Review: Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival | 2019

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Springtime is here y’all! The sun is out, the weather is warming up, flowers are a-bloomin’…

Well, at least, that’s true for Florida. Ontario hasn’t gotten the memo yet apparently.

I haven’t visited Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival in 3 years. For me, that’s a long time! Considering I’m at the parks several times a year. It just so happened that I didn’t really have an opportunity to go. In the past, I would visit the Festival during March Break in high school or I would visit during the Cheerleading Worlds, like I did once when my boyfriend’s brother competed. But once I got to uni, I no longer had a March Break and school went to May. In first year, we visited New York City as our spring trip and then last year, we just stayed home until our summer trip to Orlando in June. But this year, we specifically planned a trip around the Festival because truth be told, we all missed it a lot! If you’ve never been, I would highly recommend it. It’s absolutely the loveliest.

While at the Festival this year, we tried quite a few treats. If you’ve ever been to an Epcot festival before, you’ll know how they set up numerous booths around the World Showcase which feature delectable treats from different countries around the globe. It’s a really great way to try some new food and experience the cultures of other nations. I’ve done multiple posts on the International Food and Wine Festival which I visit every year, including last year. So I thought I would review what I tried for the Flower and Garden Festival as well!

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Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade

I feel like it’s absolutely necessary that I start off this post with perhaps the most beloved of all the Flower and Garden treats - the violet lemonade. To this point, I had never tried the violet lemonade. The last time I visited the festival, the lemonade was either not offered or just wasn’t as popular as it is now. Obviously, it’s grown massively in popularity over the years, as this year they even had merchandise devoted to this sweet drink! So I figured I had to give it a try. I love lemonade and this was absolutely no exception. I was genuinely obsessed with this!! It was really refreshing and tasty, although it is quite sweet so if you’re not into sweet drinks this may not be for you! I had this on two separate occasions because I loved it so much. Also, it was quite lovely that they tell you where the flower on top of your drink came from!

You can find this at the Pineapple Promenade booth near the Refreshment Port!

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Watermelon Cucumber Slushy

Staying on the topic of drinks, my boyfriend and I shared one of these bad boys. I was actually quite nervous to try this! I’m not an adventurous person at all when it comes to food or drinks, and the idea of cucumber in a drink seemed like it wouldn’t really be my sort of thing. But I made it my goal to try new things on this trip! And I ended up loving this slushy! And so did my boyfriend, for that matter. The cucumber wasn’t overpowering at all and the bit of it that you could taste was really lovely and refreshing. I always love a good watermelon juice as well, so that part of it was definitely down my alley. I’m already trying to figure out how to make this on my own at home!

You can find this at the Florida Fresh booth between the France and Morocco pavilions!

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Beef Tenderloin Tips

One of our first stops on our first trip to the Festival this year was Canada. I’ve recently learned that it’s actually “proper” or whatever to follow the World Showcase by doing Mexico first and ending in Canada, but we’ve always done the opposite! I think that it’s because we’re Canadian, we are automatically drawn to our own pavilion. My boyfriend wanted to try the Beef Tenderloin Tips from the booth so we ended up sharing a plate and it was so delicious!! It felt sort of reminiscent of the Wild Mushroom Filet that is served during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival during the fall, except this one didn’t have the creamy gravy/sauce on top. It was really tender and cooked well (which is a blessing as I can’t eat any meat that isn’t cooked well). And the mashed potatoes underneath were wonderful!

You can find this at the Northern Bloom booth at the Canada pavilion!

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Tri-Coloured Tortellini

First off, please take in how the pasta is literally almost falling out of the bowl smh. This is what happens when you try to take creative photos in ridiculous Florida heat and get a little dizzy lol. I’ve only recently gotten into tortellini as picky eater me thought it was weird. And even with dipping my toe in the tortellini world, I refused to eat multi-coloured tortellinis because I’m weird. However, we’re trying new things right?! So I tried this tri-coloured cheese tortellini and LOVED it. Like honestly this might have been my favourite dish at the festival. The sauce was a chicken veloute with sage butter which was really light and lovely, but oh-so-tasty. I’m already searching up how to cook this one at home, too!

You can find this at the Primavera Kitchen booth at the Italy pavilion!

