Tiki Travel Tips: EPCOT Food & Wine
September 5th, 2017
The EPCOT Food & Wine Festival is one of the most sought after events of the year. With a record 35 food booths this year it can be overwhelming when you pick up your passports. It’s not only an assault on your senses but can be on your wallet as well. This will be my first year attending the festival. However, I have had experience dealing with EPCOT’s Flower & Garden which should be called Food & Flower.
The key to enjoying the festival in my opinion is all in the planning.
Tiki Tip #1- Don’t expect to try everything. Unless you spend three to four days in EPCOT’s World Showcase, there is no way you can try everything and not get sick. I used the Disney Food Blog’s excellent full list to narrow my choices down to the items I “must try” and those I “want to try”. This way you won’t be overwhelmed when you first get there. I wrote them in a note on my cell phone so I will have easy access to it.
Tiki Tip #2- Pick your alcohol wisely. Most of your expense tasting your way around the world will come from your alcoholic choices. I tried to find things that are unique to the festival (such as specialty mixed drinks) or things I cannot find here in Ohio. Some of the beer and wine choices you can find at your neighborhood stores. Don’t waste your money on those. Also utilize the booths that offer flights. Flights are smaller samples of multiple drinks. This is the best way to try different things without spending for a full size of each drink.
Tiki Tip #3- Utilize your Dining Plan. The Disney Dining Plan can be your best friend during the festival. Not only do most of the food options count as a snack on your plan, but you can cash in one quick service meal as three snacks. Which is nice if your planning to eat most of your meals for the day at the festival. Don’t get stuck at the end of your trip with a bunch of unused credits. Use them to taste the world.
Tiki Tip #4- Use your friends and family to your advantage. Usually you might want to ditch your family for some peace and quiet during your Disney vacation. Don’t do that at EPCOT. It’s a great idea to coordinate snacks while ordering. Everyone in your group can choose something different and share. You can experience more food and won’t get stuffed as quickly.
These are just some of the ways to help you navigate the greatest festival at Walt Disney World. If you have some other great ideas please leave them in the comment section. Happy Eating!!
July 11th, 2017
“My Top 5 Lounges At Walt Disney World”
Walt Disney World is full of great food and drink options. However, sometimes you don’t have a reservation or just want some place to unwind. These lounges are some of my favorites. Let me know if yours aren’t on this list, because it was hard to choose only five!
5. Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar- Disney Springs
Some might say this isn’t a lounge its a full bar. Well your right, but I love this place! first of all the theming is second to none. Lots of things to “find” if your willing to open doors and scope the place out. Also the menu is quite good, the soft pretzels and flatbread are really good. They also have an extensive cocktail menu with very inventive drinks.
4. La Cava Del Tequila- Mexico Pavilion EPCOT’s World Showcase
I love La Cava!! they have the best margarita’s on the planet. The only reason it isn’t higher on my list is their lack of food options. However, if you want a place to relax, have a world class margarita, then head to the pyramid! Try the blood orange, pineapple, or jalapeno ones!
3. Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I love this one, because you don’t need reservations and you can enjoy one of the most coveted restaurants on property. You can enjoy one of their famous cobb salads, or one of their other delicious small plates. It is also a great place to people watch
2. The Wave Lounge- The Wave at the Contemporary Resort
The Wave itself is one of my favorite “hidden gems” on property. The lounge is a fantastic place to get a great cocktail and entree. I love the Signature Burger with the onion glaze.
1. Nomad Lounge- Tiffin’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
This lounge features some of the most comfortable seating around. They also have arguably the best drinks anywhere on property. You can also get a limited menu that includes their bread service. The scenery is fantastic (has changed a little since Pandora opened). Just a great place to unwind!
May 30th, 2017
Top 5 Ways To Relieve Vacation Stress At WDW
We all know that a vacation at Walt Disney World is not your ordinary relaxing beach vacation. However, I have found some ways to lessen the stress that only Disney can provide.
5. Take time to look around– I know this might sound trivial. However, we tend to get tunnel vision running from attraction to attraction. Walt Disney World is full of little touches that if you are in a hurry you will never see them. I will do my list of Top 5 details in a later post
4. Nighttime is the best time– If you want to enjoy a less crowded park and are staying on Disney property. Use the Extra Magic Hours to your advantage. After the firework shows most of the guests will herd to the exits. That is the best time to walk around, hop on some attractions, and take in a peaceful stroll. I always like to be at the back of the parks so I can slowly make my way to the front at closing.
