This year, fans of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival may be a little less sad when it ends because they'll still be able to find some of the most popular dishes from the event on Walt Disney World property. New food trucks, featuring old and new favorite foods, will be rolling into Downtown Disney as soon as mid-November.
Each of the four food trucks is themed to one of Walt Disney World's parks:
** The World Showcase of Flavors truck from Epcot is expected to feature items from the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, such as Grass-Fed Beef Sliders (new this year), Pierogies with Kielbasa and Lobster Rolls.
** The Enchanted Fare truck from the Magic Kingdom will serve favorites from Disney Parks around the world. Disneyland enthusiasts already are salivating at the promise of Hand-Dipped Corn Dogs being available on the East Coast.
** The Superstar Catering truck from Hollywood Studios will look like an old city diner and offer a variety of meatball options, such as the Lamb Meatball Flatbread with Tzatziki.
** The Namaste CafĂ© truck from Animal Kingdom plans to serve Butter Chicken, Slow-Cooked Beef Short Ribs and Tandoori Spiced Shrimp.
Foods will be priced between $8 and $15 per serving, with the shrimp and ribs likely to be among the most expensive. Also, the food trucks will accept quick-service credits of the Disney Dining Plan.
"We're very excited, and we expect for the food trucks to be a big hit at Downtown Disney and on Disney property," Walt Disney World Chef James Kleinschmidt told me Thursday. "We do have an existing food truck out at ESPN Wide World of Sports that's used for large events out there. But this is kind of taking the trucks to a new level. "¦ Just the sight of them is going to be amazing."
The four Disney World food trucks will park at the West Side of Downtown Disney, near the Cirque du Soleil theater and House of Blues restaurant, from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays until Disney Springs is completed in 2016, Kleinschmidt said. "We're in deep construction with the island [for Disney Springs]. West Side has the biggest open area, and we have a lot of people funneling through that side," he explained.
When construction moves to the West Side, a dedicated food truck park has been planned for the grassy area adjacent to Bongo's Cuban Cafe, he said. Even after that space has been transformed, the trucks still will have to move each night, as other community food trucks do.
Still, the Disney World trucks largely will remain on property, though Kleinschmidt said there may be special Disney and community events that put the trucks on the road. Expect to see them at the 2014 Marathon Weekend, for example.
"Disney has taken this on to kind of diversify our offerings and be able to be mobile as well," Kleinschmidt said. "It's an ever-growing trend. I was just at a Food Truck Rally this past weekend, and there were 22 food trucks there, which tells you that it's not going away."
Of course, food truck rallies are known for long lines, but as Kleinschmidt points out, Disney World is known for its effectiveness in managing lines. He says he thinks the one-stop dining experience will appeal to a variety of guests. Many visitors already come to different parks for their favorite foods, and soon they will be able to go to Downtown Disney and sample what they were craving. An added bonus: No admission needed!
The previous post in this blog was New Haunted Mansion Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card released at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
The next post in this blog is Tour Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland before it opens.