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Toasted Pretzel Bread

Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely adore pretzel bread. I love bread as it is, but pretzel bread is even better. Soft pretzels just rock, don’t they? So when I saw that Germany was offering some sort of pretzel bread sandwich, I was all in. This pretzel bread was sort of in the shape of a roll and toasted with black forest ham and melted gruyere cheese. It was so melty and savoury and delicious! It sort of reminds me of the Croissant Jambon Fromage at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in the France pavilion - which is ham, cheese and bechamel in a croissant. It was really well done and I think it would be an excellent treat for if you wanted something more sustaining to get you through a long park day, as opposed to the sweeter options around the Festival!

You can find this at the Bauernmarkt at the Germany pavilion!

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Grilled Street Corn on the Cob

This was more so something that my boyfriend wanted to sample, and that I decided to try and ending up really enjoying! This corn on the cob is coated in a savoury garlic spread, which makes it absolutely so delicious that I can’t even put it into words. The corn itself was also very sweet which made it a really interesting mix of flavours - in the best way! I was sort of skeptical about just chomping down on a corn on the cob in the middle of a theme park but it was really tasty and I liked that they provided you with an aluminum foil covering at the bottom so you could hold the corn without touching it with your bare hands! Regardless, this was a super messy treat. The garlic spread got all over our faces lol so I would definitely recommend having plenty of napkins on hand if you decide to try this!

You can find this at the Trowel and Trellis booth near the Mexico pavilion!

Frushi

Lastly, we tried the famous Frushi. I’ve seen a ton of Instagrammers snacking on Frushi over the years at the Flower and Garden Festival, so I just had to know what was so great about it. I have NEVER eaten sushi before, in my life. I don’t even think I’ve seen anyone eat sushi in front of me before, unless maybe my dad did once upon a time. I’m not a seafood-eater at all so sushi isn’t in the cards for me. But fruit sushi is! Frushi is comprised of fresh pineapple, strawberry and melon rolled with raspberry coconut rice and sprinkled with toasted coconut, accompanied by whipped cream on the side (with some sort of raspberry sauce on it I think). I had no idea how to go about eating this lol my dad had to tell me to eat it in one bite which is hilarious because I only ever eat things in small bites. But it was good! I don’t know that I loved it, but it was refreshing and the fruit was so so tasty! I think the only thing that put me off might have been the raspberry coconut rice. But I’d try it again in the future!

You can find the frushi at the Hanami booth at the Japan pavilion!

And that’s a close on my 2019 Flower and Garden Festival adventures! It was so lovely to be back at this beautiful festival, enjoying the wonderful treats and sights. I love how they integrate flowers in their sweets and how they keep everything fresh and themed to the season. We tried sooo many things this year but there were still so many things I wish I had time to sample! If you tried anything that I didn’t feature in this post, let me know what it was and what you thought of it!

Felicia x

Christmas 2018 Travel Diary: Travelling the World Showcase

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By now, I’m sure you guys know how much I love Epcot. If not, here’s the gist: I love Epcot with my whole heart, I want to live there forever, there’s no greater sight than that beautiful ball lit up at night. Got it? Cool.

Last year, due to my anxiety, I wasn’t able to make it to Epcot (cue tears) but thankfully this year I’m feeling better than ever which meant is was Epcot time for me!!!

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We were extremely lucky as we managed to get fairly last minute reservations at Les Chefs de France, my fav restaurant in Epcot (maybe even in all of Walt Disney World??). So as soon as we walked through the park gates, we hightailed it on over to the restaurant and we were very quickly seated. Obviously, I ordered the Boeuf Bourguignon which is the tastiest meal. And I even got to see my fav waiter who served my boyfriend and I when we went in August!! If you’re ever dining at Les Chefs de France and you’re served by Kevin, you’re in for a treat - he’s the sweetest EVER.

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After dinner, we went on one of my fav rides, Frozen Ever After, and then took a stroll around the World Showcase to see all the beautiful holiday decorations. Epcot is so interesting during the Festival of the Holidays, their special holiday celebration where each country pavilion showcases their own cultural way of celebrating! Each pavilion is decorated so beautifully for the season, it’s such a sight to take in! I highly recommend strolling around and peeking into every pavilion - you won’t regret it.

