Robert Irvine is a recognized Chef and personality. It is only when you see him live and in person that you realize that outgoing personality that you witness on television is the same Robert Irvine that exists in real life!
Epcot International Food & Wine FestivalDisney World presents one of the most amazing Food & Wine Festivals each year for the past 19 years and 2014 is no exception! One of the best parts of the Festival is to see celebrity chefs in person and see them create culinary specialties and interact with the audience.
Robert Irvine made two appearances for the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The first was a supposed to be a simple dish preparation and question and answer session. Well 45 minutes turned into over an hour and the audience that we were gladly a part of got a chance to experience and witness Robert Irvine up close and see far more of the personality that is presented across a wide number of shows on tv recently.
Robert Irvine the ChefLet's start with the dish that Robert Irvine prepared for the audience. After all, he has gained his fame from being an acclaimed chef.
The food that he prepared for us was:
Tasting of Hudson Valley Duck: Brined Moulard Breast, Puy Lentil, Butternut Squash, Preserved Duck Confit, Cashew Mousse, Fermented Garlic Jus
Cutting ahead to the final results, we are talking about an amazing dish! This comes from a person that really does not like duck and cannot recall ever having duck prepared in a manner that was enjoyed. This definitely broke the mold and surprised me with the incredible flavors.
Robert Irvine - Beyond The Food!Robert Irvine is much more than a Chef, he is a dynamic storytelling personality! He spent his time at the center of attention cooking, teaching, and entertaining. There is no doubt that in real life he really is the dominate personality that he appears to be on television.
He brought volunteers on stage from the audience and got them to participate as he described the ingredients that he used and explained his choices for oils and salts.
The more that Robert talked, the more that you realized that he is a humanitarian that really becomes emotionally attached to some of the people that he interacts with on his shows and the problems and issues that they fight to overcome.
Without a doubt the culinary demonstration that starred Robert Irvine was a highlight of a recent visit to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. You can't fake the amount of passion that Robert has and the devotion to his staff.
Robert even came out into the audience to continue his discussion and answer questions.
Summary - Robert Irvine at Disney WorldThe culinary demonstrations at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival can sometimes be hit or miss, but Robert Irvine definitely hit a home run! besides preparing a great dish that tastes as great as it looked he did a great job being both storyteller and entertainer for the audience. He came of as genuine and larger tan life at the same time with his outgoing personality.
He felt comfortable enough to both bring his wife and children to the session and introduce them to the audience.
He definitely turned me from a casual fan of him and his shows to someone that is now engaged with what he becomes involved in. He was not only entertaining, but his passion for what he does was infectious!
Whether you enjoy him on the Food Network for Restaurant Impossible or one of the other shows that he appears upon he is quite the talented entertainer.
Best of luck to Robert Irvine in his future endeavors and take the opportunity to see him in personal if the opportunity presents itself!
October 5th, 2014 marked the final day for the Maelstrom attraction in the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. As preparations are underway to re-purpose this space into a Frozen movie based attraction, we wanted to take this opportunity to say goodbye what was the best attraction in the Epcot World Showcase.
Maelstrom - A High Seas Norwegian AdventureThe last of the 11 current countries of the Epcot World Showcase to be added, the Norway Pavilion debuted in the Summer of 1988 with its showcase attraction called Maelstrom that would differentiate it from the other international pavilions.
The striking waterfall was sure to get your attention where passersby would see the ships make brief appearances before the soon to follow screams as people descended the "big" drop,
As you made your way to the back of the Norway Pavilion you were greeted with signs that let you know that this attraction was definitely different than any other that could be found in Epcot's World Showcase.
The waiting area provided a view to a magnificent mural depicting images of Norway, past and present. This mural is so large that we will have to break it down into four sections to look at.
The first section depicts a scene from the early settlements of Norway and their ties to the mythology of the trolls and the spirits of the land.
The second section shows the transition from the great warriors to the hard life on the frozen sea with the fishing boats and the sailing ships.
The third section depicts a coastal fishing village and a nod to the booming cruise ship industry.
The last section shows the vast oil fields that live off-shore from Norway. This worker is who we affectionately refer to as "Chuck Norse" since he bears a striking resemblance to actor Chuck Norris!
Now it is time to board your rustic Norwegian vessel to begin your journey.
The boat transports you through time to view the early origins of Norway and to understand the lives and folklore of its people. You see ancient warriors and the not so cute three-headed trolls.
At this point you reach a dead end and you retreat from the troll sighting in reverse and make your way make full size (and angry) polar bears and back up to the edge of the waterfall.
Here you start moving forward again only to realize that it means that you are going to descend down a drop that is somewhere between Pirates Of The Caribbean and Splash Mountain to end up in the shadow of a deep sea oil drilling platform as you are transported back to present day Norway.
Finally you exit the area to dock in a quaint Norwegian Fishing Village. Here you depart and can stop to see a brief film about Norway before you continue on to the gift shops.
As you make your way to the shops you may have noticed this plaque that states:
The Norway Showcase was officially inaugurated on the third of June 1988 at EPCOT Center in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses, Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja.
The other landmark in the shops is the giant troll that may not remain after the redesign to integrate the world of Frozen with their friendlier "boulder trolls."
