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Fifteen Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2015

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s a new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?

Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.

Trattoria al Forno Brings the Italian Countryside to Disney's BoardWalk

1. Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk – The newest Disney restaurant just opened its doors a few days ago. The menu features authentic Italian cuisine and wines – and is now an option on the Disney Dining Plan. Yum!

Exposition Park Opens for Disney Food Trucks at Downtown Disney

2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).

3. 2015 runDisney Races Are Off & Running - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will take place January 7-11. (Check out a sneak peek at the merchandise that will be sold at this year’s event here). Space is still available in the Kids Races!

4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on this fun new location.

5. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.

PRINCESS HALF MARATHON AT DISNEY WORLD

6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Returns – This princess-themed weekend of running events returns to Walt Disney World February 19-22.

7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.

Sunset closer

8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com, as well as at the sports complex box office.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

9. The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: A Spring Tradition Returns March 4-May 17 – Character topiaries, home gardening seminars, floral displays and much more will return to the park’s festival in 2015.

10. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

11. “Tomorrowland” Debuts In Theaters May 22 – While it isn’t a theme park offering, how could any Disney Parks fan possibly miss out on seeing this one? AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Downtown Disney may be the perfect location. The trailer looks amazing!

12. Annual Events – 2015 means the return of our favorite annual events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for news and dates on our 2015 special events.

Morimoto Exterior (1)

13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.

14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun - Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at our parks in 2014. This year we’ll continue the fun by encouraging all of you to show your Disney Side at our parks (and at home) throughout 2015.

15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

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Walt Disney World Event Snapshot – November 2014

posted on October 30th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


November is bustling with events at Walt Disney World Resort, take a look!

Have you taken part in this year’s 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? There’s still time. Here are a few special guest appearances you won’t want to miss. Learn more.

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November 1 – 2: Be among the first to get Disney Infinity 2.0 during our special launch event at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

November 3 – 6: Meet artist Larry Dotson who will be on hand for special appearances each day at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

November 6 – 9: Beloved artist David E. Doss returns to Walt Disney World Resort this month. Look for appearances by David at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

November 7: “Drop” in to Tower Gift Shop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a special Game Night with Disney Design Group Artist, Quynh Kimball. From 4 – 6 p.m. you can challenge Quynh to a game of Jenga or Clue, both inspired by The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction, as he tells you about how he designs these Disney Theme Park Exclusive games. Learn more.

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November 7 – 8: Excited for PANDORA? Be sure to watch for a special post from Steven Miller on a special jewelry showcase scheduled to take place at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

November 7 – 8: Join us as we welcome artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith who will appear for the very first time at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Meet Jasmine from from 5 – 7 p.m. each day. Learn more.

November 7 – 9: Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace for the release of the Villains Collection inspired by Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen. Not able to make it? No problem. Representatives will be on hand throughout the holiday season, beginning November 20. Learn more.

November 10 – 13: Artist Greg McCullough will be on hand for special appearances and signings this month at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Meet Greg (November 10 – 13, 16 – 20, 26 – 28 and November 30 – December 4). Learn more.

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November 14 – 15: Meet Disney artists David Buckley, Will Gay, Joe Kaminski, Mark Seppala and Don “Ducky” Williams, November 14 from 6 – 8 p.m. and November 15 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

November 14 – 16: ACME Archives artist William Silvers will be on hand for a special showcase as we debut some of his newest pieces inspired by Star Wars. William will appear November 14 – 15 from 5 – 9 p.m. each day and November 16 from Noon – 4 p.m. Learn more.

November 21 – 22: Take part in a Disney artist showcase with Joe Kaminski, Alex Maher, Tim McCloskey and Darren Wilson, November 21 from 6 – 8 p.m. and November 22 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

November 21 – 23: Precious Moments doll designer Linda Rick will be on hand for the debut of her Holiday Princess Collection. Look for special appearances by Linda, November 21 – 23 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace and November 27 – 30 at Santa’s Village at American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot. Learn more.

November 29 – 30: Meet Disney Traditions artist Jim Shore and see some of his latest releases November 29 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and November 30 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Heritage Manor in Epcot. Not able to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity. Learn more.

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There’s just one last thing to note before I go. Holidays Around the World kicks off November 24, I know Steven Miller is planning to share all the details with you but here are a couple of events worth noting on your holiday calendar.

  • Precious Moments Dolls (Nov. 24 – Dec. 30)
  • Reinhard Herzog (Nov. 25 – Dec. 23)

Which event are you most excited about?

