Posts Tagged ‘World Showcase’

Epcot: Nine Dragons Dining Review

by on May 1, 2014

IMG_1934Anyone 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.

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Epcot Wind Down: Your Questions Answered

by on April 29, 2014

1Last 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!

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Epcot After Hours Wind Down Review: La Cava del Tequila and Spice Road Table

by on April 25, 2014

Epcot After Hours Wind Down Review

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.

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Epcot After Hours Wind Down – Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar Review

by on April 23, 2014

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.

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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.

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Epcot After Hours Alcohol Tasting Events Begin April 17

by on April 10, 2014

Epcot After Hours alcohol tasting events

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.

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Epcot Observations: March 23, 2014

by on March 26, 2014

Despite the overcast skies, Sunday, March 23, was a beautiful day to visit Epcot. But it wasn’t the first park I tried that day. At 8:30am I was rolling up to the parking plaza for Magic Kingdom, but it looked more like a parking lot. The crowds were unreal, with bumper to bumper traffic several lanes deep. I chose to stay in the left lane and head straight for the exit with my fingers crossed crowds would be more manageable at Epcot. Luckily, they were, and I have lots of fun to share! For starters, check out these flower beds!

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But, I’m getting ahead of myself! I took several photos of the deep lines at bag check and entrance gates. I’m guessing those aren’t as fun to look at as the topiaries at the park entrance. Sorry for the odd angle, but this was just mobbed with folks taking photos! (Don’t worry – there are lots more coming!)

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A Trip Around The World: Canada

by on March 10, 2014

This is it! The grand finale we’ve all been waiting for, Canada! I have to tell you guys I’m a little sad to see it end, but I’m so excited to show you the Canada pavilion! If you haven’t been able to join us until now, why not take a look at Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, ItalyAmericaJapanMoroccoFrance, and the United Kingdom? You can take a world tour and still be home in time for dinner! (Anyone who caught that obscure Muppets reference, please leave a comment. We should really be best friends.)

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I always like to start with a wide shot of the land, but if you were leaving the United Kingdom and heading towards Canada, the view wouldn’t be quite so glamorous. You’d come to the park entrance to the old Millennium Village. This area hasn’t been open to the average guest since 2001, and it’s now used mostly for convention space and private events. The photo below gives you a peek at what it looks like inside today.

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A Trip Around The World: United Kingdom

by on February 28, 2014

Greetings from the United Kingdom! Can you believe we’ve already toured Mexico, Norway, ChinaGermanyItaly, America, Japan, Morocco, and France? We’ve almost seen the entire World Showcase, with only two stops left on our world tour. If you recall when we left off in France we were crossing a long bridge. At the end of this bridge you have two choices. You can head towards your right into the United Kingdom, which will look like the below photo.

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If you turn left, you’ll head towards the International Gateway, which exits the park towards the Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan, Dolphin, and BoardWalk resorts. This makes it an easy walk to Beaches & Cream, which is one of the most fun restaurants on all of Disney property. (Seriously – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click that link. You don’t want to miss this place! Okay – now back to our regularly scheduled world tour.)

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A Trip Around The World: France

by on February 20, 2014

Bonjour, mes amours – and welcome to France! I hope you’re ready for one of the most beautiful lands around the entire World Showcase. The day I went for photos was just perfect. The weather was crisp and sunny and the crowds weren’t too bad. I could almost hear the soft music from France before I crossed over from Morocco. When coming from this direction the first thing you will see on your left is Les Chefs de France. I haven’t eaten here in ages! Does anyone love it or hate it? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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When entering France on your right you will see Crepes des Chefs de France. It’s just a little cart, but the crepes are yummy. We pop by this cart pretty often. It’s sort of like a year round Food & Wine Festival cart.

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Case Study: FastPass+ Impact On Epcot Touring Plans

by on February 18, 2014

FastPass+ Kiosk LogoMany people are understandably concerned about how Disney’s new FastPass+ system is going to affect their Disney vacation. Some of the worries most frequently mentioned with the new system are:

  • Limit of three FastPass+ reservations per day
  • Not able to get multiple FastPass+ reservations for the same attraction
  • No ability to get FastPass+ reservations for all headliner attractions
  • Only getting FastPass+ reservations for one park per day.

Some of the benefits of the new system, such as the ability to select the time of the FastPass+ reservations – may not be as obvious. And not having to run around the park to get paper FASTPASS tickets will definitely save people time.

In many cases, however, using an optimized touring plan with FastPass+ will result in a touring plan that’s just as fast as one with the same attractions and legacy FASTPASS.

Given the way my family tours the parks, I assumed that Epcot would be the most negatively impacted by the new system. With Legacy FASTPASS we would acquire multiple FASTPASSes for Soarin’ and Test Track. Now we can only get one FastPass+ for Soarin’ or for Test Track, but not both.

To evaluate the impact of FastPass+, I’m going to compare touring plans for Epcot on the second Monday of June in 2013 and 2014. Both touring plans include the same attractions and optimize the use of the available FASTPASS/FastPass+ system. Since we would never use FASTPASS/FastPass+ in World Showcase, and since we take a casual touring approach in World Showcase, I’m going to allot a chunk of time for World Showcase. I’m also allotting 100 minutes for eating. For our family, FastPass+ will not affect our dining or touring World Showcase.

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