Ok, so I thought I’d do a trip report for my Food and Wine visit last week. Had a great time on an adult only trip (myself and my mom). Left on Wednesday night with a scheduled landing at MCO at 7:50 leaving a close window to get to Epcot tapstyles in my quest for the AP cutting board. Let’s face it…it small, not practical, and the thing I wanted the most this trip! In an unexpected twist, everything went in our favor. First, my mom agreed to carry on. We were on SWA and were able to sit row 5. Landed 10 minutes EARLY (how often does that happen?). Just made it to the tram as doors were closing (actually I dived in, sacrificing my body to the cutting board gods and shocking some other passengers). Ordered a Lyft getting off the tram and met them at B20 by 8:00pm. Made it to the tapstyles by 8:30 (mom and Lyft driver stayed in car) and made it to BC by 8:45. It can be done people! Interestingly, nobody knows where Lyft/cabs pick ppl up and evidently at least 4 different groups tried to get into the waiting Lyft at Epcot (with my mom inside). Eventually, our driver agreed to take two ladies to their destination after dropping us off at BC, so we gained 2 passengers on our way to BC.
This was our first stay at BC and I can say the scent at BC is pretty nice. Our room had a nice view…of the entry drop off area. We weren’t tired yet, and were a little hungry, so we went exploring. While the little store was nice…oogled a Dooney and Burke bag (just couldn’t justify the cost)…the food offerings were shall we say limited (and petrified). We got some waters before heading out to the Boardwalk. Buying waters from the BC store was a recurring trend this trip. I could never figure out how to get a case at a reasonable price sent to the hotel. After walking around the entire Boardwalk, we finally spotted our goal…Ample Hills. This oasis was wonderful…we ended up with some sundae with a warm blondie on top of 3 scoops ice cream in an waffle bowl. OMG, this could have been our favorite of the whole trip. My personal favorite was the oatmeal ice cream, though all was devoured in short order. Filling quite full at this point, we waddled back to our hotel, where we were off to sleep pretty quickly as we were tired from traveling (and overloaded on ice cream).
Day 2: Epcot Food and Wine
So we thought we’d start this day right with breakfast at Simmering Sips Mimosa Bar. Actually, it started with my mom flooding the bathroom due to a mishap with the shower curtain. I do mean flooding. Used most the towels and still squishing around. After getting ready and trying to limit the evidence, we headed to the Epcot tapstyles. It was technically EMH at Epcot, so we got in about 8:45-8:50 with limited wait at the IG. On our way, we walked by the Cheese Studio booth where we saw our first Remy…we were so excited to get the map and stalk him down. And it got us excited about the food booths (only a couple hrs more). We made a stop to use our FPP for SE (wanted to burn some FPPs to get Illuminations FPP for the evening). Walked to the Festival Center…what an old building! The Festival Center building was not too crowded. Enjoyed our mimosas and pastry (we tried several kinds over the course of the festival and Fromosa was my favorite). Purchased some AP merchandise including the fabulous food and wine festival shirt (had it sent to IG exit for later pick up). And of course we got the map for Remy. Picked up the chef mickey AP magnet (whoops, accidentally went in the exit, but since nobody was there I just got a stern look from the CM who pointed to the right entry). The chocolate experience thing was kind of underwhelming. I mean they were cool to look at and all, I just had imagined them bigger in my head. And then we were off. While we had a FPP for LwtL, neither of us felt like going on it, so we swung by Gear Works for…more shopping! Actually, it was a wonderfully air-conditioned oasis. Picked up a couple more things, including some Halloween shirts (sent also to IG for later pick up) and a birthday button. This is where I will mention that last Thursday was hotter than the surface of the sun. Melting hot. Volcano hot. This factors into our food booth outcomes. We went to Club Cool for the first time (this opens at 10:30) and it was a sticky mess of people. Many of the dispensers had at least one flavor that was out/not working. Overall, glad we tried it, but not necessarily a must do next time. Now 10:45 we expected food booths to be opening soon.
