A Quick Hit to Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Have you ever tasted something so good it sounds completely reasonable fly 1,000 miles each way and not sleep for 2 days to try it again? Well…as should be clear to you by now, I am a little Dopey, that’s exactly what I did last weekend! A year ago my daughter and I hit the Festival of the Arts and just about lost our minds over the offerings from the Festival booth The Deconstructed Dish.

To be specific, we had tried a deconstructed BLT, deconstructed French onion soup, and deconstructed key lime pie, that were stuff of legends. We talked about them all year, not thinking that we’d get a chance tor ever try them again. The stars aligned this year with a free weekend, free plane tickets and a cheap hotel, so we decided to go for it.

There was, of course a catch. To use the free plane tickets, we wouldn’t land until midnight, and then our flight out the day after our park-hopping would leave at 7 a.m. Sooo we knew going into this there would be very little sleep. But… there’s time for sleep in the grave.

When the first of the flight delay messages came in I wasn’t too worried. When the fourth and fifth came in, I pretty much gave up hope. Still, there was no cancellation message, so around 10 p.m we headed to the airport for our now midnight flight. The guys at the valet parking thought we were crazy… they rarely if ever see flights so late out of our sleepy little regional airport.

By some miracle we made it to Orlando, albeit four hours late. We got to our hotel room about 4:30 a.m., which gave me a luxurious 2 hours and 15 min before my alarm went off to get in the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy. But… we made it, I snagged the coveted virual queue position and we were off for a day of park-hopping.

What is Festival of the Arts?

One of the shortest of the rotating festivals at Epcot, this one features the arts: visual, performing, and (of course) culinary. It runs from mid-January to mid-February (smack dab between Marathon and Princess weekends for those of you who think in runDisney terms).The park is dotted with booths featuring Disney and local artists. You can find artists actively working on sidewalk art and step into a photo opportunity featuring renditions of world masterpieces. Disney-related broadway artists perfrom concerts on the weekends, and then there are the food booths.

We came for one thing, and one thing only: the Deconstructed Dish festival food booth, which did not disappoint. I had seen them prepping the booth during Marathon weekend and got crazy excited when I realized our favorites would be back!

Deconstructed BLT

Pork Belly, Soft-Poached Egg, Onion Bread Pudding, Watercress Espuma and Tomato Jam

This is the stuff that dreams are made of. I think the pork belly was a bit overdone and the poached egg was a bit underdone, but I could still eat this every day.

Deconstructed French Onion Soup

Beef Broth Ravioli, Gruyère Cream, Onion Bread Pudding and Onion Textures 

I’m not sure what kind of pixie dust is in the onion bread pudding, but OMG. The only think I wished was that the little pickled onion garnish had been warm. It was served cold which was a little bit of a surprise to my mouth.

Deconstructed Key Lime Pie

Flexible Key Lime Curd, “Key Lime” Mousse, Graham Cracker Cake and Meringues

I get as excited as Cogsworth presenting Belle for dinner telling you about this one. This dessert that haunted my dreams was back and just as fabulous as I remembered. First of all, the presentation. Full stop. But key lime pie is one of my all-time favorites (and I’ve tried a few) and this went above an beyond. It was just the right size, and that little gem that looks like a lime on the dish is the key lime mousse. Wow. Just wow. 10/10.

We knew it couldn’t get much better than that, so after we rode Guardians, indulged at The Deconstructed Dish and caught the Voices of Liberty, we figured we should quit while we were ahead! We hopped on a Friendship boat for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and rounded out the day with a viewing of Fantasmic! (Which was also Fantastic!)

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts closes up shop for the year on February 20, so there’s still time to hustle over there if your cravings get the best of you!

Did you sample any amazing foods at the Festival? Leave me a comment and tell me what’s good!

Wine and Dine after-party details announced

Guardians! GUARDIANS! Yassss!!

