2017 WDW EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival Menus and Photos.

We are fortunate to live close to Walt Disney World and the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is one of my favorite events at the parks, so we visit as often as we can.  Because I find it easier to post the information on my corresponding Facebook travel page, I am including a link.

Here is a link to my Wednesday’s Travels Facebook travel page where I post updates with photos and descriptions of the food that I have tried so far as well as photos of the booth menus.

2017 EPCOT Food & Wine Photos

 

Advertisements

Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Part 1)

I had intended to visit during the passholder preview, that was given before the official opening on May 27th, but I missed the email invitation (thanks to Gmails “helpful” filters) and by the time I saw it, it was much too late to get on the list.  There was no way I was going anywhere near Animal Kingdom on opening day, which happened to fall over the Memorial Day weekend, so we decided to visit a few days later.  It was still crazy busy but not the 4 hour plus lines of opening day.  We planned to visit later in the evening and ride the attraction with the shortest wait time, which happens to consistently be the Na’vi River Journey.

Here are a few photos of the walk into Pandora, which during the day looks much like the rest of Animal Kingdom with it’s lush, tropical landscaping and sculpted concrete hardscape.

 

The stated wait time for the Na’vi River Journey was 105 minutes, this ended up being an excruciating 150 minutes, a reminder to not always trust the wait times…  So, we grabbed a cold beverage and a “Fruits of Mo’ara” Raspberry, lime and strawberry popsicle from a cart by where the loooooong line for the ride was queued, to help cool off.

The theming in the main covered queueing area was quite nice and the occasional fans and water bottle refill station were a nice touch.

At loooooonnnnggggg last we finally made it to the ride!  It was short and there really is no story line like Pirates of the Caribbean but it is very beautiful and the animatronics were absolutely lifelike.

 

And of course, this being Florida in the summer, when we got off of the ride it was FLOODING and STORMING!  I can tell you that there are not enough covered areas in this part of the park when it rains and being shooed out of nearly any available shelter in the middle of an active thunderstorm,  by park employees, made me quite angry.  Anyway the rain eventually dwindled and I was able to get a few shots of Pandora at night which is just beautiful with the black lights and glowing paint.

We spent some time in the very crowded Satu’li Canteen waiting on the rain to diminish, I tried a Pandoran Sunrise while we were there which was pretty good.  The food here looks great and we plan on trying it when we go back on Thursday to ride Avatar Flight of Passage so stay tuned for my next Pandora post!

Frontera Cocina at Disney Springs

Disney restaurants can be pretty hit or miss and with the inflated prices they charge, to me it is always a risk trying something new.  My friend Sheena and I decided to take the gamble and have our girl’s night out at a Disney Springs because we wanted to get in some shopping.  It was a last minute decision so available reservations were limited, out of the available options Frontera Cocina won out.

Frontera Cocina, a Chef Rick Bayless Mexican eatery,  opened June 27, 2016 and with me being an avid fan of just about all Latin food, I am surprised it took me this long to try it.

We arrived about 15 minutes early for our reservation and were told, despite empty tables all around, that they do not seat reservations early, okay no problem we can get a little shopping in while we wait.  Upon returning, we were directed to the hostess to be seated. Looking around, there are shelves lined with vivid Oaxacan carvings and interesting tequila bottles.  The walls are brightly painted and the focal point is a beautiful tiled mosaic, the restaurant also features a semi-open kitchen and a full stand alone bar.

This restaurant gets very mixed reviews online but I am happy to report we had a great meal and experience.  We started with drinks (Sangria for me!) and an order of the chips and salsa, which for me are like crack, so I proceeded to nearly spoil my appetite on them. They were a heavier chip served with both smoky chipotle salsa and a salsa verde.

