Archive | Epcot

Mama Monday : Candlelight Processional

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Hello Mamas! Today we are going to discuss the Candlelight Processional. It is one of my very favorite holiday events at Walt Disney World. It runs from November 29th through December 30th for 2013. Each night a celebrity narrator reads the Bible story of the birth of Christ. Each night has amazing choirs that perform as well with traditional Christmas songs. It is one of the most beautiful performances you will ever see.

This year’s narrators are (courtesy of the Disney site)

  • Gary Sinise
    November 29 to December 1, 2013
  • Neil Patrick Harris
    December 2 to December 3, 2013
  • Ashley Judd – NEW! 
    December 4 to December 5
  • Whoopi Goldberg 
    December 6 to December 7, 2013
  • Sigourney Weaver – NEW!
    December 8 to December 10, 2013
  • Dennis Haysbert – NEW!
    December 11 to December 13, 2013
  • James Denton 
    December 14 to December 16, 2013
  • Edward James Olmos
    December 17 to December 19, 2013
  • Trace Adkins
    December 20 to December 22, 2013
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
    December 23 to December 25, 2013
  • Blair Underwood 
    December 26 to December 28, 2013
  • Amy Grant 
    December 29 to December 30, 2013

Each night there are three performances. People will line up for hours to get into the show which is held in Epcot at the America Gardens Theatre. There is another way to guarantee seating to the performance-the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. I highly recommend doing this. If you are on the dining plan, it takes two table service credits and is so worth it! The show times are 5, 6:45, and 8:15 PM. If you are doing the earlier show you actually have lunch as part of the package instead of dinner. The participating restaurants this year are: Biergarten, Chefs de France, Coral Reef, The Garden Grill, La Hacienda de San Angel, Nine Dragons, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose & Crown Pub Dining Room, San Angel Inn, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia, and Via Napoli. Some of these will already be sold out for select dates but there are still seats available for a lot of these.

Your Candlelight Dinner Package will include lunch or dinner at one of these restaurants, either a three course meal or a buffet depending upon the restaurant, VIP seating for the Candlelight Processional, and special viewing locations for Illuminations. Keep in mind while the seating is VIP seating, it is not a reserved seat. You are guaranteed a seat and the location is good but you will choose a seat when you arrive. I consider the Candlelight Dinner package the way to go! It takes the stress out of the evening. You have to eat anyhow and I definitely think it is worth two table service credits to be guaranteed a seat at the show as well as special viewing locations for Illuminations.

This is a must do for all ages, though if you have little ones you might want to consider doing lunch and then earlier show instead of the dinner options. It is also a little less expensive to go that route too.

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Mama Monday : Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2013

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Hi Mamas, This week we are taking a peek at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2013! There are a lot of affordable and even free things to do as part of this festival, but today’s post is dedicated to the more exclusive selections to choose from. I will not be covering them all because there are so many to choose from. I am going to pick a few that I think sound exceptionally fun.
Bookings for these have already been opened up(August 13, 2013). You may call 407-WDW-FEST to book any of these or your travel agent(ahem, me), can also book these for you. But do act fast. These events will sell out!
Cheese Seminars-I love cheese and trying new kinds of cheeses so these sound like a little slice of heaven to me. The seminar will be lead by a cheese master, otherwise known as a Maître Fromager. Wine is also paired with the cheeses and I have heard that it is free flowing. But there’s really only so much wine you can consume in an hour and fifteen minutes. Here is the lineup for this year. I would love to do the French and the Italian one!
When: 10:30-11:45AM
Where: Festival Welcome Center, Chef’s Showcase
Pricing: $80 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Epcot Admission required.

September 28: Max McCalman, French Cheeses and Wines
October 5: Max McCalman, United States Cheeses and Microbrews
October 12: Erin Hedley, Spanish Cheeses and Wines

October 19: Max McCalman, Italian Cheeses and Wines
October 26: Max McCalman, Old World Cheeses and Wines
November 2: David Gremmels, United States Cheeses and Wines
November 9: Max McCalman, Mediterranean Cheeses and Wines

Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining
These are wine dinners taken to another level! Many are extremely intimate affairs. You will have face time with the chefs, often a celebrity chef at that. The meals all include the wine pairings and an informational portion as you go throughout the evening.

