Thursday, October 18, 2012

Disney World Trip Report, Day 2 - Epcot, Food and Wine Festival

Our first full day at Disney World saw me up early (8am, which for me on vacation is early!!). I quickly showered and got ready to go. No one else seemed interesting in going with me (i.e. they were all asleep), so I headed out with my camera (Pentax K-r DSLR) and went to my favorite park, Epcot.

One note on Disney transportation: I can't imagine the coordination that must take place to get buses where they need to be. About 90% of the time it works great; we get to the bus stop and within 5 minutes the bus we want is there. But about 10% of the time, the coordination isn't quite working right. So, if you are using Disney transportation, give yourself enough time to get where you need to be, especially for dinner or other types of reservations, and doubly especially if you're going from one resort to another - this will likely require you to take a bus to Downtown Disney or one of the theme parks and then hop on another bus for your final destination. If it takes 20 minutes for your bus to come, 10 minutes for each ride, plus some walking time, you
Morocco Pavilion
should plan on at least 70-80 minutes, and maybe 90 minutes to be safe.

On this morning, it was off a bit (but still not bad). I saw about 8 buses go by without a single one for Epcot. Disney says you shouldn't wait any longer than 20 minutes; I would guess it was 20-25 for me (my son said he saw 11 buses, at least 3 for the Magic Kingdom, go by one day while he was waiting for his bus). So I ended up getting to Epcot just after the opening time of 9am.

My plan was not to ride attractions; I love just walking around the park, especially early in the morning or late at night when there's hardly anyone there.
Canadian Pavilion
I also wanted to do some photography. One of my favorite podcasts is the ISO5571 Disney Photography podcast (if you're into photography or Disney, I recommend giving them a listen). Listening to the podcast has given me some great ideas for photography locations and things to try. One member of ISO5571, Ryan Pastorino, loves monorail photographs - he thinks that if there is a monorail track in the frame there should be a monorail on it. I admit I hadn't really noticed the monorail beams before; yes, I knew they were there but since I wasn't photographing them I guess I just ignored them. But after listening to Ryan and the podcast, and getting back into photography, I immediately noticed the monorail beams at Epcot, and became a bit obsessed with trying to take photographs only if a monorail was on the track! I've included only a couple here (but have a few dozen in my photo library!)

Within a few hours my family had arrived, and by then the Food & Wine Festival was open. We first made a stop at the festival center in the old Wonders of Life pavilion. I loved this pavilion so any chance to go inside is a pleasure. We immediately went to the Ghirardelli booth to get our free sample of chocolate and try the Drinking Chocolate drink - a small cup of liquid chocolate that was fabulous!

Gardens of the United Kingdom Pavilion

We then headed to World Showcase and started eating! Rather than spread all the items we ate during the week across a number of posts, I am going to list them all here with the country and my rating (3 stars- do not miss!, 2 stars - excellent, 1 star - good). Please know, all the items are good so a 1-star shouldn't be taken as being bad or below average. They are all above average and you can't go wrong with any of them. I've also included pictures of the food if I have them - sometimes we were so hungry we forgot to take the picture before we started eating!

ArgentinaGrilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree***
AustraliaShrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze***
AustraliaGrilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies*
CanadaCanadian Cheddar Cheese Soup***
CaribbeanRopa Vieja with Cilantro Rice**
CheeseCheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread**
CheeseTrio of Artisan Cheeses**
ChinaPork Potstickers***
DessertsYogurt Panna Cotta with Orange Cake, Raspberries and Pomegranate***
DessertsLemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote***
DessertsDark Chocolate Mousse with Chili and Salted Caramel***
FranceEscargots Persillade en Brioche*
FranceGrey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush**
GreeceChicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki**
Hawai'iKalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise*
IrelandLobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie**
ItalyRavioli di Formaggio All'emiliana*
ItalyCannoli al Cioccolato**
Anna with the Cannoli
JapanSpicy Hand Roll (Tuna and Salmon with Chili Pepper, Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil with Kazan Volcano Sauce)**
JapanKaraage Hand Roll ( Crispy Chicken Breast with Sushi Rice and Spicy Mayonnaise)*
New ZealandLamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney*
PolandKielbasa and Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream**
ScandinaviaRice Pudding with Berries**
ScandinaviaSwedish Meatballs with Lingonberries (that's a Margarita next to the meatballs in the picture)**
SingaporeBeef Rendang with Jasmine Rice*
South AfricaSeared Filet of Beef with Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Braai Sauce**
South KoreaLettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw**

Just a couple of notes on some of the above items:
  •  The beef skewer from Argentina is great! Even my son Sam who doesn't eat a lot of meat liked it.
  • I loved the Shrimp on the Barbie from Australia, especially the Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze!
  • The Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup has long been a festival favorite, and I can see why. It was perhaps just a bit too salty but otherwise very good!
  • Get the Trio of Desserts so you can try them all!
I'll keep this list up-to-date as we try more items during the week.

I had to leave around 5pm to go get our rental car. We needed it as we were going to Islands of Adventure the next day. Since we had the car we took the opportunity to go off property and stop at Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries for the week. Not too much, just some breakfast items, water bottles, Mountain Dew and milk. We got back to the room and called it a night.

In my next trip report we will head off to Islands of Adventure and Harry Potter World!

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