Food and Wine Trip Report


#1

Arrival:
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.

TBC…


#2

Day 2: 4 Parks in One Day, and one tiger hunt
So after a family next to use at Illuminations really talked up the new Toy Story Land, we decided we might want to visit it late at night all lit up. This would mean our plans changed to 4 parks in 1 day (could we make it??). Started the day right with a trip to Epcot for Mimosas and pastry. Then took monorail then ferry to MK. Used FPP for Buzz, then a relaxing ride on the people mover. Did a little shopping before checking out Mickey’s Philharmagic. We had never seen it before, and it was kind of a nice surprise, especially with the AC. The park was actually pleasantly not crowded (it was a MNSSHP night) so we wandered thru Fantasyland towards HM to use our 2nd FPP for our ride in the Doom Buggy. Then wandered into Adventureland where we shared a chicken finger snack from the Golden Outpost (I think that’s what it’s called), only fighting one aggressive bird for our food. This snack area was conveniently located next to the Pirate Adventure sign ups…this was quite fun going around using your magic band to make secret things work. Although we could have done 2 missions and gotten another FPP for PotC, we already had one FPP which we used to help Jack find the treasure. My favorite scene is still the dog with the keys! I personally think the newly designed PC auction scene feels a little forced. We then caught the train to the front of the park.

We had to get to AKL for a Sanaa reservation, but the people waiting in the bus line like looked about 3 buses deep and no one had seen a bus in 20min. Then began our epic quest to find a Lyft. If you don’t know (I didn’t), they can’t pick up at the bus area. A Lyft driver called trying to pick me up from the Contemporary (couldn’t see that on the map), but very bad English led to some very confusing and frustrating conversation until I finally cancelled in favor of the Minnie Van…more expensive but I still didn’t know where it picked up from. After wandering for a while (why are there no CMs at the bus area???) we eventually found a Minnie Van slot in the 1st line of buses. Minnie Van secured, we were on our way to AKL. Cute thing about the Minnie Vans, they have a soundtrack relevant to where they are. Our first driver was an ex-security guy who said he’d been asked if he wanted extra work at the Epcot Food and Wine festival…“yeah right, that’s for the rookies.” While in the Minnie Van I tried to secure us a FPP for TSL later that night and ended up with a 7-8pm TSMM!

Our first visit to Sanaa found the Disney Crane in full view. But we were able to observe the animals out on the pathway. We got some excellent beverages, followed by an awesome bread service and an even better butter chicken. This was the best “meal” we had. Completely full, we took the bus to AK.

We had booked a Savor the Savannah tour and needed to check in, but we tried to squeeze in an epic safari hunt for a stuffed tiger (a request of a 5y/o at home). In case you’re wondering, this is a surprisingly a hard ask at AK. The gift shop had a leopard, and when we asked a CM they suggested DerBear ? at Epcot and that they had none at AK. We checked in to our tour a little early and the CM suggested trying a cart in Asia…a sprint across to Asia didn’t net us a tiger, so we ended up back at the tour start site enjoying some POG juice. Our tour only had one other couple, so very personal. They took us out on a private safari truck where we met up with an Animal caretaker whose specialty was giraffes…got up close and personal with the baby giraffe, her mama and the whole crew before heading to the Boma for snacks. The snack spread was fairly nice, and there was decent wine as we relaxed overlooking the Savannah. Had a good time talking with the CMs, and they talked a lot about poo…evidently there is a special oven that dries poo to be shellacked. Needless to say, you could hold a giant elephant poo while sipping wine and nibbling cheese and desserts. After finishing the safari at 7pm (remember this is when our TSMM FPP window begins), we hurried to the front of the park where we visited Rainforest Cafe and FINALLY! found a little tiger. We then hailed another Minnie Van to head to HS to visit TSL. Since the pickup sites evidently keep changing, we were initially misdirected to the farthest area of bus pickup before someone finally told us Minnie Van pickup is at the end of the first row. Bonus is that the Lyft drop off at HS is closer than any bus stops right now. It was getting really close to the end of our TSMM FPP window.

Security only seems to be meticulous when you’re about to miss a FPP. But we did make it to TSMM with 6 minutes to spare, only to have the ride go down while sitting in the car ready to start. Evidently it was just dropped glasses that required maintenance to come down and remove from the track. So after about 5min, we engaged in epic competition. I was behind for all episodes, but pulled it out at the end for the win! For those who haven’t been, TSL is really best seen at night. It looks pretty cool all lit up, and I understand it’s a sauna during the day. We wanted to catch SDD at the end of the night. The wait said 50 min, but at 30 min we seemed really close (about to turn the corner into the loading area). Then they declared maintenance issues and shut the ride down for the night. Boo. The little girl behind me was in tears. But they did give us tier 1 FPPs to use the next day (all except FOP and 7DMT). We considered returning the next day if there was time, especially as I realized my mom actually got two and they seemed to allow 3 visitors with every FPP. We then began the long trudge back out of the park. 3 ferries later, we were finally on our way back to BC for the night.


