Friday, December 20, 2013

E is for: Epcot World Showcase {Drinking around the World}

The first time I visited Disney World, I was in high school. I distinctly remember walking around Epcot with my mom and little sister, and thinking "how fun would it be to come back after I turned 21 and drink my way around the world?"

Now, I'm not taking credit for the idea... as I'm sure others had thought of this even before I did. But you have to admit, this was pretty forward thinking for a 14-year-old.

Fast forward about 20 years, and a somewhat impromptu trip to Florida to escape the snow and cold of Connecticut, and I was finally able to live out my awesome idea. (Which, has apparently become sort of "the thing" to do at Disney as adults). 

I'm happy to report that I completed the #drinkingaroundtheworld challenge (yes, of course I hashtagged and documented my journey on instagram), along with my step sister and boyfriend who patiently put up with my annoying antics. I also learned a few things along the way, and therefore passing them onto you... my faithful blog readers.

1.) Eat. It's the age-old rule, but worth mentioning. When you're planning on hitting eleven stops, a full belly is key. Plus, it might be fun to try eating around the world as well!

2.) Sharing is caring. There's no shame in sharing drinks on this adventure. Your liver will thank you and so will your wallet. The happiest place on earth is also one of the most expensive, so expect to pay between $7-14 per drink. Eleven countries... you do the math.

3.) Plan your route. Being the gigantic dork that I am, I read several blogs (this one in particular) and took notes in my phone so I had them handy when we got to each country. This was especially key towards the end of the journey when we were a little tipsy and racing against the clock.

4.) Slow your roll. This rule is two-fold. First of all, pace yourself. Secondly, set aside enough time. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we arrived at the park at 6 instead of 4. This left us with just 3.5 hours to hit up eleven countries and eat dinner. I literally ordered our last drink with seconds to spare before they closed down for the night at exactly 9:30. While I sort of got a small rush from my Amazing Race-style finish, you probably shouldn't attempt it. Give yourself at least 5 hours, and all day if you actually want to explore each country or visit any of the attractions. Most of the World Showcase opens at 11am and closes at 9:30pm. 

5.) Enjoy the show. If you time it right, you will enjoy the fireworks show at the end of your world tour. I believe they started right around 9:30 or a little after. It's a great way to cap off the evening and finish your last drinks of the night!




If your plan is to go in order, you basically have two options: start at Canada or start at Mexico. We chose the latter. Ariba! We ended up at La Hacienda San Angel sort of by accident. It's across from the big pyramid and I mistook it for San Angel Inn. It turned out to be perfect though. We were able to eat a fairly inexpensive dinner (see rule #1) by ordering the "taquiza" off the appetizer menu as an entree. For around $12, you get three different types of tacos (beef, chicken, and pork)... and all of them extremely flavorful and unique. (For more on the food options at La Hacienda, check out this site.) If that's not enough, you can always fill up on the complimentary chips and salsa (two different kinds) to help coat your belly in preparation for the journey of booze ahead. 

Speaking of which... you have several drink options in Mexico. On a suggestion from this blog, we ordered a miniature flight of margaritas in order to try several. The margarita flight is not listed on the menu, but they will do it if you ask. (I believe you can do this at San Angel Inn as well). They were out of a couple of the flavors, but we were able to sample the mango blueberry basil, the orange mango fire, the classic, and the horchata... complete with salt rims that complimented the flavors. Of course, you can always just do shots of tequila... but that's pretty aggressive, especially for stop numero uno.


If you want to be authentic in Norway, the options are limited. There's the Aquivit shot... though, again, I felt that to be a little aggressive for stop #2 of this eleven-country crawl. We settled on a Carlsberg beer from the drink cart... though as my cousin pointed out on my Instagram post, Carlsberg is not even from Norway, it's from Denmark. Go figure. Uhhhh... at least it was Scandanavian? Another option would be a Viking Coffee at Kringla Bakery. Lots of folks swear by the pastries there (especially the school bread), but we were too full from dinner. (A good option, though, if your goal is to also eat around the world).



Our third stop: China. We timed it perfectly and got to check out some dancers performing as we sipped on one of our favorite drinks of the night. This is called "Tipsy Ducks in Love." I'm pretty sure the only Chinese thing about this concoction was that it contained cold tea. And coffee. And bourbon. And whipped cream. Mmmmmmmm. This sucker was strong too. You can find it at the Joy of Tea stand near the Lagoon. You should for sure get this. A very good deal, and they go heavy on the booze here. 



Germany. I really was hoping for some Das Boot action ala Suppenkuche in SF, but instead just settled for some Altenmunster. You can find it at the Trinken Cart... or as we did, you can wander towards the buffet and go to the right. There they have a separate counter just for beer. Grab a soft pretzel if you're hungry or planning to eat around the world.



