork sliders, but for me, like you said, I’m a finicky eater and I don’t like the coleslaw on top. But if you just ask them they will leave it off.
Lee: They’ll leave it off, yeah.
William: What else did you have out there?
Lee: Oh, dessert!
William: Yes, dessert.
Lee: Well I kind of got stuck in the mud. Or stuck in the chocolate.
They’ve got this chocolate studio and right next to it is the wine studio. This is in Future World West.
Oh, man! I was back there three times. I would not leave this place alone. I had this chocolate and raspberry torte.
William: That’s the one where you took a photo. I remember that one from Instagram.
Lee: Well, I took a photo of everything.
William: I looked at that and I thought, oh I want that. Get in me now!
Lee: It was just so good! And fortunately I took photos to prove that I had it, but it was gone pretty quickly. It was just really good. I also had a little truffle. It was just $2.25 but worth a try. It was a red wine chocolate truffle and I thought it was quite sweet that when I went to pay for it, the guy said, “I just need to let you know that this is very small.”
Now I knew it was going to be small and I also know that they are very rich so I said I’m fine with that. At $2.25. It was just nice. It was the last thing I had before I left and it wasn’t sweet. It was just perfect. It was quite – I don’t want to say bitter – but maybe a bitter-sweet chocolate flavor.
William: Now I’m kind of jealous that you didn’t sneak one of those out of the park and bring it to me.
Lee: I was going to bring it to you because it came in a little dish, but then I figured it was hot …
William: I thought you were going to say it fell in your mouth.
Lee: That happened too. I flicked it with a fork. So I had that. But there was something about that area. It was just such a nice place to hang out and I think that is what I enjoyed.
William: Is that the area where people were just lying on the grass?
Lee: Yes! I thought it was wonderful because it was just one of my best memories of the first day of Food and Wine. It was hot and this was late afternoon. I went back there to get something else from the chocolate studio and also, I was trying to take photos earlier and the glare from the sun was so bad, so we had a bit of cloud cover and I thought I’d head back there and try redo the shots I’d lost in the sunlight.
When I got there, people were just relaxing. They put these fake lawns out there and people were just tired and they were lying there taking some time out. But I managed to get a photo of a group of them. There were a few groups of people doing that, and I was trying to do it where I didn’t get anybody’s faces in so I wasn’t sniping a shot. I wanted to post it. So there were some who were lying in such a way that I was behind them and you couldn’t see who they were. But they just looked so chilled out and I thought, how convenient. You have your chocolate, drink your wine, food coma …. outside the wine place, just pass out. I thought it was pretty cool that Disney made some pass-out spots for the guests.
William: They probably needed to. Alright, one of the other things you told me was that they had a lot more seating available now.
Lee: I felt that there was more – not seating – there were more places to put your things. And look, it doesn’t matter how many tables Disney puts out, their trashcans are just such awesome multi purpose things. Even with spare tables around, people like using the trashcans as a surface for their food, or their beverages or their kids or whatever they want.
William: So basically people go over to the trashcan and say, “This is our table. Go get your own”
Lee: Yes. But the only problem was shade because shade moves as the sun moves. So there is really nothing you can do about it, but I did get some shots of the tables set up at the beginning of the day when they weren’t populated by people. They seemed to have an abundance of them, I’d say for a weekday. Now when you get there on a busy evening or a weekend, you are going to be a bit more hard pressed to find some space.
William: Yeah, we’ll cover that a little bit later on.
I know I mentioned beer earlier. So you said they had Craft beer.
Lee: Yes. That was in the Odyssey Center. I didn’t taste any. I like my beer, I love my wine, but if there is something I cannot do it’s have alcohol and walk in the sun. That is a sure fire headache for me, so I left it until the end before I had something really yummy.
William: So were there specific brands that were in there doing things or was this just Craft beer and they were just … what were they doing?
Lee: You could go in there and buy your samples and sit and enjoy it. You lined up, and I’ve got a picture of that as well – of the line and the seating area.
William: That’s a good spot. You go in the air conditioning and have beer.
Lee: Oh, it was cool. It was really cool. And there are two entrances. They have got both entrances open as well. I don’t know if you are familiar with that. You enter the building on two sides.
William: Yeah, there are like walkways coming from Future World and also another one going off the side and heading down to World Showcase.
Lee: Yeah, because you come in from Test Track and there is one there, and if you go ahead and keep to the left, there is another one that you come across. I think it’s after the restrooms, as you turn the corner.
William: Another thing we wanted to touch on is I know some people are going to have food restrictions or allergies. I am one of them and my allergy is a little weird. Of all the things, I’m allergic to mushrooms. That’s not a common one. But Disney is usually really very good about dealing with dietary restrictions and food allergies.
The trick is you’ve got to make sure that you speak to a manager or a chef before you grab something.
