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October 2012 Archives

October 1, 2012

Happy 30th Birthday Epcot!

Deb Wills


It seems like it was just last year when I attended the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Epcot!

Epcot's 25th Anniversary

Many books have been written about Epcot Center, from Walt Disney's original concepts to what came to be.

This blog, however, is just going to highlight a few fun facts I found while pursing some of the documents in my collection. At the end of the blog are two youtube videos you'll want to watch!

3,000 designers and 4,000 construction workers were involved in building Epcot Center Phase I which took 3 years to build. The size of the new park was massive. A one-eighth inch scale model was already as big as a home!

Future World largest attraction was The Land, presented by Kraft, Inc. It covered six acres and was as big as the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland!


During the construction of Epcot Center, 54 million cubic feet of dirt was removed!

Over 1.5 million feet of motion picture film was shot to produce 31 Epcot Center shows - can you name them all?

The 32 foot high, 515 foot long diorama in the Universe of Energy took 3 artists, 5,700 hours to paint.

Disney landscapers planted three and a half acres of annual flowers and plants, 70 acres of sod, 12,500 specimen trees and 100,000 shrubs!

Planting Epcot Trees

World Showcase Lagoon covered 40 acres and opened with nine countries: Canada, United Kingdom, France, Japan, The American Adventure, Germany, China, Italy and Mexico. The first photo is the American Adventure under construction.

American Adventure Construction

Japan Construction at Epcot

Many VIPs visited Epcot Center during construction. Here are 3 of France's best known chefs and restaurateurs, Roger Verge, Gaston LaNotre, and Paul Bocuse at the ground breaking ceremony for the France Pavilion. The world famous chefs will collaborate on the fine French restaurant to be located in the Pavilion.

France Ground Breaking at Epcot

The 260 acre Epcot Center opened at more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom!

When Epcot Center opened it was deemed "Disney's New Special Effects Capital". "The challenge of special effects is that the viewer must believe", says Bill Novey manager of the WED special effects team. "We're trying to involve guests in Epcot Center experiences, some of which are intense, and special effects can make a contribution through impressions as well as physical contacts."

Computers, laser graphics, holographic images, liquid neon and fiber optics played a big part in the special effects found throughout Epcot Center. Fiber options projections formed the starry universe planetarium in Spaceship Earth, the fireworks display in Mexico and the paint-spilling sequence in Journey to Imagination!

The piece de resistance of WED special effects is the Journey into Imagination, the attraction that comes closest to traditional Disney entertainment. Between the 80-foot upside down water fall, to the leapfrogging water streams outside, to the colorful rainbows, exploding nebula, and lightening in the jar inside the attraction to the Image Works area with magical devices gallor, Imagination was a true showcase! Altogether there are more than 200 projectors used in Journey to Imagination, more than all of the Magic Kingdom.

Journey Into Imagination

Disney Parks Blog published a time-lapse video of Epcot construction:

Here are a few other videos I came across on YouTube you may find interesting.

The Dream Called EPCOT - Shown at the EPCOT Preview Center on Main Street in 1980

Epcot Center 1982 Preview

This video is from the Vault Disney Collection that has the Danny Kaye opening ceremony for Epcot. It's almost 45 minutes but you'll enjoy it!

There are many more great vintage videos of Epcot on YouTube - what are some of your favorites from the 1980s?

October 3, 2012

Epcot's 30th Anniversary

October 1st was filled with many festivities to celebrate Epcot's 30th Anniversary.

Here is the Epcot 30th Anniversary Ceremony held in the American Gardens theatre. The video features Disney executives as well as Epcot entertainment.

The special IllumiNations finale video...

October 8, 2012

Epcot Food and Wine -- Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars Wine Tasting

Deb Wills


One of the less expensive events to attend at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival are the beverage and culinary demonstrations held daily in the Festival Center.

The beverage seminars are either $14 or $11 and advance reservations are recommended. The popular beverages and culinary demos will sell out! Tables in Wonderland members, Annual Passholders, DVC members, and Golden Oak residents are able to purchase a $2 discounted ticket for these events Monday through Thursday ONLY. Discounted reservations must be made via telephone at 407-WDW-FEST.

