Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review: More of Epcot's International Festival of the Arts


Happy Thursday, Disney Guys and Gals!

     You've almost made it to another weekend! Woo-hoo! And another weekend means another chance to hit up Epcot's newest festival, the International Festival of the Arts! I have already posted a detailed review of my first visit to the festival, on opening week. You can check that out by clicking HERE. This past Monday, I got to go back and try some of the food items that we missed the first time around.



     This time, just The Hubs and I escaped for a couple of hours, while the kids were at school. (I know, we are super spoiled to have the luxury of doing this.) Since we had experienced horrible storms and even tornado warnings the night before, it was still pretty cool and windy out, so the park wasn't overwhelmingly busy. I mean, for a Monday it was hopping, but not nearly as bad as it had been on opening day. First we headed toward the Festival Showplace, in the Odyssey building, since we missed it completely last time. Inside, we saw a workshop taking place. This one happened to be about cake decorating and it was being hosted by the bakers from Amorette's Patisserie in Disney Springs. The Guests that were participating seemed to be having a lot of fun, creating their own painted cakes.


     Also in the Odyssey building there are a couple of art galleries, including one featuring the work of famed Disney and "It's a Small World" artist, Mary Blair. 


     Of course, the most popular area in the building was the food booth area, The Painter's Palate. Here is the menu for you to check out: 


Let's dive right into some reviews:

  • What did we try?: Trio of Savory Croissant Doughnuts
  • How would I describe it?: Three adorably small "cronuts", (a hipster favorite of a croissant/donut hybrid), each filled with a different savory filling; Herbed cream cheese, chicken mousse and spicy tuna. 
  • How was the portion?: Three mini-sandwiches for $9.50. Not too bad for Disney, but if you don't end up loving all of the sandwiches, it'll be a waste. 
  • What letter grade would I give it?: B-   Though cronuts are pretty much always amazing, these were a bit of a hit and miss. The breading itself was fresh, and soft on the outside and crispy on the inside. The Hubs really liked the spicy tuna sandwich and declared that one his favorite, but since I do not do sushi, I didn't even try it. I liked the herbed cream cheese sandwich, though I would say it was more like a bagel than a sandwich. We both tried the chicken mousse, and were unanimously grossed out by it. What a strange flavor and texture. No bueno. At least, not to us.  
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: Nope. I'll stick with the sweet cronut from Refreshment Port. 
AND
  • What did I try?: Margherita Flatbread
  • How would I describe it?: A flatbread with fresh tomatoes, greens and balsamic reduction
  • How was the portion?: $5.25 for a flatbread really isn't all that bad.
  • What letter grade would I give it?: C+   This one was weird. The flavors were fresh and enjoyable, but for some reason, the flatbread was totally cold, which I was not expecting. I don't know if this just meant that the one we were served was sitting out for a while, or if they are all cold, but this was like, chilled. Not just room temp. I think if it had been warm, it could have earned a solid B. 
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: Nah. Cold or not, I was not impressed enough to order this over some of the other delightful treats. 

     We also took a second whack at the E=AT2 booth, to try a couple of the items that we missed previously. Here's the full menu again:


And here's the reviews:

  • What did we try?: Classic Reuben
  • How would I describe it?: A totally unique take on a Reuben sandwich. Shredded corned beef with pickles, thousand island dressing and cabbage, all in a toasty rye crisp ring. 
  • How was the portion?: Gorgeous plate for $6. Not too bad. Shareable.
  • What letter grade would I give it?: B   We both really liked the flavors of this dish, but the presentation is really what takes the prize. One of the coolest looking dishes, for sure. 
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: No. Not because I didn't like it, but because I'd rather have the pork or the scallop from the American Adventure area booth. 
AND
  • What did we try?: Pop Artsicle
  • How would I describe it?: A cherry, lemon and blue raspberry slushy.
  • How was the portion?: The cup was larger than I expected it to be, but for $3.75, I think you could probably get a regular full size one of these guys at a counter-service location... or you, know, at 7-11. For less than a dollar. 
  • What letter grade would I give it?: B   It was totally fine and tasty, but just a plain old slushy, Nothing exciting. I actually thought from the picture in the passport that this was going to be more like a popsicle on a stick, (like a bomb pop that you'd get from an ice cream truck), but it was just poured to look like one. 
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: Yes, but only because I'm sure the kids will love it. 
     And while we were at it, we were right next to the Artista Hambriento booth in Mexico, so we tried something from there too! Here's a reminder of the menu:

  • What did we try?: Choriqeuso
  • How would I describe it?: A chorizo and cheese filled quesadilla, in a corn tortilla. 
  • How was the portion?: Two mini taco-shaped wraps for $6.95. Definitely shareable, so I can live with this one, even though there's really no sides.
  • What letter grade would I give it?: B   Yum-o! The chorizo had a bit of a kick to it and the cheese was melty and delicious. If anything, I could say it may have been a little plain, but since I'm not a sauce person anyway, I was a-okay with that. 
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: Maybe. Pretty tasty.
     Uh...too much food, too quickly. Time to walk a bit. We headed past Mexico, and caught an artist working on a sketch in Norway. Kinda cool to see artists around the park. 


