April 28, 2013
Well Dear Dedicated Readers, it’s that time again: time for a look back at a recent weekend of eats around the World (and a bit away from the World as well this time). Miss Bonnie and I, accompanied much of the time by Mama Ginny and Papa Harry, made our second trip to try the booth items we hadn’t hit our first go-round at this year’s Flower & Garden Festival (you can see our first visit in the post “Flower & Garden… and Food & Wine“), as well as some dining away from Epcot… so let’s dig in, shall we?
I was able to make it to property that Friday a bit before Miss Bonnie, so I went over to Animal Kingdom for a while to check out the new construction going on there (see “WDW Odds & Ends: More Construction Wall Fun!” for the results of that research). Needing a bit of something on my (seemingly-ever-expanding) belly to get me to dinner-time, I bypassed some more healthy options (yes, I did consider the Asian Noodle Salad at the veggie-only kiosk on the path between Asia and Africa)…
but something drew me to Flame Tree Barbeque (one of the better quick-service eateries on property in my humble opinion), but even there, I was able to keep it to a vegetarian afternoon snack…
of Fried Onion Rings and a Safari Amber draft beer… got to be a healthy start to the weekend, right???
I took a seat in the lower dining area, which has a great view of Expedition Everest, and leisurely downed the quite good rings. As one guest passed by my table he commented that “I want to hang out with this guy, onion rings and beer, he’s got it all figured out!”.
Now sans a grumbling tummy, I returned to our resort and after Miss Bonnie arrived we made our way to Epcot and met up with Mama Ginny and Papa Harry.
We headed over to Mexico in the World Showcase and started our trek for the evening with another of the delicious margaritas there.
Someone may have had something to eat there… but I was paying to much attention to my drink to notice…
Bonnie stopped in Italy to try the veggie lasagna…
it was pretty good, but nothing spectacular…
We next picked up some items from the Japan Flower & Garden booth to dine on while we sat in the American Garden Theater for one of the evenings concerts.
We watched a very entertaining and hit-filled (even if Bonnie didn’t recognize most of the songs…) set by Flo & Eddie of the Turtles. Before the show began we ate our Japanese vittles as we waited for the band to take the stage.
The Chirashi Hanazuchi is like a “scattered sushi” and in addition to the cooked seafood (yes kids, sushi doesn’t mean “raw fish”, it means “with rice”…) there was edamame and bits of cooked egg/omelet – the pair of spicy sauces set off the sweeter taste of the shrimp and fake crab and each bite was just a bit different – we loved this and it’s for sure on our “have-again-next-trip” list!
We also had the Frushi which is perhaps the most fun item of the festival – fresh fruit wrapped up in seasoned rice and presented like a traditional sushi roll. Accented by sweet whipped cream and a berry sauce, this was an unusual and surprising item, and a great way to get some young finicky eaters to maybe try some fresh fruit (or even an adult that may be reluctant to consume the “F” word)… on both of our visits I overheard many guests talking about this item – I think this will wind up being one of the big hits here!
From there we wound our way around to France and the L’Orangerie booth to sample the version of Ratatouille there. Served on a pastry crust, this was essentially a Ratatouille pizza, and was rich with veggie-goodness… it got me thinking about making something similar myself soon…
Bonnie and I had been coveting the tomato dish being served at The Cottage in the UK since our first visit (and for some reason we never got around to trying it that time)…
so we made sure to try it this time around.
Perhaps we were expecting too much from this, but it left us both a bit underwhelmed… the tomatoes weren’t bad, but also weren’t great, and considering the tomato flavor itself is critical to a dish like this, well… and the mozzarella I thought had a bit of an odd, tougher-than-I-expected texture – I was expecting a more creamy, fresh texture from the cheese, but it turned out a bit more firm and rubbery… this was a great idea to go along with the “garden” theme, but I felt the execution was a bit lacking.
So after that, we headed for one final stop to wind up our evening, and to a place we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed: La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico pavilion.
We ordered drinks all around, and I had the tequila shot selection to start… then I needed a bit of heat to round out the day and ordered a Jalapeno Margarita… “extra hot please”… so what I got was…
a Jalapeno Margarita turned up to 11 with the addition of a fresh habanero! A great lip-numbing, tonsil-tingling end to a great day of eating & drinking around the World! And we were just starting the weekend…
Saturday AM Miss Bonnie and I made our way over to the east coast to do a recon mission… we’ll save the purpose of that trip for another time, but we did find a great place to have lunch in Cocoa Beach!
We had stopped into the DIS Welcome Center near Port Canaveral to pick their brains about a cruise later in the year and as we were leaving we asked about a good place for lunch – Rob and Walter both chimed out “Simply Delicious”.
We’d heard our friends at the DIS Unplugged talk about the Simply Delicious Bakery in Cocoa Beach, so the choice was easy…
This breakfast and lunch place is in a uniquely decorated old house, with tables crammed everywhere and odd nicknacks all over the place.
What was hard was deciding what to have – sandwiches on house-baked bread, soups, it all sounded so good… and they serve breakfast at lunch, so that even added to the dilemma…
we both independently chose fish sandwiches and sipped on tea as we waited for our lunch… they bring a tiny little pitcher of simple syrup to sweeten your tea if you don’t want any of the granular sweeteners (which happened to be on the table in a margarita glass!).
Bonnie had a blackened mahi sandwich, while I chose the Mahi Reuben – their take on a traditional Reuben sandwich with the fresh grilled fish standing in for corned beef.
Both sandwiches were fresh, large and well, simply delicious! My “side” Grecian Salad took up half of the not-so-small plate… portions here are not skimpy, and the prices are right, with most items running about $10 or less. Our young server was attentive and well, just darn sweet!
We also drooled over some of the breakfast dishes we saw coming out to other guests, and I briefly contemplated coming back the next day all the way from Disney just to eat there again!
If you’re in the area I’d say this is a don’t miss place – perfect for a pre or post-cruise bite. You can read a breakfast review on Foodies Tales (which also has a link to the DIS podcast review).
We made our way back to the World (as Miss Bonnie shed a little tear as we passed by the Disney cruise ship moored at the Port) and contemplated where we should sup that evening…
and as we’ve done on more than one occasion, we decided to head over to the Wilderness Lodge resort and have a table full of appetizers-for-dinner at the Territory Lounge.
We once again met up with Mama Ginny and Papa Harry and settled into some comfy chairs at a corner table in the lounge. We (shockingly!) ordered a round of adult beverages whilst we decided on the evenings edibles.
