Land of the Rising Construction Walls…

August 15, 2011

Yes, dear Dedicated Readers, it’s time for more construction wall fun from WDW… but this time we have some really good info (at least we hope it’s good, and accurate) about what’s to come behind them…

We’ll be talking about one of my favorite places: the Japan pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase – and let’s start by going back a few weeks when some walls actually came down…

Kabuki Cafe

As we noted in the last “Epcot odds and ends…”post, the former Kakigori stand had been behind construction walls and recently those came down to reveal the new Kabuki Cafe. At that time the stand hadn’t opened for service, but there were menus posted.

"Original" Kabuki Cafe Menu

Most notable on this “provisional” menu was the inclusion of several savory items: Wafu Ribs (as served at the Food & Wine Festival last year), Karaage (Japanese fried chicken), Miso Soup, Edamame,  and a few Sushi options… sounds interesting, huh?

Well… maybe not…

So less than a week after we were there and saw the not-yet-open venue, the Kabuki Cafe started serving, so we made our way there to check out the offerings…

When we checked the menu to decide what we were going to start with, we saw this:

What the flip? Where are my ribs? No fried chicken? Sans Sushi?…. Only new non-sweet items are the Miso Soup (which we sampled, fine but nothing extraordinary, will be nice on a cool winter evening…) and the Edamame…

Miso Soup and RAMUNE Soda...

the only soft drink I've seen with multiple warnings on the bottle...

So at that time we had really no idea what had happened to the menu, but more on that later…

So a week or so ago (as we draft this post) Miss Bonnie broke the news to me that the Yakitori House in Japan was to be closed and undergoing a three month refurb…

I have enjoyed many meals there, gladly slurping Soba and quaffing a Kirin, this is (now was, as we shall see) perhaps my favorite quick-service eatery in all of Walt Disney World…

Soba, sushi, beer... mmmm...

This past weekend, the partial Harem made it’s way around World Showcase, and after a couple of stops (La Cava, of course) we came upon Japan…

And yes, construction walls abounded…

Much of the left-hand part of the pavilion is now behind walls…

The walls start at the pagoda, and from the koi pond up to the restaurant on the hill is all now (at least somewhat) under wraps…

And with the closing of  the Yakatori House, comes the (at least temporary) opening of a couple food venues…

Along the waterfront is an early inclusion of the Food & Wine Festival Japan kiosk…

for the time being they are serving a limited version of the Yakatori House menu…

Sadly, no Soba...

but when Food & Wine starts, they will change it the the special menu for the festival.

Near the Mitsukoshi store is a cart now selling beverages and snacks (several versions of fried peas – I love them Wasabi Peas for sure!).

Beer, sake, spicy fried peas... what's not to like?

So, what’s the deal? What’s going on behind the walls?

My friends, let’s look forward to the unveiling of Katsura Gardens

The former Yakatori House will become Katsura Grill (but the menu will stay basically the same style), and the area on the hill will be made brighter and redone as the Katsura Gardens… not for sure, but the area just past (to the left of) the new Kabuki Cafe may also be redone and allow wheelchair access to the area.

The small outside merchandise kiosk will also be converted into a food booth of some sort… maybe beverages and snacks like the temporary cart?
And how did we come across this info? Well I basically accosted a Management-Type that I had seen around the Kabuki Cafe the week earlier… turns out he is an employee of the company that runs the dining venues in the Japan pavilion (many of the restaurants in Epcot are actually not owned or run by Disney)… after a few moments he opened up when it seemed I was truly interested in what was going on, and after I told him I would not use his name, he pretty much spilled his guts…
He was actually very excited and positive about the refurb to the area, and as much as I love the Japan pavilion as it is, now I’m also likewise very excited and looking forward to the the changes to come to one of my favorite places in the World… and this is from someone who’s not too fond of change…
And what’s the deal with the menu change at Kabuki Cafe? As it was explained to me, they may be “allowed” to offer the expanded menu during parts of the year depending on park attendance, etc… I was told it was all basically a give-and-take between Disney and the management company…
My guess is that Disney didn’t want this new kiosk (Kabuki Cafe) to compete with the Food & Wine booth for savory items during the Food & Wine Festival, so it will be interesting to see if those items show up on the menu sometime in November…
So that’s the skinny as we have it here at Eating (and Drinking) Around the World… I’m really looking forward to seeing how much of this will come to pass (and I believe it will mostly be as I was told…).
Now back to the kitchen… maybe something Japanese should be on the menu soon…

9 Responses to “Land of the Rising Construction Walls…”


  1. [...] new, I snapped some shots of them on Tuesday. Andy over at Eating (and Drinking) around the World recently posted them, and AJ at Disney Food Blog has been keeping up with the changes across the way at Kabuki [...]

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  2. [...] over at Eating (and Drinking) Around WDW got the inside scoop on a bunch of news coming out of the Japan pavilion in Epcot! Here are the [...]

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  3. [...] Eating Around Walt Disney World Blog has uncovered some new details about the unannounced 3-month closure of the Yakitori House counter [...]

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  4. [...] Construction continues in Japan on the soon-to-come Katsura Gardens… [...]

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  5. [...] in August of last year we gave you the skinny on the up-coming changes to the landscape of the Japan pavilion.  As the Yakitori House and the [...]

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  6. [...] stopped by Katsura Grill in Japan for something to ease the soon-to-be-rumblings in our respective [...]

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  7. [...] disappear just days later when they actually started serving (for details go and read, or re-read, Land of the Rising Construction Walls…). I was told these items were being served only on weekends, and only during the Food and Wine [...]

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  8. [...] Eating Around Walt Disney World Blog has uncovered some new details about the unannounced 3-month closure of the Yakitori House counter [...]

    Like


  9. […] these were missing… (you can go back and read all the details and intrigue in the post “Land of the Rising Construction Walls…“). Since then they have primarily provided flavored shaved ice, ice cream and beverages, but […]

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