     By the time we got around to Italy, we had managed to work up our appetites again, so we tried out the Cuisine Classique booth, which was closed the last time we attended the festival. Here's the menu:

  • What did we try?: Braised Beef Short Rib
  • How would I describe it?: Beef short rib in a savory gravy, over creamy parsnips and served with roasted veggies. 
  • How was the portion?: A good amount of food for the $7.50 price tag. Definitely shareable. 
  • What letter grade would I give it?: B+   This was really delicious! The beef just fell apart with a fork and the rich sauce on it was heavenly. The parsnips were surprisingly creamy, though I am not a huge lover of the "earthy" taste that they tend to finish with. The roasted tomatoes and broccolini were great. 
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: Though I liked this one a lot, there are other dishes I liked better, so I wouldn't get it again. Glad I tried it, though!
AND
  • What did we try?: Artist's Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • How would I describe it?: A huge chocolate chip cookie, with a whole cut out of it and topped with some colored pools of icing. What do you think they do with the part they cut out? I want that part. 
  • How was the portion?: $5.50 for a cookie is a bit much, though the portion is quite large and you could easily share this one. 
  • What letter grade would I give it?: B-   Decent, soft, fresh chocolate chip cookie, and the presentation and concept were fun. But a chocolate chip cookie has got to be REALLY good to wow me, and this one was more like an "Eh."
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: Nope. The chocolate chip cookies from Les Halles are better. 
     We roamed more of World Showcase, checking out the art tents along the way. We did see a chalk artist in Canada, with many Guests around her, checking out her work and interacting with her.


     The wall mural that we contributed to last week is coming along nicely, and it was cool to see a more finished product.


     When we came upon the Decadent Delights booth, even though I really wanted to do the Purple Sweet Potato Pie again, we hadn't tried the Caramel Chocolate Mousse Bar, so we went with that. Here's the full menu: 


  • What did we try?: Crisp Caramel Chocolate Mousse Bar
  • How would I describe it?: A chocolate sponge cake with chocolate caramel mousse and crispy chocolate balls, with fruity meringue cookies on top. 
  • How was the portion?: $6.75 was too much. The portion was ok, but considering the lack of flavor, this one I would save my money on. 
  • What letter grade would I give it?: D   This weirdly lacked any and all flavor. The meringue cookies were tasty, but the bar was totally bland and flavorless. The texture was gelatinous and not one that I enjoyed at all. Yuck. 
  • Will I get it again, when I return to the festival?: No way. But look how pretty!!!
At this point, we were full and had pretty much covered everything that we had missed that we wanted to see, so we started heading out of the park. On the way, we passed a beautiful mural in Future World that was being painted by artists. 


     We also noticed that the front topiary had been added to since our last visit. 

Before
After
     Looking good! Though we were done for the day, The Hubs went back to Epcot later in the evening, with our little dude, to check out the Broadway concert. (D had homework, so we stayed home.) They saw Ashley Brown, the original Mary Poppins on Broadway, and Josh Strickland, Tarzan from Broadway. The Hubs said both performers were great and they sang a variety of Disney showtunes. 

Josh Strickland
Ashley Brown
     So, overall, it was another awesome day at Festival of the Arts. The Guests seem to really be enjoying the event and the food is being buzzed about all over Disney chat rooms. If you get the chance to check it out, do so, and if you don't, keep in mind that Flower and Garden Festival is right around the corner, (March 1st-May 29th), and if you miss that too, Food and Wine will be back this fall, (Aug. 31st-Nov. 13th).

     Want help planning a trip to check out one of Epcot's many festivals? Connect with the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel. They'll be happy to help make your festival visit as festive and fabulous as possible! 

     That's all for this week, folks. I'm gonna need to take a break from those food booths for a while now. Ooof. I'm stuffed just thinking about 'em! See ya next Thursday!

- Jenn aka "Tink"

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