Tips & Snaps from EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival | Disney

EPCOT's International Food and Wine Festival at Disney

Scott and I celebrated our last day of being Disney Annual Passholders at EPCOT.  Coincidentally, this was also our first 3rd anniversary.  Since we did the legal side of the paperwork 10 days before our wedding, we technically have two anniversaries.  Usually we only celebrate the wedding anniversary, but sometimes it works out in my favor to celebrate the other as well.

Tip One | Go at night, during the week.

It’s Florida, and even though Fall is upon most of the country, it’s still hot and sweaty down here.  We went on a Sunday afternoon when it was hot and crowded- by the time we made it half way around the world, we were both ready to go.  The evenings are starting to cool off though, and I suspect it would be a little less crowded during the week.

Tip Two | Get a Food & Wine Passport.

There’s a festival center, and just about every souvenir kiosk in EPCOT has these for free.  The passport lists all of the different food and drink available at every country/ stop.  Just be sure to bring something to check off the list- no free pencils at Disney.  It’s handy to mark where you been, and take a look to map out a plan.
Street performers in France at EPCOT

Tip 3 | Skip the food and beverage entitlements.

Admittedly, Scott and I didn’t know this even existed, but you can purchase 8 food or beverage entitlements for $59 per person, or 16 for $109.  Neither of us were very hungry since it was so hot, and we weren’t looking to spend a ton of money.  We didn’t not try something because of the price, though.  We wandered through, checking out menus and bought whatever we wanted.  Usually if we got food, we split it.  If it was drinks, we each had our own.  Our total cost, including swinging into Starbucks when we were leaving, was around $56 for the day.  For us both.  We enjoyed what we ate and drank, but didn’t find the need to purchase things just because we had the entitlements.

Tip 4 | Start backwards.  

We always go counter clockwise around the world.  As such, our first stop was at the Caribbean Islands.  It seems that the counter clockwise focused more on drink and dessert, which is right up our alley.  As such, I enjoyed the best mojito I’d ever had.  The fact that it was frozen made it extra good in the heat.
Frozen Mojito in the Caribbean Islands at EPCOT

Tip 5 | Try the non-alcoholic specialties.

The Ireland kiosk was by far our favorite.  We wanted to eat and drink everything.  We settled with a Honey Wine for him, a nonalcoholic Frozen Pumpkin Chai milkshake for me, then a lava cake for us to share.  It was all delicious, and while I didn’t get a straw with my milk shake, it took approximately 3 minutes for it to melt anyway.
Pumpkin Chai Milkshake, Honey wine, and Chocolate lava cake at the Ireland kiosk in EPCOT

Tip 6 | Rotate between beer, wine, and sake.

This one comes courtesy of my husband. The size of the drinks offered during the Wine & Food Festival are rather small- 4 oz for the wine above.  He had a Moosehead lager in Canada (6oz), a grapefruit beer in Germany (normal size, because it wasn’t a special F&W thing), a “Pineapple Breeze” sake in Japan (4-6oz), then finally a Moscato (6oz) in Brazil. The moscato (we both had, and it was delicious) was accompanied by some cheese bread to get something a little more than the lava cake in our systems!

Tip 7 | A picture with Belle makes your niece’s day.

While we were sipping moscato, I noticed Belle was out near France signing autographs and taking pictures with small children.  Then she was gone.  But she was going to be back in 30 minutes, so we managed to stick around long enough for me to get this little gem.  I look like sweaty hell, but I got reports that my little niece in Maine had to run around with her mom’s phone showing everyone that “her Dorrie was with Belle.”
Belle at EPCOT

Best Places to Eat in Downeast Maine

This is just turning into a regular travel blog!  I keep jumping from Colorado “stuff’ to Maine “stuff!”  Having just come off of my trip back home, I am stuffed full of great Maine foods.  August is probably my favorite time to visit, as the weather is the warmest (locals complain about the humidity, I think it’s fantastic).  The middle to end of the month is also blueberry season, and there is none down here that compare!

Best Places to Eat in Downeast Maine

China Hill- If you’re headed to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, it’s easy to swing in here.  Again, this Chinese restaurant has been around for as long as I can remember, though owners have changed hands over the year.  My favorite thing to get on the menu (even today) is a “Children’s 3.”  This includes the best fried rice I’ve ever had, chicken fingers, boneless spare ribs (also the best I’ve had), and chicken toast.  I have never been able to find anywhere else that sells chicken toast, and it’s a shame.

Jordan’s Snack Bar-  All over the state, little take-outs exist that offer amazing food.  Jordan’s has been around for years and offers a great selection of Maine food.  My favorites are the fried clams and the crabmeat roll.  Swing into Jordan’s on your way into or out of Ellsworth / Bar Harbor.

