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Walt Disney World Epcot Discussion Thread

P. 118: Guardians Cosmic Rewind opening May 27th!

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Wait, Maelstrom was a ride too? lol. J/K. I've been to WDW 10 times in my life and can only remember riding Maelstrom twice.


My daughter is 3 and is a Frozen junkie (what 3yo girl isn't, right?!) and will love to ride the new ride when we take her to WDW for her first visit. We are tentatively planning our next trip to WDW for the summer of 2016. If we can make the trip, it will be my 12th visit to a Disney property (did a Magic Music Days Parade on New Year’s Eve and rang in 1999 at DL), my wife's 6th, son's 2nd and daughter's 1st.


Holiday World is my home park, but I am a Disney nut as well...lol.


Love this site and the lively discussion, even though I don't like riding roller coasters.



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One of my family’s favorite traditions each year is to visit Epcot during Holidays Around the World, where time-honored traditions come alive through the sights and sounds of the countries of World Showcase. We enjoy learning about the customs of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and listening to the tales of characters like the kind-hearted witch La Befana, whom I recall from the years I spent living in Italy as a child.


For the 2014 holiday season, new Holidays Around the World experiences in Mexico, Morocco, and China join returning favorites such as “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season,” the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.


In Mexico, guests will enjoy the songs and traditions of “Fiesta de Navidad,” featuring colorful dancers and mariachis, who celebrate the holiday customs of Mexico in an interactive, musical performance. A Moroccan storyteller invites guests to join her on a journey to experience the gaiety of festivals, holiday traditions, and celebrations that are like the “spice of life” across Morocco. And the China pavilion bursts to life with the vibrant Chinese Lion Dance, bringing good fortune and happiness to all in honor of major holidays such as the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.


I can’t wait to see it all! Holidays Around the World at Epcot starts November 28 and continues through December 29, 2014. Who else is going?


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Now that the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2014 is over, I thought I'd share a recap of all of the food items I tried this year... And there were a lot!


This year saw the addition of two new items at the Farm Fresh booth, the Bacon Hash and the Yard Bird, pictured at center. The dish on the far left is the Empanada from Patagonia (formerly Argentina) and on the far right is the Lamb Chop with pesto and potato crispies (crushed potato chips) from Australia.


Here is the Black Pepper Shrimp and Noodles from the China booth.


Also new this year was the Carrot Cake at the Hops and Barley Market. This was definitely not a traditional take on carrot cake with its melted cream cheese sauce versus a traditional cream cheese frosting, but it was amazing!


The Brazilian Cheese Bread was also a new option at the Brazil booth this year. It was a little too soggy for my taste, but there were others in my group that loved it.


The new Cheese Plate at the Hops and Barley Market was also a winner!


It isn't a trip to the Food and Wine Festival without some Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from the Canada Booth!


The new Puerto Rico booth brought several awesome new items, including the fantastic Conch Salad, which was light and refreshing!


The Crabless Crab Cake was the first item I ever tried from the Terra booth (vegetarian foods). The item was made with tofu, which I normally enjoy, but this didn't have any distinct flavor and the consistency was grainy in an unpleasant way. Definitely not my favorite thing I tried this year...


The Sea Salt Caramel Creme Brûlée was a new take on the France booth's typical inclusion of a creme brûlée. It had a great flavor but the caramel came on a bit strong for me, so I couldn't finish it myself.


The Refreshment Port (found between the Puerto Rico and Canada booths) now offers a take on the trendy Cronut (listed as a Croissant Donut). Do worry though! This item is still available despite the Food and Wine Festival being over!


The Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream is always a winner at the Belgium Booth!


The Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun was a new item for the China booth, and definitely my favorite out of anything I've ever tried there.


The Empanada at Patagonia (formerly Argentina) has been a favorite of mine for years, and thankfully it continues to please!


The France booth changed up its typical escargot preparation (formerly three snails served with a garlic sauce in mini brioche) for a new presentation. The Escargot Tart puts the snails in the same garlic sauce but carries it within a flakey, crumbling tart and tops it with bacon. The flavors were good as before, but the consistency and stability of the tart itself didn't really appeal to me as much as the brioche used to.


The Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce is always a crowd-pleaser... And a great excuse to get more soup!


I've always been a huge fan of the Lobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie at the Ireland Booth. Sorry there was a bite taken out of it before I took the photo. I was so eager to have it that I totally forgot to take the photo beforehand!


This one is kind of a cheat since you can get it year round, but I almost always pick one up when I'm enjoying the Food and Wine Festival. The Grand Marnier slush is a heavenly drink laced with delicious Grand Marnier cognac, and a must-have while at Epcot.


The Florida Grass Fed-Beef Slider from the Hops and Barley Market was good, but not amazing.


Two classic favorites from the Greece booth were the Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and the Spanakopita.


It was my first time ever having Gyoza having missed them while in Japan. I seriously couldn't get enough of these things! These were my new favorite item out of the ENTIRE event!


