Friday, September 22, 2017

Ears the News: September 22, 2017 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is back open following a near two week closure for Hurricane Irma. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ have also reopened.

A lengthy clean-up job of the resort's landscaping and uprooted trees meant a longer closure than other impacted Disney resorts on the coast.

Typhoon Lagoon has reopened today following a week long closure due to the impacts of Hurricane Irma.
Blizzard Beach opened earlier in the week, but the additional landscaping at Typhoon lagoon has taken longer to recover.

The Savannah Bee Company has moved from its former kiosk location into a new store location in The Landing at Disney Springs.

Taking over the space from the now closed Sound Lion, the Savannah Bee Company offers all-natural honeybee-inspired body and beauty products alongside artisanal honey.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

The Honey bar offers a variety of honey flavors, including a sampling area where you can try everything on offer.

Savannah Bee Company is located across from Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar next to The Ganachery, and is open Sunday - Thursday 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, Friday - Saturday 10:00 am to 11:30 pm.

Vince Camuto in the Town Center at Disney Springs is now permanently closed. The chain is in the process of closing all of its stores across the country, and as a result the Disney Springs location was forced to close.

Disney has announced that the Epcot International Festival of the Arts will take place from January 12 to February 19 in 2018.

Like last year, the event will run for 5 weeks, bringing together the visual, culinary and performing arts.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.

Unlike last year, the festival will take place 7 days a week, with special entertainment offerings planned for each weekend.










Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.




Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - PART ONE


Good afternoon, Disney Fans!

     It's the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the yeeeeeaaaarrrr! Nope, not Christmastime... Food and Wine time!!! The 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival kicked off on August 31st and The Hubs and I were there to check it all out! (Sorry for the delay in posting. Hurricane Irma decided she needed to mess up my week a little first.) I'd love to share my first insights with you, so to quote Peter Pan, "Here we gooooo........ off to Yummyland!" (Maybe not a direct quote, but you get it.)

     We got to the park at about 9:30 am and checked out the entry display. I like this year's cartoonish icons much better than last year's. This year they are international landmarks, made out of various food items. Last year's weird taste-bud-like characters were creepy. This is much nicer.




     We were pleasantly surprised to find it not overly crowded and didn't even have a wait at the gate, so we took our time looking around and meandering over to the Festival Center, located once again in the old Wonders of Life Building.






     The Center has lots of merchandise, as well as locations for many of the special demonstrations and events. Lots to check out here, and there were tons of Guests already lined up for the special pins and unique merchandise that was being offered.







I love these SO much!!!









This year's Dooney and Bourke bags are really cute!

Decisions, decisions...

One of the demo/tasting areas


The Ghiradelli Chocolate Experience includes a free chocolate square!





 
     While we were able to sit in cool a/c for a while, we looked at this year's passport. Just like last year, there are menus for each of the booths, stickers to mark which booths you have been to, and even pictures of some of the food items. 






     On our way back toward the middle of Future World, we did see where you could purchase this year's map for the Remy's Hide and Squeak Challenge. In order to qualify for a prize in the scavenger hunt, Guests must have purchased the $6 map, which comes with stickers to place when you locate the Remy the Rat statues in each country of World Showcase. When you complete the map, you turn it in at one of the designated locations to receive a prize. My kiddos always enjoy doing that. 

     Now, in previous years, there have been other interactive displays throughout Future World, including a coffee display near the Joffrey's cart and a few other cute things. I did not see them this year, but perhaps they just haven't gone up yet. And no cranberry bog yet, either. And considering that there is a display already in its place, I'm guessing that is not returning this year. Bummer.



      So, what are we waiting for... let's get to the good stuff, right? Time to check out the booth menus and some of the foods that we got to try out. I do want to give you full disclosure though... 1.) We did not try much. It was just me and The Hubs and it was about 700 degrees out, so we weren't all that hungry. 2.) Some of these reviews, (for items that are repeats from last year), are in fact, from last year, but I made sure nothing about them had changed.  3.) We completely missed a handful of booths that were not open when we walked past them earlier in the day, and by the time we completed our one lap, we were waaaaay too hot to double back. BUT I'll be adding reviews as I go back and try more. Don't worry. I do it all for YOU, dear Disney Fan!!!! I force myself to enjoy delicious treats and eats all in the name of journalism!

I'm going to start you off with menu from the booths that we missed entirely....