Italy was a fun stop. I really felt like I was in an Italian piazza. There are several options here, but I chose Tutto Gusto wine bar based on my research (rule #3, y'all). It's a casual wine bar with a really cool vibe. Exposed brick, wine bottles hanging down as light fixtures, and several spots to take a load off if you need a quick break from the walking. They also have a small menu, so you can order pizza or pasta or paninis if you need to carb-load or check off a food item in your culinary tour. (For more info on the food, check out this review.)


Drink options are plenty... Italian beers, wines, and of course Limoncello. Being the Prosecco lover that I am, I went with a Bellini (peach puree and sparkling wine), as did Krista. Because I also wanted to dry a Limoncello drink, Phil ordered the Italian martini to appease me even though it was kinda girly looking. :) Both were fantastic, but also on the expensive side. (Around $12-14 each). This was actually our only stop in which all three of us had a full drink to ourselves. (Rule #2 remember!)


I'll be honest, the U.S. (a.k.a American Adventure) was kind of disappointing. The Fife & Drum Tavern has Red Stagg Lemonade, which is a frozen bourbon and lemonade slushy... tempting, but we went for a beer. (So American of us). Being Yuengling fans, and considering it's the oldest brewery in the country.... it seemed like the logical choice. Oh, you can also get turkey legs and popcorn here. Because... apparently you can't get more American than walking around with a giant hunk of meat.


Inside the Japan pavilion on the left hand side, you'll find the Japan Sake Tavern. If you really want to be ambitious, try a sake flight to sample a few different types. Instead, I went straight for the unfiltered nigori, which I enjoy. 




At this point in our journey, we started to realize we'd better get a move on. We still had five stops and only 70 minutes to get them all in. Onto Morocco! We stopped at the drink cart towards the front of the pavilion. They have a bunch of non-authentic looking mixed drinks so I asked the guys which was most "Moroccan" out of everything they had. 

"Casa beer!" they said. 

"Ok! I'll take one of those." 


"We're out." 


What?!? They suggested trying the restaurant at the back of the pavilion. Determined, we weaved our way through the little back alleys. Looking back, I was actually glad for the detour. We wouldn't have explored this country much otherwise. I finally got my Casa beer and we were on the way (after posing next to the camel of course). (BTW... restaurant Marrakesh could be a potential food stop as well).



Oui oui... France! Yup, you know we were feeling good when we were posing our Grey Goose slushes on art easels. But these definitely deserved the royal treatment. It was a mixture of Grey Goose vodka, Grand Marnier, and I'm not exactly sure what else, but it tasted exactly like orange sherbert. And it was delicious. You can pick one up at the Les Vins de France kiosk. Do yourself a favor, skip the French wine and go for one of these. You won't be sorry. (Unless you're running low on cash, as these were right up there with the Italy prices). 



Sooooo I might have been a little tipsy by the time we got to the United Kingdom. Yes, that's me posing with my cider beer in the red phone booth, and yes, that's my boyfriend's reflection in the glass looking all ominous. You can get a wide array of beers at the Rose & Crown Pub... including the aforementioned cider or Guiness. This seemed like a lively place, and we probably would've hung out for awhile had we not been racing against the clock. (They also serve a good fish 'n chips here I'm told).



OHHHH Canada. We almost missed out on you. Remember what I said in Rule #4? When we left the U.K., we had about five minutes to get to Canada and order a beer. (They don't mess around with that 9:30 close-up-shop time). It was dark, and I was a little intoxicated. I was also determined to complete the mission, so I took off running away from Phil and Krista. In doing so, I blew right past the little drink cart. (Located just past Le Cellier... considered one of the best restaurants at Disney World if you can score a reservation). Fortunately I realized my mistake in time and circled back just before they closed for the fireworks show. I felt like I had just won the Amazing Race. If you're lucky, they will have one of the Unibroue beers available such as the Blonde de Chambly, Ephemere or Trois Pistoles. 

We finished our drinks while watching the fireworks show (rule #5) and toasted to our trip around the world in less than four hours. 

But boy, were we jet lagged the next day. 

2 comments:

  1. Great post Jaymee! However, I'm pretty sure I invented Drink Around The World in the early 90's while attending a convention (I'm sure you'll hear that a lot!). We didn't have nearly as many choices then as I recall; mostly beer and wine and some slushy drinks. We did the same rotation as you, starting in Mexico and ending in Canada. We didn't want to end with Canadian beer so we doubled back to the English pub for a nightcap. You brought back some great memories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Definitely a fun time.

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