After we walked the entire pavilion, we - of course - went to Mouse Gears, one of the best Disney shops. And then grabbed a Starbucks for the journey home. I actually managed to grab a Peppermint Mocha Frappucino, which I’d never had before but I’ve tried when my boyfriend has ordered. I LOVED it. So festive and delicious! I wish the holidays weren’t over so I could have another haha.

See you in a couple days for the next day of my travel diary!

Felicia x

Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2018

Hello darlings!

Today, I thought I’d do a review of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and chat about the things I tried this year. I’ve done this in the past on two different occasions and I just love writing about the festival because it’s really a lot of fun and reminiscing about food is always a good time.

If you want to read my past Food and Wine reviews, you can! I wrote one up in 2015 (when I still a baby & v new to blogging) and in 2017.

The very first thing we did on our Food and Wine tour this year was ride Spaceship Earth. I don’t know if you guys heard, but it was announced on a bunch of blogs recently that Spaceship Earth will be undergoing a two and a half year refurb which will essentially change everything we know and love about this ride, in preparation for the brand new shiny Epcot 2.0 that Imagineers are cooking up. I immediately panicked when I read the article because basically every Disney ride or attraction I’ve ever held near and dear to my heart has been given the axe over the last 5 years and Spaceship Earth is my absolute fav ride. I’m cautiously optimistic about what this refurb will actually consist of - maybe it’s just a refresh?? But for now, I’m going to ride it as much as I possibly can before it closes down.

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As my family are AP’s, we usually stop at the Festival Welcome Centre right off the bat to collect our free Passholder gift and the Festival passport. The Welcome Centre is located in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, which is super cool because I never visited Disney when the pavilion was in operation so it’s a bit of a glimpse of what Epcot used to be. This year, the AP gift was a magnet with Mickey in a chef hat that is absolutely to die for. Like, c’mon how cute is that!!!! They’ve also been giving out cutting boards if you go multiple times.

Now, onto the food!

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Our very first stop for food was the Hawaii booth. As usual, I got the Kalua Pork Sliders. The weird part of my love for the pork sliders is the fact that it’s the exact sort of dish I’d actually hate in most cases. First off, I typically don’t like pork. Second, it’s got a sweet-and-sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayo on it. I’m the pickiest eater ever so this seems really ‘out there’ for me but good god do I love it.

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The second stop for me was my home and native land! At Canada, I always get the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon. It’s kind of an iffy dish for me. Some years I love it, some years I could do without it. This year, it was pretty good actually. I feel like it was a lot smaller than last year?? But I could be misjudging the size. And although I like the taste of mushrooms on the steak, I’m not huge on mushrooms themselves and there were a ton on top of the beef this time so I was constantly pushing them to the side. But the meat was very tender and well-done, just how I like it.

I also tried the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup which is what my mum ordered. I loooove me some cheese soup, especially because it comes with a pretzel roll which you can dunk into the soup. YUM.

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I also had, for the second time ever, the Schinkennudeln from Germany. There will never be a year where my family doesn’t pronounce this completely wrong but the four of us love it all the same! It’s pasta gratin with ham, cheese, and onions that’s soooo delicious. It looks like it’d be a really heavy pasta from all the cheese, but I find it’s actually quite light which is good because I don’t love heavy pastas. Plus, the cheese is very mild - again a good thing because I’m not big on sharp cheese (I know, I’m so weird).

Ladies and gentlemen, may I draw your attention to the worst quality pic of the entire post! By this point, it was like 7:30 at night so lighting was not on my side. ANYWAY. This is one of my fav foods of the whole festival, the Loaded Mac n Cheese. Ugh this is so good, I’m in heaven just thinking about it. Again, it’s one of those kinda dishes that seems like something I’d hate. It’s got pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and peppers all mixed in with macaroni pasta to make an absolutely incredible (and quite spicy) dish. This and the pork sliders might just be tied for #1 in my opinion.

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Honestly, Food and Wine is such a great time. It’s a great opportunity to just stroll around World Showcase, taste a few international dishes, and enjoy the atmosphere of *ahem* the greatest Disney park.

