The Day We've All Been Waiting For...Food and Wine Fest!! - WDW 2012 Day 5

Friday, October 26th

Sure, it's Scott's birthday too, but no one cares about that. It's Food and Wine Festival Day!!

We had grand plans for today. We had to start at Soarin' (as everyone seems to do). We had to wander the World Showcase and eat around the world. Then we had the Dessert Party. And finally, Illuminations. We got close to achieving all of those goals. But we did have one small issue. The weather.

For the last several days, we had been tracking Hurricane Sandy. It was too far away from Orlando to do any real damage, but it did cause quite a bit of bluster. The wind just kept whipping around and causing damage to my hair. And, I'm sure other things. Not like it's all about my hair...

We headed over to The Land Pavilion where we ended up with Fast Passes in the 10a hour. This was...well, pretty perfect. We had enough time to see Figment in the Imagination Pavilion, then head to see Nemo and the Manatees in the Living Seas Pavilion. I mean the "Seas with Nemo and Friends." I'm old school...I still call things by their original names. Epcot Center. Living Seas. Horizons...

It was cool in the "Seas with Nemo and Friends" because we had a bit of a chance to explore the pavilion. I've done the Turtle Talk exhibit a few times, but this time we just wandered. They had manatees hanging out. They were just eating. The keeper was "on land" and explaining manatee things to the people that crowded around (and "crowded around" might be a stretch. There might have been four of us. Maybe). The keeper kept throwing heads of lettuce to the manatees and those little (big) guys were as happy as clams. The one didn't seem to like the core of the lettuce head, but really...who does??

Post Soarin', we walked over to the other side of Innoventions where the Food and Wine Festival Pavilion was located. We knew we were going to purchase small gift cards to use as we walked through the booths. This turned out to be one of the greatest decisions we made during the day. It was nice to hand the card over and have the Cast Members let us know how much money we had left to go. We both only replenished our card once. Any money that wasn't spent at the Food and Wine booths were used the next day.

The Pavilion was also the place where we were able to hang out a bit in the Chase Lounge before going back out into the wilds of Epcot. The Disney Visa card strikes again (the Disney Rewards ended up buying most of my two day ticket to the park)!! We were given a Ghirardelli Chocolate/Caramel square as we walked into the area. Then we walked into the room (after flashing the magic card) and were stunned to see some comfy couches and a Coke machine. There were tons of iPads available and people giving out wristbands for the Sister Hazel concert later in the night (, but thank you). Scott and I both grabbed something to drink and I confirmed with the representative where we needed to go for the Dessert Party later in the night. Soon enough, the Food and Wine Fest was open. And we were on our way to eat.

I've struggled to figure out how to write up all that we did and ate and saw during the eight (yes...eight) hours we were tearing up the festival. Part of me thinks I should just link up to my Foodspotting profile. The other part thinks I should just shove all of the pictures together in a collage and list what we ate. Yeah...that sounds perfect...

I need to go on record and say these were all sample sized and we shared the food. For the most part. I might not have had the creme brûlée. Scott may not have had the rice pudding.

Row 1 - Tuna Poke, Pork Slider - Hawaii, Filet Mignon - Canada
Row 2 - Cheddar Cheese Soup - Canada, Escargot, Chocolate Creme Brûlée - France
Row 3 - Bratwurst in Pretzel Roll - Germany, Lamington - Australia, Baked Cheese - Greece
Row 4 - Lamb Meatball - New Zealand, Kefta Pocket - Morocco, Filet of Beef with Sweet Potatoes - South Africa
Row 5 - Rice Pudding - Scandinavia, Lemon Blueberry Custard - Desserts and Champagne, Beef Empanada - Argentina
Missing - Cheese Plate - Ireland

Loved the Filet Mignon from Canada (the pic doesn't do it justice). The Escargot might have been the best thing ever. I was totally jazzed to finally try the Lamington (yellow cake covered in chocolate and rolled around in coconut). I'd like to find Lamington again. The Lamb Meatball was my favorite dish, but the South African Filet of Beef was also one of the best.

We ended up looping World Showcase almost three times. Along the way, we stopped for a Caramel Treat (Karamel Kuche). We also hit up the Rose and Crown for some Strongbow Cider (might have been my favorite drink at the festival). And we did stop eating at times during our adventure. We still had one big event for the day.

Considering it was Scott's birthday and considering I wanted to go, I picked up tickets to the 3-D Discovery Dessert Party. For an extra couple of bucks (price isn't really important right now), we could go into an area and eat and drink sugary substances. Fantastic!! Though there were a few things about the party that could have been done differently.

The sign-in opened at 7p. We left Canada and made our way next door as we signed in and got our wristbands to show that we were cool. But the doors to the party didn't actually open until 8p. That...was kind of unexpected. We could have been munching on cotton candy, but we were not 8 years old. So people started sitting on the floor of the room as we waited. Scott may have taken a nap. At 745p, the "Suite Seats" people (ones who spent even more money) were let in. Fifteen minutes later, the curtains opened and the pushing started.

Seriously. It's like society was breaking down. Basically, people started getting all shovey because they wanted to get in first to get a table. We were near the front because we got there early, so the people behind us could suck it. Scott actually stole a table from some lady (I'd like to think it was a little old lady), so we were golden.

The spread itself was pretty cool. There were plenty of Dessert stations. Most desserts repeated throughout the party, so we didn't have to worry about walking to the other side of the long room. The only part that was not great was that the Savory stations were insanely packed. Honestly, there could have been double the Savory stations. I grabbed some desserts, then went back to the table. Scott grabbed some desserts, then went back to the table. I made a stop back at the sparkling wine section (there was this pink sparkling wine that I could have consumed all night), then I said I was going to make a loop and bring back some meats and cheeses. Easier said than done. The line for wach of the stations was long and not moving. I'm not sure if people were glazed over at the splendor of the spread or if they didn't know what cheese was. Seriously...move along. Get a plate, shove some nibblies on the plate and move on.

By the time I got back to the table, I shoveled the meats and cheeses into my gaping maw and realized...not so hungry anymore. I grabbed a hot chocolate and we just hung out for a while longer.

One of the treats for our party was that we had rock star "seating" at the Illuminations show at the end of the night. I have made no secret of the fact that Illuminations is my favorite nighttime spectacular in all of Disney World. I love it dearly. So we left the party a little before 930p and made our way to the best view of the fireworks. We weren't the first there, but we found a great spot. And we waited. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans for us.

The wind we had been dealing with was still going on. Right at 930p, a voice from god came down and announced, "Due to incliment weather, tonight's presentation of Illuminations, Reflections of Earth has been cancelled." NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Not only is it my favorite fireworks show, but we had rock star seats!! And it is Scott's birthday!! Stupid Sandy.

We left the park feeling a little defeated. I mean, I understand the show was unsafe as the fireworks were going on not that far away from where people were standing. But man. What a disappointment. Bright side, we were both tired, so there would be more time to sleep when we got back to the hotel. Yeah, right. I haven't slept well so far...why start now.


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