Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Lazy Go Club Level - Day 4

Did you miss the first three days of our fabulous adventure?  Click the links to experience the awesome!

Today was the second of three reasons that we booked our vacation later this year – Food and Wine Festival!

Every year, since discovering my love for Disney, I've seen yummy photos from the F&W Festival and I promised myself that one year, we would do it. I knew that I would only want to do one day, and do as much during the daylight hours as possible, due to the fact that, the later you stay in Epcot (especially during F&W), the more intoxicated people you encounter. No, I’m not talking about the couple that split a bottle of wine with their dinner. I’m talking about the group who make it their sole purpose to “drink around the world” – with 28 booths, PLUS the normal countries of Epcot, one could get a serious drunk on by the time the sun goes down. THESE are the people I want to avoid. Why, you ask?  Well, I can deal with them, but Hubby really has a Hate-On for ANYONE who drinks, but there is a special hate for drunks. So the plan was to enjoy F&W with as little hate as possible…

First up, though, we decided to pop over to DHS for a quality breakfast – a Butterfinger Cupcake!

Behold the beauty of this cupcake that is almost as tall as my water bottle!  It is a chocolate cupcake, filled with chocolate ganache (frosting), topped with white Buttercream icing, dipped in chocolate, then covered in crushed Butterfinger pieces. All this for the low low price of $3.99. Yeah - $4 for this beauty!

That is a 16oz water bottle and a 22oz soda cup - the cupcake is THAT BIG!
This is another one of those desserts that everyone on the Intarwebz raves about.  My opinion?

Meh.(I can hear the DIS gasping in horror right now!)

Maybe if it wasn't kept in a cold case, it would have been better. The cake was cold (I like my cake room temperature), as was the topping, so attempting to cut this into thirds was an exercise in futility.  The cake itself was tasty, the chocolate filling was nice, but the Buttercream was lardy and too sweet for me.  If I could have just the cake/filling/Butterfinger, it might have been doable for me. However, the red velvet cheesecake cupcake looked even yummier than this, so I may be back for one of those one day!

After we devoured our cake (what, if it was flat, you’d call it a pancake and be fine with cake for breakfast!), we headed over to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid to let our sugar settle.

Ursula is my hero!
This is another show that we've said that we would do One Day, so on this trip, we tried to do a lot of our “One Day” items.   We scored a pretty nice seat in the first row so I could stretch out my legs, but it ended up actually being TOO close to the stage – parts of the show were hard to see. Ursula looked fabulous, though! All in all, it was a cute 17-minute show, and we’d do it again (especially on a hot or rainy day!). 

What's up with this dinglehopper?
As we walked out, we of course passed a gift shop, and look what I found??!  A stuffed Ursula!  I HAD to buy it!

It's scary looking, but I love it!

We walked back towards Pixar Plaza or whatever it’s called. We passed the old Prince Caspian walk-through, that was being refurbed as a Pirates of the Caribbean walk through. They were in the process of paining the outside, and it’s neat to see them up there doing the mural.

It's hard to see, but there are sketches on the non-painted areas
The wait for Toy Story was pretty short (in relation to how bad it usually is, anyway).  The Kiddo rode solo and I rode with the Hubby. I, again, scored enough points to get a beaver. Yeah, a beaver. It’s become a joke – every single time I do TSMM, I get a beaver.

After we finished with DHS (no one was up to riding either Rockin’ Rollercoaster or Tower of Terror), we hopped on the Friendship boat to Epcot. It’s food time!

Our first stop was the Food & Wine Festival Center (the old Wonders of Life pavilion). I wanted to pick up a wristlet gift card, to make the glutton of food-purchasing that much easier.

After putting $100 onto the card, we went in search of the “History of Chocolate” display, put on by Ghirardelli. They were giving out free samples of their caramel squares, and there were cool displays about how chocolate is made and how chefs can use it for sculpting. In the back, however, is a little secret door, and you can only go through the door if you have any sort of Chase credit card. We happen to have a Chase credit card, so we were able to score some chill time in the Chase Lounge!  

Why are there no chaise lounges in the Chase Lounge?

Inside, we found comfy couches and chairs (but no chaise lounges), a soda machine, a coffee machine, TVs, a private restroom and a place to charge electronics!  Hubby immediately plugged his iPod in (he uses his a lot – taking photos and tweeting takes a lot of juice), and the Kiddo and I grabbed some soda and sat for a bit. It was great, but really busy.  She and I shared an ottoman for a while…  

Sit down, brat. You aren't as cool as you think you are...
Eventually, Hubby’s iPod was charged enough that he felt he could unplug and continue his day. 

First up?  Hawaii. I got a pulled pork slider, with the chutney on the side.  I brought it to the little table we found and took a bite. Very tasty!  Soft bun, tender meat, the sauce was good on it. Hubby and the Kiddo each took a bite, and said they liked it too. I got a “yeah, that’s good” from the Hubby (to him, food is something to be eaten for sustenance, not something to rave over).

Next up, Greece. I wanted to try the Griddled cheese with honey, because I love cheese and I love honey. However, to me they didn't really taste like they went together in my book. Neither Hubby or the Kiddo liked this. I don’t think I finished it, either.

Across the way, fragrant Canada was next. I picked up the Filet and the Sausage w/Corn Polenta. I got the filet because I thought that Hubby wanted it, but turns out he didn't (“I know what it tastes like, and I can get a bigger piece when we go to dinner”, but he ate it anyway).  The sausage was for me.  It was juicy and spicy, and very tasty. The polenta, I could’ve lived without. If it was just polenta, I think I would have liked it, but it had whole kernels of corn in it (with other things), that ruined it for me. I ate all the sausage though!