We made our choices and shared all around the table… the crispy potato chips came with three sauces, the truffle aioli being the best of the bunch.
We dunked the varied cubes of goodies into the tangy beer and cheddar fondue… the fresh apples and dried fruits going particularly well with the molten fromage.
We also had the flatbread topped with mushrooms, sauteed onions, blue cheese, figs and arugula. The meaty/fruity figs and the peppery arugula greens were a nice foil for the ‘shrooms and onions – an unusual combo that worked well.
At dessert time we were joined by a Famous-Disney-Food-Blogger and we got an order of the Drunkin Doughnuts (so apropos for our group!).
The cake-like circles and holes come in a paper bag with a cinnamon-sugar mixture – you shake it up and pour them out onto the plate…
and then best of all, you dunk them into the Drunkin part, a ramekin filled with a melange of melted butter, maple syrup and Grand Marnier… hell yes… what could be bad about that combo? Carbs, sugar and booze! That’s the way to end your night, and we called it one then…
Sunday was going to be a short day in the World before we headed out, but we did make our way to Epcot again for some lunch in World Showcase before wrapping up the weekend.
Miss Bonnie wanted to go for a Lamb Wrap at the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco, so I opted to start my feeding with an item from the Taste of Marrakesh kiosk. We had eaten there on our first visit, but got a bit distracted right after we ordered, so I wanted to give the lamb there another try.
And it was worth trying again – the lamb was full of earthy, herby flavor. The side of couscous seemed to be the same (good) version from the Cafe, and the mint tea was a nice change of pace.
While Bonnie was sated after her wrap, I still needed something to top off my tummy, so we headed towards Germany.
We stopped in the gift shop and came across a few new steins there, one with scenes from the Germany pavilion all around it…
and another with characters added to the scene…
with Goofy, Donald, and of course Mickey, showing off their Oompah skills.
Each stein comes with the ever-popular “Certificate of Authenticity” and a brief history of the stein in Germany.
Both of these steins were about $125 (or thereabouts to the best of my feeble recollection), and were hefty and seems to be of good quality if you were in the market for such an item. But if you wanted something with say, a bit more character, or at least one specific character, you could opt for the Grumpy stein…
but be prepared to drop an extra C note if you want this one!
We decided to save our money for food and made our way to Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market for one last bite of the weekend.
We’d tried the savory bread pudding and the potato pancakes here on our first go-round and had enjoyed them both (especially the bread pudding), so I was eager to see what a German meatloaf would be like.
The meatloaf itself was a lighter color than I expected, so I assume it was at least part pork (or maybe veal?). The meat(s) were obviously very finely ground and the texture was smooth and dense.
The meatloaf flavor was fairly mild, but the sweet mustard added nicely to it and the crunchy fried bits of shallot gave it some texture. The bread could have been a bit softer for my taste, but overall not a bad dish, if still it wound up being my least favorite from this location.
After that we sadly had to bid farewell to WDW for this trip – it was a fun weekend with some good food and drink, and even better friends!
So there you have it boys and girls, another weekend of eats from around the World – hope you enjoyed another gustatory tour!
As always, it’s back to the kitchen – see you again soon!
April 10, 2013
I know that Dedicated Readers just love it when I post pictures of construction walls around Disney property! And there were a few new ones found on a recent visit to the World, so let’s take a look!
Starting over in Animal Kingdom, as you head towards Harambe in Africa you’ll now see a construction wall starting at the bridge from the Discovery Island area heading to Africa.
The wall hides the water to the left side of the bridge…
and follows the river beside the Dawa Bar…
goes behind the bar and continues back behind the entrance/exit area of the Tusker House restaurant.
The talk going around has been that a new theater to house the Festival of the Lion King show would be built in Africa (so that the existing theater in Camp Minnie-Mickey could be razed making way for Avatar-land…), and this big expanse of vision-hiding vertical walls seems to bear that out…
Update – since first publishing this post, Miss Bonnie has verified with one of the main singers in the Lion King show that they have been told that the new theater is now being built behind Tusker House.
Now let’s move over to Epcot.
Perhaps not as exciting as a new theater, but there has also been rumor of a new restroom going into the World Showcase between the Japan and the US pavilions (if guess if you need to use the restroom it might be exciting).
This wall next to the American Adventure gift shop sure seems to be a logical place for a new loo… and they wouldn’t have to take down any of the nice trees beside Japan… and I don’t think there is anyone that would argue that Epcot, and especially World Showcase, could use a few more stalls and urinals…
And what may likely be the most-peeked-thru set of construction walls over the next few months is in nearby Morocco…
It’s no rumor that the newest waterside eatery in Epcot is going to be housed here.
Dubbed “The Spice Road Table”, it will reportedly be a “small plates” restaurant, sounding very much like the popular Tutto Gusto in Italy, but with a Mediterranean bent. The official Disney announcement was posted by Pam Brandon on the Disney Parks Blog, while our good friend AJ Wolfe has more details and some inside scoop over at the Disney Food Blog. I’m very much looking forward to this!
The outside gift shop, and adjoining performance stage for the popular band-and-belly-dancer combo Mo’ Rockin, have been flattened. A temporary stage for the band is now in front of the exit area for the boats that currently ply the waters of the lagoon, while the gift shop wares have been condensed and inserted inside the front of the Tangerine Cafe quick service restaurant.
The Henna artist now plies her trade in the outside covered seating area of the Tangerine Cafe.
So there you have it Dear Dedicated Readers, another loving look at construction wall fun around the World! I’m sure we’ll keep updating these upcoming edifices as time goes on…
Back to the kitchen, see you soon!
April 1, 2013
well, sort of…
If you listen to any Disney-centric podcasts, or frequent any Disney related message boards, the subject of “Four Parks in One Day” inevitably comes up…
How feasible is it to visit all four Walt Disney World parks in a single day? What highlights would you show someone who’s never been to the World if you took them to all the parks in a day? And so on…
A while back this sort of talk got me to thinking about the fun that could ensue from having Four Margaritas in Four Parks in a Day… and after mentioning this idea (and some other, somewhat idiotic alcohol-related quests) to Miss Bonnie I thought not much more about it.
Until late February that is, and the Best Holiday of the Year, National Margarita Day, came around!