Price is per person. Gratuity is included. Park admission is required for restaurants inside the park.

The ones I think look the most amazing are the ones at Flying Fish, Le Cellier, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Jiko, Narcooesee’s, and The Beer Dinner. Of course Victoria & Albert’s doesn’t look bad either but that is the most expensive option of them all. I do think I would splurge on one of these over the others even if the price is higher. * are new to the lineup this year.

*The Chocolate Dinner, World ShowPlace: September 27, 6PM Cost: $160; Leonard Thomson, Chef de Cuisine; 100 guests 

Kouzzina: September 27, 8PM Cost: $160; The Kouzzina Chefs; 24 guests
Artist Point: September 28, 12PM Cost: $140; Chef Marco Chaves; 36 guests
Raglan Road Irish Pub: October 3, 6:30PM Cost: $155; Kevin Dundon, Master Chef of Raglan Road; 65 guests
Jiko – The Cooking Place: October 3, 6PM Cost: $195; Chef Jon O’Brien; 30 guests
The Hollywood Brown Derby: October 3, 6PM Cost: $165; Craig Schleider, Chef de Cuisine and The Hollywood Brown Derby Chefs; 14 guests
Kouzzina: October 4, 8PM Cost: $160; The Kouzzina Chefs; 24 guests
*Le Cellier Steakhouse: October 8, 11:30AM Cost: $90; Al Youngman, Chef de Cuisine; 70 guests
Fulton’s Crab House: October 8, 6PM Cost: $100; Mark Boor, Executive Chef; 50 guests
The Hollywood Brown Derby: October 10, 6PM Cost: $165; Craig Schleider, Chef de Cuisine and The Hollywood Brown Derby Chefs; 14 guests
The Flying Fish Cafe: October 10, 6PM Cost: $185; Tim Keating, Chef de Cuisine; 38 guests
Kouzzina: October 11, 8PM Cost: $160; The Kouzzina Chefs; 24 guests
Yachtsman Steakhouse: October 12, 12PM Cost: $160; Anthony R. De Luca, Chef de Cuisine; 30 guests
Victoria & Albert’s: October 16, 6PM Cost: $525; Scott Hunnel, Chef de Cuisine; 16 guests
Wolfgang Puck Dining Room: October 16, 6:30PM Cost: $110; Tony Fraske, Executive Chef; 80 guests
The Wave…of American Flavors: October 17, 6:30PM Cost: $160; Frank Brough, Chef de Cuisine; 44 guests
Citricos: October 18, 6PM Cost: $140; Phillip Ponticelli, Chef de Cuisine; 10 guests
Kouzzina: October 18, 8PM Cost: $160; The Kouzzina Chefs; 24 guests
The Beer Dinner, World ShowPlace: October 18, 6PM Cost: $125; Jens Dahlmann, Executive Chef, Epcot; 100 guests
Portobello: October 24, 6:30PM Cost: $95; Tony Mantuano, Executive Chef; 80 guests
*The Burns Supper, World ShowPlace: October 24, 6PM Cost: $125; Leonard Thomson, Chef de Cuisine; 100 guests
The Hollywood Brown Derby: October 24, 6PM Cost: $165; Craig Schleider, Chef de Cuisine and The Hollywood Brown Derby Chefs; 14 guests
Jiko – The Cooking Place: October 24, 6PM Cost: $195; Chef Jon O’Brien; 24 guests
Kouzzina: October 25, 8PM Cost: $160; The Kouzzina Chefs; 24 guests
Victoria & Albert’s: October 27, 6PM Cost: $525; Scott Hunnel, Chef de Cuisine; 16 guests
Kouzzina: November 1, 8PM Cost: $160; The Kouzzina Chefs; 24 guests
California Grill: November 7, 6:30PM Cost: $260; Brian Piasecki, Chef de Cuisine; 40 guests
Narcoossee’s: November 9, 12PM Cost: $140; Dennis Thompson, Chef de Cuisine; 30 guests



French Regional Lunches : Moving right along we head to another event that is on my must try list-The French Regional Lunches. Of all the pavilions, I have always found the French one to be one of the most authentic when it comes to the food and wine. I think one of these would be delectable!

