Disney Dining – Epcot’s Tangierine Café

I’d heard for years about the great food in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion.  Aside from that single, ill-fated attempt to eat at Spice Road Table, we’d never put dining in Morocco on our to-do list.  On the Quick Service Dining Plan for our June vacation, Megan and I decided to give Tangierine Café a try.  It was a good value on the plan and the food and service were both great!

Disney Dining – Epcot’s Tangierine Café

It’s not that we don’t like the Morocco Pavilion…We do!  It’s got a lot going for it.  The architectural details, tile work, shopping, and live music all work together to create an especially exotic oasis in World Showcase.  We’ve passed on the food simply because there are so many other choices in Epcot.  Also, a couple of us are picky-ish, so we tend to go places we know everyone will like.  Raymond loves the coffee served at the Morocco Pavilion and has stopped on many occasions to enjoy a cup while the rest of us look around in the gift shop.Tile Closeup / Morocco Pavilion / Epcot's World Showcase Morocco in Epcot's World Showcase

Hopping to Epcot from a busy morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Megan and I were hungry!  The weather was gorgeous and we headed straight for Morocco and the Tangierine Café for lunch.  Everything on the menu sounded good to us, but we both decided on the gigantic Shawarma Chicken and Lamb Platter “served with a side of Hummus, Tabouleh, and Tangierine Couscous Salad with fresh Moroccan Bread“.

Everything on our plates was delicious.  (Pictures don’t do it justice!)  We loved the consistency of the bread and how fresh all the flavors were.  Perfectly seasoned, each generous portion was flavorful and satisfying without being heavy.  As I mentioned, lunch was also a good value on the dining plan (out-of-pocket price for just the Shawarma Chicken and Lamb Platter is currently $14.99).

Megan and I were so happy we tried Tangierine Café!  If you’re looking for a filling lunch in Epcot and haven’t yet tried this quick service restaurant in Morocco, we highly recommend it.

What are your favorite go-to dining spots in Epcot for lunch?

 

 

The Right Way to Tour Epcot’s World Showcase

Hang around with enough fellow Disney fans and you’re bound to notice one hotly debated topic:  Which way is the right way to circle World Showcase?  One camp swears by the Mexico Pavilion route as the only acceptable way to go (Looking at YOU, Nick Maglio).  The other camp adamantly believes the only way to kick off a World Showcase visit is to begin in Canada (Hello, Dave Hodges!).  Of course, I have my own opinion (no big surprise, right?) and I’m certain my way is best.  (Want in-depth arguing on this topic?  Listen to The Disney Exchange!)

The Right Way to Tour Epcot’s World Showcase

The answer is simple.  Enter World Showcase wherever you like!  Our plan is always to go towards whatever is first on our agenda if we have one.  If we’re there simply to wander (a favorite family activity), we go to the side that appears to be less crowded at that particular moment.Gran Fiesta Tour / Mexico Pavilion / Epcot's World Showcase

If there for the rides, we enter on the Mexico side and hit the Gran Fiesta Tour on our way to Frozen Ever After in Norway.  When looking for a bite to eat, the direction we take is solely based on whatever we’re craving at the moment.  In search of a cold beverage, we’re headed to the Canada side to make our way to the UK Pavilion for an Innes & Gunn (Scotland’s finest beer, IMHO).  See how this works?

On of the very best and most charming aspects of World Showcase is that it can be completely different from one visit to the next.  Seasonal festivals, holiday decorations and special events, and slower times of the year – all game changers.

For example:  During Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, the World Showcase can be packed!  Between guests and the extra food booths and kiosks, it has a certain party atmosphere unlike other time of the year.  If we’re there for attractions or visiting particular pavilions to shop, we go at park opening.  If we’re there for the food, we prefer to be in and out by late afternoon.

When there are no special events, World Showcase begs to be explored at a leisurely pace.  This is when we love to visit every pavilion and stop here and there to speak to Cast Members or watch a performance unique to a particular country.  Drummers in Japan, acrobats in China, Mariachi band in Mexico, performers in Italy and France – we’ll take in whatever happens to be going on at the moment.  Of course, there are always snacks and drinks to try!

