Trick or Treat, smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!
My final trip to the Food and Wine Fest this year was on Halloween. I took one of my best friends (who unfortunately is not a Disney fan and is sort of an impediment to culture but, she's a fun time).
We got an early start on the day and made it to the All-Star Music Resort by 8:45am. Check-in was a breeze since there was hardly anyone there. However, I sent Sarah over to the concierge counter to buy a ticket to the park and she had to wait ~15 minutes just to get waited on since the 3 employees were with 3 disgruntled cunstomers. Anyway, we threw the parking pass in my Jeep, hopped right on a bus to Epcot and got to the park by ~9:15am.
The previous (and only) time Sarah had been to the park, I don't know what in the world she did but, she hadn't ridden on anything and I guess they just walked around World Showcase but didn't actually go into any of the pavilions so, she had a long day ahead of her! However, I found out I was going to be in for a long day myself when we were walking past the fountain in Future World and Sarah asked why there was a line of people to see a giant bear. I looked at her like she was nuts. DUH! It was Baloo!
We went directly to Soarin'. I expected quite a wait but, we literally walked right onto the ride (and got to sit in Glider "B", the middle one, the best!) If you didn't know...you can request to sit in the middle glider and they'll let you. They've let me in the past anyway.
Next we went to Living With the Land. My favorite. I like to go through the greenhouse. I saw a hidden Mickey! It was in the aquaculture tank on the righthand side of the boat in one of the eel tanks. Someone had arranged 3 wire cylinders to form a Mickey head. It was the first time I've noticed it.
Club Cool was visited next. For some reason a couple of the dispensers were disabled so people were cutting in front of each other and in my opinion, being generally rude for so early on a beautiful day. We only could stand it for a couple tastes and make our way out the door.
I took Sarah over to the Festival Welcome Center to get a gift card to wear around her wrist to use around the world. We each put $50 on our cards. I made it through mine but, I'm not sure if she used all her's. I think she might have...anyway. At the Festival Center I was going to buy a tee-shirt from this year. They had a REALLY cute one that was light blue and had a cartoon drawing of the countries with the FAWF logo on it and a bus on the back. It was adorable and I hope they have some they didn't sell the next time I go. Or else I guess I could get one at an outlet store...
At this point it was time to start working our way around the World! We started at the Montreal, Canada stand where we each got the Spicy Chicken Sausage With Sweet Corn Polenta. SOOOO delicious! The sausage was so spicy! The polenta was sweet, creamy, and buttery, There was also roasted red peppers and a dab of (what I think was) onion jelly. We agreed it was the best thing we ate all day!
After viewing O, Canada! in Circlevision (and enjoying a brief moment of a/c in the warm day), we stopped at the New Zealand cart and both of us ordered the Lamb Sliders with Tomato Chutney. They were kind of gross. It was a total waste of lamb. They were greasy and difficult to eat, #1. #2 they tasted like meatballs. Bad meatballs. Sarah only took two tiny bites of hers. I went ahead and popped the rest of it in my mouth but just because I didn't want to waste it.
To follow that up, we needed something good, fast. We stopped at the Ireland cart and I ordered the Kerrygold cheese plate and Sarah got the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie. My cheese plate had a little too much cheese (3 huge pieces) for me. It was delicious but, we all know what too much cheese does to a person. At any rate, the brown bread it came with was a little on the dry side but, the Apple Chutney was really sweet and delicious. It was diced apple with a variety of raisins and cinnamon. Mmm. Sarah thouroughly enjoyed the Fisherman's Pie. There were HUGE chunks of lobster and scallop in it.
We needed more a/c so we had no choice but to watch Impressions of France. Sarah has been to France and had a horrible experience, I guess, but I told her to suck it up. I'm a Francophile.
On the way to Morroco, we stopped at the Brewer's Collection and got a brew. In Morroco, we ducked in to the Art of Adornment room to get a shot of a/c and to check out the cool traditional Morrocan jewelry. Then we walked around to the bazaar area and made fun of the technorrocan music they had blastin'. Why are we at a rave party all of a sudden? AAAH! Crack some glow sticks!