Also, let’s have a moment of silence for our fallen heroes (aka the food that didn’t show up on menus this year):

  • Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi (although, I should probably quit holding out hope on this one, it’s been a couple years since it last appeared lol)

  • Chicken Gyro

  • Boeuf Bourguignon (my absolute fav!!! how could Disney do this to me!!!)

Hope you guys enjoyed reading! If you’ve been to Food and Wine before, let me know what your fav dish was in the comments.

Felicia x

Disney Must-Do's: Epcot

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When I was younger, I was never really big on Epcot. It didn't really have a lot to offer for a six-year-old, so my family kind of just looked past it on the first few visits. But, as I got older, I started to realize the charm - and beauty - of Epcot and now it's become my favourite park in all of Walt Disney World. No visit to the parks is complete without a trip to Epcot. In fact, most trips, I visit Epcot more than once! I love all this park stands for and there is so much that it offers for guests. Here are my Epcot must-do's for a Disney vacation! 

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Ride Spaceship Earth. This is unequivocally the number one must-do at Epcot for me. Spaceship Earth is easily my fav Disney World attraction (ever since they retired my beloved Great Movie Ride #rip). There's nothing I love more than plopping down in my backwards-and-forwards moving Time Machine and going for a spin through history with my bff Dame Judi Dench. This gem is quite literally located inside that beautiful geodesic sphere at centre stage in the park - it's what you probably know as the giant golf ball. My dad fondly refers to this as a 'good nap ride' but don't let that fool you! It's great. Trust me.

Have a bite to eat at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in France pavilion. The France pavilion has many incredible places to eat. But my personal favourite quick-service meal in Epcot actually resides in the back of the France pavilion, at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. This little bistro-style quick service is constantly packed with hungry parkgoers but never fear, the line is quick moving and WORTH. IT. I actually dream about the Croissant Jambon Fromage, which is ham, cheese, and bechamel inside a croissant. Yummmm!! 

Pop into Mouse GearsOh, look, a Disney shop. Are you surprised? Probably not. This is one of the bigger shops in the parks and it's got a ton of stuff to browse through. Along with the typical sections - adult apparel, children's apparel, toys, stationary, books, movies, candy, homeware, etc. - it also has a great Epcot-themed area where they've been selling Epcot 35th Anniversary merch for the past year. 90% of my Disney merch collection has been purchased at Mouse Gears. It's not a trip to Epcot unless I've spent 15 minutes standing in the homeware section of this shop, trying to convince my boyfriend that we need another Disney mug. 

Visit my home countryOf course, I have to visit the Canada pavilion whenever I take a trip out to Epcot. It's my duty as a Canadian! But no, in all seriousness, I always try to make a quick stop at the Canadian pavilion, as it's lovely to see what sort of merch they've got in there and it's always nice to have a chat with the cast members (all the cast members in each pavilion are native to that country). Once, we went in and spoke a CM who was from our old neighbourhood! They also have a book where you can sign your name and what province you come from. We've been doing it for years and it's always fun to see where the other visitors are traveling from!

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Take a trip around the worldI think I'd be remiss if I didn't list taking a stroll around World Showcase as one of my must-do's. It's so cool to see all the different countries represented and to be able to experience some of what each of the countries has to offer. I love poking around in each of the pavilions just to see what's been recently added and also to admire the beautiful areas. There are some serious photo ops for any photography lovers, or just anyone looking for a good selfie spot! Some of my favourite places to take photos are Canada (that's where the picture above is from!), France, Morocco, and United Kingdom. I always like to look for the less-travelled path and see where it takes me - and what photos ops it offers! 

What are your Epcot must-do's?

Felicia x

Review: Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival | 2017

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Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival is absolutely, without a doubt one of my must-do's at Walt Disney World. If you were to ask me, 'say Felicia, I'm thinking about going to Disney, when should I go?', I would say AUTUMN because FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL. My family has been going to the Food and Wine Festival since 2011, and in 2015 my boyfriend joined in on our yearly tradition. Each year, we pick up a complimentary Food and Wine Passport to record what we've tried each year and our thoughts on each dish. So, I thought I would share with all of you what we tried and what we thought of everything.

