Today is Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival in Japanese culture. This holiday celebrates the one day of the year that two loves, Altair the Cowherd and Vega the Weaver, were allowed by the king to be together. The rest of the year they are separated by the Milky Way. In Japan, many festivals take place to celebrate Tanabata—in fact, Tokyo Disneyland celebrates the festival with a parade lead by Mickey and Minnie.
Today at Walt Disney World Resort, Tanabata is being celebrated in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. Cast members wear traditional Kimono, and in the afternoon guests are invited to write their wishes on slips of colorful paper and place them on a bamboo tree in the Mitsukoshi department store. Continue the celebration at Tokyo Dining, where you can share a meal—and some drinks from the new beverage menu—with a loved one.
Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Garin Williamson, beverage manager for Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo, who walked me through the new beverage menu. With a focus on natural, fresh ingredients, these drinks have a distinct Japanese flair.
For a “hands-on” experience, try the Shochu Squeeze: choose grapefruit, lemon or orange to hand-squeeze into a glass of clean, crisp shochu for the ultimate refreshment.
There are many ways to sample sake—choose from a new carafe or masu box—purposely overflowed to show generosity—or try the Junmai Sake Flight, a sampling of three premium sake: Junmai, Junmai Ginjyo, and Junmai Daiginjyo.
On a hot day, cool down with the Sake Mojito with sake, shochu, Japanese shiso herb and fresh mint, or go for something tropical like the Okinawa Beach with gold tequila, blue curacao, pineapple juice, sour mix and calpico. Tea lovers will enjoy the Green Tea Martini with honey-infused matcha tea and vodka.
Celebrate Tanabata today with your loved ones or next time you visit the Japan pavilion at Epcot. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.