Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Review 

The Epcot International Food And Wine Festival is coming to a close and as someone who tried something at every food post, I thought I would go through my small plates and desserts that should come back and others that may need to be retired. 

My favorites list is a little long but I suppose that’s a good thing for this event! 

The Fried Chicken with Cornbread was the first dish I tried. It’s really hard to mess up fried chicken so it was a safe first test of the festival. It was excellent! The cornbread was nice and warm and the chicken was perfectly crispy. For those that are less adventurous with their foods this is a dish that would make this event worth going to.

This is the carrot cake from the America food post. The glaze on top is a cream cheese glaze that if they were to bottle it up and sell I would buy an embarrassing amount of. It was so good. The cake was moist and had some ingrediants in it, like raisins and nuts that modern recipes tend to take out, which made the cake feel original.

This dish was the most surprisingly good to me. It is the Pork Belly from Brazil. The meat was tender and perfect but the best part of the plate was the bean mixture. It was just a good tasting plate and one of the few plates that I felt could be a meal. 

The macaroni and cheese was a crowd favorite but I am picky about Mac and cheese so I was apprehensive about trying. I am glad I did though. It was super cheesy so it made me forget about the fact that I don’t usually like breadcrumbs in my Mac and cheese and the bacon bits were the perfect addition to the dish. 

The Nitro Chocolate Almond dessert gets the award for coolest option at Food and Wine. It’s starts out as a smoky egg shaped hard chocolate and with a small whack of a hammer a smooth chocolate mousse is revealed. With some caramel drizzle and almond dust added next, this little dessert is deliscious and unique.

The pork slider with pineapple chutney seems to be a staple each year and deservingly so. It’s alway so fresh and has so much flavor, I really enjoy this one and hope it stays for years!

Canada has one of the best food posts this year. The bacon cheddar soup is rich and the pretzel rolls that comes with is the perfect “spoon” 

Also located in Canada, The filet mignon needs Barry any sides. It’s tender and themushrooms add a good tang without taking away from the flavor of the steak

Last on my list of favorite thing was the white chocolate peanut butter mousse. Though I wish it were bigger it was affordable enough to get two at the time. 

There’s honestly. It a lot of things this year I did not enjoy. The items hear seem to all have the problem with them for me. Texture. 

This one is the perfect example texture for me. This is the tenderloin from Africa. Though the beef tasted okay, the abundant amount of sauce and gritty potato that was with it just didn’t go well together. 

The beef stroganoff was meh for me. Though it had an okay taste, the stroganoff felt like little pieces of styrofoam. I could not even finish it. On a positive note, the pickles on top were excellent. 

The most surprising thing in this list of dislikes. I love Mac and cheese but the combination of pasta in, essentially, a bread bowl was just too much! Holy carbload!

I got this in Italy. I don’t remember what is was and the picture doesn’t jog my memory either. All I remember is struggling to swallow my first bite. The saucy stuff was borderline flavorless and the white stuff was gritty and somehow less flavorful than the sauce. 

So this year was fun. My first year of trying something from every food post. Though it was sort of expensive, about $200 all together, and I didn’t have alcoholic beverages. But it was nice to push my taste buds and enjoy the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. 

PD Courtney 

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Boatwrights at Port Orleans Riverside 

Port Orleans Riverside is home to boatwright’s restaurant. The resort is a combination of the gentile and rustic South. With activities like fishing,  biking and riding in horse drawn carriages, POR feels much like an all inclusive resort. 

This moderate resort has a sister in Port Orleans French Quarter.  POFQ is smaller and more intimate. The two resorts are just a few minutes walk down a path. 

The only table service in the resorts is Boatwrights. They feature classic southern cooking and a prime rib that can’t be beat. 

Cornbread and whipped honey butter are served while you check out the menu. Joe and I both started with the Crawfish Bisque. It has a little bite and nice chunks of crawfish. 

Joe chose the Prime Rib. It came with rich mashed potatoes and  asparagus. I had the NY Strip with Crawfish Mac & Cheese. Both steaks were cooked to perfection. The sides were incredible. 

We couldn’t have desert. We were stuffed! We walked around the resort for a while and loved the scenery. I highly suggest Boatwrights for all ages but definitely for Foodies.

Gina 

From the Bottom Up – Footwear at WDW

From the Bottom Up 

Walt Disney World is big. Really big. On any given Saturday, my husband and I will usually walk around 10 miles in the parks. I’ve always heard that comfort starts from the bottom up. You need to have good Footwear in order to go to the distance.

I’ve  lived in central Florida for three years now. I have gone through many pairs of shoes. I know what I like and I know what I don’t like. Add on top of this, Florida is hot most of the year.

I am not much of a sneaker person. I don’t like to be confined and I like fresh air on my toes. If I’m going to wear sneakers they are going to coordinate with my outfit and be on my feet for a limited amount of time.

Flip flops have always been my preferred Footwear. From $0.99 Old Navy flip flops to athletic style flip flops, I love them all. They are not very good for your feet or your back. I try to limit wearing them.

My favorite are sandals with a back. Something that loops around my ankle and holds them more securely. Sanic has a great line of yoga mat sandals that are very comfortable. My new favorites are Danskin sandals with memory foam from Walmart. I’ve spent tons of money on sandals and yet my favorite pair were $10.78.

I’ll give two additional pieces of advice:

1. Don’t buy news shoes for your trip. Break them in before hand.

2. I can’t believe I have to say this but don’t wear heels to Disney. I’ve seen it often and it puzzles me.

Gina PD

Orlando’s Magical Dining – in WDW

Orlando’s Magical Dining has finally come to Walt Disney World! Now in its 12th year, more than 100 restaurants are participating. For $35 you receive choices from prix fixe menu. This is a three-course meal starting with an appetizer then a entree and finishing up with dessert.

