No announcement yet.

The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)


Ad Widget

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Trip Report The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)

    This report is going to be a little different. Rather than my normal, incredibly verbose style (which I'm sure very few people read or want to read, anyway), I'm going to post a CliffNotes version, of sorts, of the trip report here.

    I will, as always, post the full report on my personal website.

    However, it's simply too much work to copy it all here, plus I'm sure all of the photos are taxing on Micechat's servers.

    ---------- Post added 10-14-2011 at 06:49 AM ----------

    Even though we take multiple trips per year, this trip was a long time coming. The anticipation it it actually began 4 years ago, way back in 2007, when Epcot (or EPCOT Center, more appropriately) celebrated its 25th anniversary.

    In retrospect, I’d like to say we were on the fence about attending that event. However, that’s probably more wishful thinking than anything else. We had just visited Walt Disney World for the second time together that August, and we were just starting to really sink our teeth into the Disney community. I had been reading daily, had just started listening to WDW Today and WDW Radio, and my Figment collection was just starting to get out of hand. Neither of us had ever taken more than one trip in a year (that streak would soon end, when we took our November 2007 “Engagement” trip). Heck, the only camera I even owned at that time was a $100 point and shoot. Ahh, the good ole days. Still, even though it was an unlikely proposition, I remember desperately wanting to go, to be part of something special in the fan community, even if Disney wouldn’t be doing much.

    Then, shortly after that date, I read of other fans discussing Walt Disney World’s 40th anniversary, and what might happen for it. I instantly latched onto that, as something to anticipate, rather than be disappointed by our absence from Epcot’s 25th. Here and there, I would engage in other discussions of what “might happen” for the 40th, always excited to read these discussions, even if they were vague potentialities that really had no chance of ever happening. Honestly, I didn’t expect a whole lot, it was more the idea of being there for the day, rather than the substance of the day itself.

    In a flash, October 1, 2011 was quickly approaching. This became very apparent in May 2011 when we attended Destination D at Walt Disney World, which arguably was the event for the most fervent Walt Disney World fans to celebrate 40 years of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. Once that passed, and the rest of the summer went with it, and we began counting down the days in September, the exciting anniversary was even more prominent in our minds.

    Finally, on September 28th, we left for Walt Disney World. As the trend has been since entering the “real world” workforce, we left after work one afternoon.

    Before we got through security, though, we had the obligatory stop at McDonald’s. As I had learned a couple of days before, McDonald’s would be starting its Monopoly promotion the day we flew out. Talk about great timing!

    If you’ve read our other trip reports, you’ve probably read numerous times that I love Disney’s Magical Express. Not because I think it’s more convenient than a rental car or other shuttle service (it’s not), but because it’s the perfect preface to a Disney vacation. One of my favorite aspects of the ride is the video they play.

    We exited the bus at Caribbean Beach Resort and headed for the Custom House to check-in. Along the way we met up with our friend, Nick. When we got to check-in we experienced another victory: no line! It was shaping up to be a great night. I requested a room in Jamaica, which was full, but luckily, Aruba was open. Based upon my research, this was the optimum location without paying an additional preferred room fee. We’re both awesome at walking, but more importantly, cheap, so we weren’t about to pay this nightly fee for a room a little closer to Old Port Royale.

    As we were leaving the Custom House, as some of you may have read on my Twitter account, I noticed one of my photos of Spaceship Earth being displayed on the video "tip board" that provides operational hours and other information. Even though there are probably millions of Spaceship Earth photos out there, I know my own photos like parents who like their kids know their own kids. I instantly recognized it as mine, and was a little perturbed. No one had contacted me about using this photo, and Disney aggressively protects its own intellectual property. I wasn't perturbed-enough to stop and try to "do anything" about it, but I felt it worth noting here anyway. I'm sure it was a manager who put together the tip board and didn't realize he or she couldn't use random photos off the internet without permission, but it strikes me as an interesting double standard, nonetheless. I can't deny that it was neat seeing my photo on 'display' at Disney, but I wish it weren't under those circumstances!

    Nick had driven his car to meet us at Caribbean Beach Resort, and our room was a bit of a hike from the Custom House, so I broke one of my rules while at Walt Disney World: I rode in a car. This rule, unfortunately, would be broken a few other times over the course of the trip. After a quick stop in our room so we could drop off our carry-on bags and Sarah could change clothes, we were off to Nick’s car.

    Once we got through the bag check and turnstiles, I raced ahead of Nick and Sarah. Spaceship Earth is to me what Cinderella Castle is to Sarah, and Nick and Sarah were having a “real world” discussion. When I first walk under Spaceship Earth, I want to be totally in the moment. I want the entrance area loop to envelop my ears, and I want the great lighting to mesmerize me. I think part of the reason Spaceship Earth is so impressive to me when I see it in person is because I spend so much time looking at photos of it. No matter how many photos I take of it, I’ve never managed to capture the true grandeur and amazing scale of Spaceship Earth. Because of this, each time I walk under it for the first time during a trip, it amazes me how large it is in comparison to what I’ve become “used to” from looking at photos. Over the course of the trip, I become “used to” the large size of Spaceship Earth, but that’s wiped away again during the void (and photo-viewing) time between trips.