Lee: Yes. Now any of these marketplaces, which is what they call the food kiosks, will be able to produce a list of full ingredients, if you ask. You only need to ask. So before you order, if you have any concerns, just ask them to get it for you. You might have to wait a minute if they need to go and pull it, but usually they have these at the registers and I know because I’ve traveled with allergy issues before and had to work with Disney – not for Food and Wine, but for different things – and they are fantastic. But they will be able to let you know.
So again, this depends on the kind of allergy, but you want to speak to a chef to see if and how they can accommodate you.
William: Yep. And from my experience, they will.
Lee: If it’s gluten – gluten sensitivities, allergies and celiacs, they do have a number of gluten free items. I think most places – or at least every other stop – you are not going to have a problem finding something that is gluten free, and it is marked on the menus and on the Food and Wine Festival guide, which is a little passport by the way. And it’s got stickers in the middle. You used to get stamps. Remember you used to get stamps? Now you get stickers. I was so excited when I opened it and found the stickers, but …
Lee: I wish they had color.
William: I know! They are just little black and white stickers.
OK, so I’m looking in the little passport and I’m looking at Islands of the Caribbean and the first item of food is a Jamaican Beef Patty, there’s a Mojo Pork with black beans and cilantro rice and red onions. You know, except for the onions, I would really enjoy that.
Lee: But you can ask them to just leave that off. They are actually putting the food together there. They are continuously serving while there is a line.
William: They’ve got Presidente Pilsner, frozen mojito … oh, I could go with the frozen mojito.
Lee: You missed the big girls and big boys hard soda floats.
William: Oh, no!
Lee: Oh, it was so good. They had an orange one and I was thinking of you.
William: Like an orange creamsicle?
William: I would love that.
Lee: They had the alcoholic ones as well. So I got the hard cider root beer float. So there were three people in front of me who ordered regular root beer soda floats and I got the hard cider one and when I went to collect it they wanted to know who was having the one with alcohol and everybody turned around and looked at me. It’s me!
Oh, but it was good. It was rich and chocolatey and lots of ice cream and it tasted like more. That’s why like I said on Instagram, it was just so worth being over 21 for that one.
William: Alright, so I’m looking at the little passport for the Chocolate Studio. They had the red wine chocolate truffle. Which is gluten free!
William: There’s the Ghiradelli Raspberry Torte that you mentioned and that looked wonderful!
William: And the other one is a liquid nitro chocolate almond truffle with warm whisky and caramel.
Lee: I’ve got some pictures of them making these things.
William: We have to go back for me.
Lee: It looked so good. I mean, as I say, there’s a limit and I think it also helps if there is a group of you and you want to experiment with things, you can order three different things or however many people are in your party, and you can each have a bit of something and try it out.
With me, I had to eat everything I bought.
William: OK, so I was asking about the Craft beer. So they do have some vendors coming in there. They’ve got Orlando Brewing, Florida Beer Company, Two Henrys, Concrete Beach, 3 Daughters, Shipyard Midnight … I’m looking at these names and I don’t really recognize them. But I am looking up at the food that is in the Craft Beers and they’ve got Piggy Wings. Fried pork wings with Korean barbecue sauce and sesame seeds.
Lee: Pigs fly.
William: I’ve never heard of piggy wings before. And a couple of other little things are in here that I can’t pronounce.
Pimento cheese dip with pretzel crisps. That I can pronounce! Charcuterie Plate? I don’t know. See you can tell that I’m not cultured.
And the Chew Collective. That’s the one from ABC that’s got the Chew television show. They’ve got grilled beef skewer with romaine apricots and feta cheese. You know if they just gave me the meat on the stick I think I’d be happy.
Lee: I was going to go and order one of those, but I just couldn’t. Because I’m not really a meat eater, it just sits heavy on me. I was going to take one for the team and then I got stuck in chocolate and I do apologize. We’ll go back to try some more.
William: See, I’m the opposite of Lee. Where she is very well rounded with her diet – you’ll have lettuce and other things that grow out of dirt – whereas my opinion of food is that food is basically something that you have to eat other animals to survive. If it doesn’t have charred animal flesh in some form, it’s not a meal.
Lee: Yeah and I had to explain to him that three sides are a main.
William: No. No they are not. Three sides are just a lot of things to go with your meat.
Lee: When you look at my food, the goodness is in the dirt. Remember that!
William: Look at these onions. They grow in the dirt!
Lee: It was really beautiful in that little area, because they also had the Greenhouse Guru there in the same little section. They have got it set up with nice little displays, cute little vignettes that they have set up and I think I took about 500 photos. We won’t be able to post them all on a blog post, but I will try and get a selection of a little bit of everything so that you guys can see; especially if you are planning to come for the Festival.
