Disney World Travel Blog – Epcot in a Day
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great weekend! For this magical travel edition of Foodie Adventures, we’re taking you on our weekend trip to Epcot in Walt Disney World for the Flower & Garden Festival – join us for our adventures with fun, food, and sights along the way! 😁💜✨
Checking In & Exploring the BoardWalk
Swan & Dolphin Hotel, Lake Buena Vista, FL
The Swan and Dolphin are the two resort hotels closest to Epcot in Disney World. They are two of the older hotels on the property and the statues that sit atop both buildings were inspired by the work of artists such as Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. An example of Bernini’s dolphins can be seen in the King Neptune fountain in the Italy region in Epcot.
We stayed at the Swan, next to the Boardwalk, in between the hotels and Epcot. The Swan had great amenities, from multiple restaurants and cafes, shops, pools, and a beach area, and our room was very nice. We had a fantastic view of the river leading towards Epcot. The next day, we took the boat to get there!
While Jamie was at his conference, I was able to explore the Boardwalk and grab some lunch on Friday. It was a quick walk away from the hotel and it had a very beachy and old fashioned ’30s vibe, with Jazz music playing through loudspeakers.
I stopped at a local restaurant called the Big River Grill & Brewery for lunch, which luckily had AC as it was ridiculously hot outside. I sat at the bar and had the pub-grilled sandwich, on the recommendation of my bartender, which included grilled chicken, bacon, beer-simmered onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and their signature pub sauce served with kettle chips. It was delicious, heavy enough to fill a big hole but light enough that it didn’t weigh me down as I continued on with my adventures!
After lunch, I decided to walk off my meal at the local gift store called “The Screen Door”. I couldn’t resist getting some Disney themed cookie cutters, and plan to use them in the near future.
I fell in love with with this adorable pair of donut Minnie Ears that I wore at various locations around the park in pictures. My sister and I also collect these presses pennies, so I got a bunch to share with her when I got home. Feel free to check out more here from my exploration of The Boardwalk!
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Disney Springs is connected to Walt Disney World, but is slightly off the Disney property. Which means that you either have to drive there or be bused there (like we were) and people that don’t have tickets to Disney World can still get into Disney Springs. This made it extra busy!
Disney Springs is famous for some of its celebrity chef restaurants, including Gideons (bakery known for its amazing 1/2 pound cookies and cakes), Morimoto Asia (of Iron Chef fame Masahara Morimoto), and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, all of which we tried to get into for dinner but had over hour long waits.
We ended up eating dinner at Chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina on the suggestion of our friend Chef Vince instead! Jamie started with a blood orange margarita and we both split the mango topped fresh guacamole with corn chips. We had crispy beef suadero tacos for our main meal, which contained tender beef short ribs, guacamole, black bean refritos with fresco cheese, salsa verde, pickled white onion & habanero chiles, cilantro, and warm corn tortillas. Y’all, these were like Mexican bacon candy, they were soo good! They served these deconstructed so we could build our own tacos, which was cool!
Check out more pictures of us exploring Disney Springs!
Epcot Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL
The Flower and garden festival was spectacular! The Topiaries were scattered all around Epcot. As we were strolling around the park we got to appreciate all the hard work and effort that the landscape artists put into this amazing festival.
It definitely took a lot of work to complete the more than 26 characters, plus all the flowers and pants that surrounded them. Each of the topiaries was made from a combination of all natural materials, including sticks, bark, seeds and flowers. Check out some of our favorites here in this slide show:
This festival gave us the opportunity to try some extra restaurant stalls that were put in place. It seemed like only about half the restaurants in each of the countries were open, so we were happy for the opportunity to get to try more cuisines. To hear more about all the food we tried, keep reading for more magic! ✨
Eating around the World (Showcase)
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Epcot was fantastic, absolutely hot as anything, but the food made it so worth it and I loved it! As a first time visitor to Disney World, I didn’t really know what to expect, other than what I had seen on the internet and stories from others that had been there before. I was anticipating really long lines, big crowds, and lots of people. Because they had recently lifted the Covid-19 restrictions before we had gotten there, I think that contributed to some of the crowds, but it wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. I don’t think we waited in a line longer than 30 minutes! There was a line that was about an hour and a half long, but that was for the Frozen Ever After attraction, and we weren’t interested in seeing that.
We had thought a lot about what our eating strategy would be before we even stepped into Epcot that morning. Yes, it is imperative you go in with a strategy. 🙌 There are quite a few we saw online (the “drink your way” through, “snack your way” through) and even which countries to eat big in vs. small meals that people were suggesting.
