Well, here I am.
It's my birthday today.
I'm officially 40.
But, in the words of my favorite Disney character, Crush from Finding Nemo...
|Crush finally gets his spotlight at|
the Art of Animation resort
"...40, Dude! and Still Young!"
I know, I know, the actual line is "150, Dude!..."
but I'm not that old - yet.
To celebrate this momentous occasion my wife, Cindy, and I drove down to Florida to spend a full day (almost 14 hours! - whew!) at Walt Disney World's EPCOT. And this was our first time experiencing the Food and Wine Festival - Bonus! For us, emphasis was on the FOOD part, although there were plenty of people there focusing on the other part.
So, keep reading if you want to know what we saw and ate! This is really a travel journal - mostly so I can remember what we did. I am getting old, ya know.
After changing the day we had planned on going to EPCOT to dodge hurricane Sandy winds, we ended up being at the park on Saturday, October 27.
|Me and my bride!|
Then we waited about 5 minutes (unheard of!) to get our picture with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. Minnie kissed me!
We were really here to experience World Showcase, but that side of the park didn't open until 11, so we still had time to go over and explore Innoventions and ride "Spaceship Earth." We then went over to the Food and Wine Festival center which is in the old Wonders of Life Pavilion. After getting a little book which included descriptions of all the foods which were to be served in World Showcase and where to find them, we went to the chocolate exhibit, sponsored by Ghiradelli (we really only went for the free chocolate/caramel square) and were wowed by the sculptures made out of chocolate! With more time to spare, we went and rode "Mission: Space." It's a really cool simulator ride that takes you to Mars. Being the "old" people we are, we rode the tame version.
Alright, now we get to the good stuff...
World showcase opened - and this is what we had come for! We wanted to see all the nooks and crannies of the different countries. So we headed to Canada. Along the way we passed a few of the food kiosks. The lines were a little long, so we passed them by (don't do this, by the way - 1st lesson of the day - if you see something you want, stop NOW and get it!). Canada is beautiful - we've actually been to the real Canada - and we saw the movie. Martin Short is great!
|Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara - Red Curry Puree and|
Apple Radish Salad - New Zealand
Still hungry - goal for the day was to stay hungry - we walked to the Singapore kiosk and experienced the Beef Rendang (spicy! - and one of our least favorite of the day, but still tasty) and the Mahi Mahi - (delicious)!!
|Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and|
"Singa" Sauce - Singapore
|Beef Rendang with Jasmine Rice - Singapore|
We sat down in the Morocco pavilion to enjoy these tasty treats.
Now we were ready for the creme brulee. But, alas, the line was really long! So we went up into the France pavilion and watched "Impressions de France," a beautiful film with a beautiful score. We'd love to go there someday!
Coming out of the movie, we followed the rest of the crowd over to the French pastry shop. The crowd was getting thicker, so we abandoned the pastry shop idea (but the treats coming out of there looked super scrumptious) and got in the long line for creme brulee. I'm sooooo glad we did! The line moved incredibly quick. I don't think we waited more than five minutes (2nd lesson learned - the kiosk lines really move fast!). And this little taste of France was my absolute favorite for the entire day!
On to the Japan pavilion where we got to see the Japanese Taiko drummers, "Matsuriza," and I couldn't resist picking up a California roll at the Japan kiosk.
|California Roll (Avocado, Cucumber, Crab,|
Mayonnaise, Smelt Roe rolled in Sushi Rice and Seaweed)
Pink stuff - Ginger Green stuff - Wasabi (very mild Wasabi)
I know this isn't anything out of the ordinary - but it sure was good!!
Walking along the promenade, the next pavilion you come to is The American Adventure. There's a wonderful show here, of the same name, that includes Audio Animatronics and music that is incredible. We didn't eat anything here (although the offerings sounded really good) or at the next pavilion for Italy. The architecture in Italy is gorgeous!
The next thing we ate was from a store that I've been dreaming about for a few weeks now, the "Karamell-Kuche" (Caramel Kitchen)! Everything caramel - popcorn, apples, pretzels - almost anything you'd want dipped or smothered in caramel! We had a dark chocolate covered caramel with sea salt. This was one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth (besides the creme brulee from earlier of course)!
Caramel. Yes. Please.
|Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread|
China was next. We were looking forward to China because our 5 year old is in a "partial immersion" kindergarten class. This means half of her day is spent learning language arts and social studies in English and the other half is spent learning math and science - in Mandarin (Chinese)! We watched the China movie (another incredible 360 movie - like Canada), and went shopping for our darling.
The crowds were really heavy now, so we headed back to Future World to escape all the people. It was also time for a rest - and some "normal" food. So we got a salted pretzel, some good ol' processed dipping cheese, and a coke. Then we slipped our shoes off and people watched for a while.
After a good rest, we still wanted to avoid crowds, so we went to the Universe of Energy pavilion. The coolest thing about this show/ride is the ride vehicle itself. You start off sitting in a big theater, and eventually the entire seating area rotates and then breaks apart into six sections and moves through a "dark ride" type experience with dinosaurs. The worst thing about the ride is when it states "the Big Bang" theory as fact. Bummer.
Still not completely hungry yet, we shopped for a bit and then went back over to the Land pavilion and rode the "Living with the Land" boat voyage. This is another of those "boring" things we might skip with the kids, but we really get a kick out of seeing the unique ways of growing food. It's now about 7:00 p.m. which means most of Future World is closing, so we go back to China to get some yummy chicken.
|Chicken Satay with Spiced Peanut Sauce and Pickled vegetables|
After going to Mexico to ride the boat with Donald Duck, then going to Norway to ride the boat with the vikings, we scoped out a spot to sit and watch the night-time show "IllumiNations." While waiting, I left Cindy to save our spot and went to bring back a Mocha Latte and a few treats from the Mexico kiosk - shrimp tacos and flan. I'm a fan of flan!
|Crispy Shrimp Taco (with Chipotle-lime Mayo, and|
Cabbage served on a flour tortilla)
|Flan de Cajeta (Caramel Custard with Caramel Sauce)|
Mine had no sauce - but it was still delicious!