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Beef & Booze: My Food & Wine Festival Menu Selections, Part Two

18 Aug

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Are you ready for another bunch of my Food & Wine Festival menu picks? (I really wish I’d used “picks” instead of “selections” in the title, but it’s too late now) If you didn’t read Part One, check it out HERE! Now let’s dive in!

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I will work Trey Songz into every post, so help me!

Refreshment Port–Dole Whip with crème de cacao white, I guess

This name just really confuses me. It’s basically a Dole booth, so why is it given that dull and generic-sounding name? Anyway. I’m sad they got rid of the pineapple fritters they had last year, as I was pretty intrigued by them. Alas. I’ll just get the overpriced Dole Whip with booze. Maybe the slushy Dragon Berry thing. Dole Whip in Epcot just seems plain wrong, but sometimes you have to just suck it up and eat Dole Whip in Epcot, I suppose. That’s the moral of this vacation.

Greece– Spanakopita

I’m just going to keep saying that in an exaggerated Italian accent because I am Michael Scott. I wonder if John Stamos hangs around this booth. I’d like to spana his kopita! I don’t know. Leave me alone. It’s a spinach pie thing and I am going to slide it down my gullet. The alcohol at this booth does nothing for me.

New Zealand– Some wine, I guess

Kiwi a-go-go! There better be an attractive cast member at this booth for me to swoon over. Do they have a song in New Zealand called “Why Don’t We Get Munted and Root?” I’ll have to ask the cast member. The food here doesn’t do much for me. Although, “How are your lip mussels? Can I try them out?” would be a really choice pick-up line and I really, really hope I don’t remember that when I’m tipsy. Ok, before I make some more lech-y creep-o comments–the only alcohol here is wine so I guess wine it is!

Africa– Beef tips

So what’s the deal with this booth? The booth itself says South Africa. The menu and web sites say Africa. They’re not interchangeable, Disney. Quit pulling this shit. Africa is a, say it with me now, CONTINENT. Obviously Disney plays fast and loose with the Food and Wine kiosks but this just irks me. The only thing here that sounds remotely appetizing to me are the beef tenderloin tips berbere style with okra, jalapeños, tomato and pap, but I don’t feel super enthusiastic about it. I am going to be so sick of beef on this trip. I may have switch Twitter handles with Dan.

Brazil– Frozen Caipirinha

While I’m pretty intrigued by the pork belly, it has that pesky, nasty cilantro. I may just give it a try anyway–like I said before, I can deal with cilantro in some dishes and this one may be worth the risk. It is served on black beans with tomato. Last year it included avocado, but that’s not listed on the menu this year. I’m not sure if it’s an oversight or if they’ve gotten rid of it. SUSPENSE! You’ll just have to wait for the exciting conclusion! The pao de queijo, a cheese bread, sounds good. However, I’m really not sure I’m going to be really wanting a piece of bread in the hot, Florida sun. I will most definitely be getting a frozen Caipirinha, which the internet claims is Brazil’s national cocktail. A quick Google of “Brazilian men” also tells me that they are all very hot and usually in some state of undress, so I look forward to that as well.

A typical Brazilian man, according to Google.

A typical Brazilian man, according to Google.

Scotland– Vegetarian Haggis

OCH! The land of tartan and ginger. I’ve gotta say, googling “Scottish men” is not nearly as fun as “Brazilian men”. It’s not the kilts. It’s the white kneesocks. So, I’m totally going to go for the vegetarian haggis here. It’s such a cop-out. They really ought to have the real deal. I’m not saying I would eat it, but come on. In any case, I’ve never had rutabaga so that’ll be just crazy fun. No booze for Ole Clarfy at this booth. Sorry scotch lovers, I am not among you. I really wanted to work “cold-hearted harbinger of haggis” into this entry, but it wasn’t meant to be. Well, except right there. But that doesn’t really count.

