Anyone that read my around the world series already knows that my favorite restaurant in Epcot is Nine Dragons. I’m not sure if that happened because we’re normally able to sneak in without a reservation or because it’s one of the few places that my picky hubby will eat without complaint. I can tell you that over all the years we’ve never had a single bad meal or experience at this awesome restaurant! I’ve been surprised to read mixed reviews on this hidden gem, so I thought it was time to shine some light on one of our favorite dining spots.
So what do you do if you’re wondering around World Showcase Lagoon and find yourself starving but didn’t make that dining reservation six months in advance? Well, one option is to grab some quick service grub or a snack at one of the many seasonal – but practically becoming permanent – dining booths around the world. However, if you feel like spoiling yourself stop by the podium at Nine Dragons. While I’m sure this isn’t always the case, I can tell you we’ve never been turned away. (Of course, we’ve never tried on New Year’s Eve or an equally insane day in the parks). In most cases we’ve been seated in a matter of minutes.
Last week I reviewed my first experience at the Epcot After Hours Wind Down. (You can find it here.) While I was excited to share the event with you guys, everyone had lots of questions for me that I couldn’t answer at the time. This past weekend I set out to get the scoop. (And some yummy Moroccan food at Spice Road Table!)
Are kids allowed? At this time children are not allowed and the event is only for guests over 21 years of age. I spoke to a couple different cast members and neither had heard anything about a children or family events being added in the future.
Is it busy? This is one answer that changed dramatically week over week. Last weekend I was honestly concerned that this after hours party might get cancelled before the scheduled end date. There were only a few other guests sharing the restaurant with us and that just didn’t seem sustainable. Wow- what a difference a week makes! Spice Road Table was hoppin’ when we were there Saturday. It looked like every seat was taken in the dining room.
Are reservations required? They are not required but they are recommended. Seeing how busy it was this weekend I would be very sure to reserve your table if this experience is important to you.
Which Location? I’ve been to Tutto Gusto and Spice Road Table, and I very much preferred Spice Road Table. I thought the food was much more appropriate at this location and the service was impeccable. If you’d like to see the menu, Seth did a great review of Spice Road Table and La Cava del Tequila you can find here. We at TouringPlans haven’t tried Rose & Crown yet. Personally, I think Spice Road will remain my favorite but everyone will have to look at the reviews and choose their favorite!
You can see Epcot from a unique perspective — for a price — at the new After Hours Wind Down.
Recently, we brought you the first word on Epcot After Hours Wind Down, a brand-new after hours program that began on April 17 at World Showcase in Walt Disney World’s Epcot park. Because we are will to sacrifice almost anything — including sleep, brain cells, and our livers — to bring Touring Plans readers complete coverage, my wife and I volunteered to be opening-weekend guinea pigs for this new food and alcohol tasting adventure (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it…). Now that our hangovers have cleared, enjoy this exclusive in-depth Epcot After Hours Wine Down review, covering the experiences offered at Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila and Morocco’s Spice Road Table.
La Cava del Tequila Wind Down Review
Since I developed a new appreciation for tequila while reviewing Universal CityWalk‘s Antojitos, I chose to attend the Wind Down tasting at Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila, long one of my favorite bars inside any theme park. The tasting sessions are scheduled to begin at 9:20 p.m., but because we watched IllumiNations before from near Morocco (on the opposite side of the World Showcase lagoon), I didn’t arrive until approximately 8 minutes into the session. I suggested that they hold the start time until at least 15 minutes after the closing fireworks, but until that change is made I strongly suggest watching the show from a spot nearby your selected tasting venue.
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.
Do you love Living With The Land at Epcot? I don’t know what it is about this quiet, little boat ride that holds my attention. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s one of the few attractions that still feels like the Epcot from my childhood. The Behind The Seeds Tour at Epcot offers guests the chance to walk through the greenhouses seen on the boat ride and take a closer look. While just taking a stroll through this location is worth the price of admission, the tour offers some great “edutainment” about the future of gardening.
To sign up you simply need to purchase tickets at the desk in the Soarin’ boarding area. We’ve done the first tour of the day in the past for fear they would sell out. However, this time we showed up just 30 minutes before the last tour of the day and were able to join with no issue. Then we just had to meet back by the desk five minutes before our tour time. The below information contains lots of spoilers about the tour. If you’d like to be surprised, you might want to scroll down to the bottom past the numbered sections.