Don’t fall for the arguments!  There is no one correct way to tour World Showcase – no matter where you start, there are amazing sights, sounds, and flavors to explore.

What’s your World Showcase touring strategy? 

 

 

Disney Vacation Libation – La Cava del Tequila

A funny thing happened on the way to the Gran Fiesta Tour…

Disney Vacation Libation – La Cava del Tequila

Megan and I, on our Epic Mother/Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip, had so many opportunities to try new things!  One of the best was finally getting to find out what all the hullabaloo is about for the little bar inside Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion.  So many of my Disney friends love La Cava del Tequila and have waxed poetic about it repeatedly. Now we know why!  We enjoyed ourselves so much, we visited twice!

The first time we stopped in La Cava, we really were on our way to the Gran Fiesta Tour.  We’d just finished a delicious lunch at La Cantina de San Angel and thought a leisurely boat ride with the Three Caballeros sounded like a great way to digest a bit and relax in the cool, dark interior of the Mexico Pavilion.  As we were making our way to the ride, I remembered how much I’d been wanting to at least check out the offerings in this much touted corner of World Showcase.  Megan was totally on board and we headed on in.

First of all, the greeters are fantastic!  Friendly and helpful, they offered to find us a table, but we asked if we could just go to the bar instead.  Of course!  The service at the bar was just as great.  We were greeted by a very friendly young woman who was happy to make recommendations and share the drink menu with us.

We noticed right away that there were tequila flights set up on the back of the bar, so we asked about how those worked exactly.  Each flight consisted of three tastes of tequila (good, better, best), presented with salt, lime, and a shot of tomato juice to be taken after the first tequila sample (to cleanse the palate).  While the set up looked like a lot of tequila, the three servings amount to the equivalent of about a shot-and-a-half.  (Description – La Cava Tequila Flight:  22 Casa Noble Blanco, Partida Reposado, Ambhar Añejo)  Megan and I thought this sounded like a fun adventure and abandoned our plans for margaritas in favor of learning more about tequila!  We were very happy with our decision.

The next day, we found ourselves in Epcot again and knew we’d be heading back to the Mexico Pavilion for the margaritas we’d passed on the day before.  Our second visit to La Cava del Tequila was every bit as great as the first.  The margarita menu is awesome.  I knew from reading rave reviews that I wanted to try the Avocado Margarita which sounds kind of odd, but is ridiculously delicious!  I normally find margaritas a tad too sweet, but the avocado version is just exactly right.  Megan opted for the Passion Fruit Margarita and was very pleased with her selection – I tried a sip and it was exotic, refreshing, and very tasty!

So…La Cava del Tequila…Megan and I both give it a two-thumbs–up for service, atmosphere, presentation and flavor.  We will most definitely stop in again at the earliest opportunity!

Have you visited?  Are you a fan of La Cava del Tequila?  What’s your favorite Disney vacation libation to order there?

Disney Summer Road Trip Recap

The Epic Mother/Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip has come and gone.  800 miles to Walt Disney World for four park days and home again.  Did we have a good time?  Oh, you bet we did!  After all the planning and anticipation, we couldn’t have asked for more.

Disney Summer Road Trip Recap

We shared our plans in this post a few weeks ago.  When we hit the road at 8:00 am sharp on June 24th we were excited about our girls-only adventure.  We had our favorite Newk’s chicken salad sandwiches and plenty of drinks in the cooler.  Those snacks I’d bought at the Japan Pavilion back in April were within easy reach in the car.  We had a new podcast recommended by my friend Kelly about Unsolved Murders queued up in iTunes.  Suitcases, rain gear, GPS directions…we were ready!

The weather was great for the drive down.  In Mississippi we saw Lightening McQueen and Mater by the side of the road!  We thought this was both hilarious and appropriate so we stopped for a picture.  After that, it felt like we were on The Autobahn!  Nobody in Mississippi or Alabama seemed to care about the speed limit at all and we had to go kinda fast to keep up with the crowd.  We never once saw any troopers or other law enforcement watching for speeders…vastly different than in Louisiana.

