This begins the third and final installment of our Epcot Flower & Garden food reviews, and I thought I’d start and end with some merchandise this time, just to mix things up a bit.
(For those that missed the previous installments, I recommend reviewing our Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2016 Part I and Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2016 Part II before proceeding. Part I is especially helpful, as it contains all of the menus.)
The Dooney & Bourke handbag above was made especially for the 2016 Flower & Garden Festival, and will run you $248 plus tax. As with most merchandise, annual passholders are eligible for a 10% discount.
Sometimes the placement of the Dooney & Bourke nameplate is… unfortunate. If you’re going to drop $250 on one of these, you might want to look for one where the nameplate doesn’t obscure one of the characters in the pattern.
For $208, you can get this over-the-shoulder satchel. (It looks like Donald got the “nameplate squash” on this one.)
Finally, the wallet will run you $108 — a hundred bucks less than the satchel.
OK, let’s move on to the food kiosks, and some of the items I haven’t covered previously.
Above is the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade, available at the Pineapple Promendade. It’s a light purple lemonade slush, and contains a hint of violet flavor. This one comes highly recommended, and is at or near the top of our non-alcoholic drink recommendations, right alongside the Watermelon Cucumber Slushy, available from Florida Fresh.
This drink is sweet, but the tartness of the beverage seems to go a long way toward helping digest some of the richer food items available at the festival. We recommend enjoying it as one of the last items on your trip around the world.
Moving over to La Isla Fresca, this is the Jerk-Spice Grouper. You may remember that we already covered this in Part I. I just bring it up again here because the grouper portion size they’ve been serving lately is probably 3x larger than what we had opening day.
I’ve seen the larger portion size on two separate days now, which makes me think it’s more than just a fluke. Could it be that Disney actually noticed all of the food bloggers complaining about portion size here? Regardless of the reason, it’s nice to get a bit more bang for your $5.25 on this one.
Also available at La Isla Fresca is the Frozen Simply Tropical Juice Drink. There are two versions, one containing Cruzan Mango Rum, and this one, the non-alcoholic variety.
Liesle and I both found this one lacking. Maybe we were just unlucky, but the mangoes on top of the drink weren’t ripe and were barely edible — we even threw some of them away. The underlying mango-flavored slush was OK, but not worth the $4.25 we paid for such a small portion size. We’d recommend passing on this for the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade instead.
Next up is Mexico’s Jardin de Fiestas kiosk, and the Corn Tortilla Quesadilla. It’d billed as containing “roasted mushrooms and zucchini blossoms,” and both Liesle and I really liked the flavor of the quesadilla itself along with the accompanying green tomatillo sauce. The cheese and mushrooms blended nicely to create a mellow, comforty texture and flavor, which was complemented well by the sauce.
As I said, the flavor here was great. My only complaint is the $5.50 price tag for the very small portion size. Having said that, I’ll consider trying this one again, due to the great flavor.
For dessert, say hello to the Flan de Rosas, also available at Mexico. This comes complete with a sweet, flowery-tasting hibiscus reduction sauce, which we both really liked. The flan was flavorful but not too rich, and the whipped cream and flower petal on top completed the dish perfectly. This one gets two thumbs-up from us. 🙂
Moving from Mexico down toward our next stop at the China kiosk, please say hello to Elsa and Anna, who are anxiously waiting for their new Maelstrom-replacement ride to open sometime soon.
Next up is China’s Lotus House kiosk, and the Vegetable Spring Roll, served here with an orange sauce. These are about what you’d expect to see at any basic Chinese restaurant.
I did appreciate that these weren’t overcooked, and while they were good, I didn’t find this dish unique enough to spend $4.50 on again. There are enough other items at the festival that are both good *and* unique, that I’ll probably pass on this one next time.
Next at Lotus House is the Gaoli Beef Bun. The beef here was very good, and the sauce used for flavoring was tomato-based but not overly sweet. Sort of a mellow sloppy-joe flavor. The bun was very soft and balanced well with the texture of the meat inside. We both recommend this dish.
Next, we try the Currywurst with Paprika Chips, available at the Germany kiosk. The sausage here is covered with a light ketchup (not quite as tangy or overpowering as the American version), and the ketchup-covered wurst is sprinkled with a curry powder. The paprika chips are a nice accompaniment.