When: Fridays and Sundays, 12-3PM
Where: Monsieur Paul, France pavilion
Pricing: $99/person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Epcot admission required.
Date/Region/Presenter/Winery as follows:
September 27: Bordeaux, Jorge R. Hernandez, Andre Lurton
September 29: Bordeaux, Jorge R. Hernandez, Andre Lurton
October 4: Champagne, Wayne Ballard, Nicolas Feuillate
October 6: Champagne, Wayne Ballard, Nicolas Feuillate
October 11: Côtes du Rhône, Lydia Tremble, J.L. Colombo
October 13: Côtes du Rhône, Lydia Tremble, J.L. Colombo
October 18: Côtes du Rhône, Jerry McVey, Delas
October 20: Bordeaux, Eva Bordarier, Domaine Barons de Rothschild
October 25: Bordeaux, Jacques de la Giraudiere, Clarence Dillon Wines
October 27: Bordeaux, Jacques de la Giraudiere, Clarence Dillon Wines
November 1: Champagne, Wayne Ballard, Nicolas Feuillate
November 3: Champagne, Wayne Ballard, Nicolas Feuillate
November 8: South of France, Laurent Sauvage, Fortant
November 10: South of France, Laurent Sauvage, Fortant

And this just sounds decadent-The Italian White Truffle Lunch.  This is a five course meal centered around truffles imported from Alba, Italy. Of course there are wine pairings as well. I think I would probably need a long nap after this event though.

When: November 3, 12-3PM
Where: Tutto Italia Ristorante, Italy pavilion
Pricing: $225/person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Epcot admission required.

While I’ve listed some of the events that are on my bucket list for the Food & Wine Festival, I have not even begun to cover all of the exclusive options. There are sake tastings, tequila pairings, an entire array of chocolate and other desserts,  celebrity chef presentations, etc. The list goes on and on!
If there is something in particular you are most interested in, choose that weekend and work your trip around it. Otherwise, just pick from the list that is there during your stay. I would love to help you plan your Food & Wine Festival Getaway!
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Mama Monday : Journey Into Imagination

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Hi Mamas,  One of my favorite rides might surprise you. It is Journey Into Imagination With Figment at Epcot. I just love Figment! It is a cheesy ride and there’s no thrill involved in it. But it captured a part of my heart the first time I rode it and it is a must ride every trip.

Dr. Nigel Channing greets you and takes you on a tour of his lab that will explore the five senses-sound, sight, smell, touch and taste- and how they affect your imagination. Silly Figment comes along for the ride though! Figment is a purple dragon with a funny sense of humor that causes trouble all along the way.

After the ride you end up at ImageWorks. It is an interactive play area. Our kids love making music here! And I can’t lie, I do too. The only thing I don’t like about this ride, or any ride that has this for that matter, is to exit you have to walk through a gift shop. I understand why they have them there, but I still don’t like it. I love that there is still Figment merchandise for sale but forcing kids to walk through the shops is a bit much in my opinion.

It has been rumored for years that this attraction was going to be replaced with something else. Prior to the spring of 2008 you could actually meet Figment. He was retired then and that fueled the rumors even more. However in 2011, Disney did a complete refurbishment of this ride so I believe that Figment will continue to exist. Plus if they are going to keep Captain EO around, surely Figment can survive! The wait is always light for this ride. It is a great spot to get into the AC on a hot day.

Anyone who has booked their vacation with me knows I put it on your must do ride list because in my book it is a classic to Epcot. It has changed quite a bit though from the original ride that was there in 1983-1998. I wouldn’t mind them reincarnating that version but for now I am happy to ride this version.