    After I had my moment with Spaceship Earth, they caught up with me, and we headed over to the rest room. Now, I hadn’t used the rest room since we left Indianapolis, which was many hours ago, but we were standing right under Spaceship Earth with its beautiful nighttime lighting, so instead of doing the responsible thing, I set up my tripod and snapped a few shots while waiting for the others. Honestly, at that point, I was so “hungry” to take some photos that I probably would’ve wet myself rather than miss out on the opportunity to photograph Spaceship Earth. I guess I’m just that dedicated to photography. Or crazy.

    Somehow, it was determined that we’d do Test Track first. I think I was screwing around with the camera when this decision was made, and I just sort of blindly followed Sarah and Nick. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Test Track, but I feel you should start each trip out with a truly special attraction. in Epcot, the attractions that qualify for this are: Soarin, Spaceship Earth, Livin’ with the Land, Ellen’s Energy Adventure (yes, you read correctly), American Adventure, and Maelstrom. While Test Track holds the crown as the second most popular Epcot attraction, it’s low on my list. We should have done Spaceship Earth first.

    For all my complaints, Test Track at night is pretty exhilarating. Plus, the wait wasn’t long at all, so I can’t really complain. After Test Track, we went to the second most “special” attraction in Epcot. That is, if you’re playing really fast and loose with the term special, or going for duplicity of meaning. Yes, I’m talking about Journey into Imagination with Figment, which is about as depressing of a way as any for me to start out a trip.

    The attraction was fun, but only because it gave me the chance to see an old friend, even if in a bastardized form, and also because I decided to photograph it with my fisheye lens, which produced some unique images.

    On the plus side, there was a multi-color lighting package in the second story ImageWorks turned on that I’ve never seen in person. It was really cool! After the attraction, I stopped to take a few photos there, which was surprisingly difficult given angles, lenses I was using, and what I wanted to accomplish. While I was taking the photos, Sarah and Nick headed over to the Electric Umbrella, to grab a quick meal.

    I met them there right as they received their food, and just in time to snap a couple photos of Sarah’s salad. Besides the cool lighting, I’ve never really been all that impressed with the Electric Umbrella. I’m not really sure why, but it strikes me as a little dated and not in the best condition. The food is okay, and we’d probably eat there more if it were in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In Epcot, though, there are much better options.

    After Spaceship Earth, it was getting late, so we headed to World Showcase to start taking some photos.

    We started in Mexico, heading to the out of the way corners of the exterior to avoid other Guests. As I’ve mentioned before, the harsh lighting on the exterior of the Mexico pavilion makes it one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult) structures to photograph in all of Walt Disney World. Really, it’s deceptively difficult!

    We continued onward, making stops in Norway and China along the way. Norway might be my favorite country in the World Showcase--I think Maelstrom has the script that will make it go down as a cult classic when it’s eventually replaced--but it’s incredibly difficult to photograph at night. It’s poorly lit, and nothing really stands out. The lighting improves at Christmas, but it’s still quite the task. China, on the other hand, is great for photography. We spent far more time there, in fact.

    It had been a while since I had last photographed Germany, and an idea struck me. Unfortunately, like most of my ideas, I didn’t really vet it that well, and started “doing” before I had completely thought it through. The photos below of me looking like a dofus on the fountain are the result. Even worse, I was unable to get the photo I wanted because I couldn't see through the viewfinder, nor could I see the LCD screen. It’s a cool-enough idea, so I think I’ll try again sometime.

    After a few photos, we headed back towards Future World, taking more photos along the way. We stopped to take a few more photos in Future World before heading out. We had a bus to ourselves back to Caribbean Beach Resort, and our driver took us right to Aruba.

    At this point, it was “only” 1:35 am, and it was the first night of our trip! I had slept for about an hour and a half on the airplane, and for a good amount of time the previous night, so I still had plenty of energy (mind you, I normally go to bed at around 10 pm; how I have this much energy at Walt Disney World is beyond me). I escorted Sarah to our room, dropped off a couple pieces of camera gear and headed out to test a couple shots I had in mind.

    Unfortunately, I got all the way over to Port Royale, set up my camera, and then realized I had dropped off one of the lenses I needed for my big experiment: star trails. I decided to make due with what I had, and after I had taken a few 90 second exposures, a security guard approached me.

    He was nice and genuinely interested in what I was doing. I showed him my star trails photos, and he seemed impressed. I showed him some other photos on my LCD, and we started talking about photography. He was a really nice guy. When we were done talking, I realized it was well after 2 am, so I decided to head back to the room and go to bed. I finally got to bed at 2:45.

    And that's a wrap on the first day!
    DisneyTouristBlog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

    Please Visit My Travel Photography Blog, Covering Southern California and Beyond!