We both give this one two thumbs up. The curry flavor blends well with the ketchup to complement the sausage flavor really well. And you could do worse than the $5.00 price tag as well. We’d definitely consider getting this one again.
Next we try the Mezze Lune Primavera, available at the Primavera Kitchen near Italy. Disney describes this as “egg pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach in a creamy sauce with spring vegetables and pecorino.” And if you weren’t aware, pecorino “is the name of a family of hard Italian cheeses made from ewe’s milk,” according to Wikipedia.
The pasta, cheese, and cream sauce combine to form a really smooth, mellow, and flavorful combination. Italian comfort food at its finest. At $6.00 It’s a little pricey for a meatless dish, though, so we have to take it down a notch on that basis. We probably won’t get this one again, even though the flavor was there. Like the Vegetable Spring Roll at Lotus House, this one didn’t seem unique enough to try again, given the other standouts available at the festival.
This is the Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash, available at the Smokehouse near the American Adventure building. It contains a nice blend of brisket, potatoes, and a cheese sauce that all work really well together. The pepper garnishes round out the dish nicely.
This is a returning favorite from last year, but when we tried this again this year when it was still early in the day, it seemed like it had been sitting out for a long time under the heat lamp. (Not to be too gross, but you can sort of get a feel for this from the large grease spot running up the left corner of the container in the picture above. The meat had to be sitting in the paper tray for a while for the grease to leech that far up the side of the tray.)
At any rate, the amount of time this had been sitting out dampened the enjoyment of this dish. It’s a great flavor combination, and we enjoyed it much better when we tried it again on a different day. My advice is to get this one later in the day just to make sure it’s been recently cooked.
This is the Beef Teriyaki Udon, available at the Japan kiosk. It’s comprised of beef, onions, and noodles, accompanied by soy and ginger. It tastes about as you’d expect from the description, and while it was OK, I didn’t really find it memorable enough to try again, especially at its higher-end $5.95 price point.
This is the Harissa Chicken Kebab, available at Taste of Marrakesh, near Morocco. This is good. The sauce and middle-eastern spices complement the chicken well, and the sweet couscous salad add a nice balance to the dish. At $5.00, it’s also on the lower end of the price scale, which also weighs in favor of this one. If you’re trying to choose between this and the Falafel Pocket we covered last time, we definitely recommend you go with this one.
Finally, this is the Shrimp and Stone-ground Grits, available at Florida Fresh.
Unlike the tiny shrimp in the taco at Mexico (which even Madame Leota has issues with), the shrimp here are much larger. This is a fairly spicy dish, and it’s still one of our favorites, even at the $6.25 price point.
The spiciness of the shrimp and andouille sausage here are offset by the grits, and the texture combination of the shrimp and corn kernels complemented by the grits works really well too. This one is highly recommended.
For those who may have missed it, the “Garden Rocks” concert series is also running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the festival, with shows at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:oopm each weekend evening.
The lineup for the remainder of the festival is:
- April 1-3 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”
- April 8-10 – The Guess Who “American Woman”
- April 15-17 – NEW! Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice “Spinning Wheel”
- April 22-24 – NEW! BRIAN HOWE, former lead singer of Bad Company “Can’t Get Enough”
- April 29-May 1 – NEW! Georgia Satellites “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”
- May 6-8 – Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy”
- May 13-15 – NEW! Darlene Love “Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home”
- May 20-22 – Night Ranger “Sister Christian”
- May 27-30 (Monday) – The Spinners “Working My Way Back to You”
OK, so these aren’t unique to the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, but with the Downton Abbey series just ending recently (and Liesle and I both being fans of the show), we thought at least some of you might appreciate the Downton Abbey merchandise on sale in the UK pavilion shops. The t-shirt above will run you $29.95.
A sample of other items on display…
I have no idea what this thing is.
Lots of Downton Abbey Jewelry on display.
Sample pricing. There were less expensive items as well.
This wraps up the third and final installment of our Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2016 food reviews. We hope you find these helpful as you decide what to sample yourself during the festival!
Coming up next on the blog is a continuation of our spring break RideMax test. If you want to catch up, you can read part one of the spring break RideMax test by clicking here. I also expect to be posting more RideMax Roulette experiences in the future, as well as posting details about the new happenings at Animal Kingdom scheduled to open in April.
As always, if you’re looking for custom, optimized itineraries designed to save you hours of time in line at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, be sure to check out RideMax!
Comments or questions? You know what to do!