To preface our expectation for our first Food and Wine, I had a overambitious long list of must-tries. I thought I would be limited by how long it took to get through lines. Nope; I was very wrong. By booth 5-6, we were getting pretty full, even sharing. I would definitely slow down next time. If I wasn’t really enthused, I would toss the remainder. But as we had a long list and high hopes, we started strong at the Cheese Studio…got all 3 beef stroganoff, cheese tray, and bourbon cheesecake. Didn’t really care for the stroganoff…the texture was off for me, and only ok flavor. Cheese tray also a miss (though the macron was ok). But the heavens opened up when we tried the bourbon cheesecake…OMG this was our favorite dessert of the festival! Moved onto the Chocolate Studio and the Nitro Truffle…not terrible but a little rich for us. Quickly ran over to get to Wine and Dine for the Butternut Squash Ravioli…also great, and better size for sampling. Highly recommend as this was also one of our favorites. But now we were starting to realize that 3 booths in 20 minutes may not be the best plan. We were starting to get an inkling that our stomachs were not up for the task ahead. I tried the scallops from Coastal Eats…not bad at all, especially the corn accompaniment. But we were starting to slow down, and the 95 degree heat was getting to us. Wandered over to Flavor from Fire where we also spotted Remy, and got the chimichurri steak on corn pancake…this was also very good, but we were wise to eat it in the Light Lab area where there was some AC. The energy bar bites weren’t bad, but also weren’t life altering. Light lab was mostly good for the AC break. With the Phosphorescent Phreeze off the market due to poor planning (out of the flasks to serve it in), the remainder of the items didn’t sound good. It might be fun for little kids, though. With the hour of gorging behind us, we had to change plans. Had planned a couple more booths, but wasn’t happening now. Had a FPP for FEA (we’d never ridden before) and was going instead to wander that way…via Taste Track in our search for Remy. Found Remy, tasted the pancake milkshake (had thought it might cool us off) before consigning it to the trash can, and wandered towards Mexico with a plan for the boat ride (and more AC) before our FEA. Found Remy (this was a really fun thing by the way), partied with Donald and Friends on a slow moving boat, and wandered towards Norway. Since still not time for our FPP, we looked for Remy in a couple more countries. China booth was closed at this point, and made it all the way to Germany where we found Remy again. Tried the noodle gratin (which was pretty good), but again we overestimated our stomach capacity and couldn’t eat more than half. Was looking forward to the AC again with FEA. So wandered back to Norway.
FEA was ok, probably a one and done for us, but it’s nice to try new things. Definitely could support the AC. We were getting pretty tired by this point, and overly odoriferous, so thought we’d head back to the BC for some pool time. On the way stopped at Hawaii for awesome spam hash, ok pork slider, and a truly great drink (pineapple wine). Picked up our shopping items at IG on the way to BC. Peeled off our sweaty clothing and tried to stuff ourselves into our bathing suits. Arrived at the pool just as they closed it to lightning somewhere in the area. Ironically, I had a Beaches n Cream ressie at 2:30, so we just went in there (AC!). Not feeling up to anything large, we split the banana bread thing, which was good, but doesn’t even touch the awesomeness of Ample Hills. By the time we were done, the pool was open…alleluia.
For anyone who hasn’t enjoyed the BC pool, it’s pretty great. We floated around the lazy river until it got too crowded and we handed our tubes to some kids. Then walked along the sandy bottom pools in a sort of foot massage and soak combo. After an hour or so, my skin was crisping thru the sunblock, so we headed back to the room for a costume change. There was a massive thunderstorm lasting about 20-30min while we were getting dressed (good timing huh!) and this greatly reduced the temperature in our favor. As we headed back to Epcot for round 2/dinner, we were very thankful the temp was now in the low 80s.
We started at Refreshment Port with the Brisket Poutine…this was a really great combo of flavors and salty/crispy fries. We didn’t eat it all, though, as we now knew the limits of our stomachs. Tried Australia…the Lamb chop was ok (a little fatty for me, but good flavor) and the Lamington was actually quite good. Almond Orchard had one of our favorites…awesome spinach/artichoke/chicken dip…we couldn’t help it and ate all of this one. Moved on to the chicken empanada from Islands of the Caribbean along with an awesome sangria. The chicken in peanut sauce dish from Thailand was also very good and we convinced ourselves that because there was veggies in it, it was somehow healthier. I had really been bummed about China being closed earlier, so we headed that way just in case it might be open…and it was. The Xian Pancake was one of our favorites along with the Happy Peach drink. The duck bao bun was just ok…I think we were getting full again and just not a duck fan. The Byejoe Punch was an undrinkable slug of pure grain alcohol. We were now pretty full, however, and felt the need to walk it off. We found the rest of the Remy’s around the world (including the very elusive Japan Remy). I also tried the Teriyaki Bun there which I think was good, just too full to enjoy it. Officially tapped out of tummy room, we went to see if figment was open (it was not) just to see what all the fuss was about. Then checked out a fairly short line of Soarin before Illuminations. I had gotten a SDFP for this after tapping into Frozen. The viewing site was actually pretty good because the slight rise. Unfortunately, it was a great view of a not very impressive show. Well, maybe it was impressive 20yrs ago, or to someone. But the giant fireball thing just made me think someone in pyrotechnics was just trying to answer the questions “how big can we make this and get away with it?” Overall, boring. But we had a great view. After swimming upstream towards the IG and back to BC (stopped for more water in the store) we turned in for the night.