Helen’s Restaurant- World-famous for the blueberry pies, which makes this time of year even better.   I have many memories here, as my dad would take me to breakfast every Saturday morning.  The old building burnt down just a week after Scott and I last visited.  This means several people were out of work for the busiest season of the year.  By the year anniversary of the old place burning, the new building was up and running in the same spot.  It was great to see how they rebuilt, and the blueberry pies have not changed.  I rotated between a slice of it and a slice of raspberry for 5 days.  It’s also the the only spot I took a picture of my tasty food from!

Bluebird Restaurant-  This has been around almost as long as Helen’s, though when I was little, it was “Graham’s Restaurant.”  This is what my niecey refers to as “the pancake store!”

Rivers Edge Take Out- Great for a quick meal (I like a chicken burger!) but best for some ice cream.  Again, my order hasn’t changed in years.  A small chocolate cone with rainbow jimmies.  Dumped into a cup so I don’t make a mess.  They have many crazier selections of ice cream (both hard and soft serve), but I always stick with the same.

Exploring Southern Wyoming

I had the best, most laid back, kind of off-the-wall 30th birthday!  We had planned to go to Cheyenne’s Frontier Days, until we realized that virtually all of Wyoming was there.

Day trip to Southern Wyoming, Vedauwoo, Buford, Wyoming Territorial Prison

Instead, we went on a little drive to Laramie.  Scott was talking on the phone and I was looking at road signs.  Those brown ones are my favorite.  The ones that tell what attraction is coming up in whatever little town you may be approaching.

We hit the jackpot three times.

First, we stopped at the smallest town in the United States.  Buford, Wyoming.  Seriously, there’s a general store here, and that’s it.  Oh, and more post office boxes than a town with a population of 1 would need.

Buford, WY  The smallest town in America

Next, Wyoming Territorial Prison.  This was definitely the highlight.  Located just outside of Laramie, the prison is a state historical site, and the amount of history it shows is amazing.  We learned all about Butch Cassidy and other outlaws, got to see the warden’s home (which also housed a guard or two), and learned a lot.  One of my favorite things that we learned was that only two prisoners only died in the prison.  This is because 1) a doctor would visit every week or so to check in on the prisoners and 2) when/if they became terminally ill, they would be released.  This way the prison wouldn’t have to pay for a funeral or burial fees!  Seriously, if you have a chance to check this place out, it’s really interesting!

Old Carriage at the Wyoming Territorial Prioson

Our last stop for my birthday was at Vedauwoo for a little hike, which isn’t too far from Buford.  I noticed these crazy rock formations on our way to Laramie.  A quick mile hike offered some great views and a spot of wild life!

Rocks at Vedauwoo

Moose at Vedauwoo

You might’ve seen the moose make an appearance on my instagram.  I’m pretty proud of it.  But upon further inspection, he looks pretty cranky!!

Has anyone been to northern Wyoming?  How does it differ from the southern half of the state?

Linking with Joey Hodges Writes

Scenes from Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park was a stop that was on the books since we decided to go to Colorado.  I mean, how could we not?

Of all the hikes we could’ve done, we decided to try the hike to Mills Lake, which is about 7 miles round trip.  I picked this one solely because less than a mile in, you’re at Alberta Falls.  I figured, if we were exhausted by this point (okay, mostly me), we’d at least get to see something.  There are points of the hike that are on rougher ground, but the trails are well maintained.  The hardest part is going up- you gain 700 feet in elevation during it.

Alberta Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Alberta Falls

Mills Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Mills Lake

Our second trip to Rocky Mountain National Park was a bit less strenuous.  We drove the Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grandby, and then back around.  I don’t recommend the whole loop if you don’t like driving.  I honestly fell asleep during part of it once we got out of the park.

Drive Trail Ridge Road, the oldest continuous paved road in the country, up to the Alpine Visitor Center.  At one point along the road, I noticed a sign that stated we were two miles above sea level.  And still climbing.  That’s quite a switch, coming from Florida, where we’re AT sea level!

There are a number of turn outs along the road for you to stop and take pictures.  My favorite is after we got above the trees, to the tundra.  There were still patches of snow, and the wildflowers up there only have an average of six weeks to bloom and reproduce before it gets too cold.

One of the biggest tips I have if you visit, is to make sure to bring a jacket.  While the temperature in Estes Park was around 90 degrees.  At the Alpine Visitor Center, it was 54!

Chipmunk at Rocky Mountain National Park
At an overlook on Trail Ridge Road

Elk next to Trail Ridge Road
An Elk. Not at a turnout on Trail Ridge Road.
It’s blurry because I managed to get this while Scott was driving!

Lake at Milner Pass
Milner Pass, shortly after the Continental Divide

Rocky Mountain National Park in July
A view of a mountain lake on Trail Ridge Road.  Snow still on the ground in July!