3. Enjoy the resorts– Not all of the Disney fun is contained inside the four theme parks. Some of the best theming can be found at the resorts. Take a half day or full day to wander around these amazing resorts. You can also save some money by not paying for admission tickets that day. They have amazing shows, tours, restaurants, lounges, and just areas to sit and relax.
2. Plan before you go– Part of the fun for me is planning my trip before we leave. Planning what park to visit on a certain day, what restaurants to try, what attractions to aim for with fast passes. Having a plan before you go can ease some of the overwhelming feelings when you first arrive to Walt Disney World.
1.Go with the flow– I think this is one of the most important pieces of advice I give to people. Although you have a plan and want to stick to it, know that the best laid plans will get thrown off track sometimes. Also, know that you will not get to see and do everything in one trip. You could spend a month at Walt Disney World and not see and do all it has to offer. Plan for the most important things you want to experience and try for those. There will always be ride closures, refurbishments, etc. So just go with the flow and you’ll have a magical time!
May 9th, 2017
TOP 5 DESSERTS IN EPCOT’S WORLD SHOWCASE
There are so many sweet treats in World Showcase for you to enjoy. This list doesn’t include those found at the various festivals that EPCOT holds. These can be found any time of the year.
5. Kakigori (with sweet milk topping) in Japan- This is one of my favorites on a hot day. Shaved ice drenched in flavored syrup and I always get the sweet milk topping it really makes the whole thing unique. I love the melon flavor personally, but they are all good.
4. Macaron Sandwich in France- at L’Artisan des Glaces you can enjoy this amazing treat. Your choice of Chocolate or seasonal ice cream between two flaky macaron’s. Not to be confused with Gaston’s “macaroon’s” (couldn’t help it)
3. School Bread in Norway- Found at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. This cardamom bun is filled with cream and topped with toasted coconut. The texture is more like a bread roll than a doughnut. School bread is perfect as a breakfast item or as an afternoon snack.
2. Croissant Doughnut in the Refreshment Port- Although this isn’t an actual pavilion I couldn’t leave it off the list. This is an amazing mashup of two delectable treats. The flaky croissant meets fried doughnut in a perfect marriage. You can also get it topped with ice cream but frankly you don’t need it. It’s perfect on it’s own.
1. Caramel Corn in Germany- Found at Karamell Kuche this shop/bakery is one of my favorite places on property. I could make a whole top five list just here (I might do that in the future). However, there is nothing better than getting a bag of caramel popcorn and watching Illuminations.
Let me know what your favorite sweet treats are either on Twitter or in the comment section. I love finding new things to try!
May 2nd, 2017
TOP 5 REASONS TO STAY AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY
If you have listened to our podcast you know I love staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. I am well aware at how “value” resorts get a bad rap in the Disney community. It seems like it isn’t “cool” to like staying at value resorts, but I am here to change your mind.
5. Clean and comfortable rooms- We have never had a bad experience walking into a Pop Century room. We have always gotten a king sized bed as requested. The room is clean, and has pleny of space for two people comfortably. There is a mini fridge in almost all resort rooms now so that is a major plus for us.
4. Very spacious and good quality food court- I have stayed at All-Star resorts in the past and the one thing that I miss about Pop is the size of their food court. At Pop you have many different options of food and usually don’t have a very big line to stand in. The quality of the food has drastically increased over the last few years.
3. Dedicated bus service- I think Pop Century has the most busses running to it than an other resort on property. With the All-Stars during off peak season (if there is such a thing anymore) you might have to stop at multiple All-Star resorts before moving onto your park of choice. This will increase your travel time by at least 20 minutes or so. You will only go from Pop to the parks and from the parks to Pop with no stops in between (and coming soon GONDOLAS!!!)
2. Access to Art of Animation Resort- It is true that as good as Pop’s food court and theming are. Art of Animation has it beat. However, you don’t have to pay for the “value suites” at the resort to enjoy it. There is a wonderful bridge that connects the two resorts. You are more than welcome to go there check out all the great Pixar movie theming and enjoy a wonderful meal.
1.The value in Pop Century- If you are a park hound like we are you are only in your room to sleep, shower, and maybe change before a fany dinner. So for us we don’t need to be at a fancy resort for that. We choose to use the money we save on the room for other things throughout the trip. I did a comparison between Pop Century (value) and Port Orleans Riverside (moderate) from June 11-17 for two adults and two children. This for room only Pop was $881.16 with summer promotion and Riverside was $1,374. That is a difference of $492.84. I do conceed you get more amentities with a moderate resort than value. However, that almost $500.00 would go a long way in other areas of your trip expenses.