The Kerrygold Cheese Plate from the Ireland booth is always a winner for cheese lovers like myself, especially for those mourning the loss of the Country of Cheese booth.


The Lamb Chop from Australia is another one of my all-time favorites from the festival.


The Lobster Alfredo from the Hops and Barley Market was another new item, but sadly it didn't impress.


The Spicy Hand Roll and the Chirashizushi were both fantastic at the Japan Booth.


I almost never get anything from the Morocco booth but the new Mimosa Royale sounded too good to pass up, and I was happy to find it was just as delicious as it looked!


The Mongolian Beef Bun at the China booth was a returning classic and always worth a go!


The new Craft Beers area in the old Odyssey Restaurant serves some cold, prepared food items including these Muffuletta Pinwheels. They were solid but I actually enjoyed the house-made pickles more than the pinwheels themselves.


The Fresh Potato Pancake with Smoked Scottish Salmon and Herb Sour Cream was a great start to my first time trying the Scotland booth.


All for the Elissa... These potstickers from China are always a winner.


The Seared Rainbow Trout was also a solid returning food option for the Canada Booth.


The Rib-Eye Taco is a solid choice for Mexico as well.


The iCing Grapefruit Sparkling Rice Brew was an intriguing, delicious option from the South Korea booth.


The Roasted Verlasso Salmon from Patagonia had a great sauce and flavor behind it!


The Seared Sea-Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon was also a winner!


The Schinkennudeln at Germany has always been one of my favorites and continues to please!


The Spicy Pimento Cheese Dip from the Craft Beers area really grew on me!


And if you find that you're adventurous (or addicted like I am), there is a new'ish option for the Grand Marnier Slush in France to have the drink super-sized with a double shot of Grand Marnier, served in a larger glass. It is the best.


Here you see the Tostones from Puerto Rico (which were fantastic), the Frozen San Juan Breeze with a Don Q Limon Floater (AMAZING) and the Aulani Sunset from Hawai'i (also fantastic)!


The Vegetarian Haggis from Scotland was comparable to a potato pancake, served with mashed potatoes and a rutabaga mash. A good option as well!

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Today we were fortunate to attend a special media day focusing on all the holiday events that Walt Disney World has to offer for both visitors coming in from out of town as well as Florida locals as a reminder to made great use of their annual pass to come take it all the extras around the resort the holidays have to offer. We spoke with Steven Miller about some new Disney Parks merchandise, talked with Walt Disney World Ambassador Rich Tamayo about events around the resort, listened to the Dapper Dans play some Christmas tunes, and just had a great time meeting with and getting information about everything the resort has to offer over Christmas.


Take a look at this video and photos from today -


Today we arrived at Epcot for a special media event focused on everything that Walt Disney World has to offer over the holidays!


We got to meet the 2015/2016 Walt Disney World Ambassadors Caitlin Busscher and Nathaniel Palma! Congrats guys! Look forward to seeing you at more events in the future.


Current Walt Disney World Ambassador, Rich Tamayo and Donald Duck gave us a fantastic and entertaining overview of what's happening around the resort over the holiday! (Watch the video!)


Head pastry chef, Matt Avery from the Boardwalk showed us how to make a gingerbread house and talked to us about some of the Christmas food items sold around the resorts.


You can get pre-made gingerbread houses...


...or a kit that you and your family can decorate yourself.


The kit comes with plenty of fun and totally edible decorations!


Plenty of Christmas cookies and breads available at the resorts.


The Contemporary features several Frozen themed treats!


Santa's elves were on hand to give us some Christmas gift suggestions (they recommend an Annual Pass for Orlando Locals!)


The Dapper Dans sang some holiday tunes!


Want to hear Jungle Bells on the Deagan Organ Chimes? Watch the video! Dapper Dans deliver!


The Dans are one of my all-time favorite Walt Disney World entertainers. You can find them on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom!


Yes, this is a legit hat tip from the Dans! Thanks guys! We'll be back to see you again this holiday season!


We recognize the merchandise table of Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager for the resort!


Steven shows off some new "Made with Magic" items (which replaces Glow with the Show) and you'll be able to use your light-up wand to sync up with the colors of several shows around the resort as well as change the colors of the ears that other people are wearing.


Lots of cool holiday merchandise coming to all the parks and resorts.


Steven showed off a new holiday-themed merchandise set that was inspired by some Disney artwork of the 1960s. (He explains more in the video!)


James Silson, show director for A Frozen Holiday Wish talked to us about the new castle lighting show at Magic Kingdom!


We've seen it and we LOVE it!!!


It was awesome seeing the Disney characters all decked out in their Christmas costumes!


Santa Stitch was awesome!


Aloha Santa Stitch!


Donald and Rich playing around!


And as we say goodbye to Santa's elves we say thank you for having us out today, and we look forward to lots of holiday fun this Christmas season around the Walt Disney World resort!


Photos & Video by Robb Alvey & Jack Crouse.

Edited by robbalvey
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