Food and Wine around the World!

The 2018 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is right around the corner, starting on August 30, 2018 and going through November 12, 2018. There is always so much to do and see, (not to mention taste!) at this staple Epcot festival.  One of my favorite things to do is to check out all the various food booths that circle World Showcase, not only to look for returning favorite dishes (hello Belgium Waffles!) but also to look at what new tidbits are being offered. This year’s new offerings including the Impossible Burger Slider, with wasabi cream and spicy Asian slaw on a sesame seed bun (A vegetarian dish), as well as a New Brunswick Slider, which is a “Pot Roast Style” beef brisket on a potato roll.

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The Impossible Burger Slider – hooray for a Vegetarian Dish! 

In addition to the new food, there’s over some exciting new events being offered, including Sunday Brunch With the Chef. This experience includes a brunch buffet followed by a conversation with some of the most recognized chefs in culinary television. I’m a big fan of both Chef Art Smith and Chef Carla Hall, who will both be a part of this event.

One of the other things I always look forward to at the Food and Wine Festival is checking out the new merchandise, and this year is no exception. I can never resist the trash can shaped salt and pepper shakers that are released each year, and I’m sure I’ll be adding to my collection again with this year’s cute design. Figment is once again the honorary mascot for the Food and Wine Festival, and is being featured on various merchandise including coffee mugs and the exclusive Dooney and Bourke purse.

Of course, no visit to the Food and Wine Festival is complete without checking out the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, which has over 30 different acts performing at the America Gardens Theatre.  Along with some traditional returning favorites like Sugar Ray and Tiffany, this year has some fun new acts coming to the stage, including 98 Degrees and Vertical Horizon.  Don’t forget you can always book an Eat to the Beat Dining Package where you can you can eat at select restaurants and have reserved seatings for the concert being offered that night.

What event are you looking forward to the most at the Food and Wine Festival? Will you be watching for a certain band at Eat to the Beat? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to contact Adventure is Out There Travel for all your Food and Wine booking needs.

Epcot Food & Wine Fest and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Since it is time for Epcot’s Food & Wine Fest, I thought it was a perfect time to write about our 2016 Fest experience.  My husband and I went to the Fest during the last weekend of the festival.  It was a last minute decision because we had already had a vacation in 2016 (see blog about Alaska) and we had not planned to go to the festival in the same year as our Alaskan cruise.

My husband is somewhat of a foodie, and the festival is something he had expressed a desire to experience “some day”.  Once the decision was made to go, I was able to snag a Pirate room at the Caribbean Beach Resort.  We thought the decor was fun!

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We purchased the dining plan, so we made our first night’s dinner at Boma in Animal Kingdom Lodge, featuring an African flavor.  We arrived early so that we would be able to enjoy the decor of the Lodge and go outside to view the animals housed on the grounds.  The food was excellent at Boma.

After dinner, we went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  The tickets are an additional expense, but I am a Christmas nut and I was very much looking forward to the party.  Main Street U.S.A. was all decked out for Christmas with lights, wreaths, music, and it even ‘snowed’!  We went on a few rides, enjoyed the free hot chocolate and cookies, shopped a bit and then watched the parade.  The Disney characters were all dressed up for Christmas.  The music, the lights, the smells……oh, how I loved it!

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The following day we went to the Food & Wine Fest.  I had done a little research and knew that we could use our quick service for some of the food (one quick service will get you 3 samples of food but must be used at the same booth).  I figured that we both could pick up food at different booths and share.  The booths all have a menu posted by them so it is easy to see what they each serve.  Below are photos of one of the booths and a sample of food.  I took many photos of booths and food and, looking through them, I wish I was back there!

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During our trip, we enjoyed Mickey’s Party at the Magic Kingdom at night, two days at Epcot’s Food & Wine Fest, one day at the Magic Kingdom, and one day at Animal Kingdom.  For a last minute trip, we were able to do all the things we wanted and even a few things we didn’t expect to do!  We had a few fast passes but, when we did not have fast passes, we were still able to ride other rides without too long of a wait, with just a few exceptions.  Since we did not have any little ones with us, if we chose to do a long wait, it was do-able.

Three tips:  1) instead if purchasing a dining plan, a quick service plan would do; 2) I would not recommend going on the last weekend of the festival.  It got extremely crowded, especially after 4 o’clock or so; and 3) I recommend doing research before you go to find out which booths serve what foods so you can make a daily food plan.