Miss Bonnie and I, along with several members of the Harem (Mamma Ginny, Papa Harry and Lori Loves Tigger) were going to be in the World on that most Holy-of-Holy Tequila Days, and the ever-wise Bonnie suggested we finally give my goal a try!
Okay, I know Dedicated Readers are saying Four Parks? Four Margaritas? Is there some Magic Place in the Magic Kingdom that serves the Best Cocktail Ever??? Well, sadly no, and even though there is now beer and wine during dinner inside the Beast’s castle, there is not a ‘rita to be had, so for one of the four parks, we’re going to have to fudge a bit…
One option for the “Fourth Park” could be Downtown Disney (the future “Disney Springs”), and the waterfront Margarita Bar, where they do make a nice beverage…
but as Miss Bonnie & I were lodging around Crescent Lake, we all decided to meet up there and start our Tequila Trek at Boardwalk Joe’s on (where else but) the Boardwalk.
Like the kiosk at Downtown Disney, they also make a nice (and also not-inexpensive) drink here… the beverage of choice for this day was the high-end Patron Anejo…
this was a nice start to the festivities, but from there we had to get a move on… whereas most of the “Four Park” type events start at rope drop and go to the last fireworks at night, we didn’t start until about 5 in the afternoon, and with two of the parks (Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) closing at 7 that night, we had a lot of traveling (and drinking) to get in in a short amount of time! And to add to the time constraints, we were only going to use Disney transportation (and our legs) to get from place to place, everyone was taking part in the festivies, and with no sober designated driver no Harem member needed to be behind a wheel during this event!
So we hopped a bus from the Boardwalk Resort to take us to Miss Bonnie’s favorite park (and the home of one of my favorite bars on property) Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
When we arrived we quickly hoofed it to the Africa section of the park, and right across the bridge on the left we came to the Dawa Bar in the busy village of Harambe.
The Dawa Bar is a spacious, open-air area next to the Tusker House restaurant, and is a great place to get a respite from the heat of Animal Kingdom. And yes, have a tasty cocktail, or three…
but on this day, we sadly only had time for one, and the choice du jour just had to be the African Margarita.
This refreshing beverage features a South African tangerine liqueur that is apparently-unobtainable-to-normal-humans (if you know where to find it, drop me a note!) – this flavor makes this different from any other margarita on property, and truly one of my favorites!
We took a seat to have a quick rest, drank down about half of our drinks, then downed the rest on our way back out of the park to make our next stop in Hollywood Studios.
After the bus arrived at the Studios, we hustled in not long before the turnstiles closed and made our way to the Tune-In-Lounge next to the ’50′s Prime Time Cafe.
Dedicated Readers know that this is definitely one of my favorite haunts on Property, and home to my Favorite Blonde Czech Bartender (who unfortunately was not there for this weekends festivities, but Ivan, who has served us more than once, was there to take care of our tequila needs).
In addition to drinks we also ordered some not-too-bad onion rings to help sop up the tequila.
I think the straight-forward Patron Silver Margaritas here are great (and goodness knows I’ve had plenty of them!) – if you’re looking for a good, basic ‘rita on property you could certainly do worse than the one here.
Now with three drinks, and three “parks” down, we had a bit of time to spare and made the scenic walk from the Studios to (my favorite park) Epcot, and what has become the epicenter of the Margarita World on Property…
La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico pavilion.
This cozy, and incredibly popular, spot in Epcot was luckily for us sparsely inhabited as we looked for our final drink of the quest, and we were able to snag a table while most of the other Epcot guests found their spots to view Illuminations.
To wrap up our Margaritafest I chose something a bit different, the Pineapple Margarita – I figured the healthy extra fruity goodness of the pineapple would counteract some of the deleterious effects of all the alcohol – yeah, right…
So there you have it dear Dedicated Readers, our festival of Four Parks and Four Margaritas as we celebrated National Margarita Day! It was sure fun and I can’t wait to do it again next year!
Have you done any unique “Four Park” things? Or any different adult-beverage-related trips around the parks? If so, please share in the comments!
Back to the kitchen – see you soon!
February 5, 2013
Hello there Dear Dedicated Readers – once again it’s time to take a look at some edibles from a recent weekend at Walt Disney World, and this was the long weekend Miss Bonnie and I spent at the World for Marathon Weekend.
Despite it being a long weekend, we actually dined out around the World relatively little – since we were participating in a couple, yes, a couple, of races that weekend, we actually did a lot of cooking in our room at Kidani so we could better control what we had to eat (and hit the hay early for some extra rest) on the night before the races. That being said, we did have a few interesting things to eat while we were there, so let’s put on the digital feedbag, shall we?
We arrived on Thursday, the same day that Boulangerie Patisserie, the quick service location in the France pavilion in Epcot, reopened after a refurbishment. Finding ourselves at Epcot late that night, and needing sustenance, we gave it a try…
Much of the menu is the same as the former location, but a few more savory items have been added. We tried the two soups: the Lobster Bisque was very good (probably not the best version of that soup I’ve ever had, but very serviceable) and the Pumpkin Soup was thick and full of gourdy goodness – I’d make a trip back here just to have the Pumpkin Soup again.
There are also a couple of traditional quiches now offered: Quiche Lorraine (with ham and gruyere cheese) and Florentine (with spinach and goat cheese). The Grand Plan was to try one of each, but as it was near closing when we got there (we did close the joint down, they locked us inside while we finished our meal), they only had the Quiche Lorraine left, so we got two of those. The egg-pies were good and filling, and paired with the two tasty soups made a nice meal – and at about $20 for two, not too bad a deal. We’re both looking forward to trying the French bakery again – maybe we can try that other quiche the next time…
There is also a separate dedicated beverage window serving coffees, wines, soft drinks and the like so you don’t have to go through the full line if all you want is too whet your whistle…
Other than a trip to Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom, most of the rest of our calories Friday and Saturday were consumed in house at Kidani, so we now move to the post-race feasting of Sunday…
Bonnie & I, along with BFF Laura & Lil’ Sis Lindsay, made our way to Downtown Disney West Side to try out the recently opened Splitsville.