Farm Fresh


  • Crispy Chicken w Griddled Cornbread and Red Eye Gravy     $4.75
  • Roasted Beet Salad w Green Beans, Feta Cheese, Minus 8 Vinaigrette and Toasted Walnuts     $3.75
  • Gumption Citrus Freak Hard Cider     $4.00
  • Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider     $4.00
  • Two Henry's Elderberry Cream Hard Cider     $4.00
  • Florida Orange Groves Mango Mama Wine     $5.50
  • Cider Flight     $9.00
Greece


  • Loaded Greek Nachos: Pita Chips, Meatless Sausage Crumbles, and Vegan Tzatziki     $4.50
  • Taste of Greece: Stuffed Grape Leaves w Lemon Dill Sauce, Grilled Octopus and Feta Cheese Dip w Warm Pita     $8.00
  • Spanakopita     $4.25
  • Bougatsa: Warm Phyllo Dough Strudel w Sweet Vanilla Custard, Lemon Honey Syrup and Cinnamon     $4.00
  • Domaine Skouras Moscofilero     $5.00
  • Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko     $7.00
  • Argyros Atlantis Red Blend     $7.00
Thailand

  • Marinated Chicken w Peanut Sauce and Stirfried Vegetables     $4.75
  • Seared Shrimp and Scallop Cake w Cold Noodle Salad     $5.00
  • Red Hot Spicy Thai Curry Beef w Steamed Rice     $5.50
  • Helfrich Gew├╝rztraminer     $5.00
  • Singha Lager     $4.00
Craft Beer


  • Chilled Scotch Egg in Sausage w Mustard Sauce     $4.00
  • Zesty Cheeseburger and Cheddar Cheese Macaroni Handwich     $5.50
  • L’Orange Cotton Candy: Lime and Orange Cotton Candy     $4.75
  • M.I.A Beer Company 305 Golden Ale     $4.00
  • JDub’s Passion Wheat     $4.00
  • Central 28 Trekkerbier Farmhouse Ale     $4.00
  • Playalinda Brewing Company Blonde Ale     $4.00
  • Florida Beer Company Passport 35 Triple Chocolate Milk Stout     $4.00
  • Cigar City Guayabera Citra Pale Ale     $4.00
  • Bright Horizons: Sprite with Multi-flavored Boba Pearls (Non-Alcoholic)     $4.50
  • Eastern Florida Flight     $9.00
    • M.I.A. Beer Company 305 Golden Ale
    • Playalinda Brewing Company Blonde Ale
    • Florida Beer Company Passport 35 Triple Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Western Florida Flight     $9.00
    • JDub’s Passion Wheat
    • Central 28 Trekkerbier Farmhouse Ale
    • Cigar City Guayabera Citra Pale Ale
Mexico


  • Rib Eye Taco: Marinated Rib Eye, Roasted Chipotle Sauce and Grilled Scallions on a Corn Tortilla     $6.75
  • Tequila Chipotle Shrimp: Served on a Black Bean Huarache w Red and Green Cabbage, Queso Fresco and Crema Mexicana     $6.50
  • Cajeta Mousse served with Cajeta Sauce and White Chocolate Flakes     $4.25
  • Spicy Apple Margarita     $10.75
  • Classic Lime Margarita     $10.25
  • Mexican Style Sangria     $8.75
  • Corona Draft Beer w Floater     $4.75
  • Mexican Mule     $9.25
China

  • Beijing Roasted Duck Bao Bun w Hoisin Sauce     $6.50
  • Spicy Chicken Bao Bun     $5.25
  • Black Pepper Shrimp w Garlic Noodles     $5.75
  • Chicken Potstickers     $4.00

  • Tsingtao Lager     $3.50
  • Ritzy Lychee w Courvoisier Cognac VS and Smirnoff Vodka     $10.50
  • Happy Peach w DeKuyper Peach Liqueur and Myers’s Dark Rum     $8.95
  • Kung Fu Punch w Smirnoff Vodka and Triple Sec     $8.95
  • BaiJoe Punch w Chinese Bai Jui Spirit, Lychee, Coconut and Pineapple Juice     $10.50
  • Mango Bubble Tea w Assam Black Tea and Milk (Non-Alcoholic)     $6.75
China did have some repeat items from last year, so here's my reviews of those:

  • What did we try?   Chicken Potstickers
  • How would I describe it?   Pasta-like dumplings, filled with ground chicken and veggies and served with a sweet and savory sauce. 
  • How was the portion/value?   $4 for two. Not great for two bucks a potsticker. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?   B+   The potstickers were flavorful and delicious and the sauce complimented them nicely, however, they were not anything different from what you'd get at any local Chinese restaurant. 
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   No, because for $4, I can get a whole order at my neighborhood Chinese restaurant. 
AND
  • What did we try?   Beijing Roasted Duck Bao Bun with Hoisin Sauce
  • How would I describe it?   A fluffy bun, filled with roasted duck and veggies and smothered in a sweet and savory sauce.
  • How was the portion/value?   $6.50 seems steep to me. You could get a whole burger or pulled pork sandwich for that amount. The bun is only a few bites. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?   B-   The flavor was good and I liked the fluffiness of the bun, but this didn't blow me away.
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   No, thanks.



     Ok, so now we are all caught up. We started with the India booth, which is situated just past the China pavilion. We grabbed a couple of items from this booth, and then headed to a picnic table over by the Africa booth, so we could try something from there too.

