When one thinks of Disney World, it's readily assumed that the most Magical Place on Earth is just for kids. I'm here to tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. My fiancé and I have annual passes. Surprisingly, our kids do not. This isn't a money issue. We simply like to have a little something for ourselves, and experience tells us that waiting in line, long hours at the park, and hot weather lead to complaints. What parent wants that? The moment we drive under that Disney sign, our inner child takes over and we can't wait to get inside the park. We laugh, skip, and play throughout the day—taking our sweet time to enjoy everything Disney has to offer.
While at any one of the four Disney World Parks, we constantly meet child-free parents having just as much fun right alongside us. A lot of discussions have been had while waiting in line with couples who are celebrating their anniversary or birthday, or even like us, just want some magical adult time with each other. Funny enough, they blurt it out as if they have to explain the guilty-pleasure we are all enjoying. "The kids are at school, so we snuck out to Disney." Which we quickly reply, "Oh, we totally get it." The kids will never know, unless you forget and post your fun on Instagram. Oops!
Each time we go, we mix up which attractions to ride, which shops to peruse, and which Mickey-shaped treats to eat. When it comes to dining, there are no picky eaters to consider as we feast on whatever we're in the mood for. While at Epcot, we've dined in France at Chef de France and in Japan at Teppan Edo. We are big fans of The Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios. And, felt rather patriotic as we dined at Magic Kingdom's Liberty Tree Tavern.
We had a blast during our recent visit to Epcot for the International Food & Wine Festival. Upon arriving, we grabbed a Festival Passport, which has a list of all the countries represented along with their food and drink options. In the center of the Passport are stickers for each county represented that you can apply to their respective menu. Who doesn't love stickers?! Given that the festival lasts until November 13th, we narrowed down our choices of what to eat to four countries, leaving plenty to choose from on our next visit.
My fiancé's Irish roots led us to Ireland for our first Passport sticker. We devoured roasted Irish sausage with colcannon potatoes and onion gravy, washed down by Guiness' Blonde Lager. His Irish eyes were definitely smiling soon after. Our next dining sticker was in France where I simply had to try the boeuf bourguignon. This is a hearty dish of cabernet sauvignon braised beef over mashed potatoes. My fiancé chose the croissant aux escargots, a flaky croissant filled with escargot, garlic, and parsley. Escargot is French for snail (yes, it's really a snail), apparently a delicacy for those with brave appetites. Given that we were France, wine was a must. I chose the Château Les Graves de Barran merlot & cabernet blend, which I will definitely be looking for in Les Vins de France, a wine shop in Epcot's French Pavilion. My fiancé went with the Kronenbourg Blac 1664 pale lager, another adult beverage we'll be buying more of. In Brazil, we chose a flavorful crispy pork belly--mostly because the intoxicating aroma was too much to resist as we walked by. It was amazing! It was served with a side of deliciously rich black beans topped with tomatoes and onions. Our passport got it's final next sticker from Italy where we selected the Absolut Penne to share—penne pasta and shrimp smothered with a creamy vodka sauce. By the way, you can't request extra vodka, we asked. This was accompanied by a glass of Prosecco (my favorite sparkling wine) and a peach Bellini.
I do believe that my kids would have found something they would have liked to try. However, I know they aren't as adventurous with their palette as we are. From what I saw, we aren't alone as there was a number of kids watching their parents eat with impatient eyes. I'd venture to say there was a burger and fry stop in their future. Luckily, with all the restaurant options with kid menus at Epcot, they didn't have to go far to ensure the whole family was happy. One stop my kids would have loved was The Chocolate Studio in Future World. Too bad they missed out on the liquid nitro chocolate-almond truffle drizzled with a warm whiskey caramel. It was delicate, yet heavy with chocolate love. You may be deceived by its size, wanting to order two, but I assure you that one satisfied both of our chocolate cravings. It was the perfect ending to our cultural Epcot journey.
Disney is constantly evolving with the times; however, keep in mind that the main characters we still see have not only been around since our childhood, but probably our parents. Brothers Walt and Roy Disney started the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in October of 1923. It was November of 1928 when Steamboat Willie was released that we became familiar with Mickey Mouse—who was originally named Mortimer (for those trivia buffs). Walt's wife Lillian didn't like the name and suggested Mickey—the rest is history. Let's just say there is little chance there isn't an adult out there who didn't grow up familiar with this famous mouse. So, when it comes to adults appreciating Disney World just as much as our kids, we've got this covered. Or, you can just let your inner-child out and tell your kids, "We saw him first!"