  • #2
    re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)

    Great photos, wonderful report. I can't wait for more!
    Bored? Check out my animation news & reviews website:


    • #3
      re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)

      I don't mean to correct you, but a lot of people truly enjoy reading your words to your very entertaining trip reports! that said, very nice. As always, in awe of your talent.

      No matter where you go, there you are.


      • #4
        re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)

        ^Oh, I know! I figure the people who really like the reports will go to my website to read them, and casual readers will probably just read here. Hope you enjoy this one, it should be good!
        DisneyTouristBlog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

        Please Visit My Travel Photography Blog, Covering Southern California and Beyond!


        • #5
          re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)

          The photos are great! Amazing how you can get shots with so few people when it is so late at night.
          Check out my free high resolution Disney World pictures and Disney World Vacation site.


          • #6
            re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)

            One of these days I am going to get my grubby paws on a SLR so I can start taking better photos. For now I make do with my little point & shoot. But your photos always blow me away.


            • #7
              re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversary)

              ^Thanks! All it takes is a little knowledge and practice, and you can take great photos!

              ---------- Post added 10-17-2011 at 09:22 AM ----------

              The next morning I got myself into a bit of trouble. Despite going to bed at 2:45, I was wide awake just before 7 am. I sat in bed, and tried to get back to sleep. After about 10 minutes, I realized this wasn’t going to happen, so I went to get my phone, to screw around on it until Sarah woke up. Of course, since various electronics chargers occupy nearly every outlet in the room, my phone was plugged in on the floor right next to Sarah. And, of course, as I went to get it in the dark room, I tripped over something, making a nice amount of noise, and waking Sarah. She didn’t have much of a reaction, and fell right back asleep.

              While at the bus stop, we searched the internet to see if there was any indication that there would be a preview day for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. I thought this was typically done based on things I’d read online, but I wasn’t entirely sure. Since I could find nothing to corroborate my inclination, we headed instead to Magic Kingdom, because it would be one of our few chances on this trip to enjoy the attractions in that park.

              We arrived at the Magic Kingdom and it suddenly felt decidedly like fall.Walking on Main Street for the first time was just as magical as it always is, and hearing the Trolley Show and seeing the Main Street, USA vehicles really gave the place a lively atmosphere. As much as I enjoy first seeing the Castle at night, bathed in various colors as if were a beacon of light at the end of a tranquil Main Street, I'm beginning to think Main Street's best atmosphere is during these early morning hours when the performers and vehicles are out, and Cast Members line the sidewalk, greeting Guests as they enter. There's something to be said for Main Street when its alive with this energy, versus the peaceful feel to the place at night.

              We weren't really in a hurry, so we wandered over by Crystal Palace, snapped a few photos, then headed for the Adventureland bridge. Walking past Aloha Isle always puts a smile on my face (it puts an even bigger smile on my face if we stop and get Dole Whips, but that is not a nutritious meal for the early morning, apparently!) and I love hearing the "dun dun dun" sounds of the Leaki Tikis.

              It was still relatively early, so we figured we could do the ole grab a ‘FastPass for Splash Mountain and do standby for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’ trick (trick is probably a poor word choice as I’m pretty sure a lot of people do this). Unfortunately, both had 30 minute plus waits, so we just grabbed a FastPass for Big Thunder and headed for Liberty Square. Sarah was a little hungry, and wanted to eat at Columbia Harbour House as soon as it opened. Since it didn’t open for over thirty minutes, I thought it was a bit unreasonable for us to wait outside.

              After Haunted Mansion, we still had time before Columbia Harbour House opened (Sarah, again, wanted to just wait for it to open), so we did it’s a small world. Little did we know this would be our only time experiencing it’s a small world this trip! It has become a Fantasyland staple for us when we’re trying to avoid crowds or kill time before a FastPass. I suspect that the next time we ride it’s a small world, at Disneyland in November, the holiday version will ruin all other versions for us. We already far prefer Disneyland’s version to Walt Disney World’s, but I think adding Christmas, our favorite holiday by far, might be a real game-changer. Sort of like seeing Fantasmic at Disneyland. Once you watch it there, you never want to see Pocahontasmic at Walt Disney World again!

              When we exited it’s a small world, it was just a touch after 11 am, so we headed towards Columbia Harbour House. I joked that we should do Peter Pan’s Flight via standby before lunch, but this joke was not well-received. Note to self: don’t joke about things like 90 minute standby lines when you have a ‘starving’ wife on your hands!

              She got the Fish and Shrimp basket instead, as she saw the Lobster Roll, and said it didn’t look too appealing. I figured I’d just try the Lobster Roll on a subsequent trip. No big deal, especially since I didn’t wait in line for 20 minutes. Columbia Harbour House proved it wasn’t just a fluke that we enjoyed the meal we had the last time we were there, as the Fish and Shrimp basket was quite good. Not overly breaded and not too greasy. Unlike at many fast food style restaurants, the shrimp were actually shrimp, not just highly breaded ocean “stuff.”