This high-end, retro-designed bowling alley also features pool tables, dancing at night and a big menu of food items and beverages. This is the largest, and first two-story venue of the small chain, and initial reviews had been good (I’d also always heard good things about the food at the Tampa location). Having burned about a gazillion calories in the prior day-and-a-half-or-so, Bonnie and I started out with the Loaded Fries (Bonnie will rarely turn her nose up at any culinary use of the humble spud…). The menu listed (and our server echoed) and ingredients: french fries smothered with nacho cheese, bacon, ranch, scallions and love… we weren’t exactly so sure about how the love was added, but we gave them a try anyway… despite the addition of love, these really weren’t anything too special, not bad at all, but nothing to get overly excited about… we did still clean our plate…
Lindsay opted for the Sliders and a side of fries. The burgers were made with a special selection of ground meats and topped with an onion ring, on the side was “Special Slider Sauce” (maybe like the “love” that went into the Loaded Fries?). She shared these all around and I thought them quite good, especially the meat. The fries were the same typical crinkle-cut fries as in our loaded ones, but came with a good chive dip that Lindsay raved about.
The rest of us went the sushi route…
BFF Laura took the most traditional approach with a nice Spicy Tuna Roll, while Bonnie and I shared a couple of the over-the-top rolls on the menu…
the Super Tuna Roll has ahi tuna, tempura shrimp, cream cheese and is topped with seared ahi, avocado, eel sauce, tempura flakes and a spicy mayo sauce…
while the Crab Rangoon Roll has surimi (the imitation crab common in sushi rolls), cream cheese, water chestnuts, and chives which is rolled and then tempura fried and topped with Thai chili sauce and spicy mayo.
This is not the place to go if you’re looking for uni or toro – the menu doesn’t even list any nigiri sushi (although I’ve heard they will make it if asked) – it’s all big, ornate rolls, and many feature cream cheese and/or are fried rolls. Most are in the $13-$15 range, and are big and tasty (at least the ones we tried), not exactly “challenging” sushi selections, but pretty darn good!
We wandered around he venue a bit after eating – this looks to be a really fun place and full of energy in most of the spaces – while the outside seating on the second level gives a great view of the area and a bit more laid-back vibe. We all loved it and are looking forward to coming back – BFF Laura was even ready to make a special trip up to the World just to hang out there!
Our long Marathon Weekend ended on Monday with lunch at Yak & Yeti in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Lori Loves Tigger treated Lil’ Sis Lindsay, Miss Bonnie and myself to a celebratory meal – a couple in our group started with the Big Bamboo, a fruity alcoholic concoction – then the table shared the Pork Pot Stickers.
Bonnie & I are both suckers for most any Asian-styled dumplings, and pot stickers are a particular favorite. The version here is quite good and we quickly wolfed them down – actually I could have had a couple of orders of this (or maybe three…) and had a happy lunch.
Lori had a huge portion of Lo Mein, while Bonnie and Lindsay both had the Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli.
I had them add some extra spice to my order of Bourbon (of course!) Chicken…
and our obliging server even brought me an extra side of chili sauce in case I needed to kick it up some more (which I did). All the portions were generous and we shared and sampled all around. The mains weren’t anything spectacular, but all were pretty tasty and more than adequate. The restaurant and it’s decor is always fun, and our service was good. With the great company, it was a satisfying end to a emotional and eventful Marathon Weekend at the World… more on that Emotional and Eventful stuff when I give you a wrap-up of the Marathon Weekend itself… and there was some other stuff that went on besides the races themselves, but I’ll save that for the next time…
Back to the kitchen – see you soon!
January 25, 2013
And I’m sure that Russell (and Doug!) are excited…
that the Disney Parks Blog recently announced that the Wilderness Explorers would soon be coming to Animal Kingdom!
The Harem & I had the opportunity to play-test this interactive experience over a year ago (and you can read all about that in the post “The wilderness must be explored!”), and I, for one, am really looking forward to this low-tech fun coming to AK!
And just a few days later it was announced that yet another “interactive quest”, A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas, would be coming to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom…
I’m excited about the continued addition of guest-interactive experiences to the parks – what do you think?
December 30, 2012
As the New Year looms it seems that most blogs, websites, etc have to have some sort of year-in-review post, and being the Internet Lemming that I am, I will follow suit… so here are some random things from this this past year around the World – many, of course, food & drink related.
Let’s hop into our TARDIS and go way back in time – all the way to January of 2012…
The first big event of the year at the Walt Disney World Resort is Marathon Weekend: thousands of runners, joggers, walkers and assorted hangers-on swamp the World to take part in the athletic endeavors that wind their way through property over the long weekend.
One of the first stops for the participants is at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex to pickup their bibs and other race paraphernalia and to browse and shop at the race expo.
And in case the runners need sustenance to make it up and down the crowded aisles of the expo, one can avail themselves of some fresh fruit, an energy drink, or, thank goodness, a glass of bubbly or a beer!
The Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom was in the Marathon Mood during the weekend with some specially decorated cupcakes… can you say Carb-Loading?
Lots of things were going on in the brief month of February…
The new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game was now in full swing in (of course) the Magic Kingdom.
Valentine’s is always a busy time at the World (what’s more romantic than a cozy ride for two through the Haunted Mansion?).
Miss Bonnie and I shared a nice dinner at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Another popular runDisney event. the Princess Half-Marathon, is held the end of February.
After the race instead of the usual “grab-a-bannana-and-a-bagel” line at most running events, the finishing Princesses (and Princes) were handed a nice little box of post-race refueling items.
Also that month there was a debut at the Kidani Village:
Makemba (an African name for “Goddess”) is a female Okapi calf that was born on October 1 of 2011 and was just making her first forays into public view for limited times at Kidani Village.
The rare and reclusive Okapi are kept on Pembe Savannah at the resort – this is the smaller savannah near the pool area. Even if you aren’t staying at the resort you can always stop by and try to catch a glimpse of these gorgeous creatures.
In Epcot’s World Showcase the refurbishment in Italy continued as we eagerly kept checks on the soon to open wine bar…
A kiosk was set up on the promenade to help service guests Italian food needs while Tutto Italia was closed.
March saw the first part of the New Fantasyland expansion debut – sections of the Storybook Circus area, including the refurbished train stop (and perhaps the nicest restrooms in the Magic Kingdom!) were opened to the public.
Also in March I had the opportunity to attend the Food Blog Forum event that was held on WDW property for the first time this year.
In addition to a day of great seminars and the opportunity to meet many food bloggers from all over the country (as well as re-connect with friends made before), the attendees got a couple of chances to see how the Disney chefs can really strut their stuff when given the chance! An opening reception was held the evening before the seminars at a lovely outside venue at the Grand Floridian resort.