Australia– Pavlova

I’ve heard a lot of great things about the lamb chop here, but I won’t be having it. It’s covered in a mint pesto and the only time I like mint is if it’s in some kind of sweet. The other option is shrimp, which I do not want. Luckily, the dessert here sounds so good that the name alone had me drooling. It’s described as a “crispy meringue shell with fresh berries and vanilla custard”, which sounds absolutely perfect on a hot summer day. I’m very much looking forward to this one.

Brewer’s Collection– Not Sure

Not Sure? What an odd name for a beer! Wokka wokka! Anyway, I’d really like to do a beer flight here but each one has at least one beer I’m not interested in trying. Ah, the trials of a solo trip. I’ll probably still opt to get Beer Flight #1, which has Radeberger Pilsner, BraufactuM Colonia, BraufactuM Palor and Schöfferhofer Grapefruit. I’m not huge on Grapefruit but I may suck it up. Literally? Sure. If I could just switch it with the Altenmünster Oktoberfest from the second flight, I’d be happy. The second flight has too much dark for my liking. We’ll see. I may opt to just sample one or two that I’m interested in. Pilsner in a glass, or the first flight, I can pop bottles all night ’cause baby I can do whatever I liiiiike… Yeah, I can do whatever I liiiiike…

China– Potstickers and Kung Fu Punch

Potstickers sound really good to me right now and so it’s clouding my judgement. Mongolian beef in a bun with chili mayo sounds tasty but again I find myself guessing I’m not going to want it when I’m drenched in sweat and hotter than whatever pepper currently grows in Living with the Land. I think I’ll take a break from beer here and opt to get a vodka drink. (I’ll be one whiskey drink away from hitting the ole Chumbawumba superfecta.) I’m not sure what flavor Kung Fu is, but I bet it packs a real… Nope. Not gonna do it.

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Stay tuned for Part Three!

Beef & Booze: My Food & Wine Festival Menu Selections, Part One

16 Aug
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Believe it or not, I made this on Paint!

In just 37 short days, I will be arriving in Walt Disney World for my first ever visit to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival! I’m staying at an Epcot hotel, so I plan on attending each day I’m there. This trip is about slowing my commando roll and relaxing while fully taking in the Festival. It may seem a little contradictory to say that this is supposed to be a relaxing, easy trip as I map out what I plan on ordering from each booth in great detail, but I felt it was necessary. I’m not exactly a “foodie”, so it’s going to remove a lot of stress for me going in if I already know what exactly the dishes are and whether or not I want them. Plus, it’s fun!

I know it’s ambitious, but I’d really like to hit every booth. I’m not going to stress if this doesn’t happen. This trip is all about doing whatever I feel so inclined to do at the time. Maybe I’ll want to grab another pork slider from Hawaii instead of ordering something I don’t particularly want from Terra. Maybe I’ll just want to sit on the Boardwalk and eat a slice of pizza. Maybe I’ll want to spend a whole day in the Magic Kingdom and skip the Festival. Who knows! But I’d rather go in with a good knowledge of the menus because it’s going to make the experience better for me.

I decided since I had been meaning to write some trip planning posts (or just some posts in general… oops…) that this was the perfect topic. I’ve gone through, booth by booth, kiosk by kiosk, and listed what I plan on ordering from each and why. I’m going to split this up into a few posts because DAMN there are a lot of booths. After I get back, I’ll let you know what I got and what I thought! Also, a note before I start–I had it in my head that the CMs in each booth would be from that country since that’s how it works in the rest of World Showcase. Somewhere around Scotland, the logical part of my brain was like, “You know they’re just going to be regular food service CMs, right?” So it ruined a lot of jokes and several intricate fantasies but just go with it.

And now, without further rambling ado, in a pretty random and weird order, my Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2014 menu picks!

Morocco– Kefta Pocket and a Casa Beer

I’m not a big baklava fan, and the other option is a spicy shrimp roll with cilantro and mint sauce. I cannot think of anything I would rather eat less than a spicy shrimp roll with cilantro and mint sauce. It’s almost as though the dish was specifically tailored to contain things I don’t like. So, Kefta Pocket is it! It’s pretty simple–seasoned ground beef in a pita pocket. Wham, bam, give me my damn Casa Beer already. Please. Ma’am. Thank you.