Today I attended the Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars tasting at $14 per person.

Upon entering the Festival Center turn left and look for the "Check-In" area. You'll need photo ID to pick up your tickets for the day (beverage and culinary seminars).

TIP: You can only pick up tickets for the current day. Be sure to bring your list of what seminars you reserved and pick up all the tickets at one time.

After getting your tickets, continue left to the vineyard stage and wait to be seated, or if you have extra time, visit the marketplace and cafe. We decided to get a fruit and cheese plate to nosh on before the tasting. At $5.39 plus tax, it was plenty for the 2 of us to share.


Our presentation today was given by Charlie Campbell, National Sales Manager at Silver Oak/Twomey.


You never know until that day who will be presenting. Sometimes is the owner, winemaker or in this case, a member of the sales team.

TIP: If it is the owner or winemaker doing the presentation, they are sometimes available for a bottle signing after the talk. Check at the wine store prior to your seminar to find out.

Traditionally, three wines are poured at these tastings. There is a pitcher of ice water and small cups as well as a few (and I do mean few) crackers.


Also provided is a page with the wines you are tasting and a pencil to take notes.
TIP: The pencil is hard to read on the front of the page, flip it over and you'll be able to read your notes much better than I did! Or bring a pen to take notes with.


The three wines we tasted: 2011 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc, Twomey Merlot, and the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.


Silver Oak is an American family owned winery and has been in business for 40 years.
Twomey and Silver Oak are owned by the same family. Silver Oak focuses solely on Cabernet Sauvigon, while Towmey produces Savignon Blanc, Merlot and 4 different Pinot Noirs.

I had never heard of Twomey Cellars before so I was glad to learn about them. We really enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc (which actually was much better than the Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc we had the night before at dinner). The Twomey wine was crisper and filled the mouth with lots of flavors. The Duckhorn was lighter with a short finish.

It was explained to us that "Twomey's founding winemaker, Daniel Baron, developed his passion for Merlot during the early 1980s while working in Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. For the Twomey Merlot, made at the winery's Calistoga location, Daniel uses a method known as soutirage traditionnel. Refined for centuries in Pomerol, soutirage traditionnel is a slow, careful process of decanting the wine from one barrel to another. At Twomey, this racking is done six times during the 18 months of aging. It is considered the ideal way to clarify red wine to crystal-clear brilliance while drawing its fruit characteristics forward and softening its tannins."

We enjoyed the merlot (which sometimes is blended with up to 10% cabernet franc). It had soft tannins and you could taste chocolate and dark fruits.


Last, but not least, we tasted the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.


Two types of Cabernet are produced by Silver Oak. The first is from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma, the second from Napa Valley.

"Our 2007 Napa Valley, a blend of wine from vineyards throughout the appellation, is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. We blended the vineyard lots in early 2008 and transferred the wine to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. Blending prior to barreling allows us to achieve a balance of the wine's primary elements, such as fruit and tannin, before they are influenced by oak. The wine was then aged in barrel for approximately 25 months and another 20 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release."

The 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (100% cabernet) is a dark, rich full-bodied wine with great tannic structure and mouth-feel. It has a garnet color and a nose of ripe boysenberries, cherry liqueur, dark chocolate, sandalwood and a hint of roasting meat. On the palate, it is mouth-coating and incredibly rich in umami. It has a very long, savory finish with the slight grip of fine-grained tannins. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2030.

TIP: If you are a fan of Silver Oak and want to add a bottle to your collection... The Festival Center sells the 2007 Alexander Valley Cab for $55; this is about $20 less than retail or anything you'll find on the internet.

I highly recommend these beverage seminars as a great way to taste and learn about the various wines and winemakers!

NOTE: Some information has been taken from the website for Twomey Cellars and Silver Oak. If you are visiting California and wish to tour the winery, you must make advance reservations.