Goodbye MaelstromAlthough change is not always bad, we will miss Maelstrom and its depiction of the history, culture, and people of Norway. It also represented the first and until now only "thrill" ride in the World Showcase. Since 1988, this has been our version of a vacation to Norway and immersion into its culture.
The replacement attraction will promise to bring the amazing characters from the movie Frozen to a ride that is sure to be popular, but it also moves Epcot further away from its origins, and that makes us sad.
We are not sad that it was time to replace Maelstrom, but by the fact that the replacement does not have ties to Norway and takes Epcot's World Showcase further away from being a World Showcase that focuses on the majesty that is the diversity of cultures from around the world and more of a vehicle to place characters from various Disney/Pixar movies.
Some things are just too good to pass up! One such temptation can be found at the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. It is called Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate and you don't want to miss your chance to try it!
Epcot International Food & Wine FestivalThe 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival highlights the Fall season at the Walt Disney World Resort by transforming Epcot from September 19 to November 10, 2014. Among the multitude of food and drink offerings to discover is a Hidden Gem tucked away in a corner that can easily be missed by most Epcot Guests.
The Festival Center for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is set up inside the former Wonders Of Life Pavilion located between Ellen's Energy Adventure and Mission Space int eh Future World Section of Epcot.
Once inside the Festival Center, in order to find this special treat you need to proceed all the way to the far side of the Pavilion to an area that is not visible from the Entrance.
The section that you are looking for is called: The Chocolate Experience: From The Bean To The Bar presented by Ghirardelli. Inside you will be greeted by a cast member handing out small complementary square of Ghirardelli chocolate, which we will consider an appetizer to the main treat awaiting visitors.
There is a great collection of dioramas created entirely of chocolate that are fun to look at. Pictured above is a model of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Attraction and a great Toy Story scene.
The main event is where they sell the Wine and Drinking Chocolate. This simple little counter is where you can find one of the most amazing tastes in the entire Food & Wine Festival!
Whether you purchase your Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate with or without the glass of red wine to accompany it, you are in for a treat. The smooth chocolate has a thinner consistency than just a melted chocolate bar, but don't dare confuse this to be your ordinary Hot Chocolate.
The intense warm chocolate flavor is amazing. When combined with alternating sips of the well paired red wine, in this case the Buena Vista Winery (Sonoma, CA):The Count Founder's Red Wine, you have a combination that is absolutely wonderful!
At only $2.50 per serving, the Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate is something that you cannot afford to pass up!
Review SummaryIf you are attending the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, impress your friends and family by leading them to this out of the way spot and indulging in the decadent guilty pleasure that is the Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate! You will not regret it, and your friends will be in your debt!
The iconic symbol of Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort is called the Tree of Life. This mammoth man-made tree not only makes a great photo backdrop for those that enter the park, but it is worthwhile to study the incredible detail that went into all of the animals that are hidden within it's trunk and branches.
Disney World fans can appreciate the level of detail that went into transforming this former oil rig into an animal adorned tree that serves as the centerpiece of Disney World's best themed Theme Park.
If you have the time time to look closely you can discover the over 300 animal carvings that exist within the trunk, roots, and branches of the massive 145 foot tall structure.
Today, as we pay homage to this incredible structure we show many of the animal carvings that you may not have seen in such detail previously.
The owl, the whale, and the iguana are highlighted here in this view. The material that the Disney Imagineers used was concrete to create these incredible animal images.
The bear and the wildebeest stampede are the visuals that you can notice from this view. This enlarged close-up is rarely noticed by the casual Disney's Animal Kingdom Guest.
The meercat and the beetle are prominently shown here amongst the others.
Can you make out the rabbit, moose, and praying mantis carved into the Tree Of Life in this picture?
The stately peacock is shown in this image. It is cleverly carved into the trunk of the tree.
This stunning picture shows the carving of the owl, monkey, scorpion, and hippo all intertwined in this carving image. Few Disney World guests ever notice this level of detail that exists in the Tree Of Life.
A Lion makes his way into this carving peering along the edge of the tree.
Can you believe that an octopus is actually included among the Tree Of Life Carvings? This menacing form makes its appearance felt.
SummaryThe Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom presents an amazing array of over 300 different carving included within its boundaries. By looking closely you can see the wide variety of mammals, birds, sea creatures, crustaceans, and even insects that are represented. The next time that you visit the Walt Disney World Resort make a point of taking some extra time to see how many of the 300 carvings you can identify.
You can Play, Stay, Dine and Save up to $600* on a 5-night/6-day Walt Disney World Resort room, ticket and dining plan package for a family of four at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights Dec. 14-20, 2014 and Jan. 5-March 7, 2015 when you book Oct. 9-Dec. 29, 2014.
Booking Window:Oct. 9-Dec. 29, 2014
Travel Window:Dec. 14-20, 2014
Jan. 5-March 7, 2015
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*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on non-discounted price of the same package for 2 adults, 1 junior, 1 child in the same room. Tickets valid for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Excludes campsites and 3-bedroom villas. Excludes alcoholic beverages and gratuities. Children ages 3-9 must order from children's menu, if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.