2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Review Part 2
Earlier this week, I shared with you Part 1 of my 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival review. Today, I share with you Part 2, finishing up the Global Destinations around the World Showcase and highlighting a few of the other experiences guests can do during the festival. Let’s get started.
I was so excited to try the Shrimp Quesadilla when I saw it on the menu, but it was disappointing overall. I did not get back to the the Short Rib Tostada like I was hoping.
At this location, the group of us swung by one afternoon and tried the Chicken Dumplings, Beijing Roasted Duck Bao Bun, and the Black Pepper Shrimp. All were very good, but the shrimp dish was quite spicy. The bao bun dish ranks up there as one of the best of the festival.
Later on in the trip, I also got to taste the Xi’an Pancake dish, which was very good. Sadly, no picture was taken before it was devoured by my friends and I.
I am not big on spice, but I figured that the Warm Indian Bread with the three dips would be okay for me. I was wrong. Out of the three dips, only the Coriander Pesto Dip was tolerable… but the Pickled Garlic and the Mango Salsa Dips were too much for me. The bread was tasty, however. My friend Kaila also got the Mango Lassi with Somrus Indian Cream Liquer drink, which I tried… and which was very tasty.
I did not eat the Spicy Hot Dog at this location, mainly because I made that mistake last year and my mouth and stomach paid for it.
Similarly to the Refreshment Outpost, I did not sample any of the foods here at the Africa booth because of their spice levels and mistakes that happened last year.
Since we weren’t interested in any of these brews when we walked by, we did not get any.
At this location, we sampled the Schinkennudeln and the Roast Bratwurst. I felt that the bratwurst to pretzel roll ratio was not even, though everything was good. The other dish, a pasta gratin, was really good, and something I would have gone back for if I had the time.
I mainly had the Paella here, but I also tried a bit of the Charcuterie. Both were really good.
One of the more expensive locations at the festival, we tried the savory dishes Fritto Misto and the Pollo Alla Cacciatora. The chicken thigh on the second dish was cooked perfectly, and was very juicy and tasty. You also cannot go wrong with a Cannoli.
Fife & Drum Tavern
Both of these locations in The American Adventure Pavilion only serve special drinks for the festival, and none looked appealing to us this year. Last year, my friend Adam did try the Mmmhops Pale Ale, which is made by the Hanson Brothers, and enjoyed it.
Hops & Barley
At this location, we tried the New Brunswick Slider, which was good, but not great. Last year, I remembered being disappointed by the Lobster Roll, so I did not get it this year. Next door to this location, the Funnel Cake spot was selling a special Maple Bacon Funnel Cake. Which it sounded tasty, I overheard other guests saying that it wasn’t as maple or bacon flavored as they were hoping, so I skipped it.
At this stop, my friend Kristen and I each enjoyed one of the Teriyaki Chicken Buns. While the flavor was good, the bun to filling ration was off, making for too much bun. Not something I would probably get again.
A couple of stops here over the course of the weekend had us sample all of the three food items, as well as the Mimosa Royale. While the Kefta Pocket was a bit too spicy for me, both the Hummus Fries and the Chocolate Baklava were good.
To me, the Beer-braised Beef dish was the winner here, but I know a lot of people come here especially for the Belgian Waffles. Needless to say, this is a great booth to visit during the festival.
Crispy Pork Belly. I do not need to say more.
Always one of my favorite locations during the festivals, this year France did not let me down The Croissant aux Escargots was back, and I ended up having two throughout the weekend. The beef dish and the creme brulee were also very good, and the La Passion Martini Slush tasted great.
The Roasted Irish Sausage here in Ireland was excellent, and the Guiness Baileys Shake was very smooth, and came in a plastic collector’s glass. Since I am Irish and I rarely see Ireland Epcot collectibles in the park, this was a must have for me.