Be Our Guest Restaurant - Special In-Depth Preview

Deb Wills

Recently I attended a special media preview to learn more about the new Be Our Guest Restaurant located in the Fantasyland Expansion at the Magic Kingdom.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

The room was set up with large artwork, most of which had already been published on the Disney Parks Blog.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

However, we were able to see the dining room set ups for the Ballroom and the West Wing.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

The restaurant has three distinct dining rooms:

The mysterious West Wing, featuring an enchanted rose,

The Rose Gallery with twirling, larger-than-life figures of Belle and Beast (this dining room available at lunch only); and

The Ballroom, elegantly styled with a domed ceiling, twinkling chandeliers and views of softly falling snow.

All three dining rooms will be open for lunch, but only the West Wing and Ballroom will be open during the dinner hours.

Chris Beatty, Senior Concept Designer-Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, details what guests will experience as they cross the bridge into the restaurant..

Be Our Guest Restaurant

When asked if there would be enchanted objects in the restaurant, Chris responded "Well actually there are some enchanted objects in the restaurant but I will hold that surprise for when we open."

Be Our Guest Restaurant

I asked Chris to describe the 3 dining rooms in the Be Our Guest Restaurant.

In addition to hearing from Imagineer Chris Beatty, the Food and Beverage team had a big announcement!

Maribeth Bisienere, Vice President Food & Beverage and Merchandise Operations Integration, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts told us Be Our Guest restaurant will serve wine and beer at dinner. This is a first for a the Magic Kingdom during regular operating hours.

"Food and Beverage has become an immersive part of the guest experience. When it opens you will be fully immersed in the story. We need to tie together WDI and Food and Beverage and entertainment and merchandise together so we can make sure the entire story is told."

Jason Cha-Kim, Beverage Manager, Food & Beverage Line of Business, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts shares the wine and beer details:

The wine list is focused around the great wine growing regions in France. We will feature the leading French beer which is Kronenberg 1664. No North American beers will be offered. About 20 wines are on the list, almost all available by the glass.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

There is a signature non-alcoholic beverage for Be Our Guest that is called the L'Amour Vrais which means True Love in French. Will be served in a light up castle cup, over ice, topped with a fruit foam topping. All natural fruit juice punch, made up of pomegranet, blueberry, wild berry, apple juice.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Lenny De George, Executive Chef, Food & Beverage Concept Development, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts tells the rest of the food concept story.

Menus are themed around French foods. While the items may sound fancy, they are very comfortable foods.

We will sneak some vegetables in the food. There will be a Mickey shaped meatloaf for kids (with hidden vegetables in it). Sweet potato fries instead of regular fries. Carrots in the ketchup.

Pre-opening Menus:

Be Our Guest - Lunch- Fast Casual
Be Our Guest - Kids Lunch- Fast Casual
Be Our Guest - Dinner
Be Our Guest - Kids Dinner
Be Our Guest Wine List - Dinner Only

Be Our Guest Restaurant

First we were given the Charcuterie Plate - assorted cured meats and sausages served with cornichons, pickled onions, and toasted whole grain bread.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

I really enjoyed the salad trio: Three Individual Bowls of Roasted Beet, Gold Raisin and Orange Salad; Green Been, Tomato and Roasted Shallot Salad; and Watermelon, radish, and mint salad.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Roland Muller, Chef de Cuisine, Food & Beverage Concept Development, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Michael Deardorff, Chef, Be Our Guest Restaurant, described the main course of pan-seared Salmon on Leek Fondue - served with creamy saffron-crushed potatoes. This was a King Salmon from Oregon.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Totally honest here, I really enjoyed the salmon. I don't like salmon and never have it (other than a taste) but something about this salmon was delish!!!

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chef Michael added: "When you see the dining room you will be absolutely amazed at the detail. I suggest you watch the movie before you dine."

Of course, we all had to taste the "gray stuff" and it was delicious! I had to find out what it really was and the chefs explained it was oreo cookie panna cotta that is whipped! YUM!

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Stefan Riemer, Pastry Chef, Food & Beverage Concept Development, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts was next to tell us all about the special Dessert Trolly and what we can expect!