WDW restaurants include: 

Il Mulino New York Trattoria and Todd English’s bluezoo at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort; Morimoto Asia, Paddlefish and STK Orlando at Disney Springs; and The Wave, The Turf Club, Olivia’s Cafe, Jiko – The Cooking Place, Grand Floridian Cafe and Boatwright’s Dining Hall

The Wave menu:


Joe and I got last-minute reservations to the Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We were the first Floridians taking advantage of the deal. We were not disappointed! 

The bread is made onsite and is whole grain and delicious. The butter is topped by red Hawiian sea salt. We both started with Mussels. This was so good, I could eat this every day. It’s garlicky but has a hint of citrus. 

Joe went with the seafood. I had some of his scallops and they were so tender and perfectly caramelized. The grouper was a generous size and perfectly cooked. He said it was wonderful and had a little kick.

I had the chicken. It definitely has a kick but the avacado and queso fresco kept it cool. This was truly one of the most flavorful dishes I’ve ever had. The corn mix was my favorite!

We chose the same dessert – chocolate peanut butter cake. It was very rich and almost too big but we both managed to finish every bite!

We walked away full and satisfied and looking forward to our next Magical Dining experience!

The Spirit of Aloha at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

The Spirit of Aloha dinner show is fantastic! We went to the 8:15 pm show. There is also a 6:15 pm seating. Located at the Polynesian Resort, the wonderful venue is nestled in greenery on the path towards the Grand Floridian. 

The island cuisine is served family style and you can request more of all or any part of the meal. This also includes soft drinks and some beer and wines.

The meal begins with a platter of pineapple, salad and noodles. The lime and coconut dressing is tangy and so fresh tasting.

The main meal consists of steamed vegetables, sticky rice, pulled pork, spare ribs and chicken. The meat is not overly sauced but has a little bite. 

The dessert is a pineapple upside down cake. Super moist!

The show is great! It’s very interactive and truly fun for all ages. There is dancing, singing and audience participation. There is familiar music and expected hula and fire dancing. This is all put together in a charming story narrated by Auntie. I’m sure this show updates and will eventually include Moana touches.

Take your time and walk around the Resort. It’s worth a late night stroll. I highly suggest Spirit of Aloha! I would definitely do this again.

Gina 

I Hate That I Love You – Part 3

I Hate That I Love You – Part 3

Once again, I find myself enjoying something I swore I never would. Never say never!

1. The Maple Bacon Whoopie Pie – I didn’t eat bacon for years. But seriously, how could I not? See below and try to resist! Find this in Hollywood Studios.

2. Renting a wheelchair – after 2 surgeries in 8 months, I realized that everyone has limits. Get the chair or scooter, take extra breaks and do what you need to make your trip enjoyable.

3. Packing a bag – I’m a minimalist by nature. I love the no bag lines! Sometimes you need to bring stuff to the parks. Sometimes the basics won’t fit in my pocket. Below are my basic supplies. 

Extra – really this is just the opposite. I’ve learned how much I really don’t like ponchoes. It’s like steaming your body. The worst is when I see people cover their babies up in them. Poor kid has got to be swimming in their own sweat. If you get wet, so be it. The rain never bothered me anyway!

Gina PD

The Heat is On – WDW Fanzone

The Heat is On!

It’s almost that time of year again – Summer. Summer in Florida is another whole story. It’s wicked hot. Like surface of the sun hot. This time of year in WDW, the Reedy Creek people get a work out reviving dehydrated park visitors.

So please, drink all day, every day and I’m not talking about adult beverages or even soda. Drink water. I know it’s expensive to buy, so get the free stuff. It’s plentiful at every quick service restaurant. There are even stations set up in some of the parks (Crystal Palace and AK Starbucks) and at all of the resorts.

Bring a water bottle and fill up at water fountains. But just drink. I’ve heard that if you are thirsty then it’s already too late and that you may already be dehydrated. No need to fuss with energy drinks or even Gatorade, good ole H2O is enough.

Gina

Positively Disney

Pandora: World of Avatar

It’s finally here! After what feels like decades, Pandora: World of Avatar has finally been opened to the public! The new land based off of the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar had high expectations and in my opinion, far exceeded them.

To take it all in was exciting. It was like stepping into the movie. Details upon details made the experience borderline overwhelming. I loved every bit of it. I loved how the imagineers were able to make it seem like you were walking through an almost foggy, dense, overgrown area without feeling trapped. 


The area is pretty crowded right now given the anticipation and excitement over the expansion so be prepared to wait in longer lines for the two rides featured in Pandora. The two rides are Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride through the land of Pandora. I have not been on this ride yet so I don’t have many details. I have been on Avatar Flight of Passage. The ride was very built up as a “Soarin x10” type of experience so I went in there with high expectations. 


They matched my expectations plus some. It is a ride similar to Soarin but takes it beyond with the feeling that you are alone riding this banshee through Pandora. If you don’t look around while riding you will completely forget that you are sharing this ride with 48 people(I think). I would consider this ride a ‘must fastpass’ type of ride. The wait has been starting at around 3 hours but if this is the type of ride you really enjoy I don’t believe you would be upset or underwhelmed if you waited in line. 


I found this entire experience to be very immersive and captures everything that made the movie the hit that it is. I have already spent 2 full days in a row in Animal Kingdom since the expansion opened which is something I can honestly say I have never done. This was exactly was Animal Kingdom needed to bring it from the “half-day maybe” park to the “first stop or more” destination it is now.  


Enjoy!

Courtney(@pdcourt)