#3

Enjoying reading your report! Thanks for the headsup about the cutting boards…I didn’t even know that was a thing! I think my Oct visit includes 3 trips to Epcot right now. It’s likely I’ll try to squeeze another. :slight_smile:

And I also didn’t know Remi was a thing. Is it a full-size character that we are looking for, or a little 6 inch guy hidden somewhere? Do we do anything (besides celebrate and gloat) when we have found him?


#4

Day 3: More Food and Wine, 3 showers, and 1 Figment Fanatic
After getting ready (no shower flooding this AM!!), our last day started at Epcot again for the Mimosas and pastry (notice a theme?). But today we had scheduled some pampering at the Yacht Club Spa (for limited travel time and AP discount). So we were the only people LEAVING thru IG at 9:45 am, but COMPLETELY SOAKED in sweat from the outrageous temperatures. If we had had any time, we would have showered before our massages, but we did the best we could to towel off and not be the “stinky guests.” We each had 80min massage and 25min foot reflexology. This was a good thing because my feet were absolutely killing me by this point and I was hobbling around like an old woman. The pampering was perfect…really they did quite a good job. We showered at the massage place (shower #2), because we didn’t want that slimy lotion sweat in the 95 degree weather and humidity. We did get a free drink (champagne) which we took to go. After a costume change up in our room (bras sure to get sweaty fast!), we headed off to lunch at Epcot.

This time we decided to start in the back of world showcase and work forward. Mom really wanted to try Belgium due to heritage, and we found the beef and Gouda potatoes to be quite tasty. The strawberry waffle was also good, but to me not that unique. Then went to Hops and Barley for the slider and carrot cake…both were wonderful and I would recommend them together. We were worried about the horseradish on the sandwich, but it came on the side, and the crispy onions added a nice touch. The carrot cake was warm and melty and sooo good. There is also a nice seating area in with picnic tables back in this are. We decided to skip France because we already had a beef and potato dish (and neither of us would brave the escargot). Next stop Ireland: the pudding with bailey’s cream was really good. The Baileys Guinness shake was fairly good…Mom liked it more than me; I would have just had Bailey shake. Stopped in Canada at the Joffrey’s for the Riviera Sunrise…very tasty, also the only time I was ever carded. Then headed over to Canada for the Soup and Le Cellier Filet. Both were good, though it really was probably a little too hot to enjoy the soup. I will recommend the line on the OTHER side of Canada from the main entry (it was a secret shorter line). We tried to grab a spot in the shade to eat, and this was also by New Zealand, so I grabbed a lamb meatball…would pass on this one in the future as it was not that flavorful and the bread was soggy. So now by 2pm, we had done all the eating we wanted and that our stomachs could handle…what do do now?

We still had 3 Tier One anytime FPPs that allowed 3 guests one each one from the SDD breakdown. So we headed over to the Ferry landing and rode it to HS. I will tell you that this is not fast transport as you have to stop at each of 3 hotels on the way. But we weren’t walking in that heat (it’s a very exposed walkway with no trees that I’m guessing takes about 30+ minutes). Entering HS, we headed straight back to TSL. Although the theming is nice during the day, it was much more magical at night. And it was hot. At first, it looked like SDD might be down again so we headed to ASS…this was actually more fun that we expected. We even got in trouble for taking a picture instead of hurrying onto the ride. Exiting, we noticed that SDD was indeed running, and went on that next. Saw the same CM sorting FPP vs non-FPP at the end of the ride. We also realized we were within 5min of riding when it went down based last night on line position. Mom though this one looked a little too extreme for her, and in that spirit I tried to grab the overhead bar when I sat down…only to have the loading CM tell me “this isn’t Rockin Rollercoaster!” Whoops. I’d probably rate it somewhere less that BTMM but more than 7DMT. Not bad. Finally, used our last xtra FPP to go on TSMM, and we both beat our scores from the night before. And that is how we did all of TSL in 30-35 minutes. We did a little shopping (was looking for a cool twilight zone shirt, but ended up with something else) before deciding we were again a sweaty mess. Back to the Ferry…2 boats this time before we were back at BC. After peeling off our sweaty clothes again, we each showered (#3) for our 3rd costume change of the day. Wanted to look nice for Party for the Senses.