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Only Two More Party for the Senses for This Year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 20th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Party for the Senses is a blowout way to end the day at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – an evening of discovery with a roomful of fantastic chefs, good wines, magical entertainment from Cirque du Soleil. All in all, there are nearly two dozen tasting stations with wine, beer and cocktails to pair. You won’t know until you arrive what you’ll be having, but the discovery is part of the fun.

And there are just two parties left in 2014: October 25 and November 1.

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October 25 is an extra-special Party for the Senses, featuring cuisine and chefs from the Disney Parks around the globe – Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.

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You can start the evening at the Eat to the Beat concert at America Gardens Theatre and end with a stroll around World Showcase and the IllumiNations fireworks and laser show – it’s a special evening you won’t want to miss. Just come hungry (and leave satisfied).

Price is $149 per person, plus tax. Epcot admission is required. Call 407-WDW-FEST for reservations.

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Another fun way to end the evening at the festival – Thursdays only – is Late Nights LIVE! This after-hours street party. between the United Kingdom and World Showcase Plaza starts at 9:45 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. Food and beverages from select marketplaces, live music, a DJ and entertainment keep the party going strong. Cost is $79 per person plus tax. Epcot admission required.

This year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival ends on November. 10.

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Behind the Scenes: Adding ‘Fantasia’ Magic to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 6th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival features the creative talents of many different departments here at Walt Disney World Resort, including our excellent Food & Beverage team. But did you know that Walt Disney Imagineering and Horticulture also play an important part in getting the park ready for the festival?

Check out this video, in which our Walt Disney Imagineers and Horticulture cast members work together to transform the park’s Entrance Planters with “Fantasia”-inspired graphics and topiaries – in just eight hours.

Drawing inspiration from the film, the graphics and horticulture designs illustrate Chef Mickey orchestrating “magical forks” to spread flavor throughout the festival. This theme is carried out throughout the park’s other graphics and horticulture displays.

What is your favorite part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? Tell us in the comments section below.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: Fun at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on October 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is well underway and our guests are loving every minute. Earlier this week, the band Hanson stopped by to perform at the Eat to the Beat concert series and show off their Mmmhops Pale Ale.

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Aside from checking out Eat to the Beat artists, our guests are tasting and sipping their way around the park. Check out the other fun that’s to be had at this year’s event in the gallery above.

Will you visit the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this year? Tell us in the comments section below!

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Hanson Appears at Eat to the Beat Tonight

posted on September 29th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The band Hanson (“I Will Come to You”) will take to the stage tonight at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in the event’s Eat to the Beat concert series.

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Earlier today, the band, which is made up of brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, took a break from performing to showcase their their new beer brew, Mmmhops Pale Ale, to Epcot guests in the Festival Center.

Hanson will take the stage tonight at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. at the America Gardens Theatre and shows are included in theme park admission.

The remaining acts in this year’s Eat to the Beat concert series are:

  • Sept. 30-Oct. 2 – Air Supply
  • Oct. 3-5 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
  • Oct. 6-8 – Sugar Ray
  • Oct. 9-10 – Fuel
  • Oct. 11-12 – Sister Hazel
  • Oct. 13-14 – Richard Marx
  • Oct. 15-16 – Billy Ocean
  • Oct. 17-19 – Night Ranger
  • Oct. 20-22 – Smash Mouth
  • Oct. 23-24 – Jim Brickman
  • Oct. 25-26 – Los Lonely Boys
  • Oct. 27-28 – Wilson Phillips
  • Oct. 29-31 – Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX
  • Nov. 1-2 – 38 Special
  • Nov. 3-5 – Boyz II Men
  • Nov. 6-7 – David Cook
  • Nov. 8-10 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
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10 Things To Love About Fall at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today is the first day of fall, and here at Walt Disney World Resort that means it’s the official start of a whole new season of fun.

Here are 10 reasons that fall is a great time to visit our parks.

Mickey's Boo-to You Halloween Parade

  1. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties – This special after-hours Halloween party at Magic Kingdom Park is a must-do during a fall visit. Bring your Halloween costumes, get ready to trick-or-treat and expect to see some amazing Halloween entertainment and fireworks! More details on this offering here.
  2. Villain’s Sinister Soiree - Available only on Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights, guests can book this special package that offers a wicked good time that includes VIP viewing for the parade and fireworks, as well as an exclusive dessert party that features some of your favorite Disney villains, musical entertainment and some delectable treats. The package costs $99 per person and more details can be found here.

