Epcot

Choza de Margarita: Upgraded Margarita Mecca Now Open

by on November 15, 2017

The new Choza de Margarita stand at the Mexico Pavilion is located on the World Showcase Plaza side of the pavilion's central pyramidThis past Monday, the long-awaited Choza de Margarita stand outside of the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase opened to much fanfare (and whistling… more on that in a second). Relocated from the Norway side of the pavilion’s central pyramid to the World Showcase Plaza side, this will be the new permanent home for “quick service” margaritas (as opposed to the more intimate setting of La Cava del Tequila, which has been slammed with patrons during the last few months to account for the missing stand).

Much larger in size and scope, the new Choza de Margarita stand exhibits a bit of smart, practical design on Disney’s part – the stand allows room for a line that will not impede traffic through the World Showcase promenade, and also has a good amount of room after you pick up your treats to stand or sit and enjoy them outdoors before heading off to your next destination. Another great part about the new stand? They have tons more offerings now, featuring options ranging from the traditional machine-spun frozen margaritas from before, as well as higher-end signature margaritas more akin to La Cava’s offerings (previously the stand only offered one of these a month), and even several snacks!

The frozen margaritas featured on the menu are mostly the same recipes and results as before – strawberry ($10.50), lime ($10.25), and passion fruit/mango ($10.25), or you can go for the Fiesta margarita ($10.50), a combination of all three flavors, which also comes with a lot of celebratory Cheery Cast Members make signature margaritas to orderwhistling and singing from Choza’s Cast Members. There are also a few beer options (Dos Equis Ambar, Cerveza Pacifico, and, for the Bloody Mary-style drink lovers, a Michelada).

The more interesting options come from the “Signature Margaritas” section of the menu, though. Ranging from $14-14.50 (a bit pricy, in my opinion, but in line with La Cava’s indoor pricing and quality), you can order three specialty drinks assembled to order featuring higher-end spirits and more complex flavors:

  • Acan grapefruit, featuring Tequila Casa Noble blanco, grapefruit liqueur, elderflower cordial, lemon, cardamom bitters, and ginger beer
  • Lime cucumber, featuring Tequila Avion blanco, fresh cucumber juice, orange liqueur, agave, and Tajin chili rim
  • Guava pink peppercorn, featuring Mezcal Zignum reposado, guava nectar, grapefruit liqueur, lime, Peychaud’s bitters, and pink peppercorns

The Acan Grapefruit Signature Margarita and the Lime Cucumber Signature Margarita from Choza de MargaritaOf course, I had to try out a few of the new drinks and snacks (all in the name of research, right?). First up, I sampled the Acan grapefruit, which sounded like a light option, perfect for a hot day. This margarita is on the sweeter side because of the elderflower, but the ginger beer brightens up the tequila and the floral cardamom, balanced well with the acid of the grapefruit flavors and the lemon juice. All in all, this was a very smooth sip, and perfect for those who prefer their margaritas with sweet/sour contrast.

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The SpectacuLAB at Epcot is Now Open

by on November 14, 2017

The SpectacuLAB

©Disney

Recently, I told you all about a new exhibit for Epcot’s Innoventions called The SpectacuLAB. This new exhibit, which is presented by Murata is officially now open!

The SpectacuLAB will have set showtimes and the show will take place daily at 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:15 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. Guests visiting The SpectacuLAB will be invited to join a group of scientists, along with their eager tech-savvy intern, as they showcase a series of engaging experiments that all are geared to demonstrate basic principles of science. Through the course of the show, Guests will have the opportunity to take an active part in the demonstrations and discover how basic scientific principles actually form the foundation of some of the technologies we enjoy today.

Throughout the exhibit, Guests will be able to participate in demonstrations including:

  • Guests playing ultrasonic sensor drums, simply with the wave of their hand
  • Changing the colors of barometric pressure cubes by only raising or lowering the cube
  • Accelerometer sensors measuring the guest’s force when using a hammer
  • Observing a scientist explain the principle of force by comfortably resting on a bed of nails

Currently the other exhibits open in Innoventions are the Colortopia and Take a Nanooze Break.

Swan & Dolphin’s Food & Wine Classic vs Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

by on November 13, 2017

The causeway at the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine ClassicAs we round the corner towards the end of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, right next door, the Swan and Dolphin hotels recently celebrated their eighth annual Food & Wine Classic. I attended the event this year for the second time, and thought I’d help others see why I think it’s the hidden gem of the Food & Wine season. Here, I’ll tell you about how the event usually works and compare it to the familiar festival at Epcot, so you can see if this is a must-do to add to your agenda for next year. After all, I know you’re all planning ahead for next Food & Wine season already!