              After lunch our Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FastPasses were ready, so we headed over to Frontierland. Big Thunder is always fun, and this ride was no different. Although I did notice the boulders that used to move towards the ride vehicle during the final lift were still broken, and looked quite bad. Not quite as bad as the black tarp covering them in May, but I think it’s inexcusable that these rocks would have such a duct-tape solution for so many months. I completely understand if Disney doesn’t want to schedule a long refurbishment during the summer months to make the boulders move, but at least create an overnight solution that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. That’s just bad show.

              I’m pretty sure the decorations have been enhanced since 2009. It seems like there were more fall leaves, more random pumpkins sitting around in places other than Main Street, and just more fall colors throughout the park than before. I could be totally wrong, but that’s a rarity!

              It was a gorgeously cloudy day, Astro Orbiter had a relatively short wait, and we hadn’t experienced it at Walt Disney World in over three years. Yeah, it was time to give it a second chance.

              After Astro Orbiter, we wandered around Tomorrowland for a bit, soaking up the ambiance and recovering from the wild ride aboard the scary spaceships! Finally, we headed over the Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceranger Spin.

              So, after Spaceranger Spin, we made our way towards the Magic Kingdom’s exit, and did exactly that. We started by all taking the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Monorail rides on days with big puffy clouds are especially nice and relaxing, and really make for great photos. It may just be a form of transportation, but for me, the monorail is an attraction unto itself.

              Once we got to the TTC, we realized Cody had driven there, and we had to decide between riding with him and taking the monorail to Epcot. Figuring riding with him would be faster, and time was of the essence on this day because we only had a few hours of park time until we had to get ready for the Disney Parks Blog’s Ticket or Meet-Up event, we elected to ride with him.

              Of course, when assuming the ride would be faster, we forgot about the tram ride to the parking lot, and parking at Epcot’s lot. These steps took quite a while, and reaffirmed my position that I have no desire to rent a car myself at Walt Disney World anytime soon. While it may be faster on some mornings, Disney transportation is generally more convenient, especially late at night. Moreover, even inefficient Disney transportation is more convenient than a rental car when heading to the Magic Kingdom.

              When we did arrive at Epcot, we headed directly for the World Showcase, and immediately began pondering our snack options at the country kiosks...
              DisneyTouristBlog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

              Please Visit My Travel Photography Blog, Covering Southern California and Beyond!


              • #8
                Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                Amazing photos! :bow:
                A signature should go here.


                • #9
                  Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                  I just took a look at the blog. Those are some incredible pics. And I've forgotten how beautiful the Carribean Beach Resort is.

                  No matter where you go, there you are.


                  • #10
                    Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                    Nice pics. Some of the best I've seen on here.


                    • #11
                      Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                      SusieP - thanks! Sorry about the thread title.

                      sbk1234 - Yeah, it's a beautiful resort. I took a ton of photos of it. A lot of them didn't even make it into the full version on our website. I had to draw the line somewhere, and 800+ photos (the total for this report) is already probably too many. The number could have easily swelled over 1,000.

                      thedude76 - Thanks!

                      ---------- Post added 10-19-2011 at 08:37 AM ----------

                      If you like food photos, there are a ton more than this posted in the full version of this installment...


                      If you read our recent “Top Snacks” at Food & Wine Festival post, a few of these snacks may look familiar. Since I knew we’d be spending a lot of time at the Food & Wine Festival this trip, one of my goals prior to the trip was to really improve my food-photography skills. I didn’t go about this the conventional ways of reading about food photography, or even practicing. Instead, I wrote a post on the topic for the Disney Food Blog. This helped me reinforce ‘best practices’ to myself. The big problem I have when photographing food is not that I don’t know how to do it, but that I get lazy with it because I am so anxious to eat. These snacks made being patient difficult, but hopefully the patience I did have paid off!

                      When I first gazed at the menu, I have to admit that I had some sticker shock. We did Food & Wine Festival in 2009, and the prices were similarly expensive then, but I was still a bit taken aback by some of the high prices. Overall, for the size of the portions, I think most snack prices are high relative to Counter Service meals (if you apportioned appropriately). I think Disney has an expectation that many people visiting during Food & Wine Festival are using the Disney Dining Plan (for “free”), which incentivizes Disney to raise prices to create a greater impression of value for these Guests. After all, if 75% (made up number, I have no idea what it really is--probably not that high) of Food & Wine Festival Guests are on the Dining Plan, the prices of snacks are illusory to 75% of Guests, anyway. These Guests are likely to respond favorably to higher prices for Food & Wine Festival snacks, as that increases their perceived “value” of the DDP. In fact, the more expensive dining options are, the more likely they are to be satisfied with the Dining Plan, as they didn’t pay for the Dining Plan (which, if you follow my ramblings, you know is not the case, since there is the opportunity-cost of forgoing another discount for free dining) or if they did pay for the Dining Plan, aren’t paying for the snacks directly.