William: The ones that don’t make it to the blog post, we’ll put them on our Facebook page and our Twitter and Instagram and just kind of share them out there.
Lee: Yes. I didn’t even think about putting them on the Facebook page!
William: Oh yeah.
Lee: I should have done that yesterday, because I would have been able to get more stuff up there faster.
William: That’s alright. We’ve got time. This is going to one for … actually how long does this go on for now?
Lee: This goes on until November 14th. It’s a full two months.
William: A full two months of the Food and Wine Festival.
Lee: So there is time for it.
William: So the Food and Wine Festival is included with your Epcot ticket. But some options cost extra.
Lee: Some do. Now when I said that most of the things in the Festival Center are going to be things you pay for, there are some things that are free.
When you enter the park, make sure you pick up a Food and Wine Guide, which is the little passport and also get yourself a Food and Wine Times Guide. The one that I got yesterday is going to vary, because that was for yesterday and today. Just like the Times Guide changes depending what is on, you’ll need one on the day. You won’t be able to shoot ahead and get something in advance if you are looking for up to the minute things.
William: So like the concerts and they’ve got the Eat to The Beat concerts that go on and those get packed.
Lee: They do get busy. They do have the option, for those of you who are familiar with the Fantasmic dining packages, they have got something similar for the Eat to The Beat. So you can make a dining package reservation that will get you preferred seating. And you are not restricted to have dinner and go straight through there. You can actually have a lunch meal, like a late lunch or dinner any time. It’s just for me, if I’m going to have a sit down meal it’s going to mess with the eat part of the “to the beat.”
William: It does. I think that is something for people who are probably going to make multiple trips.
Lee: But if it’s a band you are really wanting to hear, you might not be there that day for the food. If you come through for the music, that’s fine. And if you are spending multiple days at Epcot.
There was a couple I sat and spoke with yesterday and they love Epcot. They are here for a week. Their first four days are Epcot. They will finish off with an Epcot day and they will pick something else to go in between. They are here for Epcot and Food and Wine.
William: A lot of people come here for Epcot Food and Wine and that is something I wanted to bring up. Even although this is a rather slower time for tourism in Orlando in general, it is really a busy time at Epcot.
Lee: It is.
William: If you go there on a weekend you just expect the place to be packed. We have been there before and they are very broad, wide walkways in Epcot and they have been packed with people going back and forth. Lines have been long. Weekends, just give yourself plenty of time and freedom if you are going on a weekend and if you have the flexibility to go on a weekday, that is probably going to be a better choice.
Lee: Or even a Sunday night. It helps if you go on a Sunday night. Sunday is a check in our check out day for Disney guests and for those who are local or relatively local, the next day is a work day or school day. So that would help you as well.
William: Yes. So when we go back we are probably going to have to go back on a Thursday night or something like that.
Lee: We could do that. So we could suffer through Friday and then catch up on the weekend.
William: OK, now you’ve also mentioned there is something for kids.
Lee: There is like a little scavenger hunt. It’s the Ratatouille Hide and Squeak. You have to purchase the little pack and you will see there are various places where you can buy them. International Gateway and is it World Traveler? They have got them. Some of the little Festival Shops are set up around before you go into the World Showcase and in various spots of the World Showcase also sell them. So you can get the little pack.
The kids walk around the World Showcase and they have to find the hidden Remy. They find the little Remy character and then I think they do it with stickers, where they complete the puzzle and then they take their pack back to International Gateway and I think there is somewhere else as well, and they redeem it for a surprise.
I was actually going to do it yesterday, but I went to have a look and see where these Remys were and overheard someone saying how it was going to take such a long time. I thought as I had other things that I did need to get done …
William: That’s the thing about working in the park rather than just going there to enjoy it.
Lee: I’ve got a big focus on kids. I mean ours is now fourteen so she’s not little, but I also know what it’s like going in there with a little kid and she didn’t have any siblings to keep her amused. If you want to enjoy the food and wine you want your kids to have a good time. When the kids are happy you can relax.
William: Now, other than the desserts, did you find much as far as the food that you think people’s little ones would enjoy?
Lee: They had mac and cheese with a bit of a twist. They had sliders, which generally kids will eat, skewers with beef and things like that. There are things. Now inside, if you have a look at the menu they have marked things as gluten free. They have marked things as vegetarian. And they have also got things that are – it looks like a little pear symbol – beside them and these are marked in the passport guide as well as on the menus.
William: So for example in China, they’ve got one marked with a little pear, chicken pot stickers.
Lee: Yes, so they’ve got things that are more simple types of food that don’t have weird and wild flavors but with a little bit of a twist, so your kids can experiment with something different and still play safe.
William: OK, so there is a bit of a guide where they can try things out, but you know what it’s like. Typically speaking, this is something that you can feed your child.