How the Food & Wine Classic Works

Live entertainment adds to an even livelier atmosphereThink of the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic as a mash-up between the regular Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Epcot’s Party for the Senses. Held outdoors along the causeway between the Swan and Dolphin hotels, the event lasts about 5 hours on a given Friday and Saturday night in late October or early November. The Classic features dozens of booths serving wines from around the world and food samples representative of the Swan & Dolphin’s 17 restaurants. Similar to Party for the Senses, live music accents a lively atmosphere, with seated and standing tables available for guests to use whilst enjoying all their samples.

For the 2017 Food & Wine Classic, a la carte tickets, allowing you to sample a few items from all offerings, ran $50 for 25 tickets (each item is 2-6 tickets). This is a great way to sample options on a fixed budget, but depending on your tastes, you may run out of tickets quickly. The most common choice, and the best deal, is a causeway ticket, which cost $108.26 (tax inclusive). This allows unlimited sampling at every standard booth in the event for that particular night (causeway tickets are purchased for either Friday or Saturday, though many guests attend both nights).

For a few dollars more, you can upgrade your causeway ticket to allow access to the Beer Garden, a separate section featuring craft beer booths and a few more food selections. Prices have increased a bit in recent years, but, as I’ll describe a bit later, I still find this to be a heck of a value if you typically go wild at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Other upgrades include several beverage seminars and specialty events, like a champagne brunch, each season. Seminar tickets are sold separately, and each seminar takes place the hour before the regular event kicks off for the evening – a nice touch, as it doesn’t cut into your causeway sampling time.

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Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Dates Announced for 2018

by on November 10, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

Well, we’re reaching the end of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which means that it’s time to learn the dates for the 2018 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!

2018 will mark the 25th year for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and it will take place from February 28 (What?!) through May 28! That’s a whole 90 days of fun, flowers, food, and more!

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival features such highlights as the Outdoor Kitchens which features fresh and yummy flavors and quenching beverages. There’s also the popular Garden Rocks Concert Series at the America Gardens Theater. You also can’t miss the instructional demonstrations and seminars, the beautiful gardens that can be found throughout the theme park, the incredible topiaries which are a staple to this event, kid play areas, and much, much more!

More details for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival will be released going forward, but I at least wanted to know that dates so you could start your planning!  I’ll be sure to let you know when more information about next year’s festival get released.

Choza de Margarita to Open This Week at Mexico Pavilion in Epcot

by on November 9, 2017

Choza de Margarita

©Choza de Margarita / Disney

Choza de Margarita was announced back at the beginning of the year and many were anxiously awaiting the day this outdoor margarita bar would be opening. I can officially tell you that the bar will be opening tomorrow, Friday, November 10. The walk up window was supposed to open earlier this year, but due to the unpredictability of construction, the official opening got delayed.

Choza de Margarita’s menu offers three hand-crafted margaritas. These on-the-rocks options include Acan Grapefruit (Casa Noble Blanco Tequila, grapefruit liqueur, elderflower cordial, lemon juice, cardamom bitters and ginger beer), Guava Pink Peppercorn (Zignum Mexcal Reposado, guava nectar, grapefruit liqueur, lime juice, Peychaud’s Bitters and pink peppercorns), and Lime Cucumber (Avión Blanco Tequila, fresh cucumber, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar).

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SpectacuLAB Coming to Innoventions at Epcot

by on October 26, 2017

©Disney

Wow….I kind of thought Innoventions was dead. I guess maybe it’s not because it was announced that SpectacuLAB is coming this November. SpectacuLAB will be an engaging new interactive show where Guests will be invited to join a group of real scientists, as well as their tech-savvy intern for a series of experiments that put scientific principles like ultrasonic pressure, barometric pressure, force and acceleration to the test.

SpectacuLAB is sponsored by Murata which is a global leader in the design, manufacture and supply of advanced electronic components, and Science from Scientists, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve STEM literacy at schools. The interactive and entertaining experiments will allow guests to discover how science and Murata technologies come together to create products such as consumer devices, healthcare equipment, and automotive electronics.