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Lots of cupcakes and cream puffs to choose from. Everyone seemed to love them. Dessert is currently planned to be included with the cost of your meal.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

This is the Gluten Free - No Sugar Added: Lemon-raspberry cream puff -filled with lemon custard. I liked it. Certainly different than the regular no-sugar added bland desserts served at most places.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

So there you have it. An in-depth look at Be Our Guest, officially in soft opening on November 19, 2012!

October 12, 2012

New Fantasyland "Soft Opens"

Deb Wills

The walls came down this morning (October 12, 2012) for the New Fantasyland expansion that's been underway in the Magic Kingdom. The new Little Mermaid attraction was running, and new restaurant Gaston's Tavern was serving.

Deb Wills was in the Magic Kingdom and explored the new area, sharing lots of photos and random observations along the way.

There's a new Magic Kingdom archway when you reach the theme park!

Love the snow-covered trees atop Beast's Castle in Fantasyland expansion.


Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid


Ariel is in a great location to right of Under the Sea!


There was a 40-minute wait for Ariel's!


Clamshell vehicles for Under the Sea


They kiss "Under the Sea."


Great photo op!


Gaston meet and greet in front of his Tavern.


There's a PhotoPass photographer stationed in front of Gaston's fountain.


Inside Gaston's Tavern, which is serving brew, pork shanks, pastries, snacks and beverages


By the way, we have the new menu for Gaston's Tavern HERE.

Gaston's tavern exterior


Also in the area, Maurice's Amazing Popping Machine snack cart


You can find the snack cart for this menu HERE.

The entrance to Be Our Guest Restaurant


We've updated the dinner menu for this restaurant HERE.

Also open was Bonjour Village Gifts.


They're selling the light-up castle goblets for $15.95


More photos and other details to come!

October 18, 2012

Deb's Annual Epcot IllumiNations Party - Ticket Announcement



THE EVENT IS SOLD OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's that time again and soon the holidays will be upon us!

As I have done for the past several years, I have a special IllumiNations dessert party planned on December 2, 2012. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday October 17, 2012 at 8:00am Eastern time.

The evening begins with a buffet of sweets, cheeses and berries that we can enjoy in our own private area as we watch IllumiNations and the very special holiday finale.

This year your entire ticket price will go to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Please read carefully how YOU can obtain a ticket.

Tickets will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. ALL persons will be notified via email whether they have a ticket.

Ticket winners will receive instructions how to make a DIRECT donation to Deb's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. This is for NEW donations only; previous donations do not count!

Tier One Price: $75 donation per person (1 party ticket)

Tier Two Price: $100 (1 ticket party ticket PLUS the Team AllEars Recipe Cookbook shipped to your home media mail while supplies last)

SPECIAL VIP Tier Three Price: $250 VIP Ticket (limited to 8 persons). (1 party ticket and special reception with Deb prior to the event in the Epcot Resort Area. Time approx 7pm - 8pm..

Exact check-in details will be provided closer to the event.

Every person will need the special ticket AND your own theme park admission.

Tickets are limited due to capacity restrictions.
Limit of TWO tickets per person/household/address.
NOTE: You must be 18 years of age or older to attend.

Within 48 hours of filling out the ticket request, you will receive an email with payment details. ALL ticket dollars will go directly to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (read: Tax Deduction)

You will have 48 hours to make the donation. Once the donation is made, forward a copy to me at the email provided you with the instructions . You will then receive confirmation that your ticket has been paid and confirmed. Closer to the event I will send out information on exact location and time.

AllEars® is not responsible for lost emails.

The purchase of a ticket covers ONLY the specific event. All other costs are the BUYERS' responsibility.

Ticket user assumes all risks of personal injury incidental to the event, whether occurring prior to, during, or subsequent to the event.

By requesting these tickets you acknowledge you agree to all terms of conditions of the ticket and event and agree to hold harmless RYI Enterprises, LLC and their officers, volunteers and staff. RYI Enterprises, LLC reserves the right to refuse any order at its discretion. Ticket holders release RYI Enterprises Inc, and MEI-Travel and its affiliates of any and all liability.