Lunch on the seminar day was held in the Millennium Village in Epcot. Chefs from restaurants around property served a huge variety of great dishes that emphasized the healthier side of dining while still keeping the taste and style high.
March also saw the opening of the 2012 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
This year’s festival featured an area devoted to Haiti.
And yes, there were cocktails!
April saw the continuation of the Flower & Garden Festival…
and the continued construction at the restaurant in Italy.
But the new signs were up and the refurb seemed near to an end!
While impatiently waiting for the wine bar in Italy to open, we took advantage of the Wine Walk in Epcot and sampled several wines in three countries.
The Wine Walk is available all year and makes a fun (and relatively economical) way to sample several varietals as you make your way around the World Showcase.
And of course the best way to end any day at Epcot (regardless of the time of year) is with a viewing of Illuminations!
Over at the Magic Kingdom an old friend returned…
The Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland re-opened after a bit of a refurbishment…
and along with it came the return of the Orange Bird character to the park.
And at the very end of April in Epcot…
the walls were down in Italy!
But staff posted outside (along with signage) informed guests that the restaurant and adjacent wine bar weren’t quite ready to open to the public.
Which brings us to the merry month of May….
The first weekend of the month we got to stick out heads into the much-anticipated wine bar (you can see some pics from that visit in the WDW Odds & Ends post from May 24, 2012)…
but it would still be a while before we got to eat and drink there… we’ll get to that later…
The first weekend of May also included Cinco de Mayo…
and not surprisingly the lines were long at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico.
That weekend was also the weekend that the Flower & Garden Festival was highlighting the “Fresh from Florida” agriculture in the Festival Center (aka the Wonders of Life Pavilion). With the “Real Job” coming under the umbrella of Florida agriculture, and our company hosting a display at the Festival Center that weekend, Miss Bonnie and I were invited to a small private function “after hours” upstairs in the Festival Center and once again, I got to see the Disney chefs stretch themselves (and we also found out how easy it would be to wander around backstage fairly unnoticed if one wished to do so… but that’s perhaps another post for another day…).
They tailored the food items to represent several of the groups and companies that were displaying during that weekend: a peanut farm (who knew we raised peanuts in Florida?); kumquat farmers; a couple of ornamental aquaculture suppliers; and of course strawberry farmers .
As we exited the event and took the tiny elevator down to the first floor, Bonnie & I (like the true Disney-nerds we are) took the chance to nose around a little in the closed building and found a fun room…
This is the room that became the Chase Lounge at this year’s Food and Wine Festival, so sadly it no longer exists in the cool decor we saw… but we were excited to see it and I’m glad to be able to share these pictures with my Dear Dedicated Readers.
There is another “Carousel” room upstairs (see the post at Zannaland about this room) that Bonnie and I got to see after the Food and Wine Festival Preview last year – hopefully the decor in that room will stay around for a while!
And yes, there was yet another runDisney event that weekend – the Expedition Everest Challenge – Miss Bonnie and I declined to run in that event, but we did volunteer and had a great amount of fun helping runners out with the scavenger hunt clues!
A couple of weeks later we once again made our way to Epcot for the final weekend of the Flower & Garden Festival. I specifically wanted to see the performance of Micky Dolenz who was taking the place of the late Davy Jones. It was a fun, nostalgic, and at times emotional show as Micky talked about his friend and band-mate who had just passed away in February.
After the concert we finally got the chance to have a nosh at Tutto Gusto…
and Miss Bonnie quickly fell in love with the place! For more details on the eats we had there (and lots of other eats from that weekend as well!) check out the WDW Weekend Eats post dated June 1, 2012.
Another popular event opened up that weekend: Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
And yes, there was food there as well!
The June fun started in Animal Kingdom…
with the Sundowner Celebration.
There was food…
Even though they could have made more of it, it was a fun event – you can see more in the post Sundowner Celebration: A First Look.
The publicity machine for the soon-to-open film “Brave” was in full motion with huge billboards in the Studios…
a Merida meet-and-greet in the Magic Kingdom…
and the Highland Games going on in Epcot.
And already merchandise galore…
Another part of the Storybook Circus opened up in June…
with the very well-themed and very wet Casey Junior Splash ‘n’ Soak Station in the Magic Kingdom.
While nearby the seemingly ever-present construction walls could hardly hide the advancing work going on for the New Fantasyland expansion.
The middle of the month found the Harem at Animal Kingdom for another run at the Sundowner Celebration.
There were also things goings on over at Epcot…
We got to play-test the new Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure which replaced the Kim Possible Adventure.
Inside Mexico most of the entrance area had been cleared out…
to make way for a new exhibit.
And down in La Cava…
they had introduced a new high-end tequila flight!
And I finally got a chance to try a new beverage at the Joy of Tea kiosk in China.
Towards the end of June Miss Bonnie and I got our first look at the Art of Animation resort.
And to end up the month we stepped outside the World…
and onto the Disney Dream…
You can check out a few food & drink pics from that trip in the post “Life could be a Dream…”
Wow… it was quite a busy first half of the year! And since the second half wasn’t much less busy, let’s take a break for a cocktail… or two… or three…
So much for a short little post with some odds & ends…
See you soon for part two! Happy New Year!
Off to the bar…
August 28, 2012
Time for another random assemblage of stuff garnered from a few recent (and maybe not-really-that-recent) visits to the parks…
Let’s start at Miss Bonnie’s favorite park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
At what was the former Fastpass location in Discovery Island everyone’s favorite Wilderness Explorer Russell and his verbose canine pal Dug are having a meetup with their fans and fellow explorers.
As we wandered down the Pangani trail in Africa…
we came upon a fairly recent addition…
a cutaway display of the impressive construction talents of the little termite.
In one of the retail locations we found several pieces of merchandise featuring a nice new AK graphic.
and even ball caps are adorned with the attractive logo featuring the Tree of Life.
There were also a couple of nice tee-shirts.
With merchandise in mind, let’s make a quick trip over to Downtown Disney and visit the sports-themed store Team Mickey Athletic Club.
Phineas and Ferb, along with their pet Perry the Platypus (aka Agent P), are now seemingly ubiquitous around the World (and we’ll see even more on this later).
And Agent P seems even to have joined the NBA!
The Big Cheese Mickey Mouse is adorning the shirts of several colleges and universities…
of course right in front of the display is Mickey on the shirt of the defending NCAA football National Champs, the University of Alabama!
Now let’s move over to my favorite park, Epcot.