                      There’s a decent chance that another 5-10% of Food & Wine Festival Guests are there specifically for the Food & Wine Festival events, and either have disposable incomes to visit specifically during that time, or will pay a premium to sample the snacks. That leaves a negligible number of Guests who will actually make purchases based upon prices, making it in Disney’s best interests to price items artificially (or unreasonably) high.

                      In any case, my point is that I think Disney realizes it can get away with charging a premium for many things at Food & Wine Festival because of the type of Guests to whom it is catering with the event. For better or for worse, we fall into the category of Guests who are willing to overpay to sample Food & Wine Festival snacks. Given all of these things, my ratings of value for the following items are relative to the rest of Food & Wine Festival, not to Disney dining in general.

                      The first snack we tried at the Food & Wine Festival was the Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise, and it really set the bar high. The bun was a wonderful and buttery (unsurprisingly) Hawaiian roll, the sauce was rich and not too spicy, and the meat was moist and perfectly flavored. We were still incredibly hungry at this point, so we really had to restrain ourselves from ordering more of these bad boys!

                      Continuing on towards Canada, our next stop was in the venerable country of “Desserts & Champagnes.” Ahhh, this old-time country with its rolling hillsides and rich heritage. Of course Sarah’s sweet-tooth dictated that we stop. Cody (I forgot to link to his Disney photos in the last installment, but you should definitely check them out--he's an awesome photographer) seemed equally ready to make the stop. I wasn’t about to object.

                      The Dessert Trio was priced at $3.75 and consisted of Lemon Chiffon, White Chocolate Macadamia Mousse with Dark Chocolate Pearls, and Tres Leches Verrine. For all the complaining I just did above about snacks being overpriced, I actually think this one was priced quite well--probably better than many Counter Service snacks.

                      These snacks were beyond articulation. Sarah and I shared each of them (as we did with everything we sampled), and at first I thought maybe the Lemon Chiffon didn’t appeal to my tastes. I voiced this as soon as I tasted it, and before I could let the favor sink in and admit my mistake, Sarah had already claimed it. Drats! Well, at least it gave us a reason to come back and try this one again (and again...).

                      This heat actually made us pass up a few items, and we didn’t stop for another snack until we arrived in Belgium. There, I ordered the Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream & Baguette and Cody ordered the Belgium Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream. This time, Cody ate it instead of donating it to the pavement. Sarah isn’t a fan of mussels, so I had those all to myself.

                      I am no connoisseur of mussels. I think I've only had them once or twice before trying this snack at the Belgium pavilion. However, I am an expert on garlic cream sauces. My non-expert and expert opinion on this dish is that it was one of the best snacks, both from a taste and value perspective, that I had at the Food & Wine Festival. The mussels were tender and tasted great, and the cream sauce was utterly amazing. Much to Sarah's chagrin, I discretely headed to a hidden nook and licked the rest of the garlic cream sauce off my plate when I was done with this one. Uncouth? Sure. Totally worth it? Double-sure.

                      We wandered on to Morocco, a small island country in the Pacific Ocean famous for its miniature poodles and the Eiffel Tower. Morocco is always a good culinary bet, so I decided to grab the Kefta pocket here. At $5, this was a bit on the pricey side, but it was well-seasoned, very meaty, and tasted great. Definitely worth trying if you stop by Morocco!

                      From here we kept going, next making a stop in New Zealand so Sarah could get the Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad. I have mixed feelings about this one. It seemed to have decent flavor, size, and presentation, but for some reason that I can’t quite pinpoint, it just didn’t do a whole lot for me.

                      We continued on, at first passing Japan, until Sarah pointed out that they (unsurprisingly) had sushi. In fact, if I recall correctly, different varieties of sushi comprised most of the menu. Sarah doesn’t like sushi, so I had the California Rolls that I ordered all to myself. The sushi tasted pretty good (albeit not as good as California Grill’s or other sushi served at Table Service restaurants on property), plus, as far as sushi goes, it was fairly reasonably priced at only $3.50. For sushi-lovers like myself.

                      Fixating on the disappointing beers does a real disservice to the festival’s standout dessert, which also could be found at the Hops & Barley stand. If you’re on Twitter at all, and have searched the #EpcotFW11 (the official hashtag Disney is advocating be used for the Festival) tweets, you’ve probably read about this dessert. Yeah, I’m talking about the Pumpkin Mousse with Ocean Spray Craisins and Orange Sauce.

                      I love all things pumpkin. Heck, we do a yearly pumpkin beer sampling because we love pumpkins so much. Sarah makes pumpkin smoothies. We’ve gone through far more containers of Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream in the past two weeks than I care to admit (if you have a TJ’s near you, you must buy this ice cream...or avoid it at all costs!). A pumpkin candle, which we do NOT eat, sits on our coffee table right now.

                      That said, we are both pretty discerning when it comes to pumpkin-cuisine. We don’t just love everything with the word pumpkin slapped on it that just happens to have a hint of pumpkin and an over-abundance of cinnamon (a common error in pumpkin-food preparation). I think we ended up having about 5 of these over the course of our trip. The perfectly balanced mousse was definitely the highlight, but the Craisins were a surprisingly good compliment to the dish. This is easily the best mix of value and taste at this year’s Food & Wine Festival. Order this for sure, I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.