The tour begins when your guide whisks you to a backstage location to explain the tour rules. First, guests are encouraged to ask as many questions as they can. Your tour guide is normally an intern here on the college program with a shocking amount of botany knowledge. I was very impressed with our guide and the frequent questions she was able to answer! Rule number two is that photography is not only allowed, it’s encouraged! I was excited about that one because I often get lectures on tours because they see my big camera coming. It was nice to be welcomed despite the fact that we were in backstage areas. The final rule is the most important: do not touch any plants. This one seemed obvious to me, but what I hadn’t thought of the reason they make this request. In the greenhouse they have exotic plants from all over the world that many people have never been exposed to, and likely will never be exposed to again. The Behind The Seeds Tour at Epcot is not a great time to find out you’re wildly allergic to some rare plant! So that no touching request is just as much to protect you as it is the plants.
Drink up! Epcot After Hours alcohol tasting events begin April 17. (photo courtesy Stacey Lantz)
Do you like Epcot? Do you like staying late at Walt Disney World theme parks? Do you like adult beverages? If, like us, your answer to all three questions is “heck yes,” then Epcot has a new treat for you. Beginning on April 17, several venues around World Showcase will begin holding Epcot After Hours Wind Down alcohol tasting events on select nights after the park officially ends operations for the day.
The after hours events will run from 9:20 p.m. (immediately after the end of IllumiNations) until 11:00 p.m., and are scheduled to run every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. Each tasting session will cost $35 per person (plus your park admission), and includes wine or spirits samplers and small bites at one four different locations.
Searching for an Elsa doll or toy at Disney World? Join the club! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
My family up north doesn’t necessarily share or understand my theme park obsessions, but every so often they call upon my Orlando expertise. Recently, my young niece lost her mind over Frozen (much like half of America, it seems) and wants an Elsa doll more than life itself.
Unfortunately, it seems Barbie-sized “Sparkle Princess” figures of this frigid sister are scarcer than snowmen in summer, as toy stores throughout the New York and Philadelphia regions are chronically out of stock. So I gallantly volunteered to play the heroic uncle by finding one and bringing it to her during my upcoming visit. Surely it would be simple to find an Elsa doll inside one of Walt Disney World’s infinite gift shops…or so I foolishly thought.
Starting at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the park puts on an exciting party…The Party for the Planet. Here, guests can experience a myriad of activities to help them learn how to connect with nature and be more conscious of conservation efforts. This year’s event revolves around the upcoming Disneynature movie, Bears, which debuts in theaters on April 18. Some of the fun guests can participate in includes:
Pick up a Party for the Planet postcard, which will found at a display located in the front of the park.
Learn about the brown bear – a tie-in the movie, Bears.
Hi, everyone! Glad you’re able to stop by for a look at the beautiful, sunny weather at Epcot on April 5, 2014! I have a lot to show you, including the new Muppets Scavenger Hunt that just started today. As always, I have lots of photos and video to share. If you were hoping for a look at the Flower & Garden Festival you can look here, this week is more about random fun in the park. Of course, this time of year you almost can’t take a photo without capturing some lovely flowers. So why don’t we start there?
Pretty, aren’t they? But just so you don’t miss the full experience, I grabbed a few seconds of the tram ride in. Doesn’t it feel like you’re really there?
When you only have a few days to spend at Walt Disney World sacrifices have to be made. With so many shows and attractions to experience I think the interactive games in the parks are one of the first things to be cut. However, some of these are worth the time to explore. Today I’ll be ranking these from “lowest priority” to “can’t miss” and sharing a little bit of information about each. All of these games are included in your park admission so take notes on what you’d like to play on your next visit!
#4 – A Pirate’s Adventure: Just because this one came in 4th doesn’t mean it isn’t tons of fun! The reason I ranked it low is because the missions take very little effort, it’s short, and it seems to be targeted more for smaller children. Located in the Magic Kingdom this game is played entirely in Adventureland. It’s very easy to pick up a map and start a game. Simply stop by the sign up station located just past the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Once there you’ll be able to choose your mission and grab a map just by swiping your park admission ticket. Even if you don’t want to play grabbing a map is very quick and they make a nice, free souvenir. Captain Jack will surely sign your treasure map and that would look great in a scrapbook! If you decide to play you’ll be sent to a location on your map to start your mission. You can expect each mission to take about 15 minutes to complete. During this time you’ll visit 5 or so locations and experience 30-45 seconds of activity at each stop. There’s nothing needed from you with this one, you’ll just be watching the story unfold. You aren’t missing a ton skipping A Pirate’s Adventure but if you have an extra 15 minutes why not stop by? Especially if you have little kids they might just love it!