If anyone was considering the Food and Wine Fest and/or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I would definitely encourage them to do so!

Claudia Eggenberger

 

 

Fabulous Breakfast!

Breakfast. Is it the most important meal of the day? Is it your favorite meal of the day? Breakfast in Walt Disney World can be the FUNNEST meal of the day!

I love getting up and out the door in the morning at WDW. There are endless breakfast options to get your day started. Here are some ideas and some “don’t miss” suggestions!

For little ones (and not little ones!) character breakfasts are a lot of fun. My son’s favorite is Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Napkins swinging and hands clapping are the highlights. The buffet is standard offering much the same fare as you will find all around the resort – mickey waffles, eggs, fruits, brownies :)! But a great time with Mickey, Minnie and friends.

One of my favorite character breakfasts is “Play n’ Dine” at Hollywood Studies at Hollywood & Vine. Dine with popular Disney Junior friends Handy Manny, Doc McStuffins, Jake, and a few others. The buffet is always a winner with additions like bread pudding, cheesy potato hash, and custom egg station.

 

Another interesting and off-beat character breakfast is at Garden Grill in Epcot’s “The Land” pavilion. You will meet Mickey and friends who are wearing adorable farmer outfits! Breakfast is somewhat unique! Many come here to dine on Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake. Mickey waffles, chocolate sauce, and a variety of salsas made from plants grown at The Land round out the experience! My son was very excited that the restaurant rotates and you get to see different sights as you dine.

My last comment on character breakfasts is at the Crystal Palace in  Magic Kingdom. Our Hundred Acre Woods friends make the rounds while you dine. The buffet is similar to others, but one unique breakfast item is the Puffed French Toast found on the children’s buffet station. This reminds me of my childhood and is a must!

The best breakfast on property in my opinion can be found at the Polynesian Resort’s Kona Cafe! I appreciate their menu items being different from the typical breakfast. Many come here for Tonga Toast (very big French Toast stuffed with a lot of yumminess). French Press Kona Coffee and Macadamia Nut Pancakes for the win!  A runner up is The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The offer organic coffee, chicken sausage, sweet potato pancakes, key lime eggs benedict, and more. They feature full menu and buffet options!

Throughout Walt Disney World and resort food courts, you will find various cinnamon rolls (don’t miss Gaston’s Tavern!), mickey waffles, and standard breakfast offerings.

 

In recent visits we have gotten to really like Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. When you walk in you are greeted by a beautiful display of french bakery items. I go for the Florentine quiche and a mimosa. I don’t recommend ordering a cappuccino as it is from a pre-made machine, not made fresh.

It can be a little bit of a scavenger hunt if you are looking to stay healthy at breakfast. Here are a few tips! Buffets will usually have hard boiled eggs, fruit, oatmeal, and  yogurt. You will find whole-grain croissants as well- don’t be fooled, they are butter city!! Some buffets have an egg station and they always whip up egg whites for me. Starbucks has a spinach and egg white wrap that I often grab in the parks as well. Food courts have cereal, sometimes protein drinks in their cooler, yogurt, and fruit. Table service restaurants are great at customizing for you. I have seen many with gluten free options as well!

Next time you are in Walt Disney World, let breakfast be the funnest meal of your day!!

-Bekka

 

Morimoto Asia

wp-1468260241656.jpgLast week, I had the opportunity to dine at the newly opened Morimoto Asia located in Walt Disney World. This restaurant is more specifically located in Disney Springs and is a collaboration between Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group. Having been a fan of the show Iron Chef and a foodie by self-proclamation, I was excited to visit! The cuisine promised to borrow from various regions of Asia (more on that in a minute), yum!

My family and I arrived at Disney Springs a little early andMorimoto Asia meandered to find the restaurant. We had a 4:30pm Advanced Dining Reservation. As we dodged a few raindrops, we quickly came upon a beautiful shining gray and glass building. There was a vertical sign on the side which read “Morimoto Asia” (found it!) and on top of the building, large letters spelling out “Springs Bottling Co.” This sign keeps the building within the theming of this newly remodeled area.