If you have questions, chances are someone else will too, so post in the comments section.

Thanks everyone!

The Country Bear Jamboree Is Back -- New Shorter Version

Deb Wills

The Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom reopened this week after being closed for a rehab/refurbishment.

The previous show has been shortened by about 5 minutes. A few songs are gone, others have been shortened. Some of the dialogue between the bears is also gone.

New costumes and make overs for the bears brighten things back up. Also new are the benches, curtains and backdrops.

Disney Imagineers share their thoughts about the new show.

Here are before and after shots of the performers.


Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree


the Sun Bonnet Trio hail from Florida and consist of Bunny, Bubbles, and Beulah.

Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree

Country Bears Jamboree


Country Bears Jamboree



Country Bears Jamboree
This is the before photo, I didn't get a good one.


We have both the new short version and the previous version. You tell us which one you like better and why!



For a historical look at the Country Bears Jamboree:
Part 1: http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/10/country_bear_jamboree_part_one_1.html

Part 2: http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/walt_disney_world/theme_parks/magic_kingdom/frontierland/country_bear_jamboree/

October 22, 2012

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Deb Wills

The Discovery of Chocolate is offered on select Sunday afternoons, during the Food and Wine Festival. Billed as "an opportunity to learn and taste more about chocolate from professional "chocolatiers," the tastings include chocolate samplings, chocolate savory and dessert, with spirited beverages and/or paired wines." Price: $75 per person plus tax - Theme Park admission required and lasts about 90 minutes. I had heard mixed reviews about the Discovery of Chocolate seminars which began last year. Some folks said they were awesome, others were "eh" with their review so I decided to see for myself.

I attended the first one of this year's festival on October 14: Chef Sarah Kosikowski hosted by Valrhona.

As with most of the events, this one takes place in the Festival Center (old Wonders of Life building).

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Our tables were pre-assigned and each had 4 small containers with several "feves"inside. The feve is a small oval shaped chocolate perfect for baking or tasting.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Also at our seats was small glass of Chocolate Liquor. While the aroma was heavenly, unfortunately for me, the taste wasn't. This particular liquor had hot chili in it, too spicy for me!

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

The seminar was hosted by Pam Smith, RD, LDN, a regular host at the Epcot Food and Wine seminars.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

She introduced the guest presenter, Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski. Chef Sarah's resume already resembles a "who's who" and includes: a 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards nomination in the "Rising Star Chef" category; previous executive pastry chef at Michael Mina at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas; worked as executive pastry chef at the four-star Fleur de Lys in Las Vegas under the direction of Chefs Laurent Pillard; worked at The French Laundry in Yountville, California, and the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room, in San Francisco. She is also the first female Corporate Pastry Chef for Valrhona Chocolate.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Today's tasting would include 4 types of chocolate, 2 beverages and 2 desserts.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Sarah gave a great overview of the Valrhona Chocolate company , established in 1922 in the Rhone Valley of France. Many machines in the factory are still original machines.

The company is committed to the creation of unique artisan quality chocolates with complex and balanced flavors. This commitment to quality is matched only by the brands devotion to sustainable business practices. Its tradition of creativity, expertise in taste, and a strict adherence to traditional chocolate-making methods make it the standard bearer in the industry.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Our chocolate tasting included:

Guanaja - 70% Cacao - Guanaja develops extraordinary bitterness, revealing whole aromatic range of warm notes.

Manjari - 64% Cacao - Fresh, acidic, sharp bouquet with red fruit notes.

Caramelia - 36% Milk Chocolate Caramel - caramélia uses genuine dairy-based caramel (from real skim milk and butter) as a main ingredient.

and Ivoire - White Chocolate - smooth and milky, gives a fresh and vanilla sensation.

At some point a glass of Rosa Regale was poured for each of us as well.