The Wine and Dine after-party is happening on November 6 at Epcot, and it offers an exclusive opportunity for half marathoners and their paid guests to experience the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Select attractions will be open and will not require a Lightning Lane or virtual queue. And the burning question on most everyone’s mind is “Can I ride Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind?” The runDisney Blog answered that question in a video released today. You can see the original video here.

Attractions that will be available during the after-party include:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Test Track
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Also featured will be a performance by Boyz II Men….. Whaaaat?!?!?

Boyz II Men

Of course the Epcot Food & Wine Festival booths will be open for business, and rumor has it there will be a specialty cocktail created just for the occasion.

We’ll cover more about the Food and Wine Festival yummy-ness soon. Check back or sign up for email updates!

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind lives up to the hype

Spoilers ahead – read on if you want the scoop on the hottest new E-ticket!

I scored a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an almost private trip into space on the new roller coaster at Epcot, and wow, oh wow, oh wow! Currently, there is no standby line for this indoor coaster. If you’re very lucky, you can join the Virtual Queue at 7 a.m. or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane entry. Individual Lightning Lane prices can vary, but generally are around $15 per rider.

This time I was very, very lucky. Acting on a tip from my Uber driver, he said that they key to getting into the Virtual Queue is not to hit the button on the My Disney Experience app before exactly 7 a.m. . Starting at 6:58 or 6:59 and hoping to get in on the refresh will just end up putting you behind the game. So I waited like the cat ready to pounce on the mouse hole (à la Lucifer in Cinderella), and struck at my prey -the “join queue” button – the moment my phone said 7 a.m. I was rewarded not with a far-distant boarding group that would require me to be at Epcot all day (I had park hopping plans), but boarding group 4. FOUR – Which required a scramble to get on the bus for the park. Right. NOW!

Virtual Queue Success

We were staying at a Disney Resort, so we had early access to the park that day. We breezed through security and tickets and passed by anxious non-resort guests waiting for rope drop. We were just a few minutes ahead of park opening and headed straight to the main event. We did not stop at Starbucks. Really. That’s how focused we were.

Once we got over to Guardians, it looked like they were waiting until rope drop to call the boarding groups, so we seized an opportunity for Test Track. We headed for the single rider line – standby was already backed up out of the building – and walked on. Wait time of zero. (I told you we had some incredible luck.)

As soon as we exited Test Track (what a way to start the day), the boarding groups were called for Cosmic Rewind. Just steps away from our current location, there was nobody in front of us at the gate

So we bolted to the entrance and got the ever-so-satisfying dopamine hit of watching the Magic Band Mickey on the turnstile turn to green and feeling the little buzz of excitement on our wrists with the happy chime that signaled we were about to step into a new world of wonder that few have experienced. There was nobody in front of us.

We made our way through a spacious, glowing blue and violet queuing area and wound our way around the graceful curves of the first room, past the Xandar artifacts and into the final waiting room. We kept looking over our shoulder, and no one was there! We waited in the final room just a few moments before the preshow began. Finally one other couple joined us, but that was it! No pictures are permitted after the preshow, so you’ll have to experience the rest for yourself!

We were escorted to the spacious loading area and had our pick of seats. We were about to climb into row 1 of the train, but the Cast Member clued us in to the best experience being in row 9. So we headed for the back and strapped in for the ride of a lifetime. So why is row 9 so much fun? Well, Cosmic Rewind is a reverse launch coaster, and all the vehicles rotate… so once we left the station we spun around and were facing the back for the reverse launch… which was a lot like Rockin’ Roller Coaster, except backwards.

The story plays out on massive screens that surround the coaster. In classic Guardians of the Galaxy fashion, we have an important mission – to go back in time and save the birth of rock & roll! Like Mission Breakout at Disney’s California Adventure, the soundtrack is randomized. We got Blondie’s One Way or Another as we swooped and swiveled through space.

The ride itself was incredibly smooth. There was at least one inversion… and with the ride being in the dark, you could never anticipate what was coming. It was really a rush of cosmic proportions, and would be worth just about any wait in line. I can’t wait to go back to Epcot to experience this again during the Wine and Dine weekend! 5 out of 5!!!!