I HAD to go for opening weekend. I haven't been to the kingdom on a Saturday in a long time and forgot how crazy it gets in the afternoon. Plus, it was about a million degrees out. I'm talking post-nuclear. No breeze, little shade. One of the times you actually WANT to see Impressions of France. You get to sit in the a/c for 20 minutes.
It started out as a great day when I got to the ticket counter to renew my season pass and the cashier said that it would be renewed for 15 months. WHOO-HOO! That will take me to Thanksgiving of NEXT year.
I showed up to the park at about 10am. They have WEEKLY FESTIVAL GUIDES as well as the usual TIMES GUIDE. For SURE get both of these. The festival guide has a map that locates each featured country, as well as the other Festival spots.
I didn't do any of Futureworld. I was there on a mission! I had printed out the menu of all the foods from the various countries (which will come in handy later).
First I checked out the Festival Welcome Center (located in the building between Universe of Energy and Mission:Space). That is where they are doing the book signings, seminars, demonstrations, and have a TON of F&WF merch.
I started working my way around the world in Canada. I usually start in Mexico but I started following a hot lumberjack and that's where I ended up. I watched "Oh, Canada!" sober for the first time, I think.
Between Canada and UK is where the New Zealand cart is located. I tried the seared sea scallop with vegetable slaw and lemon oil. The scallop was perfectly cooked. Tender enough that I could cut it with my plastic fork. The vegetable slaw was julienned onion, red and yellow peppers. The "lemon oil" was a light oil with a hint of lemon. VERY delicious dish!
The line at the Ireland cart was a little long so I skipped UK and went to Paris. At the France cart I ordered the cabernet braised short ribs with mashed potatoes. I was waiting for my food at the counter, the guy behind me ordered the same thing. Frenchie put our food up on the counter but it looked more like a flan. I looked at the guy by me like, "Is this really ours?" Frenchie says, "Take your ribs!" I shrugged, took the plate, and headed for my fave shaded spot up behind the perfume shop. I poked at the potatoes and realized the "ribs" were underneath the molded food. Once I tasted it...MMMMMM...the potatoes were nice and buttery and the meat was pulled off the bone (not really "ribs"). The sauce was like a light gravy and there were petite mushrooms as well.
I skipped Morocco. They weren't serving anything there they usually don't serve. I also skipped eating in Japan. They were only serving sushi which you can get any other time.
I immediately went to the Sam Adams beer tasting tent but, they weren't ready yet so I stopped at the "Hops & Barley" cart and got a Boston-style crab cake with Cabbage Slaw and Remoulade. It was the best dang crab cake I think I've ever eaten. The slaw was vinegary and had a "kick" to it. The Remoulade was mustardy. Mmmm...
After I was done eating I got in line for the Sam Adams beer tasting. They seated me in the very front row! We tasted the Boton Lager, S.A. Light, Octoberfest, and the 14th Anniversary brew (which is really the Blackberry Wheat). Everyone also receives a S.A. bottle-opener keychain.
About that time is when it REALLY started getting hot outside. And one of my friends called me so I skipped Italy and Germany. Epcot has added some new buildings to the Africa Outpost. In the gift shop hut they had a fan going so I stood in front of that for like, 5 minutes. Ahhhh...refreshed.
Next I tried the Grilled Lamb Rib Chop with Red Wine Sauce and Murray River Sea Salt. How salt can be from a river AND a sea, I don't know. The lamb was delicious and a good-sized chop. There was also some sort of greens that were served with it that were really good. I think the red wine sauce also had a raspberry hint to it.
Next was China. Ahhhh...refreshedd in the air-conditioned "Reflections of China" (also, my favorite film at Epcot). When I got out, I realized how crowded the park had gotten at that point. For some reason Norway and Mexico were packed (the rides, maybe?) I did go inside the Mexico Pavilion to get a peek at the new tequila bar. It's tiny but really cool-looking. Wish I liked tequila! I'd hang out in there all day!
I stopped at the Brazil cart before I left Mexico and got a Leblon Frozen Caipirinha. I still don't know what was in it, or how to pronounce it but it was delicious! It was a little slushy that kind of tasted like a cross between a margarita and a limoncello. I ate my slushy in one of those little merch stores at the entrance to World Showcase. Ahhh. A/C!
I started going for Round 2 of around the world. I got the Rock Shrimp Ceviche from Chile. It was popcorn shrimp in a salsa that was spicy, salty, and limey, topped with a handful of buttered popcorn. Weird, but I liked it!
I wanted to stop at the Montreal cart because I want to try all of the items on it but, it was just too dang HOT for cheddar cheese soup, maple glazed salmon, or spicy chicken sausage. (Frowny face)
I did stop and catch Off-Kilter. My favorite band at Epcot. I'm in love with the bagpipe player. I want to have his babies. HAHA! TMI. Moving on...
I stopped at the Ireland cart, finally. However, they had run out of the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey's Ganache. DARN! I did, however, go ahead and try the Honey Meade Wine. It was SUPER sweet and for sure had honey in it! Not sure if I quite liked it. I sipped my wine and watched The British Invasion (my 2nd fave band at Epcot). They don't look a thing like the Beatles and wear ****** wigs but, they can crank out a 60's tune!
I stopped again at the "Hops & Barley" cart to try a lobster roll. They ran out when I first got in line so I thought, oh well, I'll get a beer anyway. But by the time I got up to the cashier, they had restocked. YAY! The sandwich was chilled lobster salad (big chunks of lobster meat with some sort of mayo and celery) on a toasted roll with garlic butter. Mmmm...sandwich. I paired it with a Sam Adams Octoberfest. You can get your beer here in a souvenier plasic stein that has the F&WF logo on it.
After I was done, it was time to grab a seat for the Eat To The Beat concert (20 minutes pre-concert, definitely grab your seat!) The act was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The band was really popular about 10 years ago but they can still really rock and they have a new album coming out. They play "big band" type music. They played "Minnie The Moocher", "You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three", "Go, Daddy, Go!", and "I Wanna Be Like You" (that last one is from the Jungle Book!).
After the concert I was going to go to the "Desserts and Champagne" cart before I left but decided I'd had enough and (sadly) made my way out to the parking lot. I'm always sad to leave. I would live at Epcot if they'd let me!
That was my day! I thouroughly enjoyed it but was glad to take a shower, kick my tired feet up, and post my experience! I'm going back on Halloween with two of my girl friends. I will definitely try some of those things I skipped today!