Chef Sarah shared that like wines, chocolates are also affected by different climates and soil profiles.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

I learned a great deal about chocolate during this seminar including that some people actually let the chocolate melt between their tongue and the roof of their mouth to taste the complexities of the morsel ( Don't most of us just bite, chew and swallow? :) We learned that as the chocolate warms, the flavors really emerge.

Soon it was time for cooking and Chef Sarah made a Smoked Guanaja Ganach that went between to shortbread like cookies and a Coconut Raspberry Transparence.

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Both were served to us to enjoy:

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

Overall impression: This was my first Discovery of Chocolate and originally I was a tad leery of the $75 price tag. That said, I enjoyed myself and learned a fair amount about chocolate too! I"m really glad I attended this seminar but don't think I would do it again. For me, I'd rather spent the money at a wine tasting :).

There are 4 Discovery of Chocolate seminars still to come during this year's festival:

And the others still to come are:
October 28: Lauren Deitsch hosted by Lake Champlain Chocolates - Burlington, VT
November 4: Julian Rose, Moonstruck Chocolates, hosted by Barry Callebaut
November 11: Julian Rose, Moonstruck Chocolates, hosted by Barry Callebaut

Discovery of Chocolate - Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event

October 23, 2012

Italian Regional Food and Wine Luncheon - Epcot Food and Wine Event

Deb Wills

Italy is hosting three Food and Wine special events this year and any one of them is worth a try.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

First, the Italian Food and Beer Pairing at Via Napoli which Linda already blogged about,

Then there is the Italian Food and Wine Pairing, also at Via Napoli, which we have yet to blog about.

Finally, brand new this year, is the Italian Regional Food and Wine Luncheon at Tutto Gusto.

"The new Tutto Gusto wine pairing event will showcase a variety of regional Italian wines. These wines have been selected to pair perfectly with freshly prepared Italian dishes. The pairings will be presented in the new Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar that has been modeled on an authentic rustic Italian wine cellar."


Our luncheon featured the wines of San Giuseppe, located in NE Italy! Owner Bob Musso was at the event and I so enjoyed talking with him. Bob not only spoke to the entire group about each wine, but worked his way around to each table several times chatting about his wines and answering questions. His enthusiasm and knowledge really added to the event.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The staff at Tutto Gusto was also excellent and kept our bread plates full of the yummy focaccio and our glasses filled with our choice of still or sparkling water (Pelligrino).

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival


Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Once I saw the menu, I alerted one of the Cast Members about my shell-fish allergy. Soon, Dan, the restaurant manager, was over to explain what alternatives they were able to offer. I was thrilled!


Let's get started with the food and wine:

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Gamberi al Miele di Castagne Shrimp, Artichokes, White Wine Chestnut Honey
Served with San Giuseppe, Presecco, 2010

The artichokes were fried and had a light crust, the shrimp steamed and complemented by the chesnut honey.

The Prosecco, a single vintage brut, was perfect for our opening wine with it's light crispness.

My substitute was a fresh green salad with a light Italian vinaigrette. I was happy to start off light knowing what was in store for us.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival


Next .....................

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Risotto alla Milanese Carnaroli rice, saffron, sweet Italian sausage
San Giuseppe, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The risotto - OMG (oh my gosh!). It was done al dente, perfect for my tastes (although several at our table wished it were cooked a bit more). Creamy and luscious, the flavors melted in my mouth. The red sauce was very light and the sausage turned out to be a small touch blended in the red sauce. I don't think any of us tasted the sausage, but we didn't need to. Each person at the table finished their bowl and most of us wanted to pick it up and lick it! Yes, it was THAT good. I asked if it were served in any of the restaurants and learned it is available with seafood in Tutto Italia.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The risotto was paired with a Sauvignon Blanc, which should have worked well. However, of all the wines we tasted, the Sauvignon Blanc was my least favorite. It was very earthy, grassy and almost, well, gravelly.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival


Course number 3.....

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Caciucco Livornese con "Fett'Unta" Fish and Seafood Soup, Garlic Crostini
San Giuseppe, Chicco D'Uva, 2008
Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The soup was light with a slightly sweet taste. There were scallops, mussels, clams, white fish and a light broth.