Tasty - but phallic!
Ireland, of course, had lots of beer and cheese. They also had a Chocolate Lava Cake with Guinness Dark Chocolate ganache.  Surely you can’t ruin cake right? Yeah, they did. I know, I know, they always say that alcohol cooks out, when you use it in something. Well, to be fair – I didn’t taste any alcohol, just a bitter ickiness of the Guinness itself. I think both the Kiddo and the Hubby spit theirs out. I swallowed mine, but chucked the rest. Very disappointing.

At this point, I noticed that both of them were getting tired of food (again, they don't have a Fat Girl gene like I do), so we decided to play the Perry game. We picked up a transponder thingy and began in UK. Basically, your ‘cell phone’ would give you a clue, and you had to follow to where the clue sent you, then either find something or do something before you got another clue. It was very fun, and we got to go around all of the UK pavilion.

We finished our mission, and chucked our phone into a specially marked bin and made our way to Morocco. I’d done some sleuthing before this trip to see what other kinds of slushies Disney had to offer. We've had a frozen lemonade at the stand near Rockin’ Rollercoaster, and of course, Goofy Glaciers, but I was hoping for more. Lo and behold, I found a photo of a watermelon slushie at DHS at Peavy’s but, oh man – they had watermelon in Morocco too!  

We walked toward Morocco, but saw nowhere that looked like they sold drinks. We went to the hostess at Restaurant Marrakesh, and she pointed – I’m not kidding – 10 feet away to a drink place. Duh-doi. We walk by this place ALL THE TIME because we always thought they just served alcoholic drinks.

Because the idea of sharing is too novel for my family (“I want my own!” is a common sentence with them), we each got a watermelon slushie and sat down across from the lagoon. They were pretty good, but I don’t think that the yumminess of them was directly proportional to the effort it took to get them. If I was thirsty and near Morocco, I might get one. But I don’t yearn for one, or wish I could drive back to Disney tonight just to get one.

By this time, the rain (a common occurrence during this vacation) was coming again, so we poncho’ed up and continued around World Showcase. We stopped in America for what I was hoping would be THE BEST food I’ve had.

Clam Chowder.

Clam Chowdah (say it right, Frenchie!)

This booth also sold lobster rolls and Sam Adams beer, so it’s practically pointless to even mention this, but it was the longest line I stood in the whole day!  Hubby and the Kiddo went to find the restroom while I got in line, and I think I moved 2 people by the time they got back!  I’m not kidding, I waited like 10 minutes in pouring rain for a tiny cup of clam chowder.

I ran over to the covered area by the American Adventure and took a tentative taste.I like my chowdah salty and peppery and creamy and bursting with flavor. I was leery that this would be none of those things.

I was so wrong.

Focus? Ain't nobody got time fo dat! 
The ‘broth’ (what is that part called? Is it “chowder broth,” is it “broth?” I don’t know!) was heavenly. It was creamy, unctuous and silky on the tongue. It was perfectly salty (and I like my stuff salty). No pepper was needed. And flavor?!?  OMG, it was so good. The potatoes were perfectly cooked – Not too firm, but not mushy. The clams were gorgeous (and I normally don’t eat the clams in clam chowder because they are rubbery) and, well, perfectly cooked.  I downed this little bowl in about 5 spoonfuls. I let The Kiddo try it, but I knew that if she went in for another bite, I would have slapped her away like a Chihuahua guarding their food bowl.

Seriously, it was just that DAMN good.

Do they serve this anywhere on property? If so, I must find it!

We waited out the rain, and the tired family followed me to Italy, where I purchased some ravioli. (At this point, Hubby is updating his Twitter or Facebook or Photo Stream or something, and the kiddo is being hauled along for the ride!) The container of ravioli was surprisingly big.  I was glad to see that it didn’t contain anything funky (you know, like veggies that I might actually feel in my mouth). Just pasta filled with cheese, and topped with cheese. Hubby tried a bite and I got a “mm” out of him. Kiddo tried a bite and liked it. There was enough for sharing, so she and I finished it off. I liked it a lot, and would probably grab one next year if we do F&W Festival.

It’s still raining at this point, and we’d scored a nice seat under shelter in Italy, so I left the family there while I went to Poland for some pierogis and kielbasa.

I still don’t know what a Pierogi is, but the internet tells me that it is a Polish dumpling, usually filled with potatoes. Okay. Hubby swears that I’ve made them for him before, but never until this night have I put a pierogi in my mouth. It was okay. As bland as it sounds. The kielbasa, however, was very tasty! Greasy, but seared nicely; I could eat a bunch of this (although my stomach might have something to say about that…)  I gave Hubby the rest of the pierogi, and the Kiddo got the last of the kielbasa, which she liked as well.

We braved the rain (which was now just a trickle) to head to the Cheese booth for some fondue with Sourdough bread for dipping. This sounded like it would be a homerun – melted cheese and bread. You know what I forgot though? Fondue (true fondue) is made with wine. Again, people, with the alcohol….  The Kiddo physically spit this out, although Hubby and I swallowed ours. This was definitely NOT a win for us.

Our last meal was meatballs from Sweden.  Meatballs with lingenberry sauce or something. We each tasted a meatball and went “tastes like meatballs”. There wasn't anything special about them, I guess. They were tasty and if I saw them on a buffet I would probably eat them, but I don’t think I’d pay another $4 for a quartet of them. 

Hubby and the Kiddo took a spin on Maelstrom while I finished my meatballs (they were tasty enough to finish) and enjoyed the evening.  I was exhausted, and soon it was time to go home.

As we walked back to our room, I was struck again at the LONGness of the hallway.

Where's my Big Wheel?
Redrum, anyone?