I figured 9-10 hours of shared driving would be the maximum we could handle on day one.  I’d booked a room at the Hampton Inn in Lake City, Florida for Saturday night.  We could get a good night’s rest and tackle the last 2 1/2 hours of the drive on Sunday morning.  Everything went exactly according to plan.  I’d had a recommendation from someone on a Facebook forum to stop in Tallahassee for ice cream at Lofty Pursuits.  We cheered ourselves on by looking forward to stopping there for an afternoon snack and were delighted with the restaurant’s huge menu and quirky décor.  Guinness ice cream is a thing and it is spectacular.  I had warm chocolate ganache on mine, Megan had hers in a cone.

Our room at the Hampton Inn was perfect with super comfortable beds.  After polishing off the last of our sandwiches, we sipped wine and watched a couple of episodes of Outlander before turning in.  Hey, girl trip means we get to do girly stuff.  The next morning’s drive was a breeze and before long we’d arrived at Saratoga Springs.  Our studio was great and very close to a bus stop.  Full review coming soon.

As per our plans, we spent Sunday afternoon and evening in Magic Kingdom with a quick dinner break at the Wilderness Lodge’s new Geyser Point Bar and Grill.  We capped off the day with Happily Ever After and loved it!

Monday was my favorite day of the trip.  We left Saratoga Springs at 6:30 am and didn’t get back until 11:00 pm.  We spent all that time in Animal Kingdom and had a blast!  I’ll write individual posts with more details about Pandora and the Caring for Giants tour, but those were both amazing.  We had FastPasses only for the Na’vi River Journey in Pandora that day with a FastPass to experience Flight of Passage booked for the next morning.  You cannot get FastPasses for both on the same day.

We watched the wait time for Flight of Passage throughout the day and it quickly became 250 minutes before declining during the afternoon hours.  After Caring for Giants, we decided that if the wait time got below 100 minutes between then and our Rivers of Light FastPass, we’d wait in the standby line so we could ride Flight of Passage twice on this trip.  Normally, we will not wait longer than 30-40 minutes for anything except our most favorite attractions and only then if absolutely necessary.  While we were enjoying our Flame Tree Barbeque dinner, Flight of Passage’s wait got to 90 minutes and we had just enough time to do it.  I’ll tell you all about in another post soon, but we were so happy we got in that long line!!!

Tuesday we split between Animal Kingdom and Epcot.  We got to eat lunch at La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion which we hardly ever get to do because we’re the only ones in our family who love Mexican food.  It rained quite a bit that afternoon, but we were prepared.  We rode out the worst of the storm listening to Voices of Liberty in The American Adventure rotunda.  They are so talented and put on a wonderful show!  Once the rain let up a little, we made our way back to Saratoga Springs and then on to our dinner at Paddlefish in Disney Springs that night.

Wednesday we split the day between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  The weather was gorgeous and the Studios didn’t feel as crowded as usual.  We did all our favorite attractions, saw all the characters in the Star Wars Launch Bay, and had time to enjoy a cold beer before we headed to Epcot.  By 4:30, it was time to get back to our already-packed car at Saratoga Springs and head back to the Hampton Inn in Lake City for the night.

The drive home on Thursday was a lot more challenging than on the way down.  We left extra early since we’d seen a sign outside of Lofty Pursuits that they were now serving breakfast.  Strawberry pancakes and coffee…delicious and just the fortification we needed.  We’d been averaging 5 hours of sleep a night since Sunday and were exhausted.  We drove through what felt like a monsoon for hours along the Florida panhandle.  After we got through Mobile, things got better and we made it home safe and sound with lots of souvenirs for Raymond, Joseph, Grant, and Lyndsey.

Success!  We had an excellent trip and accomplished all we’d set out to do.  Plus, we now know about literally dozens of unsolved murders around the world.  Megan and I took on the challenge of a 1600 mile drive to have a mother/daughter adventure.  We rarely get much alone time these days, so having each other’s complete and undivided attention while enjoying our favorite vacation destination was like a dream come true.  And we’d do it again!