Lot’s of changes are going on in the dining scene in the France pavilion – most of which are behind the scenes… the upstairs restaurant, Bistro de Paris, is currently closed while undergoing a refurbishment, while the only overt evidence of big changes are the construction walls inside the gift shop.
The current Boulangerie Patisserie will become the Glacier ice cream parlor, while the expanded bakery area under construction will have a larger menu of savory items in addition to the currently offered pastries.
For more details on the changes coming soon in France check out “Major Makeover for the France Pavilion at Epcot” on the official Disney Parks Blog.
Over in Italy the new menu has gone into effect at the Tutto Gusto Wine Bar (see the post “Go for the Gusto!” for a preview of the new menu).
Of course we tried out some of the new wine flights and food offerings… will give you details in another post…
At the outside merchandise kiosk in America is a new version of a World Showcase tee-shirt…
food and drink from each of the countries around the World Showcase adorns this cool shirt.
Inside the pyramid of the Mexico pavilion is a new display in the entrance way (which of course you have to pass through to get to La Cava…) showing a bit of what life was like in ancient times in Mexico.
A replica of an Aztec Calendar Stone sits in the middle of the room.
Along the walls are several displays.
There is some pretty interesting stuff here – well worth stopping for a few minutes on your way to (or back from) having some tasty tequila.
Also in Epcot the Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure is now in full swing.
We had the chance to play-test the game before the official opening and have done a couple countries since it’s been in operation.
We’ve enjoyed what we’ve seen of it so far, and it’s looks like the Imagineers have added a few more wrinkles on top of the former Kim Possible game, so Miss Bonnie and I look forward to more adventures with the heroic Perry.
There’s still a ton of stuff going on at the Magic Kingdom, so let’s see what’s up in the new Fantasyland and elsewhere around MK.
Both of the Dueling-Dumbo spinners have been up and running for a few weeks now, and the new play/wait/don’t-call-it-a-queue area is also open.
The play area is very cute – we’ll see how the parents hold up to the screaming, running hordes while waiting for their turns on Dumbo when the crowds really attack Fantasyland…
maybe they should add a bar in the waiting area for the adults…
and this could become “Drink While You Wait”… I can dream, can’t I?
Nearby, the incredibly wet Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station has been open since mid-June.
This well detailed area features Casey Jr. and several circus train cars and their respective inhabitants. Here you see the giraffe and elephant train cars on the weekend the area opened:
Yes boys and girls, the elephants former basketful of fruity goodness has been replaced with peanuts…
And while on the subject of changes in the area, let’s look at the restrooms… yes, the restrooms… at least the gentleman’s side…
Back in March we shared some, well, interesting signage in the new bathroom area (you can now pause and go read, or re-read, Thanks for the heads up…).
Directly above the urinals in the mens room was the sign noting the porcelain fixture used non-potable water… as if anyone would be taking a quick sip from same fixture…
Well now the urinals are sans-signage, as the “Non Potable Water in Use” message has been removed from above the urinals…
and in the entryway to the facility is this relatively generic message:
I’m guessing Disney Legal finally decided they really didn’t need to tell us not to drink from the toilet…
At one side of the Fantasyland train stop there is some luggage that looks to have been just unloaded from a train…
and it looks to be the baggage of some of the circus performers.
And one piece appears to be an homage to the recently departed Toontown:
Just up the way is the ever-popular construction walls…
While much of the major construction on the new Fantasyland is nearing completion (with most of the new area scheduled to open by the holiday season of 2012), the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride (and surrounding mountainscape) is still in the early stages.
Here’s a more recent view (taken August 11, 2012) than the prior two that were taken a couple of weeks before:
And just for fun, here’s a couple of more shots over the construction walls:
And if you can’t look over the walls…
one can always try to peek through he cracks…
Now let’s head over to Tomorrowland for a couple of quick things.
A while back, the big thing at The Lunching Pad was the specialty hot dog (see Magic Kingdom Odds & Ends… from September 3, 2010). The weenie-selection changed a bit over time, but the hot dogs were the featured menu item:
It will not shock Dedicated Readers that I will stop by places just to check out menus and see if there is anything new, or perhaps to see if anything has been taken away… so we stopped by Fantasyland to look at the Lunching Pad.
The specialty dogs have disappeared from the overhead menus, but if you go up to the window, you’ll see a small plastic menu with the dogs still on them.
I’d imagine this signals their ultimate dining demise here, but time will tell…
We’ll make a final stop in the gift shop at the exit of Space Mountain.
Here we came across a few Princess shirts neither Miss Bonnie or I had noticed anywhere before (not that I’m constantly looking for Princess-garb, mind you…).
These four tees were a bit more sassy, sorta sultry, and well, just more mature than your typical Princess merchandise.
A couple of odd things about these – one was they are being sold in the Space Mountain gift shop, and B, they were only in children’s sizes… (Bonnie searched for one that would fit her to no avail).
These looked like something that would be much more at home on the racks at TrenD, and perhaps these are left-overs from some other merchandise location… have you seen these before? If so, please post a note in the comments! Actually I really liked the images of the Princesses shown here – how about a few 8 x 10′s of these??? I’d put them on my wall…
Okay, we’ve gone on long enough for one post – hope you’ve enjoyed this version of Odds & Ends!
Now it’s time to get back to the kitchen – see you again soon!
August 5, 2012
Last weekend Miss Bonnie and I made a quick trip to the World, and even though it wasn’t a full weekend, there was plenty of good and interesting eats to share, so let’s dive right in!
After a Saturday morning spent checking out the construction walls in the Magic Kingdom (more on that in another post), we boarded the monorail for the ride to Epcot for lunch.
On our way to Italy, we passed yet another construction wall in the World Showcase…
Outside our lunch destination, Tutto Gusto, was a sign touting their new wine seminars.
We made our way into the cool interior and were able to snag a seat on one of the sofas in the room next to the fireplace (of course you need a fireplace in Florida in July…).
We ordered a couple of adult beverages while we perused the menu…
we ordered the marinated artichokes to start.
Tender and nicely flavored from the olive oil, we both enjoyed this as a light starter to share.
We then decided to split one of the corkscrew pasta dishes…
and settled on the Gamberetti.
With a few large, nicely cooked shrimp and a sauce with just enough bite from the calabrian chili to make me happy, yet not scare off Miss Bonnie, this was a “two thumbs up” from both of us (so I guess that would be four thumbs up?).
All in all a nice, relaxing lunch in the midst of a huge theme park.