Playing a Halloween Tune

  1. Pumpkins! (And Generally Amazing Fall Decor) - Fall at Magic Kingdom Park offers up some amazing photo opportunities, as our photography team showed in this blog post earlier this month. What I love most are the pumpkins along Main Street, U.S.A., which each feature their own unique design. Take a moment to check them out.

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  1. Haunted Mansion Merchandise Shop Set To Debut - This fall will see the debut of a new dedicated merchandise shop that Haunted Mansion fans are guaranteed to love. Steven Miller offered a sneak peek at some of the items that will be available at the shop in this post. Stay tuned for more on the shop’s opening.
  2. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival - Each night through November 10, Epcot will come alive with food and fun thanks to the return of one of our most popular events, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This year, 25 marketplaces will show off the talents of 270 chefs, including some of Disney’s finest, as well as some celeb chefs.
  3. Celebrity Chef Appearances - This year’s festival will feature appearances by celeb chefs Jamie Deen, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro and Allen Susser, among others.
  4. Eat To The Beat Concert Series - While we’re talking about fall fun at Epcot, the Eat to the Beat concert series is already underway with several new acts – including Fuel, Jim Brickman, Los Lonely Boys and David Cook – in the lineup. (Concerts are included in park admission).

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  1. runDisney Races Return – Two race weekends - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend and Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – will return to Walt Disney World Resort October 3-4 and November 7-8, respectively. Registration for Kids Races and after parties are still available.
  2. Special Fall Treats - Even snacks are dressed up for the holiday, with new Maleficent cups, Zero popcorn buckets and more now appearing in parks.

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  1. Fall Savings on Resort Rooms - Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort this fall can save up to 30 percent on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels, including Deluxe Villa Resort rooms and Deluxe Resort rooms. This offer is valid for stays most nights October 4 through November 25, and November 29 through December 23, 2014 and must be booked by October 3, 2014. (Some restrictions apply). To book, visit DisneyWorld.com/fall or call 407-WDW-1896.

What’s your favorite part of visiting Walt Disney World Resort during the fall season? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on September 21st, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


The 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicked off this weekend and we shared a few stories on the Disney Parks Blog to help during your visit, including Pam’s post featuring the top ten “must-try” new tastes at this year’s event.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Brazil Marketplace

There are 35 new food offerings this year and Pam recommended 10 to look forward to tasting. At the Farm Fresh Marketplace, there’s the perfect taste of Southern comfort food: griddled “Yard Bird” (chicken thigh) with collards and a dollop of the house-made habanero sauce. The Lobster Alfredo at the Hops & Barley Marketplace also made the list. Go check out the complete list.

@r-g3nrQa5r: Enjoying Disneyland in the late 1960's - A Captured Memory with Minnie! @KrazyKevinWolff: My Dad, Uncles, & Grammy at the ‪@Disneyland ‪#Matterhorn Bobsleds in the late '60s. @rOsRMEpzHS: My Sister and I Excited to Hold Pinnochio's Hand at Disneyland in the 60s. @q7xs4LofoF: Me and My Mom on Burro (and Horse?) Ride in Frontierland, 1964. Maybe This is Why I Hate Hats? ;) @qopsCOPAn-: I Love This Picture of Me and My Brother and Sisters, Think This is Around '1969' Always Loved This Photo, Look at My Trendy Haircut I'm on Mickeys Left with the Pin Curl Sideburns and Sunglasses on My Head 'So Cool' and Talk About Nostalgic Mickey Mouse! Enjoy!

And as you know, to get ready for the upcoming Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, we’re looking for the most magical Disneyland Resort memories from the past six decades. Erin has narrowed down the photo submissions for the 1960s and is now asking for your help to decide which will win. Visit Erin’s story this weekend and let us know your favorite.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week

Fodor’s Travel Names Aulani a Top Hotel – Read more about this distinguished award, and plan your “Beach Getaway” to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

‘Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush’ Moseys Out of Disneyland Park September 27 – Every great story must have a great ending – it’s time to bid farewell to ‘Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush’ at Disneyland park. Be sure to visit your friends in Frontierland and Rainbow Ridge before September 27.

#DisneyKids: First Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park – Watch some first Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party experiences at Magic Kingdom Park!

Halloween Time Treats at the Disneyland Resort – Take a first look at some of the delightfully wicked treats debuting this year as part of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.

