Last week Pam Brandom (Food Writer) of the Disney Parks Blog made an announcement about the forthcoming Odyssey Lounge along with other information about the 2011 International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot on June 13th:
- Hawaii, the Caribbean islands and Portugal all debut Marketplaces – look for Kalua pork sliders in Hawaii, ropa vieja in the Caribbean and calamari salad in Portugal.
- The new Odyssey Lounge opens, where guests can check in with friends and family back home, play games and surf the web while enjoying a specialty cocktail or a glass of wine or beer. There’s even a charging station for mobile phones and other electronic devices.
- Celeb chefs are back – top culinarians like Jeff Henderson, Cat Cora, Alan Wong, Gale Gand, Suvir Saran, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Celina Tio and more. All told, more than 270 chefs participate.
- There’s always fun stuff at the Festival Welcome Center, from a wine bar to tasting seminars and free sessions with cookbook authors.
- Eat to the Beat! Concert Series is back at America Gardens Theatre with first timers the Pointer Sisters, The Orchestra starring former members of ELO and Gin Blossoms. Taylor Dayne kicks it off opening weekend.
- Also back are First Bites Opening Reception on Sept. 29 (one time only); Kitchen Memories (formerly Celebrating Family and Friends in the Kitchen); Mixology Seminar, and “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery. And of course the grand Party for the Senses!
- A new Cranberry Bog display by Craisins tells the story behind the cranberry’s rich agricultural heritage.
Notice how the Odyssey Lounge is said to “open” during the festival and none of the other festival exclusive offerings are mentioned that way. Then you have the latest press release a day later from Disney about Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival on June 14th – with no mention of the Odyssey Lounge as part of the event’s offerings. (We’ve included the full press release below down for your reading convenience.)
Why would Disney’s public relations and marketing gurus choose to leave something like that out of the event’s announcements? The press release is otherwise vastly more detailed than the information posted to the blog. It’s unlikely the Odyssey was simply “left out” if it was meant to be part of the upcoming festival.
Instead, we suspect the Odyssey Lounge is opening with the festival – not as part of the festival – and may become a permanent addition to Epcot’s lineup. We’ll have to wait and see what really happens. Perhaps the other postings asking the same question on the Park’s Blog will be answered… but until then, we can hope that the powers that be at Epcot intend to return the building to daily operations.
Below is the text of Disney’s June 14th press release:
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Exotic cocktails will pair like a tropical daydream with fresh new tastes from more than one island paradise at the 16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 30-Nov. 13, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort. The one-of-a-kind 45-day festival serves up international cuisine, culture and entertainment from six continents, with more than 25 international marketplaces featuring tapas-sized portions paired with beer, wine and inventive new cocktails.
Marketplace tasting menus offer variety and adventure for guests on a mission to tantalize their taste buds during a scenic stroll around the 40-acre World Showcase Lagoon. The adventure can take them to the festival’s first Hawaii marketplace, which will cook up Kalua pork sliders and tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips to team with a refreshing Seven Tiki Mai Tai or a Kona Longboard or Pipeline beer. A new Caribbean Islands marketplace will serve ropa vieja with rice and jerk-spiced chicken with mango salsa. A beverage menu featuring a frozen Dragon Berry Colada and frozen Rock Coconut Mojito is sure to conjure steel-drum fantasies.
With a swing across the Atlantic, guests will be transported to the new Portugal marketplace, where the Portugal Wine Bar will offer best sips to pair with calamari salad with olives and smoked paprika. The Scandinavia marketplace will return after a hiatus with a fresh new Xante Sunshine cocktail made from Xante pear and cognac liquer. And the Canada marketplace will introduce a sweet treat: apple ice wine.
Disney and celebrity chefs will team with winemakers and brew masters from around the world to get the party started Sept. 30. During the six-week festival, guests will discover:
- Three new tasting marketplaces — Hawaii, Caribbean Islands and Portugal — plus new menu offerings at popular returning marketplaces
- Celebrity chef appearances starring top culinarians like Jeff Henderson, Cat Cora, Alan Wong, Gale Gand, Suvir Saran, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Celina Tio, Robert Irvine, Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro, Warren Brown, Art Smith, Keegan Gerhard and more.
- First-ever HGTV home entertaining seminars each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- The Cranberry Bog display by Craisins telling the story behind the venerable cranberry’s rich agricultural heritage.
- Daily wine seminars, bottle signings, author events and culinary demonstrations at the Festival Welcome Center.
- Eat to the Beat! concerts three times nightly at America Gardens Theatre.
New Sips, Fresh Bites
Festival guests can make a day of circumnavigating the World Showcase Promenade, grazing and sipping as they go. Tapas-sized portions of regional specialties run $3 to $8 each, and recommended wines, cocktails and beers make perfect pairings at each marketplace. For quicker marketplace visits, guests can purchase a festival-themed mini-Disney Gift Card that can be worn on a wristband and loaded and reloaded at several park locations.
Live daily entertainment showcases many cultures with music, acrobatics and improv performances along the promenade. Evening Eat to the Beat! concerts at America Gardens Theatre feature acts from many musical genres. Appearing for the first time on the Eat to the Beat! stage are The Pointer Sisters, The Orchestra starring former members of ELO and Gin Blossoms. Fan favorite Taylor Dayne kicks off the festival Sept. 30-Oct. 2, and crowd pleaser Big Bad Voodoo Daddy wraps the event Nov. 11-13.
The festival attracts a diverse audience — from wine connoisseurs and epicures to novices wishing to boost their culinary IQs. Special culinary programs showcase a lineup of renowned winemakers, guest chefs and speakers participating in elegant dinners, luncheons, seminars and wine schools.
Festival highlights include:
- The Festival Welcome Center, with a Wine Bar, Authentic Taste Seminars, Authors Without Borders weekend conversations and more.
- More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting dinners and tasting events.
- A complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
- Popular returning events that include First Bites Opening Reception on Sept. 29; Kitchen Memories (formerly Celebrating Family and Friends in the Kitchen); Mixology Seminar; and “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery.
- The weekly Party for the Senses grand tasting event beginning Oct. 8 and with a new Saturday evening time of 7:30-10 p.m. featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment presented by Cirque du Soleil.
Festival guests can enjoy fresh Epcot experiences including the latest Future World high-tech fun at Innoventions and the celebrated return of “Captain EO,” the classic musical 3-D production starring Michael Jackson in a rare big-screen performance. In World Showcase, new and recently updated restaurants welcome guests at the Italy, Japan, Mexico and China pavilions.
What’s Included with Epcot Admission:
Authentic Taste seminars and Authors Without Borders programs with special book signings at the Festival Center, Eat to the Beat! concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.
Special Programming by Reservation:
The Party for the Senses grand tasting events and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select events and programs are available at disneyworld.com/foodandwine.