Desserts and Champagne– Trio and Rosé

The dessert trio this year sounds friggin’ amazing. Passion fruit coconut creamsicle, blueberry lime cheesecake roll and chocolate espresso opera cake. Enough said. Weak item going in looks like the opera cake, but there’s only one way to find out! And Imma be like, “Yo Trey? Do you think you can buy me a tiny cup of Rosé for $15?”

lol no. no I will not.

lol no. no I cannot.

Singapore– Tiger Beer

I don’t eat fish, so the seared mahi mahi is out. I’m slightly bummed about this because I would like to try the Singa sauce, but alas. The other option is lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice. That… does not sound appetizing to me. So Tiger Beer it is!

France– Escargot (??) and Sparkling Pomegranate Kir

I’m so France-ay… Gonna eat some snaaails! I’m not sure if it’ll last, but I feel really compelled to try the escargot. I wanted to try some new things at the festival, and escargot fits the bill. The little bread bowls they were in last year looked so good, but this year they are on a tart. I’m just going to play this one by ear and see how I feel once I’m actually standing there. I can always go with good old crème brûlée. And Sparkling Wine and Pomegranate Liqueur on a hot day? Yes please! At some point I will probably also have the La Passion Martini Slush (vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice), another refreshing-sounding option!

Canada– Moosehead

Ah, exotic Canda. As far as my experience is concerned, Canada is a place where you either go look at water or you wear a Sou’wester hat whilst following a man playing a bagpipe from pub to pub drinking Moosehead. Moosehead is all I’m really interested in at this booth. I don’t understand cheese soup. Is it not just eating queso with a spoon? Stick it in a bread bowl and maybe we can talk. Fish? BZZZT. Steak? YES! With mushrooms? BZZT. So just beer me a Moosehead, eh?

South Korea– Kimchi dog OR lettuce wrap and Soju fruit slushy

I really can’t decide if I want the kimchi dog with spicy mustard sauce or the roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw. I’ll just have to see what sounds good that day. And a tiny, overpriced slushy! Hooray!

Belgium– EVERYTHING

Belgium, you delicious son of a bitch! Here you can get a potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef or a Belgian waffle topped with either berry compote or chocolate ganache. And every damn one looks fine as hell. I am really looking forward to this booth. I may opt to try the beer flight here, as they replaced last year’s Leffe Brune with Stella Artois Cidre and the Brune was really the only one I wasn’t interested in. The other three included in the flight are Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde. After a few drinks, I’ll probably be tweeting a really hilarious Hoegaarden joke once I make it to Belgium. Just you wait. And riddle me this… On the menu board–and I checked!–it definitely says “BelgiAN waffle” and yet on the official Disney site (and thusly many blogs) it says “BelgiUM waffle”. It is bringing me great distress and I cannot go on this way. Something must be done.

Look what I grew for your in my ho garden!

Look what I grew for your in my ho garden!

Japan– No freaking clue.

I really want to get my whole passport thingy stamped, so I don’t want to miss any booths but this booth does absolutely nothing for me. I’m not into the seafood, I don’t eat hands either, and sake tastes like somebody put vodka in the microwave. I would’ve liked last years Sapporo Draft, but it’s been unfortunately replaced this year by Kirin beer, which is absolutely foul. The only thing left is the teriyaki gyoza bun, which sounds like a total yawn. I suppose if I want my stamp, that’s what I’ll have to get. Life really sucks sometimes, ya know?

Farm Fresh– Burr

Farm Fresh replaces the Florida Local booth from last year, which I think is a really dumb name change, myself. But I digress. There’s a bacon and egg whatever dish with corn and I am just not feeling it. The other option is griddled “yard bird”. The hell is a yard bird? Like a starling? Are they serving griddled crow? I don’t know enough about bird law to comment on the legalities of this, but it’s moot anyway because I did a Google and apparently yard bird is “a military recruit who is assigned menial tasks”. I wonder what cut they use? I hope they use his or her hands for the hand rolls. It would be such a waste to just throw them away. BUT I DIGRESS. This booph has a bunch of beers, one of which is described by one reviewer as being “hazy brown in color with generous foamy beige head”, which may make you chuckle if you are also a thirteen year old boy but I digress but also there is a key lime wine which sounds good, too. Okay? Okay.