Once again, Canada was featuring sampler versions of two of Le Cellier’s famous and popular dishes: the Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup (not pictured), and the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon. Both of these items were enjoyed by my friends and I, as were multiple servings of the Moosehead Radler, and lager infused with grapefruit, grape, and lemon juices… and one of the only lager/ beer type drinks I enjoy drinking.
The four Joffrey’s locations throughout Epcot each have a special drink for the festival. The one that we tried was the Riviera Sunrise at the Canada location (not pictured). It was pretty good, but not something I would be running back to get.
Well, that about does it for the food and drink options at the festival. However, there are other things to enjoy throughout the event’s run. I want to highlight a few:
Festival Exclusive Pins
One of the things I was most excited for the festival was the array of exclusive Disney Trading Pins being offered. From Limited Editions to Limited Releases to a Mystery Box set, the pins feature a variety of Disney characters.
Two Limited Release pins have been made for this Festival. The first features Chef Mickey in front of Spaceship Earth, and the second is a Passholder exclusive, once again featuring Spaceship Earth, but also opens to reveal Chef Figment. Limited Release pins do not have an LE number, so Disney can reprint them as necessary.
Four Limited Edition pins have also been released. Limited Edition to 4,000 each, three pins feature Donald Duck, Snow White & Grumpy, and Simba & Timon, respectively. One Limited Edition Passholder pin features Goofy, and carries a LE number of 2,500.
Mystery Box Set
This Mystery Box set of 10 pins features characters from around the World Showcase and dishes that their countries are known for. I love the look of the set, but unfortunately the distribution of these pins made completing the set almost impossible without buying a lot of packs or trading with someone lucky enough to not get repeat packs. The amount of Pinocchio/ Duffy combo packs my friends and I got throughout the weekend was statistically unreal, unless the distribution and packing of these pins were not done right. I ended up with only five of the ten designs. Thankfully, the one pin I really wanted (France/Remy) was one I did get.
Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak
Once again, Chef Remy, the popular character from Pixar’s Ratatouille, is back for his Hide & Squeak… a fun filled hide & seek adventure throughout Epcot. Guests purchase maps at various locations throughout the park, and then proceed to the various locations marked on the map to look out for Remy gathering items for his famous dish. Once guests finish the map (or even if they don’t), they can redeem their map for one of four collectible lenticular tumblers. These tumblers feature one of four characters in their Food & Wine Festival motif: Mickey, Minnie, Figment, and Remy.
I will say that, while the map is a lot of fun to complete, the redemption gifts with the tumblers is one of the best offerings that Disney has done for the Food & Wine Festival in a while. I was excited to bring back a complete set of tumblers for myself.
The Chocolate Experience: From the Bean to the Bar
Located in the Festival Center, Ghirardelli Chocolate sponsors this area, where guests can learn how chocolate is made, get to sample and shop for Ghirardelli products, and view some chocolate sculptures made from some Walt Disney World chefs.
Eat to the Beat Concert Series
Though I was not able to experience the Eat to the Beat Concert Series this year, I wanted to highlight it because there are a lot of fun acts up and coming. From Baha Men to Hanson to a new addition in Jim Belushi & The Sacred Hearts, there is something fun for everyone, and a great spot to sit and enjoy the music while sampling what dishes the festival has to offer.
Overall, while I enjoyed opening weekend of the Food & Wine Festival, I personally would not intentionally choose to come the first weekend. While on one hand it meant that all of the items, from the merchandise to the food offerings, were all available, on the other it was extremely crowded, especially after school and work let out on Thursday and Friday.I wasn’t there much on Saturday, but on Sunday the crowds were intense even early on. And as I stated in Part 1, I felt less “wowed” this time around, probably because a lot of the booths were similar to those from 2017. Still, I am glad that I attended, and hope you all enjoyed my look at the festival.
If you also attended this year’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival, I would love to hear your thoughts on the food and drink options, as well as the festival as whole. Please leave your comments below. What did you like or didn’t like? What was your favorite booth or dish? Did you find all of the Remys throughout the park?