Full disclosure: I have not truly experienced the diverse dining experience that is Epcot’s World Showcase. It’s a crime, truly. I am a creature of habit, so when I visit the parks, I tend to gravitate toward my mainstays, seldom deviating from my tourist flow. With Epcot gearing up for its annual International Flower & Garden Festival, I’m in training for the added bonus of all the unique food and drink options preparing to descend upon the park. The afternoon prior to the Enchanted 10K, Kim, Jason & I had a quick trip around the culinary world.
We kicked off the first leg in our our conquest to “Eat the World” at UK Pavilion’s UK Beer Cart just outside The Rose and Crown Pub & Dining Room. Having a light lunch prior to arrival at the Parks, we jumped in feet first. I ordered a Strongbow Cider and Kim & Jason split a Magner’s Pear Cider. We toasted the topiaries of Captain Hook and Tick-Tock the Crocodile, and headed over to the France Pavilion to sit on a bench and enjoy some maracons from Le Maracon French Pastries in Altamonte Springs. I know I should have hit up the patisserie at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie, but the vast array of flavors at LMFP inspired a pit stop en route to the Mouse House.
After a celebrating our start with a little relaxation on a bench in the France Pavillion, we slowly made our way toward the Italy Pavilion for a light and early-bird dinner at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria. The ambiance was fantastic with the large, family dining atmosphere, but the prices were staggering. Never in my life have I ever paid $28 for a large margherita pizza. Though quite tasty with their large wood-fire burning ovens, I simply reel at the price. The family salad was delicious, but I wish it was like Olive Garden where I eat all I want. I might have felt less guilty about the pizza that way. Our server, Fortunato, was absolutely lovely. He made me want to speak Italian again, but the most I managed to squeak out was “grazie” and “ciao.” It would seem high time to start hitting the books again.
After dinner, we caught the Ziti Sisters on our way out of the pavilion. They are fiesty, and they not only make my me want to visit Italy again, but when I am older, I certainly hope I have their sense of humor and passion for life. Knowing we had an early morning, we continued around the World toward our intended desert destination: Norway Pavilion’s Kringla Bakeri og Kafe. The cute little bakery has glass cases filled with an assortment of goodies. The Berry Cream Puff ($4.29) caught my eye because fruit is a somewhat healthy desert, right? Unlike the airy cream puffs I’m used to from Japan, Kringla’s puff has substantially more heft to it. The cream is nearly a thick paste and the pastry is quite dense. Those who have dined with me know I am not one to neglect desert, depriving it of fulfilling it’s destiny. I barely finished a third of it before giving up, but had I known what I was in for, I might have dined appropriately to avoid any food abuse.
The saving grace was the Viking Kaffe with beefy pours of Kamora Coffee Liquer and Bailey’s Irish Cream ($8.75). Usually, I’m a Kahlua girl, but Kamora did a fine job of making my afternoon coffee a little more boozy, I mean tasty. 😉 It also helped erase my diner’s guilt about the cream puff. Those liking a little coffee with their liqueur would much like this drink, served both hot or cold.
After desert, we called it a night, making our way toward the parking lot. With the 10K at the crack of dark-thirty, we needed to hit the hay early for a change. For the time being, I’ve given up on having my photo taken with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna at Norway. The queues are full for the entire day before noon. I sincerely hope that they’ll eventually secure a meet and greet in the Magic Kingdom to help alleviate the customer demand. Heck, I’ll even volunteer to be either!
The following afternoon, we went back to Epcot after a brief jaunt to the hotel. While we awaited our reservation time for our later lunch at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop (Disney Beach Club Resort), we headed over to the American Adventure. The first top was at Block & Hans, where I enjoyed a super-hoppy cup of Napa Smith Brewery’s Hopageddon Imperial IPA. Even just lifting the cup to my nose, I could smell the hops, and just one sip nearly turned me into spaghetti knees. As I’m still learning about beers, especially what I like and would prefer not imbibing, I required some bench time to enjoy this brew. It helped that the rain clouds rolled in, forcing us to take cover, so I could leisurely sip my beer. However, since we were saving our food bellies for lunch, this might not have been the best beer to enjoy on a nearly empty stomach. My cup of coffee and bagel sandwich were at 6AM, and it was nearly half-one in the afternoon. It was totally worth it, but it eased me down a bit for a nice little nap during “We, The People” as it rained outside.
Though “Beers (Cocktails, Wines, Desserts, etc.) Around the World” shows no loss of momentum, it can be quite a pricey prospect. I love the rides at Epcot, but this is usually the place I go to have leisurely dining experiences as the number of guests traveling with children tends to be lower than that of Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Unlike holiday or weekend warriors who come just for one to three days, I’ve got an annual pass and no black out dates, so I can take my time eating and drinking The World. In between meals and grazing, I have decided that I should start knocking out Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, so I can start burning off some of those calories.
I think I should be more prepared when I make trips to Epcot, especially with the International Flower and Garden Festival coming soon and the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall. Planning out action plans for drinking and dining may save me the humiliation of letting my stomach growling and “hanger” dictate where I eat.
Buono appetito! Sláinte! Where shall we dine next?
Patriotic a capella with Voices of Liberty