                      After we left Mexico, we made one more stop for food, in Australia, where we got the Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze and Grilled Lamb Chop with Potato-Goat Cheese Salad and Shiraz Reduction. Sarah chose the shrimp and I chose the lamb chop. I tried one of her shrimp, and was not impressed. By contrast, my chop was excellent. I might be a little biased here. I absolutely love lamb, potatoes, and goat cheese. So it should really be no surprise that I loved this snack. To be fair, I didn’t just like it because it mixed three things I like; I liked it because it mixed them in a logical way where none overpowered the rest, and the resulting dish was flavorful. My one complaint was that my cut of lamb was a little fatty, but overall, it was not a big deal. For $5.75, it’s on the more expensive end of the snack spectrum, but it offers decent value given the large portion size.

                      It was late afternoon, and we soon would have to leave the park to go get ready for the Disney Parks Blog Trick or Meet-Up event, so we headed towards Future World.

                      Along the way, we saw something that none of the three of us recalled seeing on our way in: a cranberry bog. Come to find out, this bog was sponsored by Ocean Spray. It was really cool, especially for those who don’t live in New England (I know I’ve never seen one in person). Seeing this made me chuckle a bit in my head, as I recall when the Ocean Spray sponsorship of Walt Disney World was announced, a few in the fan community grumbled and complained. Between this bog and the great pumpkin mousse dessert alone, I’d say Disney was already seeing the fruits (ha!) of the Ocean Spray sponsorship, and overall the move was a positive for Guests. Since returning, I heard about something else, which I now can’t recall, that Ocean Spray was doing as part of the sponsorship that also seemed like a great plus for Guests. I guess this just goes to show you that the rabid Disney fans will complain about anything.

                      While in the Land, we experienced Livin’ With The Land before heading over to The Seas pavilion. Much to my surprise, all of the effects were working, including a seldom-seen moving angler fish on the KUKA arm! I was quite excited to see these effects actually working, which in-itself is disappointing, as working effects should be the norm, not something out of the ordinary that causes excitement.

                      Of course, when we exited Spaceship Earth, Cody and I both instinctively noticed the great light and sunset that was beginning to shape up. He and I wandered around Spaceship Earth, quickly grabbing photos, at various angles.

                      Then, I saw a monorail approaching. I could have snapped a halfway decent photo from the location where I was standing at the time, but I wanted to get a shot with the sunset in the frame. This would require me to substantially change positions, so I began walking very briskly over to the spot I would need, adjusting my camera settings along the way. It was truly a race between me and the monorail, and I beat it by a split second, planting my feet and firing off three frames just as it crossing Spaceship Earth. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the large refurb wall around the Leave a Legacy tombstones, so I had to substantially crop the photo, removing a large portion of the sunset. I might still tinker with this photo before doing a Flickr-edit (if it ever makes it there) to see if there’s any reasonable way I can edit it that allows more of that gorgeous sunset into the frame.

                      After I grabbed those shots, we headed to the parking lot. Of course, along the way I walked right next to the monorail track, keeping my eye on the monorail I had just photographed, waiting for it to exit the station and head towards the TTC. Nick probably thought I was crazy, constantly looking over my shoulder as if I neurotically thought I was being tailed by a stalker. He would have been right about the stalker aspect, except I was the one stalking the monorail, it just didn’t know it yet. As we approached the point where the monorail track curves off and leaves the Epcot lot, I saw the monorail begin to move. I waited at that point and got off a few shots before running to catch up with Sarah and Nick.

                      It took us a bit of time to find the car, but we finally did, and with that, we were off to Caribbean Beach Resort, with only a short amount of time for me to get the costumes and for us to get ready for the event!
                      DisneyTouristBlog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

                      Please Visit My Travel Photography Blog, Covering Southern California and Beyond!


                      • #12
                        Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                        Your trip reports are informative and your photos are AMAZING, but the MOST IMPRESSIVE feat accomplished here? Sarah eats her way around Epcot, yet still has the whitest, MOST FLAWLESS TEETH!
                        Bored? Check out my animation news & reviews website:


                        • #13
                          Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                          Love the TR. Love reading it all
                          Unlike you, I hated the lamb. But I am not a fan of lamb at all, but had to try it.
                          I did really enjoy the kefta pocket at Morocco. I also agree the sushi was reasonably priced and tasted good.
                          Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha



                          • #14
                            Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                            Originally posted by WDWFigment View Post

                            LOVE this picture!! It reminds me of that one shot from the old EPCOT opening special that was hosted by Danny Kaye.
                            Out of the NIGHT....
                            When the full moon is BRIGHT!!
                            Comes a horseman known as ZORRO!!!


                            • #15
                              Re: The Brickers' F'n'W October 2011 Trip Report (Food & Wine and Fortieth Anniversar

                              Oh wow, I haven't updated this in a while.