Lee: Yeah, like you take them to the kids table in a buffet restaurant at Disney.
William: Ooh, look. Soda floats with soft serve ice cream. Non alcoholic. That has a pear. And that is the one where you got hard root beer.
Lee: Of course I got the hard one.
William: Your beverage didn’t have a pear!
Lee: I’m over 21. There are times when I want to be younger, but this was not one of them.
William: Alright, that’s pretty cool.
OK, so one of the last things I wanted to ask you about is let’s say that you are not out there working as I forced you to do the other day.
Lee: I really enjoyed it.
William: I know you did. It’s actually one of my favorite parks to go out and relax a little bit.
William: Yes, believe it or not when I go on vacation, I actually want to relax.
As far as time management, is this one of those things that you can actually see and do everything in a day? Or is it kind of like you need to pick and choose what you want?
I’m thinking with the crowds on the weekends it might be that you need to pick and choose.
Lee: I think more so on the weekends when it’s crowded, or if you are going over any kind of major … are there any holidays? Columbus Day and that’s it? That doesn’t have a massive impact on crowds, but it will have some effect.
William: Yes, it will stop before we get to Thanksgiving.
Columbus Day is like a Monday bank holiday, Federal Holiday kind of thing.
Lee: Some of the schools get a week off somewhere in October and that might affect it as well a little bit. I don’t think we are going to have anything crazy.
I would say on the weekends you have to pick and choose. It’s a little bit difficult to guess. It depends how much you want to do. I would say that not everybody wants to do everything. Not everything is every going to interest you. If you have an idea what your priorities are, you could probably cover this in a day.
I would shoot to be in there for 11 am when they open up and just work your way around.
The World Showcase always tends to fill up from the right, so if you start with Canada, that is where it’s going to get busy.
William: I’m the other way round. I am left handed so I always go to the left. So I’ll head over starting towards Norway first.
The other thing to keep in mind, and this is something you told me, the flow of the traffic was peaking around typical mealtimes. So you said around 11 o’ clock when they are getting close to lunch, things were building up at noon. But by 2 o’ clock they kind of tapered off.
Lee: That’s true. I noticed that. Around 2:00 – 2:30 pm there were some kiosks where there was nobody there and the chefs and crew were just interacting and engaging with guests as they went by, smiling and saying hi. That’s when I was able to go and get some photos of some of the food that I just couldn’t eat and speak to the people for a little bit.
William: So, like so many other areas of life, be the odd person. Don’t go with the normal times and you’ll have an easier time of getting in and out of line.
Lee: What I will say, yesterday with all the focus on the Food and Wine Festival, I walked by Test Track just after lunch time so it must have been about 1:30 pm and the standby wait was about 20 minutes. Single rider line had a ten minute wait. So that is weird, unless it went down somewhere. I didn’t check because I didn’t go to ride anything yesterday, but I thought, are you kidding me?
William: It’s like everybody is busy eating so that’s a good time to go have a ride before you get the food in your belly.
Lee: Well, this was a weekday. Also, at 11 am when they opened, people were getting their places in line about ten minutes before. I don’t think it was necessary, although the lines look like they might be long, they move very quickly. They have usually got at least two, sometimes three, people on the registers, they are putting your order through and move you along to the next section, you pass your receipt over to another cast member and they are just serving and passing things through and you’re on your way so it really moves extremely quickly.
Don’t be intimidated. I think Hops and Barley in the American Adventure had brisket. That was probably what did it! And carrot cake. You should have seen this carrot cake! I’ve got a photo of them pouring that cream cheese icing over the top. But the line around one o’ clock when I went by there looked ridiculously long, but I stood and watched it and it was just a walking line. So they were very efficient.
William: This isn’t fair because we are going to Animal Kingdom this weekend.
Lee: Do you want to do Epcot instead?
William: No, I think I want to drop you and Tové off at Animal Kingdom and then go to Epcot and eat and have brisket and carrot cake. No?
William: I think I just made a mistake.
Lee: It’s not going to work like that.
William: So apparently we are all going to Animal Kingdom.
William: Then on the way out we’ll stop and get brisket and carrot cake.
William: Alright, thank you for joining us on this episode of the Orlando Local Show. As usual, we would love for you to participate with us. You can leave us some comments or feedback at orlandolocal.com/10 and of course, we will have a transcript of the show there for you. Just sign on, let us know where to send it and it will be right off to you.
Just a reminder about our social media. If you would like to join us, contact us or communicate with us and all that fun stuff, you can find us on Facebook at Orlando Local, you can find us on Twitter @orlandolocal and on Instagram, orlando_local, because somebody took Orlando Local, who really isn’t Orlando Local. And of course the website at orlandolocal.com
We really appreciate you. Thank you so much for listening and we will see you again next week.