I’m going to stop there for today! Stay tuned for Part Two!

You Have Found a Thousand Eyes: Magic Journeys

25 Nov

I once wrote a hilarious blog about Magic Journeys. It disappeared. This is not that blog.

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Sort of reminds me of the Silence of the Lambs poster. So.

It was a part of a entire series I wrote about the Imagination Pavilion. Out of bitterness, I haven’t attempted to re-write any parts until now.

Magic Journeys was an Opening Day attraction in the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot. It later replaced the Mickey Mouse Revue in 1987 before closing for good in 1993. Everyone who made it clearly had some really, really good shit.

It was directed by Murray Lerner, a best documentary Oscar-winner and fan of rock musicians your stoner aunt is also into. The music is by the duly-lauded Sherman Brothers, who in my imagination ate some magic Mickey waffles before penning the theme song.

Just look at these lyrics:

You are riding on the winds
Where the universe begins
Through the atoms that repose
In the heartbeat of a rose

Heartbeat of a rose, eh? Ok then.

It’s suposed to be “a look at the world through the eyes of a child”. It’s more like “a look at the world through the eyes of someone who has some really, really good shit”. I know, you’re all like, “WE GET IT CLARF. DRUGS.” but watch it. WATCH it and tell me it could be made if marijuana didn’t exist.

I mean, the echoing laughter of children has always walked a fine line between adorable and really fucking creepy. I’d say it’s just the tip of the iceberg of really fucking creepy in Magic Journeys. We have:

-creepy flying laughing kid
-creepy carousel with kids reaching for a gold ring
-creepy kids riding carousel horses through space with kids singing “trick or treat trick or treat…” in the background
-bats fly at your face before a scary witch face appears on the moon
-A SLOW MOTION CIRCUS and all the kids watch and laugh like it’s totally okay
-creepy music box music playing
-a questionable ringmaster magician type appears and shoots fire at children while they laugh their creepy echo laughs
-kids shrink and fly through space
-EYE BALL

Even if you don’t think they were all on drugs, you must admit that the whole thing is like some weird fever dream. That said, it’s amazing and I love it and I think it is the only thing that could sensibly replace Captain EO at the Disney Parks. It makes even less sense than EO, but somehow more. It’s dated. It’s cheesy. It’s unintentionally frightening. It will get a song in your head. And I think that Disney fans would be much more accepting of it considering it was an OG Epcot attraction plus features a Sherman Brothers acid trip song.

So let’s hear it for this wonderfully creepy, weird, decidedly classic attraction that I wish I heard mentioned more often by fans. Ya know, besides me making drug jokes on Twitter.

Classic EPCOT series– What was Horizons Pt 2

11 Aug

The demise of Horizons is an interesting thing to investigate. Disney was quiet to the point of secrecy about the whole thing and new information came out in the Internet age, so you can see the discussion of things as they unfurl.

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“I don’t look dated, YOU look dated!!”

Horizons closed for the first time in late 1994. I knew before that it had reopened, but I hadn’t seen the reason. It seems that it initially closed when GE dropped sponsorship but sat dormant. So when the attractions that flanked it–Universe of Energy and World of Motion–closed in 1995 for renovation, it would have left that side of Epcot nearly empty (except for Wonders of Life…)

It lasted until 1999, when it closed for good. Test Track had replaced World of Motion and no one cares about Mesa Verde when there are Belgian blocks to be had.

This is where things get kind of interesting. The walls went up and demolition began. Disney claimed that they had to demolish the entire show building–which is fairly unusual–because Mission:SPACE needed a larger one. However, I personally flew across time and space and found that the Horizons building WAS bigger. I have a new conspiracy theory about this–from the sky Horizons is sort of coffin-shaped. I’ll just let you fill in the blanks.