Halloween Time Novelty Items to Materialize at Disneyland Resort – Get a sneak peek at some of the spooky souvenir novelty items coming to Disneyland Resort for Halloween.

Learn to Draw Grumpy from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ – Watch as Brian James Fichtner from Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios gives a quick tutorial on how to draw the perfect grump!

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New Wearable Disney Gift Card Designed for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 19th, 2014 by Virginia Scanlon, Manager Alliance Management, Disney Gift Card Services


When visiting the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, complete your experience with our new wearable Disney Gift Card created especially for this year’s event.

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In addition to the many features of a Disney Gift Card, this year’s Festival-themed card comes with a wristband to ensure quick and easy access for convenience at festival kiosks. Activate your Disney Gift Card with as little as $15 and just swipe to pay as you sample your favorite food and beverages throughout the event.

The fun doesn’t have to end after the festival! Reload your Disney Gift Card on property and use it for practically all things Disney throughout Walt Disney World Resort and at other Disney destinations nationwide.

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For more about this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase, visit the posts blow:

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Our Top 10 New Tastes for 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


All sorts of special events, cooking demos and parties make the 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival worth the trip, but for us, it’s the simple pleasure of noshing and sipping our way around World Showcase that is one of the most memorable parts of the 53-day festival (the longest ever) that debuts Friday, September 19, and runs through November 10.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Brazil Marketplace

This is the seventh year that Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann has been at the helm, and every year he gets a little more authentic, a little more creative. Thirty-five new food offerings debut this year, requiring multiple visits to truly savor each taste.

And while it may be nearly impossible to appreciate every single dish paired with tasting-sized servings of wine, beer (and non-alcoholic beverages) at the 25+ Marketplaces, we’ve done a little homework and are suggesting the Top 10 new, “don’t-miss” dishes for 2014.

Here, in no certain order, are 10 of the new dishes worth a taste, even if you have to share to make it all the way around:

  1. Lobster Alfredo at the Hops & Barley Marketplace, a bowl with warm macaroni noodles, generous bits of lobster and a crunch topping. Add a 6-ounce pour of crisp Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat.
  2. Eat dessert first: you don’t want to miss the rich, velvety caramel crème brûlée with fleur de sel at the France Marketplace. Pair it with a flute of Sparkling Pomegranate Kir.
  3. A hearty, healthful dish is Patagonia’s Verlasso salmon, served with quinoa salad and a flourish of garlicky arugula chimichurri. Add a pour of the fruity Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier.
  4. At the Farm Fresh Marketplace, there’s the perfect taste of Southern comfort food: griddled “Yard Bird” (chicken thigh) with collards and a dollop of the house-made habanero sauce. Just for fun, add a Florida wine (yes, Florida), the Key Limen-Key Lime Wine from Florida Orange Groves.
  5. Also at Farm Fresh, the Florida grass-fed beef slider with a scoop of kicky pimento cheese melting over the warm burger was another don’t-miss. We added the Beer Flight (four 4-ounce servings): I-4 IPA, Ba Ba Black Lager, Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale and Florida Cracker Belgian Style White Ale.
  6. Even if the idea of snails is not for you, give it a try. They’ve jazzed up the escargot in France, now served with three tender snails in pastry with lots of garlic, spinach, bacon and Parmesan. Be elegant and pair with a cool Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Côte Blanche.
  7. The Greece marketplace has added hearty Vegetarian Moussaka, made with eggplant and potatoes and a rich béchamel sauce. Try it with Domaine Skouras Moscofilero, a white wine with rich flavors of citrus and tropical fruits. (We also loved sipping the Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur.)
  8. For a taste of the tropics, it’s the Ensalada de Carrucho, Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro at the new Puerto Rico Marketplace along the Rose Walk leading to World Showcase Plaza. Pair it with Medalla light beer.
  9. Canada’s Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette deserves a pour of the Canada Mission Hill Family Estate Syrah.
  10. Desserts & Champagne Marketplace is always our final stop, and we can recommend this year’s trio: Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle, Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll and Chocolate Espresso Opera Cake. Best of all, they’re now serving Dom Pérignon Champagne. Life is good.

And we still have to make room for a few returning favorites: the grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and crunch potato chips in Australia; crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro in Brazil; Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise in Hawaii, and the kimchi dog with spicy mustard sauce in South Korea.

Also, here’s a link to all the menus. Get out there and share your favorite Marketplace dishes with us!


For more about this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase, visit the posts below:

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