My substitute was Zucchini Parmesan. Another OMG, it was SO yummy. Paper thin slices of zucchini layered with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese, topped off with fresh basil. More please?

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Chicco D'Uva wine was medium bodied and dryy' it went well with the food.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival


Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Parmigiano Reggiano - Grapes and Parmesan Cheese
San Giuseppe, Ripasso, 2008

While the Parmesan cheese didn't excite too many at my table, I LOVE it, especially with a good red wine. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself.

The grapes for the Ripasso are from the Negrar Hills of Verona Italy; 70% Covina Veronese, 15% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella

Loved the Ripasso, the most full bodied of the wines we tasted. " San Giuseppe's master craftsmen place the grapes of this Valpolicella through a double process to ensure its rich, velvety smooth taste. After an initial fermentation, the young wine is mixed with just-pressed Amarone skins to undergo a second fermentation or ripasso. This process enriches the wine, adding body, rounded texture and a complex bouquet. The wine is then matured in oak barrels to obtain exceptional balance and harmony."


And our final course

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Zabaglione Freddo al Cioccolato Marsala Wine Custard, Strawberry, Capri Lemon Liqueur
San Giuseppe, Moscato, NV

The dessert was light and flavorful. A perfect ending.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Moscato was a pleasant surprise. We were all expecting a heavy sweet wine, but it had a soft sweetness and tiny light bubbles that made it refreshing and a nice complement to the dessert.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival


Some of the San Giuseppe wines can be found in local stores, Publix for those in Florida.
The prices are reasonable (all estimated under $20/bottle except the Ripasso around $25) and the wines are worth a taste.

Tutto Gusto Regional Luncheon Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The event started a bit late but once the food and wine began to flow, I don't think anyone cared. It was nicely paced and lasted about 2 hours. I do wish the Chef had come out more often to talk about the food. I enjoyed myself and will return if offered next year.

You may still be able to sign up as the lunch is offered Wednesdays and Saturdays, Noon-2:00pm for $75 plus tax (gratuity included). You also need your own theme park admission. A "regular" told us each week has the same food, so Wed and Sat will serve the same and then it changes the next week.

October 25, 2012

Halloween Time at Fort Wilderness Campground

Deb Wills

As everyone gears up for Halloween and trick or treaters, guests at the Ft. Wilderness Campground get ready too!

Each year it seems more and more sites are decorating for the holidays and this year is no exception! Thanks to Gary and Carol for the awesome golf cart tour! You can read their 2011 Blog on Halloween at the Ft. HERE.

Ft. Wilderness has released the schedule of events for October 30 and 31st! If you get a chance, head on over to see the sights or watch the golf-cart parade! Copies of the events are at the bottom of this blog!

Please Note: You can NOT drive your car around Fort Wilderness to see the sights. You can take an internal bus and walk around or some folks rent golf carts from the Fort. Another option is the take the boat from Magic Kingdom to Ft. Wilderness.

Enjoy the spirits of the season:

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Halloween  Ft.Wilderness

Ft. Wilderness Halloween Activities Info:

October 30 - Side A


October 30 - Side B


October 31 - Side A


October 31 - Side B

Halloween Events Ft.Wilderness Oct31

October 27, 2012

Lasseter Family Winery Beverage Seminar Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Deb Wills

The Culinary and Beverage seminars held during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival are a great way to try new foods and wines at a reasonable price. For $11-$14, you can taste 3 wines at the beverage seminars, or 2-3 foods at the culinary seminars and see what you think. I've been surprised at some seminars, things I didn't expect to like, I did; and things I thought I'd love I didn't. A visit to the Food and Wine Festival should include at least one of these seminars.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The seminar on October 17 and 18th were, The Lasseter Family Wines, Sonoma California. As soon as I saw them announced I signed up for both sessions. It was clear that Nancy Lasseter would be the presenter (no expectations John would attend). I had enjoyed one of their wines at the Carthay Circle restaurant at Disney California Adventure earlier this year, and knew I would want to sample more.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

All Lasseter Family Wines are blends and at both seminars we would be tasting the same three wines, Enjoue, Paysage and Amoureux. (I should note that they did change their presentations from one day to the next. Some but not all information was repeated.)