If you want to have a fun song stuck in your head, watch the video.

So I want to know, do you love this ride too?

(PS-Check back Wednesday this week for another one of my favorite rides)

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Mama Monday : Karamell Kuche Review

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Hi Mamas,

Today we visit Karamell Kuche at Epcot in Germany! Karamell Kuche means caramel kitchen. I know I have mentioned this wonderful place in previous posts but it really deserves its own blog entry. Formerly this location was the home of Glas und Porsellan. I enjoyed that store but I had a little anxiety with the idea of taking children in it. Thankfully, they replaced this store with a store dedicated to everything caramel!

When a new location opens at Disney, there is usually a ribbon cutting with Mickey himself!

As you can see Werthers'(Storck) is a sponsor of this location. They have an entire wall of Werther’s packaged candies you can choose from too.

When you walk by the store, you smell the caramel wafting out calling you inside. Upon entering you will see that the chefs are preparing the caramel treats right before your eyes! You might see them making the caramel apples, dipping fruit in caramel, or drizzling caramel on many of the cookies and other treats.

One of the best parts of Karamell Kuche is that a lot of these items count as a snack on your Disney Dining Plan! Score! When you see the purple and white emblem you know it counts on your dining plan.

So you’ve seen a few of the delicious items-caramel apple oatmeal cookies, caramel chocolate brownies, fruit dipped in chocolate and caramel, cupcakes, and the list goes on.  My three favorite treats are :

Caramel Cluster, Milk Chocolate, and nuts and the Chewy Caramel Werther’s Bar! YUM!

And my other favorite treat is the salted milk chocolate covered caramel! The picture is courtesy of our friends over at the Disney Food Blog.

Every trip since the Karamell Kuche has opened I have purchased one or two of these and taken them back to the room for a late night snack. It practically melts in your mouth.

Remember 2014 packages get released this week on Wednesday July 10th!

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Mama Monday : Biergarten Review

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Willkommen im Biergarten  Mamas and Papas! The Biergarten in Germany at Epcot is one of our family’s favorite spots. It is  German food buffet and it includes the Oompah Band as entertainment and it is Octoberfest year round there! What more could a German girl want?

First the food: The Spaetzel is my favorite thing on the buffet(picture above courtesy of our friends at Disney Food Blog). The kids love it too! It is so delicious I could eat an entire plate of it! It is so buttery! There’s also an incredible salad buffet. The beet salad and the cucumber salad are my top picks there. There was so much meat on the buffet: Schnitzel,  Salmon, Brats, carving stations, and more!  And of course the sauerkraut is a must try. There’s a huge dessert area. Blackforest cake, vanilla pudding with chocolate chips,  and freshly baked apple strudel to name a few of my favorites.

This is one of the heaviest meals you will have at Disney. They do serve a lunch and a dinner option but the buffet is the same for both. We went for lunch when I was pregnant and it was still way too much food for a lunch! Definitely opt for dinner.
One of my favorite times of year to do the Biergarten is at the holidays. It is one of the Candlelight Processional package restaurants. Something about that combo really strikes at my nostalgia.

The Atmosphere and Entertainment: You are likely going to be seated with other families. The inside of the restaurant is meant to feel just like a Biergarten in Germany would. Community tables are part of the charm and fun. You can get to know your table mates while you enjoy dinner. It is also a great place for large groups. The Oompah Band Plays about once an hour. It is definitely a must see show. It lasts 25 minutes a set. I encourage you to get on the dance floor and have fun with this. Kids love it!
Beer and Wine: Of course there’s beer at the Biergarten! I love the beer flights. I am not a big fan of German wine but I drink it in small amounts. For the sizing of the beers, remember a German large is much larger than our large here! My husband always goes for the large one-it is one liter. He likes the Hovels and the Altenmunster Octoberfest.

The Biergarten is one table service credit on the dining plan except for the Candlelight Processional package then it is two.  It is one of our frequent locations to choose.
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