April 25th, 2017
TOP 5 TREATS AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM
Since this is Earth Week, I thought it was only appropriate to give you my top five treats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Just to clarify so no one accuses me of being a cheater like Sean on our podcast. I am classifying “treat” as anything that is not a full meal. So that could include drinks, desserts, etc. So now that we have that cleared up, on with the count down!
5. Warm Cinnamon Roll at Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery– This delicious Mickey shaped cinnamon roll will feed two people. It is the perfect way to start your day.
4. Sugarcane Mojito at Dawa Bar (Harambe Village)– There are few things in life better than sitting at the Dawa enjoying the sounds of the Burudika Band on a sunny day. This mojito is refreshing, and you can have a lasting snack of sugarcane to chew on well after the drink is gone.
3. Onion Ring Basket at Flame Tree BBQ– I have tried onion rings all across this great land. I have to admit that Flame Tree has some of the best I’ve had. They have almost a beer batter coating, they don’t all slide out on the first bite, and they are most of all delicious. They are also only one snack credit and are big enough to share!
2. Bread Service at The Nomad Lounge– We were lucky enough to try this on our last trip. The Nomad lounge was by far our favorite “stop”. The lounge is perfect with comfy couch like booths for you to well lounge on. The view is amazing (might change with Pandora opening). However, the bread service is different than you will get elsewhere on property. You get different style of breads with four sauces. pomegranate olive oil, harissa yogurt, black-eyed pea hummus, zhough yogurt
1. Lamu Libation at Nomad Lounge– Ok I admit I kind of cheated by using the same location twice. I can’t help it I loved the Nomad Lounge so much! You don’t need a reservation and it can’t be beat. Their drinks are amazing. I had the Lamu Libation. This drink combines Africa Starr African rum, Cruzan banana rum, guava puree, with tropical juices topped with Gosling’s 151 rum float. I advise you to stir this drink occasionally. I did not and when I got to the bottom it was really strong. Just a perfect place to get away from the crowds and enjoy some great food and drink.
Make sure to leave your favorite treats from Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the comment section!
TOP 5 Table Service Restaurants For Non-Adventurous Eaters
April 18th, 2017
We all have those family members who just aren’t willing to try some of the fantastic ethnic flavors Walt Disney World has to offer. Don’t fret I have found my top five table service restaurants that will satisfy your whole family!
5. Sci Fi Dine-In at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This is a great restaurant for the whole family. You are instantly transported back to the 50’s when drive-in’s were king. The dining room is filled with car themed booths. You climb on in and enjoy a great meal as you watch a movie screen that shows trailers of old films and cartoons. The menu is very diverse. From amazing appetizers (I highly suggest the fried pickles), to mouth watering burgers, ribs, and steak. Make sure to leave room for one of their delicious milk shakes!
4. Liberty Tree Tavern at The Magic Kingdom. This colonial era restaurant will not only fill you with American history, but will fill your stomachs as well. Dinner is served family style here, but don’t worry you won’t have to fight for what you want. They will bring you generous potions of roast turkey, prime rib, and carved pork. Along with those are side dishes like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, dressing, etc. This is one meal you will be giving thanks for the whole year.
3. Rose and Crown Dining Room in the UK Pavilion of EPCOT’s World Showcase. Even though we won our independence from England, they were still kind enough to share their wonderful culinary dishes with us. The Dining room offers some fantastic food including steaks, fish and chips (fries), salmon, corned beef and cabbage, and much more. They also arguably have one of the best beer lists in World Showcase. (Photo courtesy of wdwprepschool)
2. 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Step back in time once again to your grandma’s (or great grandma’s) house for a hearty supper. Where the portions are big but the personalities are bigger. While you watch an old black and white tv your personal Grandma will make sure you not only finish your meal, but that you mind your manners while doing it. They have everything from meatloaf, fried chicken, pot pie, and more.
1.Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen at Disney Springs. Florida native Chef Art Smith has brought his heritage to Disney Springs. His carfully crafted southern menu will not only tempt your tastebuds, but your soul. From his world famous fried chicken, beef short ribs, fresh florida seafood, and of course BBQ. Make sure to leave room for dessert. His famous hummingbird cake and moonshine cake will leave you reaching for a rocking chair on the porch!
Let me know where your non adventurous eaters like to eat at Walt Disney World in the comment section.
Tony Tovar (@cheesetony) said:
Not sure if you count them as table service, but Crystal Palace and Chef Mickey’s are a good choice for non-Adventurous eaters. There are lots of different, recognizable choices on the buffet line, and you get the added bonus of characters.