It was during this meal we learned of the new menu change to occur at Tutto Gusto (see the post “Go for the Gusto“), and now we’re even more eager to return here to see what new is in store!
Afterwards we headed to the Mexico Pavilion to meet a certain Disney-celebrity-blogger friend at La Cava for margaritas (oh, twist my arm!).
A couple of new drinks have been added to the margarita roster since our last visit.
So of course we had to try the “Organic Skinny Lime” and “Milagro Pomegranate” margaritas. Both were good (the pomegranate the better of the two), but neither we thought among the best that La Cava has to offer.
We sadly said our goodbyes to our friend, and La Cava, to return to our room at the Dolphin resort.
Only the anticipation of our upcoming dinner could ease the sting of leaving La Cava…
As you might guess, that evenings repast was scheduled at Cat Cora’s Kouzzina restaurant on the Boardwalk, a short walk from the Dolphin resort.
I have dined at Kouzzina a few times, while this was Miss Bonnie’s first time there, and she was quite looking forward to trying the menu there.
We ordered beverages (Miss Bonnie selected one of the wine flights that would highlight her eventual entree selection while I tried the Caymus Red Conundrum) and started by sharing the baked goat cheese appetizer.
I’m a sucker for goat cheese, and this heated and adorned version was quickly downed (and yes, we did now have our Total Minimum Daily Requirement of artichoke). We were also served bread with a couple of types of Greek olive oil for dipping along with a few cured olives – Miss Bonnie adored the oil (and I couldn’t argue with her in the least about this simple culinary pleasure of nice, spongy bread and flavorful oil).
Not able to decide on a single entree, Miss Bonnie went for the Kouzzina Trio.
This “combo platter” has tender cinnamon-scented stewed chicken served with herbed orzo pasta (we both liked), a nice portion of the Greek-style Lasagna (pasta, cinnamon-stewed meat sauce, and bechamel sauce – as a full dish this perhaps would have been too much, but in this sampler portion it was well liked) and a slider-size Char-grilled Lamb Burger (this was the only item that is not offered as a separate entree option).
The burger was actually quite good, and would be a nice lunch option if Kouzinna was open for lunch (which it isn’t…). Our served warned us that the burger was “very spicy”, but even Miss Bonnie’s more tender taste buds didn’t detect any excessive heat.
I was in the mood for some Serious Meat, so I was torn between the Braised Short Ribs, Wood-grilled Rib-eye and the Oak-fired Pork Tenderloin. I asked our server her recommendation and she quickly answered “the pork”.
The huge piece of pig was perfectly cooked to medium and topped with a feta gremolata. Broccoli rabe and a cornbread-like concoction rounded out the plate.
I was very happy with this dish and would certainly order it again.
Overstuffed, we passed on the dessert options and made plans to waddle ourselves to Epcot for a post-dinner viewing of Illuminations.
Miss Bonnie was enthralled by the restaurant, and now thinks she has found one of her new favorite eateries in the World. My only disappointment was not getting to speak to Chef Dee (Dee Foundoukis, who runs the kitchen) – I guess now that Bonnie has expressed a desire to return, the Chefs Table here will have to be in our future…
Sunday began with a visit to Animal Kingdom (we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t happen to come across any construction walls here…).
In Harambe, we noted that the Dawa Bar was still offering the tasty Sugar Cane Mojito even though the Sundowner Celebration has ended.
After a ride on the safari and some wandering around, we looked for some light sustenance and decided to take a another go at the Summer Rolls from one of the carts along the path between Africa and Asia.
Served cold, these rice paper enrobed veggie-and-rice pasta filled wraps are a refreshing change of pace on a hot summer day.
These now are served in a “two-pack” and comes with a yummy hoisin-based dipping sauce (the original offering here was a single roll served with a sweet chili sauce). I really like that we have a healthy and light alternative to most of the other snack options available in the parks.
Now sufficiently sated to trek elsewhere for Sunday lunch, we moved on to the recently opened Art of Animation Resort.
We had scoped out this incredibly well-themed resort a few weeks back, but despite the initial good reports on the eats at the food court, this was our first chance to eat there.
We wandered around and explored a bit – the “Cars” area had just recently opened.
We then went into the main Animation Hall building to find the Landscape of Flavors food court.
The roomy food court area is, like the food courts at the other value resorts, broken down into sections, each with a similar food theme…
Video screens above each section show the menu for that area on one side and large pictures of featured items on the other.
The two pages of each menu alternate on the right side of the screen, while pictures of several of the featured items rotate on the left side.
The photos pixilate as they change from one image to another – a simple but cool effect.
The kitchen area, unlike most other of the food courts, is wide and open, allowing you to see the food actually being prepared. They even have shiny high-tech tandoori ovens for making several of the Indian-inspired items.
Based on what we’d heard from others who had already eaten then, as well as from one prior visit when we scoped out the eats but didn’t partake, we knew pretty much what we were going to have… but that didn’t stop us from eyeing the other sections menus before we ordered.
We had decided to eat from the Tandoori and Mongolian Grill area, so the next decision was what exactly to have from there…
We eyeballed the display plates of food while chatting up the amiable castmembers behind the counter – asking them their preferences of the items being offered.
Miss Bonnie chose the Acorn Squash as her main and I selected the Tandoori Chicken Thigh. We got a variety of sides (we were actually given three sides each, if you count the rice – not sure if the rice was considered part of the meal or if the servers were just generous on that day) and made our way to pay and find a table.
There are several large dining areas, each themed to one of the movies represented in the different sections of the resort. It was not crowded when we visited, and we found a table among many of the ones open in the Little Mermaid seating area.
We eagerly dove in, and were quite pleased with was was on our plates. Bonnie found the roasted acorn squash to be a revelation!
The chicken held up well to the high heat of the tandoor, and was full of flavor while not being dry. Alongside was a spiced, yoghourt-based sauce. The veggies were good, even though be both thought the spinach could have had a bit more spice. The freshly baked naan was great, and if there had been more room in our stomachs we would have gladly devoured more of it.
I’ve eaten more than my share of Indian food in my day, and this certainly wasn’t the best, but it was far from being the worst… Miss Bonnie and I agreed that if we had been served the same meal in a sit-down establishment and charged twice as much, we would have still been very happy. The portions are generous (even without a third side, I don’t think we could have finished our plates without being overly stuffed), and the quality was very good. The food here is also a fairly good value – our two entrees and two non-adult beverages came to just over $20 after the Tables in Wonderland discount (yes, they do take it here – yea!).