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“Don’t look at meeee…”

Disney fans do not mouse around, so this news made them cock their heads at an even sharper angle and narrow their eyes so much that they could no longer see. And by August of 2000, Horizons was nothing but a pile of rubble.

At this point in the story, we have Disney saying they needed a larger building and fans suspecting it had to do with sponsorship. But it was thanks to the World Wide Webberoo that what is now accepted as the real story came out.

I mentioned in my last Horizons entry that Wikipedia mentioned something about it being a huge stinkhole (YES STINKHOLE) that was collapsing into itself like the Poltergeist house. Apparently this is the accepted reason at this time–that it was not structurally sound, possibly sitting on a sinkhole, and the delay was caused by Disney not knowing what the eff to do with it.

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Artist’s Rendering. (*Hidden Hooter Alert*)

Of course, this theory has it’s mob of skeptics. So what really happened? You tell me, in the comments!!

In conclusion, I totally get why some people miss it so much. I’m sure if I better remembered it that I would be just as upset, especially considering I will never ride Mission:SPACE. To a lot of people my age and younger though, it’s going to be the same story. In twenty years, a new generation will be griping that they took out M:S and only the diehards will even know what Horizons was. So, whenever I get upset about things changing there, and there definitely ARE some horrible decisions, I try to look at things with ole Walt in the back of my head saying, “KEEP MOVING FORWARD!” And part of moving forward is not dwelling on things.

I mean, blogging, sure! But just don’t dwell.

Classic EPCOT Series–What was Horizons?

11 Aug

Certain Future World rides are constantly being wistfully mentioned by hardcore Disney enthusiasts. If you’ve read a WDW fan blog then you’ve probably at least read a passing mention of Horizons and the like.

As I’ve said before, my own memories of early trips are very hazy. I’m going to go back and read about these oft-lamented attractions and see if I remember them or not. And I’m dragging you along with me. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Horizons–

Horizons opened in 1983 and closed (after a death and subsequent resurrection) in 1999. It was an Omnimover dark ride that gave you a glimpse of the future. It’s amazing how nostalgic people are for the future. Did I just blow your mind? Anyway.

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“Oh God, don’t blow my mind when I’m drunk!!”

What was unique about this ride was that the rider chose the ending by pressing a button. THIS is all I remember of ever riding this ride. I spent a great deal of my life trying to figure out what this memory was from before I finally read up on Horizons a few years ago. It stuck in my head because I thought it was so cool. I even remember choosing the ocean one (duh… I would love to meet the loser kid who picked “arid-zone agriculture”… LAME!). When I was first exploring my WDW fandom, I didn’t realize how often things changed. I was so perplexed that I had these memories of rides that weren’t there and I honestly thought I was just confused or making things up in my head. And then I read about Horizons and had a lightbulb moment about just how dynamic the place is.

Originally sponsored by GE, the sponsorship was lost in the 90s and Wikipedia tells me that no reason was officially given but many think it was lack of sponsorship. It also claims the building was on a sinkhole that was discovered in 1998 and was collapsing in on itself. Huh? I clearly don’t know much about Horizons, as I don’t recall ever having heard anything about this.

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An early Test Track concept illustation.

It was replaced, of course, with MISSION:Space. A ride I will probably never ride because I’m not particularly interested in causing any protein spills, centrifuge or not. Trust me, a teacupper I am not. I would’ve liked to have ridden Horizons as an adult (or at least a teen) because I think then I would probably have a lot more fond feelings toward it. As it stands now, however, it is just a distant memory replaced by a ride I will never set foot on. Which, really, is quite a waste of Space.

WASTE OF SPACE! HA!

Oh, and:

-One of the considered names was “FutureProbe”. It was presumably changed after someone along the way went, “Wait… so it’s… it’s a… What exactly happens on this ride?”

-One important thing to know is that Epcot used to have these really awesome patch-friendly logos and they’re amazing