India



  • What did we try?   Korma Chicken
  • How would I describe it?   Chunks of chicken in an red-orange spiced sauce, served with naan bread
  • How was the portion/value?   There was very little chicken in it, so I'd say the $5.25 was too high, though the portion of sauce and bread was fair. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?   B     This one is all The Hubs. I gave it a little taste, but not really enough to judge it fairly. He liked it a lot and said he loved the warm bread served with it. As I mentioned, there was not a lot of meat, though, and the sauce was pretty runny.
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   No. He liked it, but not that much. 
AND
  • What did we try?   Pistachio Cardamom Bundt Cake
  • How would I describe it?   A tiny cake, with as dollop of cool chocolate coconut pudding. 
  • How was the portion/value?   At $3.50, it was reasonable. It was a few bites worth and easily shareable. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?   B   The cake had a nice, buttery consistency, (albeit very crumbly), and the crumbles of pistachio on top gave it a little crunch. The filling was very tasty, but there wasn't much of it. I didn't get much cardamom flavor, but my taste buds had been ruined by my taste of Africa, which I had tried just before this dessert.
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   Probably not. It was good, and I recommend trying it, but I don't need to have it again. 




Africa


  • What did we try?   Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pocket
  • How would I describe it?   A hand-held pocket of crispy dough, filled with spiced spinach and cheese, and served with a sour cream-type of sauce. 
  • How was the portion/value?   Not too bad. For $4 you get a whole pocket, cut in two, so that wasn't too bad and two people could share this one. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?  D   Holy-great-Goofy! This little innocent looking pocket burned the Dickens outta my mouth! (Both temperature-wise and spice-wise!) I am admittedly a big baby when it comes to spicy foods, but I wasn't expecting any heat in this and it got me! I didn't like the flavors OR the spiciness and I barely saw any cheese in it. The Hubs tried it too and he thought it was pretty yucky. Big disappointment. (P.S.- It should be named "Spicy Spinach Pocket")
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   Nope, nope and nope.


     After those little bites, we continued walking, snapping pictures of menus and booths, but not really stopping to try much because by now, I was so hot that I was chugging cups of ice water what seemed like every few feet, and having them sweat right outta me within minutes. It was disgustingly hot.

Germany's items were mostly repeats from previous years, so here are those reviews:

  • What did we try?   Schinkennudeln
  • How would I describe it?   A creamy, cheesy mac and cheese casserole with ham. 
  • How was the portion/value?   For $4 the portion was very large and VERY filling! 
  • What letter grade would we give it?  A-   Oh my goodness, this is delicious! Mac and cheese lovers will adore this one! The minus is only because it's a little greasy, but who cares?
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   Yes!
AND
  • What did we try?   Apple Strudel
  • How would I describe it?   An apple turnover with golden raisins and a creamy vanilla sauce. 
  • How was the portion/value?   An ok portions for $4. Not bad. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?  C+   It wasn't bad at all, I just found it to be a bit on the bland side. It was served warm, which was nice, and the vanilla sauce is a great compliment. 
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   Nah. 
     Next we passed Spain and Italy. They both have good looking menus this year, but we were too dang hot to stop this time. 





     The American Gardens Theater is again home to the Eat To The Beat concert series. There's some awesome entertainment coming this year! Check out the full listing on the passport pages toward the beginning of this post!


     The America pavilion has the Hops and Barley Market again this year, and the menu is pretty much the same as last year's, except instead of last year's beef burger with pimento cheese, there's beef brisket with pimento cheese on garlic toast. Here are the reviews from last year:

  • What did we try?  New England Lobster Roll
  • How would I describe it?   A cool, creamy lobster salad on a fresh sub roll.  
  • How was the portion/value?   I know it's lobster, but $8 is too steep for me for a half of a small sub roll. I guess this Boston gal is spoiled. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?  B-   Definitely not a bad lobster roll, and it had plenty of meat, but I wasn't crazy about the herbs in the mayo and like I said, I'm spoiled by Boston's fresh and cheap lobster. 
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   No. Too much other stuff to try. 



  • What did we try?   Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
  • How would I describe it?   A super moist, fresh baked carrot cake, with a smooth, liquid cream cheese frosting.
  • How was the portion/value?   $3.75 is super reasonable for this little cake. It's similar to the size of most Disney desserts. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?  A   Deeeee-licious! Warm, soft, sweet and nice textures. 
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   Oh yeah!


     Next we moved on to Japan, where we had to try some of the awesome smelling Teriyaki Ginger Pork.




  • What did we try?   Teriyaki Ginger Pork
  • How would I describe it?   A tender pork rib in a sweet and savory sauce. 
  • How was the portion/value?   $8.25? For one rib? Nope. Too much. I will say, there was plenty of meat on it, but not over $8 worth. 
  • What letter grade would we give it?  B   Tasty meat, plenty of it, and the sauce was yummy too, but nothing too out of the ordinary. In fact, the sauce tasted like bottled sweet Thai chili sauce that you can buy at the grocery store. 
  • Will we get it again, when we return to the festival?   Not for that price. But The Hubs did approve, as you can see....


Hungry yet??? Stay tuned for PART TWO, coming soon!.....

Until then, have a magical week, Disney fans!!!!

- Jenn aka "Tink"
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