Mom decided we had to get a little Remy, which someone said could only be found in a small store in France. So after securing our culinary rodent, we headed towards the secret door to Party for the Senses. So as this was our first Food and Wine festival, it was also our first Party for the Senses, and we had NO idea what we were doing. We got the earlier entry one, walked in on a red carpet and had a table up front with a fancy napkin and serving staff. They had all the chefs come out and explain their dishes. But we again started WAAAY too fast. If you’ve not been to this event before, it’s like a fancy food and wine where you have AC, fancier chefs preparing at the food booths set up around different color scheme areas, and all the food and EtOH is included. Plus Femmes of Rock played while we were eating. We still felt a little lost until we realized we had a map guide on our table. Wandered around and met the different chefs and got food. Got my picture with Chef Morimoto (what a ham!) and a couple other chefs. You get a wine glass to bring with you to the stations. There was a cheese spread, which was yummy and a chocolate truffle station (from the ganachery I think). We would get 2 different plates at the stations and come back to our table to try them. Each time we returned, our napkins had been rearranged a different way, and our old plates had been removed. We got full way too fast, and had to resort to sharing food again. There was a flashy announcer that wandered around with a cameraman asking guests questions, and we tried avoid notice when he came a little to close. The couple next to us was wondering why we kept looking their way and when we told them, they laughed and called the guy over and gave a interview to “save us.” Really appreciated it. They seemed experienced, and took things slower. A couple male CMs in the park had previously bragged on the bathrooms here, but when we looked we found them to accommodate quite a large number of people, but not be that terribly exciting (perhaps lots of stalls is a men’s room novelty). While this was a lot of fun, it was a little pricey. Also, since some people were actually fairly dressed up, it might have been a little out of our league (I was happy sporting my new sparkly Mickey T shirt). I was really glad to have showered for the 3rd time before coming. One of our server CMs said she gets a lot of repeat guests each year. We got to keep the wine glasses ('cause those are easy to pack!), and also got a goody bag with some Ganachery truffles and a Food and Wine trivet. Overall, we were very full and tapped out about 8:30, so left to do a little last minute shopping.

I wanted to pick up a Halloween t shirt I’d seen in Gear Works, so we wandered that way. While checking out, we were talking about the cool Food and Wine Dooney that I just couldn’t get because I didn’t want the purple dinosaur on it…I just didn’t get Figment. Boy, did I say that at the wrong time. There was an uber fan behind me dressed in a Figment hat with a Figment man-purse and purchasing 3 plush Figments who descended on us in order to school us in all things Figment. With the intensity of a prophet (or a righteous elementary school principal), he told us all about the original, how it has subsequently been “messed up” and even had YouTube videos of the original all ready for us on his phone. Wow. Wanted to run. The lucky CM at least had someone else come up to her and need help. I think she was secretly laughing. We were slightly frightened. After barely making it out alive, we decided we should return to our hotel for the night.

Hardest part of the trip…trying to fit all our xtra purchases into our 2 carry on suitcases and bags. But with a little creative packing and oomph, we were victorious. Turned in for the night. Short 3 day trip. But full and a whole lot of fun!

TBC: Departure with terminal karaoke…


#5

You can purchase the Remy map with stickers, which entitles you to a lenticular plastic cup with food and wine theme (we got the Mickey)…they don’t care how much you’ve completed. We picked ours up on the first food and wine day as we were heading to our hotel so as not to have to carry it around.


#6

Thanks!! This looks super cute. :slight_smile:


#7

about how long did it take to ride the boat from Epcot to HS?


#8

Didn’t time it well, but I would say maybe 45min to hr from tapsyles thru tapstyles. Waited about 5min or so for next boat. Felt like it took long time at each stop, but probably didn’t take as much as it felt like in the heat. Walking would have sucked our energy dry, though.

Previous night we waited for 3 boats at very end of night (think we were on last boat) so exiting to hotel door took over hr. Boats run q10-20 min, usually q10-15. If crowded time, takes longer to get ppl on and off.


#9

Departure: Terminal Karaoke
Thought I’d finally finish…
After a little Tetris action getting stuff to fit in our suitcases, we took a Lyft to MCO. Security line was ok. I was in the TSA precheck line and about five of us in a row were randomly selected for special screening. They seemed a little overwhelmed by this and used a new tactic…“just give me something electronic like a phone and I’ll test it.” Ok, no problem. Made it a little early to our gate, enjoyed a breakfast sandwich from a vendor. Tried to waste a little time in the tiny gift shop at the terminal, but not much to look at there. Suddenly, a band was playing at our gate, evidently made up of SWA employees, one channeling Elvis. They had some trivia with prizes (I won a doggie poop bag carrying case in the shape of a bone). The also had karaoke. Since there were initially no takers, they offered $25 SWA vouchers to get up and sing. Since still no takers, the upped it to $50 each. With nothing better to do (and still limited witnesses), we got up an sang a really bad rendition of “Drink with me.” Wooohoo…$100 in future flight credits, more vacation here we come. They only had country songs since this was the “Nashlando” flight. Couple kids got up and danced for a prize. Few more trivia and karaoke sessions later we boarded our flight. They passed out little goodie bags with heart stickers and sweeties as we boarded. They even had signs “We love our passengers” and went out on the tarmac and held them up as we left. Was kind of a nice way to end our vacation. Was feeling the SWA love!

After an uneventful rest of the flight, we landed home, where it evidently had been raining for days, and would continue to do so for the next week. Reentry…boo.