We only ate tiny nibbles at each country and we never ate a full meal anywhere, so we pretty much split an appetizer everywhere we went. I felt like I would have been hungrier throughout the day, but it really lets you stop and just snack everywhere, which was awesome. We’ll call this either the “Snacking” or “Grazing” method! We also attempted to pick either cuisines or dishes to try that we knew were either hard to find at home, or hard for us to make at home, or something we never had before.
Top places we ate (going clockwise around the World Showcase):
- United Kingdom: We started out at the United Kingdom with a Scotch egg, which was our first snack of the day. Jamie had enjoyed one of these when he was actually over in the real UK on a trip a few years ago and this was my first time trying one. It’s typically a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage and then wrapped in a breading and fried, and was served with a dijonnaise. It was a hearty couple of bites that propelled us on our way.
Near the Rose and Crown, where we got the scotch egg, there was an English tea garden where characters like to hang out. I saw Mary Poppins there, she told me I was practically perfect in every way, and I melted into a giddy puddle, and it wasn’t because of the heat! Mary Poppins has always been one of my favorite Disney characters.
- Canada: We didn’t eat anything in Canada, although we almost went back and got some maple popcorn for our trip back home. We did enjoy a great 360 movie of Canadian landscapes, that made us want to go visit.
- Mexico: We stopped at one of the new little street vendors, set up by the flower and garden festival. We enjoyed a carnitas taco with refried beans, pickled onions, and cilantro. We took a break from eating at this point to check out Future World in Epcot.
This included the Finding Nemo themed aquarium, the Geodesic dome ride, and some local gift shops. We continued our trek through Mexico at the Aztec Pyramid which included a room devoted to Day of the Dead artifacts and history. It also had a cool Three Caballeros boat ride.
- Norway: We got to eat a dessert called Verdens betste kake, a vanilla cake, with coconut custard and almond meringue topping. Jamie also got a beer here. Princess Anna was hanging around in Norway too!
- China: We had awesome egg rolls in China, and Jamie got a beer. Almost splurged for the dumplings too but wanted to save room in case there was gyoza in Japan. We went to a cool gift shop here and bought two packages of Lays chips from China, with strange flavors, we reviewed on the blog. One was “grilled squid” and the other was “numb and spicy hot pot flavor”. To sum it up, the grilled squid tasted like fish food! The other was better, it was like a sweet sriracha flavor, definitely the winner.
- Germany: Germany had what I consider the usual suspects lots of beer, pretzels, and bratwurst. We really wanted some currywurst but they didn’t offer any. 😔 That was one of our favorite German dishes when we were traveling overseas.
- Italy: We stopped at another small Flower and Garden Festival stand for some mini sausage arancini, those were delish!
- USA: The USA was literally turkey legs, BBQ, and funnel cakes, maybe some southern food too. Its like they went to a state fair, came back and thought that was a good representation of the entire United States. We did stop for a few minutes to an open air theater where an accapella group was performing Disney song medleys. They were very good!
- Japan: It was really hard to pick what to eat in Japan, there were so many options. We almost picked gyoza , but we opted for the sushi instead. Jamie picked a crab and shrimp sushi that was sitting on a cucumber slice. There was a little dollop of wassabi on top of the crab mixture.
- Morocco: We thought it was a perfect time to stop for a dessert. We had a Ghrieba, a pistachio cocoanut macaroon coated with dark chocolate on the bottom, it was great! So, as we were eating the cookie, sitting in this courtyard it started to rain. There was a massive tower in the center of the courtyard and lightning hit it. It Scared the living daylights out of us, when it hit the lightning rod in the tower, it sounded like an explosion went off 100 feet from us.
- France: There were a lot of cool shops here in France, including a gift store where I got a Chip mug! Since we didn’t plan on eating a big meal anywhere in each country, there wasn’t a whole lot of snacking food that interested us. There was ice cream, crepes, and plenty of deserts, but we wanted to end our trip on a savory note, so we didn’t get any food in France.
- United Kingdom (again): We saved the biggest meal for last, the fish and chips were huge compared to anything we’d eaten that day. It was so worth it! Oh man I almost cried eating those fish and chips. I didn’t even care that we double dipped in England lol!
We pretty much made it to everything in Epcot including some attractions, except for Soarin and the Test Track. Soarin would have been cool though, I know Jamie wanted to go but we were getting tired. It was good that we started at 11am in Epcot when the park opened, this gave us more time than we originally planned on. The other thing we missed was the fireworks, which started back up in July.
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? Do you have a favorite Disney World (or Land) memory? What’s the next city or attraction we need to review? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of what dishes to make or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