                              @Ju-osh - white teeth, and can eat anything yet still manages to stay slender. An anomaly of human anatomy, I suspect.

                              @mouse princess - yeah, if you're not a fan of lamb, I can see why you wouldn't like it!

                              @Zorro825 - the special with Drew Barrymore and the weird robots? I LOVE watching that. I think I can picture the shot you're talking about, although I don't think it's over a parking lot (just grass), right? Or wrong?

                              ---------- Post added 10-28-2011 at 06:24 AM ----------

                              There are a couple of intervening updates (you can read them here: Food & Wine Festival and Disney World 40th Trip Report - Disney Tourist Blog ), but to get caught up, I'm going to post excerpts from the two most recent ones:

                              The previous night we had gone to bed at 1:30 am, and it’s really a good thing we didn’t stay up any later. Perhaps it was workout we got from wearing those hot costumes (that likely became heavier as the night wore on, as they soaked up sweat), but we were both fairly tired the next morning.

                              I began by heading to Old Port Royale, again taking my cameras and refillable mug to start the day with some photography and caffeine.

                              I made this a much shorter trip than the previous day. I had captured a lot of photos the previous day, and my path was the same, so I didn’t see many new things to capture. I did, however, decide to put my hesitance aside and head over the pool. I am normally reluctant to take photos around pools because there are people in bathing suits walking around, while I have a bunch of camera gear and am fully clothed. I don’t want people thinking I’m the sleazy photog/paparazzi trying to capture photos of scantily-clad individuals. Not sure if this is actually what people think, but it’s always in the back of my head.

                              Anyway, I wanted to get some cool photos of the canons in the pool. These canons are really close to the edge of the pool. I had very little room to navigate. As I’m bending down to take my shot, a little kid comes running around the site of one of the canons, almost colliding with me. Even though my camera is water sealed, I’m pretty sure it couldn’t handle falling into the pool, so I quickly ended this mission after narrowly averting disaster.

                              When I arrived back at our room, I got ready, and we headed to the bus stop. Again, we were spending the morning at Epcot. Since it was Food & Wine Festival, we planned on spending a lot of time there.

                              After we headed through the turnstiles, I suggested to Sarah that maybe she could get FastPasses for Soarin’ while I took some photos of Spaceship Earth. The sun was still at a decent point in the sky for photos, so I figured I ought to grab a few.

                              With Sarah busy for at least 10 minutes, I went wild with my cameras. I probably took over 100 photos of Spaceship Earth in that short time, and had a blast in the process. I can only imagine some local watching me snap so many frames, thinking, “silly tourist.”

                              I later discovered that my D7000 was putting oil on the high-pass filter above the sensor, which could only be removed by a professional. Or, in my case, an idiot with some household items and some swabs from Hong Kong. Yep, I actually cleaned it myself with sensor wet-swabs. These swabs left streaks that I removed with a Q-Tip. Luckily, I removed the oil and didn’t ruin the camera in the process. I was so reluctant to send the camera to Nikon (I’ve heard nothing but bad things about their service) that I actually risked my thousand dollar camera. Well, no one can accuse me of not being a risk-taker, at least!

                              Once Sarah purchased her gift card, which of course was a must purchase thanks to its fashionable wrist strap, we debated what to do next.

                              Well, it wasn’t really much of a debate. Like the people we drive past at 6:45 am in the rough parts of ton outside liquor stores, Sarah decided to line up for the Desserts and CHAMPAGNE stand. Lush.

                              In all fairness, she didn’t actually buy any alcohol, but I thought it was pretty funny to see her standing in line outside of a closed alcohol kiosk. I suppose my sense of humor is a little warped. Again, she purchased the Dessert Trio. This was a really smart move.

                              After lunch we took a leisurely route back to the World Showcase. Somewhere along the way, it dawned upon me that Be Our Guest Podcast was having its meet in the World Showcase. Through the magic of the internet, we determined that they were in France, so we made our way over there. As we headed in that direction, we spotted Don Sullivan, blue-sky photography extraordinaire and person of whom everyone else is jealous. This jealousy steams from the fact that he casually mentions dropping into the parks for leisurely activities, since he is an Orlando local. Here is an excerpt from a random conversation someone probably had with Don: “What are you doing this afternoon, Don?” “Oh, I don’t know, probably making loops on the TTA while I watch YouTube videos on my iPad and take a nap at the Swan Boat landing.”

                              I had been wanting to watch Impressions De France for a while, but Sarah had never seen too interested. So, in a bit of a cheap move, I appealed to Sarah to watch it in front of a few others who I knew liked the film based upon previous conversations. Of course, they gave it a resoundingly positive endorsement when I asked if it was worth seeing, so we decided to go see it. One of the first things I learned in law school was to never ask a witness a question to which you don’t know the answer. That’s probably the one thing I learned in that place that had real-world applicability.