In Japan, we went into the Mitsukoshi mall and this is where Sarah tells me they never went into any of the countries. I said, "Well, that's boring!" She said, "I know! I'm having a good time." I said, "DUH!" In the mall she sloshed beer on the carpet. I pretended I didn't know who she was but she kept following me. AH! Get away! I did discover something new in there. I did not know they sold Mikimoto pearls in there! I have a new favorite thing to visit now. If you don't know Mikimoto's work, it's very simple and elegant. www.mikimotoamerica.com
We wanted to stop at the New Orleans shack and try some gumbo or etouffee but we decided it was too hot for stew. However, it's never too hot for a cold one! Beer-thirty! Time for Sam Adams beer tasting! My dream job would be to work for Sam Adams. I swear that would be the most awesome job ever! We we went in, we received our complementary keychain bottle openers (which makes no sense if you aren't supposed to drink and drive...) but they kept them in a refrigerator so they were nice and COLD! I put mine on the back of my neck. It felt so good! And we got an exclusive scoop! They are changing their seasonal spring brew from the White Ale to the Sam Adams Pils, a traditional czech pilsner. Mmm... Beer Lover's Choice
After beer-tasting, we were a little hungry so Sarah got the Cannelloni at the Bologna, Italy stand. I did not want Italian food since I could make it at home better. I was right. She was NOT impressed and stated she'd actually had better Lean Cuisines. It was so greasy it was literally eating through the little paper tray it was in and it had been sitting for a while because the melted cheese had actually hardened on top. Ew. Sarah stated her dad liked Limoncello when her parents went to Italy but she had never had it. I said twist my arm! I'll buy you a shot! So we enjoyed a nice chilled shot of Limoncello.
I HAD to get something to eat at this point so I stopped at the Munich, Germany stand and ordered the Spaetzel Gratin with Ham and Cheese and paired it with the Essence Riesling. SO GOOD! And I think I can make it myself (the spaetzel, not the riesling)! It was basically what I would call "breakfast hash" with diced ham, potatoes, cheese, a little bit of scrambled egg and onion. It was savory and creamy-tasting. Perfect "after beer" food. However, I forgot to take a picture! AH!! We went into the shoppes in Germany and laughed at the "pickle tree" and mused over why anyone would want to buy any of the ridiculously expensive crystal figurines (I was secretly coveting some of them).
We were in serious need of more a/c by that point so I made her watch Reflections of China. Ni-Hao! I bought my aunt some chopsticks with her chinese zodiac sign (Dog) for a $1. When I got home I really looked at them and it has her horoscope for the year in the package...for 2005. Oh, well, like I said, they were only a buck. At this point, I will let you all know that at this point we have been in just about every restroom in the park. It was hysterical, like before we went into and before we left every country it was like, "Oh, I have to go to the bathroom!" I don't know why it was so hysterical, but it actually was. I think we went to the bathroom in Norway like, 4 times. HA!
Speaking of Norway, we went on the Viking boat ride, Maelstrom. At this point it was about 2 or 3pm and the park was getting SLIGHTLY crowded but, it wasn't bad at ALL. I was surprised how comparatively dead it was for a beautiful Saturday. But, I guess it was the Halloween holiday that kept people away. Better things to do elsewhere. Also, they were not doing any sort of "trick-or-treat" at Epcot. At least that I noticed.
We went into the Mexico pavilion and rode the lame Donald boat ride. I think I remember that ride used to be semi-educational? Like you actually learned about the history of Mexico? I just go on it now for a chance to sit down and be in the a/c. I still have not been in the tequila bar. There was literally a line out the door and you couldn't get anywhere near to peek in. Maybe next time!
We needed a snack at this point so we stopped at the Puerto Rico hut and got the ham & cheese "croquettes". They were shaped like cheesesticks that you get in the freezer aisle and not filling at all, but they tasted pretty good. It was like Puerto Rican bar food. The sauce was 1,000 Island Dressing, I think, but they dabbed it on the plate to look like a Mickey head! I also had the Dragonberry Colada that was SO refreshing. It tasted like a strawberry and cream shake. Mmmm... Sarah had the Frozen Mojito but she said it was kind of gross.
We worked our way back around the Mexico side back toward America. We stopped at the South Africa hut so Sarah could get the beef with sweet potato puree. I don't think she was as impressed with it as I was, and I think they only gave her one piece of beef (I got 2). I went over to the Bangkok stand and got the papaya slaw with shrimp. The slaw tasted very similar to the slaw in New Zealand for the sea scallops. It had a vinegar dressing and I tasted more of the carrot and onion than papaya. The shrimp was 2 shrimps, tails on. Overall, not stellar but it WAS refreshing.
We went to America and had just enough time to watch the Spirit of America film (and enjoy the a/c since it was still kind of hot out) before the eat to the beat concert. I think at one point during the movie we both fell asleep and had a power nap. NICE! Time to rally! We walked across and grabbed a seat pretty close to the stage to see John Waite. If you recognize the name, he sings "I Ain't Missing You" and "When I See You Smile" among other power ballads. He had 3 young guys as his back-up band that were probably young enough to be the Jonas Bros. HAHA! But they REALLY rocked!
Missing You by John Waite Music Video on Yahoo! Music
After the concert we headed back to the UK because Sarah was in dire need of fries (chips). And I needed to return a couple calls. We sat outside near the quickserve fish & chips window and watched kids feed the squirrels pieces of fries and a bird almost attacked Sarah. Awesome! We went into the Rose and Crown for a couple pints to go. A Boddington's for me and a Harp for Sarah.