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Upon entering, and just in time as the skies opened up, we were greeted by beautiful Morimoto Asiainterior decor. It consisted of glass, silver, and red tones. We were seated quickly, but I couldn’t stop looking up and around at all of the breathtaking decorations. Just stunning. and a little odd in some places. One wall sports very unique black and white photographs of many interesting individuals.

Morimoto Asia

Now for the good stuff. The menu had a little of every kind of
dish from various regions of Asia. Noodles, rice, egg rolls, sushi, sashimi, stir-fry, pad-thai, soups, salads, duck, the list goes on wp-1468260245094.jpgand on. We ordered a few things to share. First up was the Hamachi Tacos. These “tacos” were in what I think are a fried wonton wrapper, with yellow tail tuna, kalamata olives, lime, cilantro, and avocado. Wow! Then we dined on a spicy tuna roll. After this we shared pad thai and the Wok Fry Shrimp. wp-1468259260696.jpg

It was all very tasty. If I had to offer a criticism it would be they small size of the shrimp dish. Three medium shrimp with about a cup of stir fry vegetables didn’t strike me as a good value, though again, it was very delicious and pretty.

After dinner we couldn’t wait for dessert. The majority of their wp-1468260251763.jpgdesserts are “for two”. Oh my goodness, I’m so glad we did not forgo dessert. We ordered the MM Parfait. Two chocolate cream puffs, vanilla gelato, nutella, hazelnut chocolate crunch, and sesame mochi (I could have done without the mochi). One of the best desserts I ever had and will get me to return! My son had a Churro Fondue – three mini churros with nutella sauce. Good as well.

Morimoto Asia

 

Of course I had to check out the restrooms. They stayed within the style of the restaurant and were very modern. The photography on the walls of the restroom was very interesting and may leave you puzzled. I’m still puzzled (I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you can’t contain your curiosity, send me a message on Twitter).

Overall, I found this restaurant to be a welcome addition the renewed Downtown Area, Disney Springs. It is visually beautiful, all of it. The decor and the food. I would definitely return on our next visit, even if it was just for the dessert (oh, the dessert).

by Rebecca

@fitmousepodcast

thefitmouse.com

Norwegian Getaway one of the best

Many people love cruising and I know why. It took me 31 years of my life until I got on one. Since then I have 2 under my belt and a 3rd one on the way March 2017 with 7 other friends abound the Norwegian Getaway. First it was the Eastern Caribbean St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands); Tortola (British Virgin Islands); Nassau (Bahamas then the Western Caribbean ); Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas); Ocho Rios (Jamaica); George Town (Grand Cayman); Cozumel (Mexico). Now were heading to  Roatan, Bay Islands (Honduras); Belize City (Belize); Costa Maya (Mexico); Cozumel (Mexico)

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enjoying Grand Cayman

 

The Getaway is the second newest ship Norwegian has put out, with a new ship the Escape which was being released in 2015 and a new ship coming in 2017 Joy for Asian Cruises.  The first thing you notice when getting to the port was the size of the ship, it’s so big they board from 2 different terminals. As we bored the cruise staff is singing and dancing making us feel right at home. One of this ships clam to fame is that there are 23 bars located around the ship, everything from the Sun Set bar witch is our favorite to the Bliss Bar to the Mojito Bar.

A huge bonus on Norwegian is when it come to meals everything is “Free Style”, which means you don’t have to eat with anyone, you can sit where ever and can eat at different times there are no set rules.

The food … You all know my wife and I are Foodies, well I have to tell you the food was Amazing. We ate many times at the Noodle bar, best egg rolls and dumplings, you better get there early it fills up fast. There are 3 Main Dining rooms on this ship and they all serve the same food on the same night. Beef Wellington, Steak Diane, Salmon, Scallops and  Mahi-Mahi just to name a few, and off course the 24 hour restaurant, that came in handy a few times on the ship.

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Margaritas at Wet Wendy’s
Enjoying the island is one of the best part of the cruise, we get off to enjoy the local offerings. We tried Cronk we tried local fish and off course we tried all the local beers

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Drinking the local beer in Margaritaville Jamica on the beach

But I think what made the Cruise was the Amazing Norwegian Getaway Staff. Form the bar tenders to the wait staff and to our house staff service was first class. Anything and everything was right at out finger tips. The boat was immaculate, and the crew were always on top of cleaning even the littlest detail. Plus AIOTT can help plan all you Norwegian needs.

