One of the newest events at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is the 3D Party – Disney’s Dessert Discovery. The event began last year as a special upcharge party where fans were able to get unlimited desserts and a special viewing area for IllumiNations. My wife and I attended the event last year and enjoyed it, although we had some small quibbles. We decided to attend again this year to see if those minor things were addressed and to enjoy the party.
We purchased tickets online ahead of time through Disney’s Food and Wine Festival website. The cost for tickets was $55 plus tax for the party. You must book a reservation online for the party, as there were no walkups taken. There was also a “Sweet Seats” option, where guests who paid extra were allowed into the party 15 minutes early, given a guaranteed seat and a special beverage and dessert. That option cost $80 plus tax.
Once we arrived in World Showcase, we checked in at the small nook across from the World Showplace, in between the Canada and United Kingdom pavilions. A line formed very quickly at this space, but it was not regulated by the Disney people on site. There was a great deal of confusion amongst attendees as to who would be doing the Sweet Seats option, as their check in was at the gates, not across the way. Once that was sorted out, the Sweet Seats attendees were let in at 6:40, while the rest of us waited outside. Right at 7pm, the giant gates opened, and we were allowed inside.
Upon entering, we were greeted with a large curtain in place, keeping us from going into the dessert party. There were “menus” on tables as we entered, but again, there was not a Disney person there to hand them out. Instead, as we walked into the building, they were giving us “3D” glasses. More on those later.
With a typical dramatic Disney flair, after all attendees were in the holding area in front of the curtain, a female voice came over the sound system, and with some flowery language invited us into the “delicious dessert discovery.” The curtain parted all on its own, and the stampede was on to the tables.
Upon entering, we were presented with a scene of several tables scattered across the room, a band in the midst of the room playing music, and the Sweet Seats people rolling their eyes at us latecomers. Ok, not really, but it was an odd disconnect to see them sitting and enjoying their second plate while we were scurrying around for a table.
Once we found a table, it was time to hit the desserts. The room is setup with redundant tables, and is color coded to match the menu. So on one table you would have a collection of savory items on one side and dessert classics on the other, on another table across the room you would have dessert classics on one side and doughnuts and ice cream on the other.
Here’s the full roster of desserts throughout the room:
Doughnuts and Coffee
– Flambeed Cinnamon Doughnuts with Red Stag Infused Sundried Cherries served with Red Stag Ice Cream
– Iced Coffee Cream with optional Jim Beam Bourbon Pipette
– Chocolate Malted Milk with optional Devil’s Cut Bourbon Pipette
Cheese and Fruits
– Display of Four Artisan Cheeses with Dried Fruit Chutney Bread and Crackers
– Warm cheese with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Capers served with Boiled Potatoes, Cornichons, Onions and Crusty Bread
– Golden Pineapple, Ripe Melons, Grapes, Apples and Driscoll’s Berries with Agave Greek Yogurt Parfait
– Espresso Panna Cotta
– Strawberry Guava Bavarois
– Chocolate Laced Eclairs
– Linzer Diamonds
– Sugar Dusted Bavarian Cream Puffs
– Chocolate Chip Cannoli
– Mini Assorted Whoopie Pies
– Tubes of Colorful Candies
– Werther’s Original Caramels
– Cotton Candy
– Assorted Fresh Baked Cookies
– Crispy Rice Treats
– Warm Funnel Cake Bread Pudding
– Ocean Spray Craisin Polenta Cakes
– Gorgonzola Muffins with Prosciutto Streusel
– John DeKeyper & Sons crave Chocolate Chile Muffins
– Seasonal Mini Cinnamon Pumpkin Buttons
– Sliced Prosciutto, Smoked Ham and German Sausages
– Assorted Flavors of Mini Cookie Sandwiches
– Assorted Flavors of Mini Doughnuts
– Brownie Bites
In addition to the desserts, though, there was a full menu of liquors and cordials on display. This is where you really get the value of this party. If you are into nice cocktails, wines or cordials, you will be well taken care of at this party.
Here are the drinks available throughout the room:
John DeKuyper & Sons crave
– Chocolate Cherry
– Chocolate Mint
– Chocolate Chile
– Car #9
Thatcher’s Organic Liqueurs
– Blood Orange Margarita with Sauza Tequila Blue
– Apple Ginger Cooler with Cruzan Single Barrel
DeKuyper Cordials & Liqueurs with Coffee
Red Stag Hot Cranapple Pie
Devil’s Cut Bourbon
Grigich Hills Estate
– Grigich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
– Grigich Hills Chardonnay
– Grigich Hills Fume Blanc
Opici Wine Company of Florida
– Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz,Western Cape,South Africa
– KWV Tawny Port,South Africa
– Clayhouse Malbec
MARTINI Asti and MARTINI Rose
In addition to the alcoholic beverages, there was also coffee, Twinings Tea, Evian water, organic juices and hot chocolate available to drink.
So what did we like the best? I particularly enjoyed all the Babycakes items, the warm funnel cake bread pudding and the Red Stag doughnuts and ice cream. As far as drinks go, the Blood Orange Margarita was amazing, and my wife enjoyed the MARTINI Asti. She was also a fan of the doughnuts and ice cream.
Our main complaint with the party in 2010 was the lack of savory items to go with the alcoholic beverages. Very sweet items and sweet cocktails do not mix well for me, so it was good to see Disney add many more savory items to the menu. It was also fabulous to see them adding Babycakes NYC to the roster for vegan or vegetarian guests.
There were some negatives as well. Last year there were many desserts that were freshly prepared, much like the doughnuts and ice cream were this year. That was the only one prepared in front of you this year, and there was a small difference in the freshness of the food. Many of the things found this year were standard if you’ve been to any fireworks viewing party, and not special for the Food and Wine Festival. And again, the combination of desserts and liquor did not sit well with me. It was difficult to try everything and really get your money’s worth out of the party without getting sick.
The viewing area for IllumiNations is a positive to the party, however. The area that guests are shown to is the area between the two shops on the World Showcase area right as you enter from Future World. It’s prime viewing space. There is no food or drink carried over from the party, which seems like a mistake, but the viewing of the fireworks is spectacular. Remember those 3D glasses? This is where they come into play. When you put the glasses on and watch the fireworks, you’ll see little Mickey heads around each burst of light. It sounds silly, but in reality it’s amazing. I tried to get a picture, but the effect did not work with the low lighting.
All in all, the 3D Delicious Dessert Discovery party is a fun time, but may not be for everyone. While the value for the money is definitely there, with unlimited desserts and drinks, it is very difficult to take advantage of it all. There was a definite difference in quality of the food from 2010 to 2011, and after doing it twice, I won’t be going back next year. However, if you love any of the desserts or drinks on the menu, you should definitely check it out, and enjoy the IllumiNations viewing as well. You can get your money’s worth and enjoy a very unique event at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.