We went over to see the British Invasion. Here is where Sarah really showed that she is an impediment to culture. I don't know if you are ready to hear this because it certainly shocked the hell out of me...Are you ready?...She did not know the Beatles sang "Yellow Submarine". WHAT!?!?! It's only one of their most famous, popular songs. AHHH!!! I could tell she wasn't impressed with the British Invasion (I know, it's incredible to believe) so we went into the little shoppes (I'm spelling it "shoppes" because I think it's British and classy to spell shops that way). Anyway, there was a couple in there and they were probably in their early 40's and I thought they were fairly "New Jersey" looking (not to put-down anyone on this board that may be from New Jersey but there is an unforturnate stereotype associated with people from the state. And had 2 of them in my sorority in college). Anyway, the woman was petite, wearing tight pants and a halter top, and had her face was completely painted and glittered to look like some sort of a tiger/butterfly? The husband disappeared for a second and came back while she was paying for something and said in a gruff New Jersey accent, "It's a Beatles nawck-awf." Sarah and I tried so hard not to bust out laughing but had to run out!
We each got a Harp at the R&C and then went over to Canada and caught Off-Kilter. Have I mentioned how much I love them? They are the bomb! While we were waiting for them to come on stage, we were standing back at a table on the other side of the walkway. At this point a group of people completely decked out in halloween costumes occupied the table next to us. Then Sarah asked, "Is that a man or a woman?" I looked over and there was an elderly person riding up on a motorized scooter dressed as Raggedy Ann. I squinted, and said, "I think it's just an unfortunate-looking woman." But the person rolled closer and I started to make out their 5 o'clock shadow. Then one of the girls next to me shouted, "Grandpa! You look so cute!" Everyone around couldn't help but to crack up laughing when he stood up, held his skirt out to the sides and did a little dance in a circle. Too funny!
We went up to the Canada gift shop and tried on ridiculous hats and then I said I wanted to try one more dish. I went back to the Montreal cart and ordered the Maple Glazed Salmon with Lentil Salad and a Moosehead beer. I was NOT disappointed. The salmon was delicious. I don't think I've ever had lentils before but, I am a fan now! Totally good. Just because I love them, I made Sarah watch Off-Kilter one last time. And made her a fan. There was a superfan in the audience that was wearing an Off-Kilter tee. He was like, a 60 year-old man. Maybe it was one of their dads.
There was still some time before Illuminations so I made Sarah haul-butt over to Germany for one last drink (or two). They have my favorite warm spiced wine in the wine room in Germany so I convinced Sarah she needed to try it. Being quite tipsy at this point, and the fact that there was no one else in there, we chatted up the two cute little German boy employees. We kidded them about the movie Beerfest (which they have never watched) and asked if the "Das Boot" was real. The shorter one knew all about drinking out of a glass boot. AWESOME! (Trailer below)
YouTube - Beerfest trailer
It was almost time for Illuminations, and I could not close the FAWF experience without an Octoberfest beer so I went over to the beer counter and got one last drink. Sarah was DONE. We watched Illuminations from a little area sort of behind the Mo'Rockin' stage in Morocco. It's a great place to view.
After the fireworks, we were sufficiently exhausted. My hips had never ached so much in my life! We had a GREAT day and hopped right on the bus back to All-Star Music. I have to say that we never waited more than 5-10 minutes for ANYTHING all day. The longest we had to wait was about 10 minutes for the Maelstrom ride (and the initial ticket-buying experience).
I had left the Jeep in the registration parking lot when we checked in so, I drove us around to Bldg. 7, where our room was. It was kind of difficult to find, for some reason. I think at one point we were in All-Star Movies. OOPS! Anyway, we found the building, found the room, and pretty much crashed right then.
In the morning I got a chance to really look at how the room really looked. It was a typical value resort. The curtains were mis-matched. One was sports with various balls (HA!) and the other was music-themed. What's that about? Weird. I do always enjoy taking a shower at the resorts at Disney because I love that Mickey shampoo/conditioner they leave you. I don't know why. When we left, we realized there were little critters in the window made out of washcloths. I wonder how long they've been there? It seemed like everyone had them in their windows. They were kind of cute! Walking away from the building, we came out the side and the building was designed to look like the entrance to The Beauty and The Beast broadway show. So cute! We didn't see the rest of the property. Sarah had a headache (understandable) and wanted coffee. We stopped at the McDonald's that's just outside the All-Star Resort area. They've remodeled the outside of it. No more roller-skating Grimace! Now it's kind of "classy" looking and boring. Bleh.
Anyway, 2009 was an EXCELLENT year for the Food and Wine Fest. I can't wait for 2010!! See you there!
For pictures of the food I had, go here: