Taste Your Way Around the World

Taste Your Way Around the World

The World Showcase at Epcot has always been my favorite part of Disney World. When you think of amusement parks, most minds probably jump to the rides and perhaps the special character interactions. But I love what the World Showcase represents. It’s little pieces of the world in bite-sized chunks I can experience in a single afternoon. Anyone who’s ever visited the park knows that Disney hires locals from each country to staff it (so in the Canadian restaurant you’re being served by Canadians and in Japan Japanese and so on). Each area also features shows which highlight some of the country’s culture (past and present). Not to mention it’s a great way to sample foreign cuisine.

On my recent trip to Disney World, I not only had the honor of visiting Epcot during it’s 30th Anniversary, I was fortunate enough to attend the annual Food and Wine Tasting Festival. When my friend planned our trip, she didn’t realize the festival would be taking place. It was just a happy coincidence. During the festival there are pavilions set up throughout the World Showcase featuring food and alcohol from many different countries around the world. And it isn’t limited to the countries which are regularly part of the showcase either. Greece is present, for instance, as well as Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Belgium, to name a few.

in front of the festival sign at Epcot
(The festival’s moto: “Taste Your Way Around the World”)

I’m not a big drinker myself, but I love to experience other cultures (perhaps one of the reasons why the World Showcase is my favorite part of the resort). My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Disney World. The trip was a gift from his parents. We stayed on resort in the Wilderness Lodge and we ate using our Disney Wishes plan so all our spending money could go toward souvenirs. Since we had park hopper passes, we spent a lot of time eating in the World Showcase. We also bought masks from many of the countries (a tradition my husband’s parents have continued by bringing us traditional masks back from their travels around the world. It’s great because they’re small, relatively easy to put on display, fairly unique and add great character to the house!), but I digress. Our favorite restaurant was Akershus, located in the Norway section of the park. One of the things which made our experience so great (aside from the amazing food!) was our servers taking the time to explain wedding traditions from their country. They told us the bride and groom eat a traditional dessert called a wedding veil together and asked if we wanted to try it. This wasn’t something included on their menu, yet they made a special one, just for us, and let us pay for it with our meal plan!

There were some twenty-nine stands at the festival, and our intent was to hit all the ones which weren’t beer only (neither of us are big beer drinkers). The festival center provided free passports you could get stamped in each country as well as mark which selections you tasted. Unfortunately, our last night at Epcot was washed out by a gigantic rainstorm, causing us to miss a substantial number of stands. The experience was still amazing, however, and not just because we tried a ton of delicious food. We also met some amazing people. Everyone partaking in the festival was friendly. We talked to people in lines, and even met up with a pair of guys (fondly known as Nick and Knack) a couple of times throughout one of the days who gave us some tips on how we could best enjoy certain aspects of the parks.

The entire list of food we sampled would be too lengthy to list here (besides, I don’t want you drooling on your keyboards!), but here’s a rundown of a few of my favorites:
~Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze (from Australia)
~Beef Rendang with Jasmine Rice (from Singapore) (Accompanied by a Singapore Sling)
~Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Garlic and Parsley Snails in Brioche) (from France) – My first time trying snails!
~Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie (from Ireland)
~Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup (from Canada) (Accompanied by Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine) (Yes, I went all the way to Florida from Canada to eat my native food :p)
~Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (from Hawai’i)
~Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll (from the Hops & Barley stand in America) (Accompanied by Red Stag Frozen Lemonade from the Fife & Drum also located in America)

Lobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie in Ireland
(Myself and the amazing Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s pie in Ireland)

We ended up using the Food and Wine Festival booths as lunch and dinner for about half our stay (better than waiting to get seats at a restaurant in the park).

Of course Epcot is bigger than just the World Showcase and, while we spent a lot of time there, my friend took the time to show me parts of Epcot I’ve never visited before. It was my first time riding Spaceship Earth. We also road Soarin’, which is unbelievably amazing. The smell of orange groves and pine trees just makes the whole experience. The Land was another one of my favorites, especially the part where you ride through the futuristic greenhouse. I love that parts of Epcot aren’t just a theme park. It’s also about education, research, and making good on the idea of a better future for everyone. We also took the time to ride Ellen’s Dream (featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy), and tasted some international cola at Club Cool.

It was a great trip and I’m looking forward to another round of the Food and Wine Festival. Next time I’d like to bring my husband. It’s something I know he’d enjoy.

One Reply to “Taste Your Way Around the World”

  1. “Next time I’d like to bring my husband. It’s something I know he’d enjoy.”

    You and me both, sister! :)

    I had a great time with you there, and I’m so glad you enjoyed your vacation!! I was INCREDIBLY happy that you could make it, and had a blast with you!! <3

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