Friday, July 11, 2014

Drinking (and Snacking) Around the World at Walt Disney World Epcot

#1 - Breakfast in Mexico
When we got back from our Walt Disney World/Disney Cruise vacation a couple months ago, our friend Sarah commented on a picture that she wanted "a detailed accounting of everything we ate" on vacation. I wish that I had taken pictures of everything, because that is a challenge I would totally accept and vow to do it on the next trip! This year all I can give you is a detailed accounting of Drinking Around the World.

#2 Drinking Like Vikings in Norway
For those unfamiliar with Epcot park at Walt Disney World, there are two parts: Future World, with all kinds of attractions exploring science and technology (plus Coca Cola Club Cool, home of the infamous Beverly, which we did not partake in this year), and the World Showcase, which features shops and restaurants of 11 different countries. To me, Epcot is a vacation destination all by itself, and if I had unlimited frequent flyer miles, I would just spend long weekends at Swan or Dolphin hotels and take the Friendship Boat to Epcot every day.

#3 - China
There are many challenges invented by frequent visitors to WDW. The most popular for adults is "Drinking Around the World". The World Showcase is open from 11am-9pm, which means eleven drinks in roughly 10 hours. You'll be hurtin' for certain if you waltz into the park mid-afternoon and make a mad dash around the World Showcase. Instead, I recommend making a day of it. For a couple on vacation without kids, or a group of friends, this is a great way to spend the day and really savor what the World Showcase has to offer.

#4 - Minnie mani & German beer

Let's take a moment to review our first four stops. First, Snacking Around the World goes hand in hand with Drinking Around the World. We started promptly at 11am with nachos and guacamole with a mojito and margarita from La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico, followed by the Grand Fiesta Tour. Next it was onto Norway, where your beverage options are Carlsbad beer, which is Danish, or shots of some sort of Norwegian alcohol. We decided that 11:30 in the morning, on our second stop, was too early for shots. Scandinavian beer would have to be close enough. Don't miss riding Maelstrom while the line is still short!

#5 - United Kingdom
Onward to China, where we had our first cocktails and snacks from the Flower & Garden Festival special kiosks. You will see in #3 above a Kung Fu Punch, a South Sea Stormy, and a Spring Pancake. That's my first tip for planning your Drinking Around the World challenge: Go during the Flower & Garden or Food & Wine festivals.

Next was a pilsner and an Oktoberfest in Germany, and soft pretzels, because you can't go to Epcot Germany and NOT get a pretzel. (I just found a recipe for these pretzels on Disney Food Blog.)

#6 - France
After Germany, it was about 3 pm and I was a little tipsy. We still had at least 6 hours to complete the challenge, so we took a break to use some Fastpasses in Future World. This leads to my second tip for you: Once you decide when you are going to Epcot, make an 8:45pm dinner reservation in advance. You just bought yourself at least an extra 45 minutes of responsible drinking. Anywhere will do, but ideally you'd want a place where you can see Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. We opted for Tokyo Dining (Japan). Other options are Rose & Crown (England), Spice Road Table (Morocco), and La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico).

#7 - Morocco
Now let's go back and talk about my three favorite reasons for going to Epcot, particularly during Flower & Garden Festival. The first is #5 above, the Buttercup Cottage in United Kingdom (only during F&G) which has these delightful Berry Tea cocktails and that salmon tartare potato cheddar biscuit. SO GOOD. The second is the Grand Marnier Slush in France (#6). And the third is what I refer to as "Disney Sangria". There are many sangrias to be found in WDW parks and resorts, and they are not all identical, but they are all delicious. My favorite is at Hoop De Doo Revue. That may have something to do with the fact that HDDR has bottomless sangria.

#8 USA! USA!

One of the eleven countries of the World Showcase is, of course, The American Adventure, because heaven forbid you go a whole day without access to BBQ and funnel cakes, amirite? Pictured is Abita Purple Haze. In true 'MURICAN fashion, during the Flower & Garden Festival, there is a Smokehouse food stand with a Pigglicious Bacon Cupcake. That's a bacon cupcake with maple glaze, garnished with pretzels.

Now, if you look at a map of the World Showcase, you will be really confused as to our crazy order here. I was confused when I put this together. See, what happened was, we took a break after Germany, and when we came back, we went the other way around. Canada should have been after Germany, but their tap was broken, so we went on to the UK, France, Morocco, MURICA, and then Italy, which is pictured to the left. More sangria! I am not ashamed to admit that by #8, #9, and #10, we were sharing drinks. It still counts.

#10 Canada, eh?
Back to Canada for #10, and we were running out of time and regretting choosing Moosehead because neither of us really liked it. The things we do for this blog! Down the hatch it went. Now, per my earlier tip, we had a late dining reservation at Tokyo Dining for #11, but the NEXT night we dined at Le Cellier in Canada, and I had an excellent cocktail that night. I have read that Le Cellier is "not as good as it used to be," and WOW, if that is unimpressive, I can't imagine how good it used to be. Bottom line, it is worth the money. You can get lobster poutine. Need I say more?

AND FINALLY, we wrap up our day of Drinking and Snacking Around the World with sushi, martinis, and sake at Tokyo Dining. Our reservation was at 8:35 and we requested a window seat so that we could see Illuminations. We were seated just before 9, right at the window! This is not the best restaurant view of Illuminations, but you can see, and the sushi is pretty good. All in all, this was one very fun day, and putting this blog together this week has me itching to go back to Epcot! If you need help planning a trip, you know where to find me!!

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