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Imagine our delight when we arrived and saw John Lasseter on the stage with his wife Nancy.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Together they shared the story of the winery and their wine making philosophy. "Our wines are crafted in an Old World-style, using Bordeaux and Rhône varietals to create unique blends. Estate-grown and bottled, our blends incorporate Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and grapes grown on our 27 acre vineyard property in Sonoma Valley, CA."

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

John joked at one point that he keeps his day job so Nancy can keep her day job!

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The Lasseter Family Crest - on a trip to Europe they visited with Roy Disney's family and saw that they had a crest. Nancy and John decided to create their own family crest. The bee is John, the Rose, Nancy, the 5 grapes represent their five sons.

It is abundantly clear that the Lasseters have poured their hearts and souls into their winery.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Each wine has a unique name that is personal to an experience they have had.

The first wine we tasted was a rose blend called Enjoue. "Our love of the dry rosé wines of southern France began while dining at a café terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Memories of that afternoon were the inspiration for our rosé. The name, Enjoué, a French word meaning "joyful; playful; lighthearted; sunny; buoyant; cheerful" captures the essence of this experience. "

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The website says: "The zesty acidity, supple texture and a long, lingering finish allow this rosé to boldly pair with a wide variety of foods,seducing even the most skeptical red wine drinker. To us, it is a refreshing taste of summer and sunshine even on a winter's day."

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Indeed it got the attention of this red wine lover! Initially I dismissed the wine as I am not a fan of blush wines. However, I was greatly surprised to taste this refreshing flavorful wine, so much so I purchased a bottle. Perfect for summer evenings or really anytime! The wine has three red varietals Syrah, Grenache and Mourvadre.

The second wine we tasted is the Paysage. "Paysage, a French word meaning 'landscape painting' or 'countryside', evoking fond memories of St. Emillion's beautiful terrain and scenery and the blended wines made there. As our inaugural wine, it signifies the inspiration for Lasseter Family Winery. To us, this wine represents a painting of estate grapes nurtured on a rocky bench in the heart of Sonoma Valley and epitomizes how the family views different elements blended into a plein air painting, or in this case, blended into a Bordeaux-style wine."
The Paysage is 2% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Suvignon, 27% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Finally the Amoureux "We chose the name Amoureux, a French word meaning 'lovers', because this Malbec blend is reminiscent of when we first fell in love. We discovered Malbec while honeymooning in Sonoma; to this day, it holds a sentimental place in our hearts and delights our palates."

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

I totally enjoyed each of the three wines, all very different and unique.

Soon the wine tasting was done and it was time for wine and Pixar trivia. The prizes were logo items from the winery

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

And all too soon, the hour was past and time to head to the bottle signing.

Bottle Signing - after a wine presentation, the winemaker/owner is sometimes avaialble to sign bottles of their wine purchased at the Festival Center Store. I have never had a bottle of wine signed before and learned a lot. Read up so you don't make the same mistakes I do.

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

The first day I carefully took the 2 signed bottles and placed them inside the box provided by Disney. By the time I got home (about half hour later) and opened the boxes the writing was smeared! ACK! But quickly remembered I'd be returning the following day.

The next day I purchased 2 bottles and carefully let them air dry for about 20 minutes. I lightly brushed one with my finger and it seemed dry. This time I wrapped them in tissue paper and put them in the box. Again, when I got home, there was smearing, but not nearly to the extent of the first day.

Then today, I was getting ready to put one of the empty signed bottles on display and didn't realize my hand was still wet, and there went a few more letters off the bottle.

Anyone out there have some tips for me ?????

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

Lasseter Family Winery Epcot's Food and Wine Festival

A special thanks to both Nancy and John Lasseter. They are so gracious and wonderful to meet! I hope to one day visit their winery in Sonoma California (visitors must make an appointment in advance.)

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About October 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in October 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2012 is the previous archive.

November 2012 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.