Dinner Menu

It took me forever to order the main dish because there were so many great options (red snapper, shrimp, carne asada…) on the menu. In the end my personal favorite Mexican meat dish, carnitas, was the winner and I was not disappointed, it was moist and had a great citrus flavor.  I should mention that they were very accommodating with substitutions, I hate beans and guacamole and was allowed to substitute the cotija cheese mashed potatoes and crema.  Sheena had an easier time, from the moment she saw the carne asada she was sure that was the right choice, she was not disappointed either.  I tried the carne asada and can confirm it had a great flavor, it was a bit overcooked for me, I prefer my beef cooked medium but Sheena likes a more well done steak so she was happy.  She thought the beans and plantains were great as well, I think I have mentioned that I loathe beans and while I do love sweet plantains, these were served topped with crema and cotija cheese, I also do not mix my sweet and salty foods so I did not try them.

Despite being so full I could just die at this point, I was with Sheena and if there is one thing I can say about her, the girl loves dessert!  Frontera Cocina doesn’t have your garden variety Mexican tres leches, which BTW is one of my favorite desserts, they step it up a notch and add one more leches to the mix for a cuatro leches cake.  Had. To. Have. It!  It also had coconut and lime zest added, the lime zest I wasn’t sure about for a tres (sorry cuatro!) leches cake but the subtle lime flavor added a unique twist and it tasted amazing!

Dessert Menu

20170314_192446

From reading other’s reviews, I cannot promise you will have the great experience we did but if they remain consistent to what we experienced, you will have a very enjoyable meal.

Also, they do provide discounts for Disney Annual Pass holders, Tables in Wonderland members and Disney cast members (lunch only.)

First visit to the 2017 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival

Visiting the multiple different festivals that are now held at Disney World’s EPCOT are one of our favorite things to do at the parks.  We always try to go as soon as they begin and make multiple visits throughout the festivals, to give ourselves plenty of opportunities to sample the different food and beverage offerings,We  without blowing our weekly budget.  Today was our first chance to go to this year’s Flower and Garden Festival and the weather cooperated, it was a gorgeous day to be at the parks!

e20170308_115525

Today we tried two savory dishes, one dessert and a cider flight, all were excellent!  We usually pick up a festival guide and look through the menus to determine what we want to try for the day, then depending on how hungry (or not) we are we plot our course around the world showcase.  Today we arrived around lunch time and were starving!  I wanted to try the beef tenderloin tips, which are served at the new Northern Bloom booth located in Canada, with the strawberry tiramisu served at Primavera Kitchen in Italy.  My husband thought the pear cider brined corned beef, served at the Cider House booth in the UK was what he should try ( I also wanted the cider flight offered there) so we decided on a counterclockwise route.

e20170308_132205

So we first stopped at the Northern Blossom booth for the beef tenderloin tips, which consisted of three pieces of tenderloin in a bordelaise sauce with carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions over mashed potatoes, the beef was tender despite being cooked well done and the sauce was tasty, overall a great dish.

The second stop on the itinerary was the Cider House, where we picked up the cider flight and the cider brined corned beef.  The cider flight had three samples; McKenzie’s Black Cherry, Florida’s Beer Company’s Caribe Blood Orange Tropical and Ciderboy’s Strawberry Magic.  The black cherry and the Strawberry were so good, some of the best I have had (I like my cider sweet so if you prefer dry these may not be for you) and the blood orange was good and fresh but not my favorite, to me it tasted like Fresca.  I might like my drinks sweet but I do not like things I consider to be savory dishes with any sweetness so I was leery to try my husbands corned beef, he convinced me to and wow, it was really good!  It only had a very slight hint of sweetness and was full of flavor, I recommend trying it.

Now on to procure the most important meal, the dessert!  I have never heard of a fruit tiramisu but I love tiramisu and strawberries so how could we go wrong?  I have to say, while not tasting very much like tiramisu, it was really, really good!

We spent the rest of the time checking out the displays and topiaries, I know I missed a few (the Chinese zodiac in particular) but you will find a lot of them below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally all of the menu boards for the food booths.  I hope to be sharing many more dishes with you over the next few months!