A Fall day in Florida is comparable to a crisp Summer morning in Wisconsin, a tad cold but nothing that won’t warm up over the passing hours of daylight. This sort of day came this past Thursday, and it was almost exciting to feel the change in the seasons. We won’t see trees change colors this year, unless someone comes and spray paints my palm trees, so the temperature is really the only thing that makes you feel the difference from season to season. My Mom and Bob were itching to go to Epcot, so we headed in this past week to preview the Food and Wine Festival. A great tip to know is that they have a Cast Member Preview the Thursday before the official start of Food and Wine, so it’s a great time to try everything out before the crowds hit opening weekend. I didn’t see any pins out, but I did see shirts and kiosks open with other merchandise.
We were blessed to meet up with THE Scott Otis for a quick hello and picture while he was on his lunch break. My parents loved him and I have always thought he is a class act all the way. I have a lot of friends, but the close ones like Otis are very special to me and my family. We trust him, and he cares about all of us so when we see him it’s great to see the kids light up and run in for a hug. He is truly like a big brother to me, and I hope he knows how much our family cares about him. He looked so dapper in his Cast Member attire, I almost didn’t recognize him! We got a picture in front of the Food and Wine décor in the front of the park, then got to chat while Mom and Bob rode Spaceship Earth.
After Otis left, I found Mom and Bob exiting the ride, which they loved, and we headed to Soarin to see what the Fastpass situation was. You know it is a slow day when Soarin has fastpasses for an hour after standby. We grabbed a couple of them and then rode Living with the Land so I could show Bob the greenhouses. I really do enjoy watching others experience things for the first time- it’s like a spark is made in my brain that I forgot was there because of myself experiencing the attractions over and over again. I probably shouldn’t watch the person as much as a I do, they may think I’m a creeper.
We had time left before using our Soarin fastpasses, so we headed back out into the sun and decided to grab some free Coke at Club Cool. On the way I got a text message from Shelley Jones that her and the family were at Epcot and could we meet up- OF COURSE! I always make time for my friends, so we found each other by the Imagination Pavilion and it was nice to introduce her to my family. After we caught up, they headed their way and we chilled out at Club Cool. No, I didn’t make Bob try the Beverly, he would have killed me- just the others.
It was close to 2 p.m. at this point, which was the start of the Food and Wine preview, so we headed into World Showcase. At the start of it they have a Cranberry Bog, brought to you by Ocean Spray of course, and it was neat to see it all set up. Beyond that they have a large Donald and Daisy topiary to welcome you to the Festival, a great photo op before filling your tummy!
I like to start at the Canada end and work my way around- I always figure people like to head the other way first. Normally left is better, but it seemed pretty empty on the side we chose. The first kiosk is all about Beer- so if you are craving a different kind of Beer, you can hit it first before even touching the food part. Since I’m not much of a drinker, we all passed and tried out Hawaii first. I loved the look of the kiosk, and Mom and I planned on splitting each food item so we could try them out. We ordered the slider with pork and pineapple, and it was delicious! Yes, we split it, but its small enough for one person to enjoy as well.
You have to learn to pace yourself at F&W because just the eating alone will get you full by the 5th Country, but adding alcohol to the mix will fill you even faster. Yes, you can try each and every one, but you may want to fast before doing so. Our plan was to try anything that looked interesting, so that was our plan of attack. Next we went Greek and tried the Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki and that was really good- also a great size portion.
We then hit the Ireland kiosk next, which is located towards the beginning of the UK area. I fell in love with the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s pie last year, so I was super excited to have it again. Funny how food can make you so giddy! Mom and I split this one as well and she loved it- I could have eaten another one, it was soooo good! The sauce they use is incredibly yummy, adding the mashed potatoes with it makes it a little dish of comfort food.
Since it was hotter than the surface of the sun that day, I decided to take Mom and Bob indoors for awhile to beat the heat. We headed into the France film, which truly has become a favorite of mine. I am a sucker for anything with Castles, and that film is filled with them. Doesn’t every woman picture herself in one? I hope to visit France some day, just so I can see all those wonderful sites.
After contemplating grabbing some drinks after the film, we decided to try the Belgium waffle instead. The line was incredibly short, and we were able to find a wonderful seating area next to it. We enjoy the waffle, and Mom even bought the truffles to try- she said they were very good! My great buds, Ken and Anthony joined us here to tour the rest of the Festival.
After a stop in Germany, Anthony picked up the sausage in the pretzel roll while I waited with him. I know I’m going to get slack for this, but I hated that last year. Maybe being from WI, I am used to brats, and anything other is just weird to me- who knows! We bumped into Brent, Donna, and Reuben at the same kiosk. It was great to meet people you have met online, and Brent and I caught up on WI stuff.
Mom and Bob walked ahead- Mom was into it, Bob not so much. It was, again, very very hot, so I will give them that. We walked again to find them, clicking pictures of the booths along the way. We basically ate on the Canada side of the Festival, and nothing on the Mexico side. I think we were all full, and when it’s so hot, it’s hard to have a major appetite. Keep that in mind when you come to enjoy the Festival that you want to time it on a cool evening or afternoon- no one wants to eat something really hot in the sun’s heat.
We said goodbye to our friends, and Mom, Bob and I headed to ride Soarin. It would be Bob’s first time, and so he was incredibly excited. We wound up getting third row, but even with the feet he still enjoyed it. We fastpassed it again after we got off so they could ride it with Craig and the kids after he got off work. I chilled out in Sunshine Seasons while Mom and Bob rode Imagination- he loved it as a child and I didn’t have the heart to tell him how much it had changed. Craig and the girls finally made it in to The Land, and we all bumped into the Viteks and Shelly Jones. We gabbed for awhile, then parted ways to find Mom and Bob.
We rode Imagination with them, then crossed over to the other side of the Park for some Test Track fun. We wound up waiting in line for 30 minutes, but it was worth it to ride with Bob for the first time. Mom wanted nothing to do with it, as Kyra had already made her ride Potter and I made her ride Big Thunder. She enjoyed the evening air while we screamed our heads off on the ride, love the butterflies I get on it!
We ended our fun day at Epcot with a ride on Nemo, then Spaceship Earth. Mom and Bob seemed to really enjoy it the first time, so why not one more time with the grandkids? They liked spending time with the grandparents in their happy place, as did Craig and I. Now when I head into Epcot I see the memories I made with them there, and it makes me happy and sad at the same time. Thanks to everyone who made the fun day possible, we are blessed with wonderful people around us.