                              I wasn’t expecting much from Impressions de France, but my desire to see every Walt Disney World attraction led me to want to see it. Once the film began, and the first few notes of music started playing, I was blown away. I can only describe the music as hauntingly beautiful. I know that’s a tired phrase, but it was really “beautiful” music.

                              The cinematography was also awesome, and really made me want to visit France. It was like Soarin’, except without the simulation of flying and didn’t conclude with a fly-over of Disneyland Paris. Oh, and it was set in France, obviously. If someday French people stop s__________g, we might just consider visiting France (just kidding, France). I guess that’s the point of the World Showcase pavilions, though, right? I mean, why else would the countries (or corporations in the host countries) sponsor the pavilions?

                              We had been keeping in touch with some photographers on Flickr who would be attending the weekend, and we received word that they were on their way to the World Showcase, so we headed in their direction. Once we met, we stood around Canada for a few minutes chatting. I would estimate that there were around 10 people or so. It was good to catch up with the other photographers, many of whom I correspond with regularly, and would consider friends.

                              That said, as soon as we started moving through World Showcase, I could tell this wasn’t going to work for us. I’m an incredibly impatient person. Sarah calls it “only child syndrome.” I don’t mind conversing with others, and relaxing, but in the setting of Walt Disney World, I find it to be a waste of time to aimlessly wander around with no set purpose or destination in mind, and I don’t like standing in one spot and conversing. Conversing over dinner or while waiting in line are another story, but standing around or slowly wandering around are not things I enjoy. Even when I take photos, I don’t work methodically.

                              People who have traveled with us have remarked upon this in the past, surprised that I don’t devote more time to taking photos. Usually, my strategy is quickly walking ahead a bit, and taking a photo in the time it takes Sarah to catch up to me. If the photo isn’t what I had in mind, oh well, I move on. At night, I typically take more time, but attractions usually aren’t open when I do my nighttime shooting, so I’m not really interfering with any normal “park-activities” then. This is just my preference, and my impatience is definitely a fault of mine.

                              Because of this, I don’t really like to partake in anything where decisions are made by committee. It wastes time and is generally inefficient, in my opinion. I could tell that there was a strong chance the pace was going to be the slow on this day, so I thought I would set the standard, and walk in the front of the group. The group stopped several times. Finally, Sarah and I kept going, figuring either people would follow, or we’d meet up with them later. It was too hot for us to do wander the World Showcase taking photos, anyway.

                              Even though it was hot, we realized we didn’t have many photos of us together, and the sky looked gorgeous, so we made a brief stop at the second story of the Japan pavilion to snap a couple of photos before continuing on to the Hops & Barley kiosk to get another one of the excellent Pumpkin Mousse snacks. In case you didn’t read the last installment, this is an amazing snack, and for only $1.50, it’s an absolute must-try. Given its cult-like popularity on the internet this year, expect Disney to adjust accordingly for next year and price it at $7.95.

                              From here, we finally had some air-conditioned relief from the heat, as we stepped inside of the Mexico pavilion and rode Grand Fiesta Tour. As we approached the San Angel eating area, something dawned on enter inside a temple, and on the inside, you’re outside again? On top of that, there are more temples outside on the river, which is also inside a temple. “Trippy.” Somewhere on the after the little museum inside the temple, do you actually “leave” the temple? I couldn’t make heads or tails of it (truth be told, I’m just now thinking of it; had I thought of it at the time, I would’ve looked to see if you exit the main temple when you enter the outdoor courtyard that’s actually indoors.

                              As we completed our several hour circuit of the World Showcase, we just had to stop for another snack at the Dessert & Champagne kiosk. We wanted to try something different, so Sarah ordered a snack that wasn’t the Dessert Trio. Unfortunately, neither of us can read, and she actually ended up just ordering one of the snacks in the Dessert Trio. As the kids say, “Grand Fail” or something like that.

                              Next stop was Club Cool for some afternoon caffeine! While there, I spotted an Asian couple decked out in Tokyo Disneyland gear. The last time I tried to talk to people wearing Tokyo Disneyland attire (I offered to take their photo in June 2010), disaster ensued, as I think they thought I was trying to harass them. Truth be told, I’m just really excited about Tokyo Disneyland, and am likely to stop anyone wearing Tokyo Disneyland attire (be warned!) and ask them their thoughts on the park.

                              I don’t remember about what, exactly, we talked, but there was a bit of a language barrier. They were really nice, and I think they more or less understood me (I only know one Japanese word, and it wasn’t helpful here, so I relied on their knowledge of English). They seemed really enthusiastic about Tokyo Disneyland, calling it their home park (I think), and they said they also really liked Walt Disney World.

                              Sarah just laughed at this, surprised that I would stop some random people and start randomly talking to them. I explained that this was a special case, as these people were Tokyo Disneyland experts! Of course I had to stop them!

                              As we exited Club Cool, we met up with Nick, and walked to Disney’s Hollywood Studios through the International Gateway.
                              DisneyTouristBlog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

                              Please Visit My Travel Photography Blog, Covering Southern California and Beyond!


                              Ad Widget