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Starting off with my home and native land. Every year since we first started going to the Food and Wine Festival we've had the "Le Cellier" Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce. It used to be one of my favourite dishes of the event, but the past couple years it's been meh. My boyfriend and I shared one, and though I was happy it was cooked fairly well done, we both agreed it was not as great as previous years. I'm not sure if this had something to with the fact that we got there later in the day, and it might have been sitting out for some time, but I was sadly unimpressed.

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Okay, here we go. Favourite dish time. My boyfriend and I each had our own plate of the Boeuf Bourguignon with Purée de Pommes de Terre, which is Cabernet Sauvignon-braised Beef served with mashed potatoes. Guys, this is the most tender piece of meat I have ever had in my entire life. Honestly, you don't even need a knife, you can easily break it apart with a fork. Drizzled in gravy, atop mashed potatoes, it's meat heaven. Added bonus: they serve this year-round at Les Chefs de France, one of the two restaurants at Epcot's France pavilion. Bon Appetit.

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Although I didn't try anything at the Italy stand, my boyfriend did, so I thought it fit to mention it regardless. He tried the Absolut Penne, which is penne served with vodka sauce and shrimp. I'm not a fan of seafood at all, but my boyfriend loves it. He really enjoyed this dish and said he would definitely try it again. Although he did say it was a little spicy, so if you're not into spice, this probably isn't for you.

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We visit this stand every year, and it's always worth it. I always get the Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour DOLE Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise. I loveeeee this so so much. It's super odd in terms of the description. Like, pineapple chutney, spicy mayonnaise, pork. It sounds like a weird combo. But I promise you, it's heavenly. Definitely a must-have in terms of dishes at the Festival. The pork, mixed with the pineapple chutney is delicious. Yum. I'm in heaven thinking about it right now.

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The next stand we went to was Australia, where my boyfriend tried the Grilled Lamb T-Bone with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies. He found the lamb to very tender and quite good, but the mint sauce was too excessive and overpowering.

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I had never tried anything from the Mexico pavilion before this year, but my parents tried the Rib Eye Tacoso I thought I'd give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised! Although I wasn't totally in love with it, I did think it was pretty good. It's made up of marinated rib eye, roasted chipotle sauce, and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla. It was good, but I'm not sure I would have it again.

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Germany was another new stop for me, but it will definitely be one I go to again in the future. My boyfriend and I tried the Schinkennudeln. My boyfriend ordered it, offered me a bite, and after that, I was in love. The Schinkennudeln is pasta gratin made with ham and cheese. It was reallyreally good. I can't wait to have it again next year!

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ACTIVE EATS

This was a last stop, but certainly worthwhile. I had the Loaded Mac 'n' Cheese with Nueske's Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers, and Green Onions. I am a mac 'n' cheese fanatic. And this mac 'n' cheese checks off everything on my list when it comes to the perfect dish. It's so good, and even has a bit of a spice to it. I highly recommend this dish.

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NOTABLY ABSENT

There were definitely some dishes that didn't show up this year, that were very missed by us:

  • The Chicken Gyro from Greece

  • The Ravioli alla Caprese from Italy

  • The Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi

RIP to you all. :(

Until next time, Food and Wine!

Felicia x

Review: Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival | 2015

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You all may not know it yet, but I am a major foodie. Although I might be a bit picky (rather, very picky), I often go through periods of time where I become particularly adventurous in terms of my taste buds. Fortunately, this time of taste-related bravery comes along right around the time of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.

The Food and Wine Festival is a special event that Disney hosts every autumn. They set up several "Marketplace" booths, representing various countries, and serve delectable dishes from around the world. It is a fantastic chance to try new things and enjoy miniature versions of fabulous meals.

Today, I visited alongside my parents and my lovely boyfriend. I took a few photographs of what I had today and thought I might share them with all of you, so you can virtually drool over the culinary excellence of the Food and Wine Festival.

What I Had:

Hawaii: Kalua Pork Slider w/ Dole Pineapple Chutney & Spicy Mayo

Cheese Studio: Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread

Greece: Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce

Desserts & Champagne: Cream Soda Float with Caramel Ice Cream

Farm Fresh: Loaded Mac 'n' Cheese

Italy: Ravioli Alla Caprese

Belgium: Belgian Waffle w/ Chocolate Ganache

France: Boeuf Bourguignon

Canada: Cheddar cheese soup & Wild mushroom beef fillet

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