Even though we were both feeling full, Bonnie couldn’t resist a trip for something sweet…
The Market Shop section of the food court has a variety of smoothies, specialty beverages, sweets, and Miss Bonnie’s choice for the day: gelato.
There were several flavors of gelato to choose from (along with toppings if desired) and Miss Bonnie was glad to take sample tastes of all of them before settling on a combo bowl of pistachio and torrone (don’t ask me what that flavor is, all I know is it’s Italian-something…).
The gelto flavors are displayed in a fun way, with hidden (and not-so-hidden) Mickeys!
The food court also has a nice selection of grab-and-go items…
including sandwiches, sushi, fruit, and baked goods (including vegan goodies from Babycakes).
Even the beer and wine selection was a few notches above the norm, including several Florida-brewed specialties.
We’re looking forward to trying some of the other offerings here – has a food court actually become Destination Dining?
It will be interesting to see if the quality and service changes as the rest of the resort rooms are opened (at the time of our visit only two of the four sections of the resort had opened) and the number of dining guests increases greatly.
So there you have it Dear Dedicated Readers – some more vicarious dining for you… we really enjoyed our three main experiences (Tutto Gusto, Kouzinna and Landscape of Flavors) and are actually looking forward to re-visiting them all soon – not a bad percentage!
Time to get back to the kitchen – see you again soon!
June 7, 2012
Yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, the Sundowner Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is on! I gave you a bit of a preview the other day (you can check out the post “Taste of Africa Two???” if you so desire), and I had the opportunity to go by AK for a bit on Sunday to see what was really going on…
As it was the first evening of the event, and I was only able to stay a fairly short time after it was set up, I’ll refrain from too much commentary/criticisms/praise/comparison to other events/etc as things are quite likely going to change as the event evolves over the month. So let’s look at some pictures and see if you can get a bit of the flavor of the start of the Sundowner Celebration…
After entering the turnstiles you’re greeted with a jeep adorned with a big sign:
which gives you some hints as to what to expect:
The Burudika band took the stage in the African village of Harambe.
And if you need a drink you can check out the Wine Walk next to the Dawa Bar.
Or just fruit juice if you must…
If you desire something stronger, you can step into the Dawa Bar for a couple of featured libations.
The (very good) African Margarita is a regular item here, but the Sugar Cane Mojito is making a reappearance from the Taste of Africa Street Party.
Elsewhere around the African section of the park there are special food items offered…
along with some food demos.
I was fortunate to run into culinary castmember Lydia as she was checking out this demo. We had met her as she was doing a samosa-making demo during the Taste of Africa Street Party (you can see a pic of her doing the demo on the “Taste of Africa Two???” post).
This smiling, enthusiastic lady is a joy – a great example of the ideal castmember.
Let’s now move over to the Asia and see what was happening in Anandapur.
As in Harambe, there is plenty of music…
with a DJ situated near the Yak & Yeti quick service location spinning popular Bollywood dance music.
Two dancers led the crowd in moves popularized by the Indian Bollywood films.
The crowd quickly jumped into the mix and emulated the dance moves…
with the infectious rhythms finding favor among many probably unfamiliar with the pop music of the Indian subcontinent.
Just across from the dance party was a specialty drink stand.
Among the offerings is a wine from China…
as well as one from India.
There was also a few special food items in Asia.
snacks at the Margarita Bar along the path between Asia and Africa…
some different drinks…
and “Asian-Style” hot dogs at a cart along the same path.
These were the only food items I had the chance to sample. The slaw dog (on the left above) was simply covered with a normal mayo-dressed slaw with some strips of dried seaweed sprinkled atop – not bad at all for what it was, but not very “Asian” – you did taste the seaweed as you bit in, but it certainly could use another layer or two of “Asianess”. Maybe if the slaw had a bit of wasabi or sesame oil mixed in it may have been more successful in following the theme. The castmembers working the cart were actively soliciting feedback so we’ll see if this item gets an overhaul as the event goes on.
The kimchee dog however I thought was a winner – a bit of sweet seaweed salad (as you’d find at your local sushi restaurant) sits under the dog and an acidic and slightly spicy cabbage kimchee is laid atop.
Both were very large, good-quality weenies (is large weenie an oxymoron?), and at $5.75 each were a pretty good deal (a couple ahead of me asked for plain dogs for their kids and were charged only $5.00). There were packets of mustard, catchup, etc available to adorn the dogs if so desired.
Elsewhere in Asia was more music…
with a sitar player stationed outside off the Flights of Wonder.
There was also a henna artist available for those who wished to avail themselves of the Indian version of temporary tattoos.
Elsewhere around Asia there were several food demos scattered about.
So there you have it kids, a first look at the Sundowner Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – I’m sure we’ll have more for you to chew on as the event progresses… but in the interim if you’re in the World for the month of June, the Sundowner Celebration is certainly worth checking out, and if you make it by there I’d love to hear your comments on the event!
As always, we’re back to the kitchen… see you soon!
June 2, 2012
And maybe a taste of Asia as well?
One of my absolute favorite events that has been held in WDW in recent years was the “Taste of Africa Street Party” that occurred in the summer of 2010.
Different food (and drink!) options were offered during the event, along with a Wine Walk, food demos, music and more.
The Harem & I attended the event a couple of the weekends it was offered that year, and hoped it would become an annual event.
Nothing similar occurred in 2011, even though a management castmember at AK had hinted to me that something might be up for that December.
But in the past few days news has been (kinda quietly) coming out about a “Sundowner Celebration” starting this Sunday and running through the end of June at Animal Kingdom that sounds very much like the fondly remembered Taste of Africa Street Party!
Several sites have been reporting that in Harambe there will be a Wine Walk, specialty food and beverage offerings, musical acts and more, sounding very much like the festival from 2010.
In addition Anandapur in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom will have tea-brewing and cooking demos, offerings of Asian foods and beverages, a henna artist and a DJ hosting a street party there as well.
There will also be additional musical acts and other special activities at Discovery Island and elsewhere around the park.
Events are scheduled to begin after the afternoon parade and run until the park closes (which looks to be 7 or 8 PM on most nights in June). The first street party only ran on weekends, but the reports so far look like this version may be occurring every night.
We’ll be there sometime to check it out, but if you get the opportunity to stop by, please post a message and let everyone know your thoughts!