On just the third night of the new Epcot After Hours Wind Down event I was lucky enough to grab a table at Tutto Gusto. Since this event is so new and I wasn’t able to find any information before we arrived for our reservation, I’m excited to share our experience with you! If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Epcot After Hours Wind Down is a new experience where guests are invited to stay in the Epcot two hours after closing to enjoy a snack and drink at one of four restaurants. The cost is $35 per person, and while advance reservations are highly recommended, the crowds were minimal the night we went. I’d heard rumors about rides staying open late, but this turned out to be 100% false. For the premium price you get to see a completely empty Epcot and enjoy a quiet walk out of the park.
Of course, before I whisk you away to Tutto Gusto, I should give you a quick look at IllumiNations! One of the main benefits of this after hours party is that you don’t have to worry about positioning yourself to get out of the park post-fireworks. We settled into a spot in Germany that we likely wouldn’t have chosen if we knew we’d be fighting the crowds on our way out to the parking lot.
Immediately following the fireworks we headed for Tutto Gusto and were greeted at the podium. When we checked in we were given wristbands and immediately shown to our table. We only counted ten other patrons in the restaurant besides our party! In talking to other guests in the park during the day, it seemed like nobody had heard about it yet. Spoiler alert: get your reservations now! This event is fabulous, and I can see the day coming where it sells out nightly. As we were seated we were given a special event menu listing six different options. They included: All Bubbles Flight, Elegant Reds Flight, Piemonte Hills Flight, Seafood Flight, Vegetarian Flight, and Sweet Dreams Flight. I’m working on getting the menus uploaded for you, but in the meantime I’ll detail the three flights that we tried. Also, unlike other locations for the Wind Down, in Italy you are able to get other food items from their cold foods case. The kitchens do close during these events, so if you’re looking for a full meal, you’ll likely be disappointed.
And now what you’ve all been waiting for – let’s talk about the food. I’ll start with the course I ordered, which was the All Bubbles. Now, while the menu is very clear and even has pictures, I just saw the name and immediately decided I wanted this course. The wine was delicious, and the snack was…interesting. The food included: parmigiano reggiano cheese, la tur, and olive di cerignola. So basically I had big hunks of cheese with bread and olives. I would have been delighted with this at lunch time, but it was a bit much at 10pm at night, and I ended up boxing up most of it to bring home. The quality and taste were excellent, though! One warning: the olives do have pits, so it’s tough to eat them and look terribly ladylike. While we noshed on our snacks, our server was very attentive and offered us several other items to go with our meal. I’m not sure if they have the same capabilities in the other Wind Down locations, but adding a cappuccino was lovely! We didn’t feel rushed at all as we talked and enjoyed our time.
Next up is the Seafood course, which we all agreed looked the best of the items we ordered. This was a mix of shrimp, squid, octopus, potato, celery, red onion, capers, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil all over a bed of lettuce. Of everything that we had at the table, this was the only one that could be considered a late night, light dinner. I had a bite, and if I went back, this is the course I would order. If you’re torn between this and dessert, we saw several people celebrating birthdays who received a free dessert during this after hours event. Ironically, there were only about five tables seated, and two had cake delivered. I’m not suggesting that you fake a birthday to satisfy your sweet tooth, but if those are available, I would assume other desserts are available for order. We didn’t find out, because our third flight took care of that for us!
Our third and final flight was the Sweet Dreams. It was divine but quite a sugar rush between the desserts and sweet wine. I recommend that it be shared. What you’re looking at is a mocha, chocolate, and a strawberry dessert. Among the three I couldn’t pick a favorite. This is the perfect end to a day at Epcot, especially if you’ve already had a larger meal in World Showcase. Somewhere between this dessert and a few of the wine samples, I lost my gumption to go take long exposure night photos of the World Showcase. Originally, my plan had been to scarf down my snack and then go take photos. But as the name indicates, when we left Tuttu Gusto I was completely relaxed and ready for a quiet stroll out to the car. I’ve been in Epcot hundreds of times, but this was the most empty I’ve ever seen it… and the most magical. Sounds like a pretty good deal for $35, huh? My answer to that question is pretty obvious. We already have Spice Road Table booked for next weekend!
So what do you think? Will you be trying the Epcot Wind Down Event? Do you have any questions about our experience? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always happy to hear from you! As always thanks so much for reading.