Throughout the exhibit, Guests will be able to participate in demonstrations including:

  • Guests playing ultrasonic sensor drums, simply with the wave of their hand
  • Changing the colors of barometric pressure cubes by only raising or lowering the cube
  • Accelerometer sensors measuring the guest’s force when using a hammer
  • Observing a scientist explain the principle of force by comfortably resting on a bed of nails

Currently the only other exhibits open in Innoventions are the Colortopia and Take a Nanooze Break.

The Epcot Festival of the Arts Returns and Includes Disney on Broadway Dining Packages

by on October 25, 2017

Epcot Festival of the Arts

©Disney

Last year, Walt Disney World introduced a new special event called the Epcot Festival of the Arts.  The festival has a  goal is to combine visual, culinary and performing arts from around the world. This year, the festival will take place from January 12 through February 19. Also a change from last year is that this year, the Epcot Festival of the Arts will occur 7 days a week.

During the festival,  Guests will be able to see some gorgeous works of art in person and they’ll be able to watch the creative process live. There are multiple food booths called Food Studios located around the World Showcase promenade which features dishes that are like works of art. Finally, through a collaboration with Disney Theatrical, favorite music and Broadway talent will perform at the America Gardens Theatre singing the award-winning music of Disney on Broadway.

Speaking of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series performances, this year, Disney is including a great way to see these concerts with the Disney on Broadway Dining Package. With this package, Guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner and have guaranteed priority seating at the Disney on Broadway Concert Series.  With the package, Guests will receive a 3-course meal experience that includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage or one full buffet. Participating Restaurants include:

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The Best of Walt Disney World for Families

by on October 25, 2017

The Best of Walt Disney World for Families

Welcome back to the final installment Part 7 of my blog series – The Best of Walt Disney World! I hope you’ve enjoyed the last several weeks as I’ve shared with you the top picks in attractions for various groups of travelers visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks. We’ve discussed favorites for babiespreschoolersgrade school kids, teens, adults and seniors. Today we’re going to wrap things up with families. When checking out the list, keep in mind each attraction that made the cut scored a minimum of four stars by at least half of the age groups surveyed and has no height restrictions so that everyone from baby to great grandparents can enjoy it together as a family. Come on, everybody, here we go!

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Food and Wine’s Parisian Breakfast: Flawless French Fare

by on October 23, 2017

A highlight of the Parisian Breakfast: sipping mimosas in the beautiful Chefs de France dining roomThis week, I want to highlight another great Epcot International Food & Wine Festival special event that you should consider booking next year (as it most definitely will return!): the Parisian Breakfast, hosted at Chefs de France. A now longtime favorite of many Food and Wine Festival goers, this breakfast features a buffet of French delights, along with specialty coffee, teas, hot chocolate, and mimosas, for $40 plus tax per person. I attended one of the Parisian Breakfast events held this year – my first time at the event – and I’m so glad I did. I balked at the $40 price tag when I booked; how would it be worth it for the cost of a nice dinner at Walt Disney World? After finishing the event, though, I can tell you, it is most certainly worth the money. Let’s take a look at the event and see why…

Logistics

First, a few details on actually getting to the meal. This event books early in the festival season, often selling out dates well in advance of the festival’s start. To book, you’ll call the same number as for other events (407-939-3378), and credit card payment is due at time of booking. Breakfast runs from 9:00 AM until 10:30 AM, and it’s recommended you arrive at the park by 8:15 AM and use the breakfast reservation entrance. All guests are held at the bridge to France from International Gateway until the park opens, so ultimately, there’s no big rush if you can’t make it super early. Be warned, though: many guests at the breakfast I attended were at a near sprint when we were released to walk towards France. They clearly already knew the glorious breakfast awaiting them down the hill. (I did not.)

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, October 19, 2017: Epcot Expedition

by on October 19, 2017

Hi Everyone! Yep, it’s me again for another Best Week Ever. Thank you all so much for your comments on last week’s tour of Magic Kingdom. I had so much fun that I decided to sneak away from work for a morning in Epcot. It was such a gorgeous fall-ish day, how could anyone stay inside? My husband was kind enough to take our daughter to school, and so I got to get a bright-and-early pre-rope-drop arrival at Epcot.

It has been so long since I’ve rope dropped Epcot that I wasn’t sure where we’d be held and for how long. They ended up holding us just before Spaceship Earth until 8:45, and then crowds split three ways–Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin’. Guess which one I went for…

 

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