 

Food and Wine Prep

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As this is my first blog I want to write about something near and dear to my heart. As you all are about to find out my wife Melissa and Me Evan have Disney DNA. Being from Massachusetts we only get down to the World once a year.

When you think about Disney in the Fall, What do you think about? That’s easy for us… Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival.
I want to talk to you today about a true foodie experience. Epcot’s International Food and Wine festival, that’s held every fall in the months of September, October and November. For us there is no better time to visit Walt Disney World then the fall. The weather is fantastic the crowds are at about half of what peak times are.
Where to begin… I think for us the excitement starts months before we go when the means and activities start being reviled. We check http://www.disney.com or http://www.allinwdw.com everyday to see when and if the announcements have been made. Once there made it GAME ON time for us. To a Disney rookie it can be very overwhelming as it was for us our first time we started pre planning the Festival.
One of the best parts about the festival is the price, most items range from $3 to $6 Where else can you “travel the world” aka Eating your way around the world for that price. Most items are small but they pack a punch with flavor. You can set up a budget before you go.
The best advice I can give to anyone looking to attend this festival is preplan. What to Eat? What to Drink? Where to eat Lunch and Dinner the Days we attend the festival? Go in with a game plan, Trust me it will work and will you want to go back time and time again. image

Disney Dining Plan – With or Without?

My family recently returned from an amazing time on our first Disney cruise.  We spent 3 nights on board the Disney Magic in the Bahamas.  We had a wonderful time and will definitely be going again someday.

When the cruise was over we stayed 2 nights at Pop Century with 1 day in the Magic Kingdom.  Ideally that is not nearly enough time but it was all we had and we’ve been to Disney every year since our “once in a lifetime trip” in 2012 so we didn’t have to see and do everything because we know we’ll be back soon.  Even though it was only 2 days, HOLY COW we spend a lot of money on food!!!  The Disney Dining Plan would’ve cost around $300 for my family of 4 and I would not be surprised if we spent that or more on meals, snacks, and drinks.  We did not do any table service meals; we ate at all quick service restaurants.

A big expense was pop (we’re from Michigan, you might call it soda).  I drink a lot of Coke Zero and I think they are somewhere around $3-5 for a 20 ounce bottle at the resort’s food court.  If we had been on the Disney Dining Plan, we would’ve each gotten a refillable mug.  We could’ve purchased one but I felt that the length of our stay was too short to justify the $17 price.  In hindsight, I should’ve probably bought at least one refillable mug because I’m sure I spent more than $17 on bottles of Coke Zero.

Another reason I think we spent more on food was that my children don’t share well.  The portions are plenty big enough for 2 kids to share and in a perfect world, they would.  Not my boys.  If one wants chicken nuggets, the other one HATES chicken nuggets today and will only eat macaroni and cheese.  So, to avoid a major meltdown, we end up buying 2 different meals and throwing half of them out because it’s too much food for one kid.  What a waste and all I kept seeing was dollar signs!

Speaking of waste, here’s how lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus went.  It was right in the middle of the lunch rush so tables were limited, everyone was starving, and the line was 10-15 minutes just to order.  I took my youngest son to find a table while my husband and oldest son got in line.  After ordering food and drinks for everyone, in excess of $40, my husband finally found us at the table.

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Naturally, he slept through the entire lunch.  We tried to eat as much as we could but ended up throwing most of his lunch out because it couldn’t be saved.  It goes without saying that when he finally woke up, he was starving.  Shocking, I know.

Maybe it’s because our kids are a year older this time, or maybe it was because we just came off the cruise ship where everything was included but we were just overly conscious about the cost of the food and it just “felt” like we spent a ton of money to eat and drink.  We’re not “foodies” by any means (I eat like a toddler); however we were all sick of chicken nuggets by the end of the trip.  I think the value of the Disney Dining Plan is different for each family.    It truly depends on your traveling style and how you plan on eating meals.  If you would be happy eating at quick service locations for the length of your trip, the Disney Dining Plan may not be for you.  For us, we look forward to a table service meal each day.

After our first trip to Walt Disney World without the Disney Dining Plan, I don’t think we would go again without it, especially on a longer trip.  With only 2 days, it would have taken too much time do table service meals but on longer trips, we enjoy them because they are a good way to take a break from the parks and see different resorts, all while still keeping that “Disney magic”.