The 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is only a few months away, and it will feature flavors from six continents, with more than 25 marketplaces to sample from. It will run from September 27 through November 11, 2013.
New this year is the Scotland Marketplace, added due to the popularity of the Disney film, “Brave.” No word on the exact menu offerings, but Disney says it will feature “traditional flavors with a twist ” that will pair well with the beer, mead, and Scotch offerings.
The Brazil Marketplace will return after a one-year hiatus, but it will feature a new menu. Hopefully, they’ll bring back the frozen Caipirinha. Also returning will be the Hawaii Marketplace, with its yummy Kalua Pork Slider, and Terra, with delicious vegan offerings like Trick’n Chicken Curry.
In addition to the marketplace kiosks, renowned chefs like Warren Brown, Paula DaSilva, Gale Gand, Jamie Deen, Robert Irvine, Dean Max, Rock Harper, Jeff Henderson, Art Smith, Buddy Valastro, Allen Susser, “Cake Boy” Eric Lanlard, Duskie Estes and John Stewart, Donald Link, Bryan Voltaggio and Emily Ellyn will share their talents during culinary demos and premium events.
The nightly Eat to the Beat concerts will feature a wide variety of acts from the Go-Go’s to Sugar Ray to Manhattan Transfer to Boyz II Men. We posted the full Eat to the Beat line-up a few days ago. These concerts are free with park admission.
Authentic Taste seminars, Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog, special book signings, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are also included with regular Epcot admission.
The food and beverage samples, some culinary demos and wine seminars, and special events like Party for the Senses, are an additional cost.
For more information on the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, visit epcotfoodfestival.com.
- Tuesday, May 28: Official Gay Days Kick-Off After Party “Underground Masquerade” 9pm-2am featuring make your own mask station, colored beer & wine, dance floor, performance art, contests and DRIP ticket giveaways.
- Wednesday, May 29: DRIP shows for men (all male cast) at 8:30pm & 11:30pm
- Thursday, May 30: DRIP shows for the ladies (all female cast) at 9pm, plus Girls at Gay Days Kick-Off Party “One Hot Mess” from 10pm-2am featuring DJ Lez Spin, the debut of Powder (a new DRIP piece), live body painting, rain dancers, t-shirt cuttings, colored beer & wine and more.
- Friday, May 31: DRIP shows for men at 8:30pm & 11:30pm
- Saturday, June 1: DRIP shows for women at 8:30pm & 11:30pm
DRIP will also be hosting a Gay Days Visual Art Show and sale all week, featuring works with the themes of love, gay rights, the human figure, etc. Works will be on display at all DRIP events.
DRIP show tickets during Gay Days are $35; show and t-shirt packages are $43. Tickets for “Underground Masquerade” cost $8 online, $12 at the door. Admission to “One Hot Mess” is free.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit ILoveDrip.com. DRIP is for those 21 and over, and it is strongly suggested to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirt or paint on.
DRIP is located at 8747 International Drive, behind Denny’s and Señor Frogs.
The Simpsons attraction at Universal Orlando is one of the park’s most popular, so it only makes sense that the park would choose to expand on that by bringing the world of Springfield to Orlando.
This summer, guests to Universal Studios will be able to walk the streets of Springfield, and enjoy food and drink at locations made popular by the long-running TV show.
Guests will be able to walk down Fast Food Boulevard and grab a Krusty-certified meat sandwich at Krusty Burger, snatch the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman, get a slice at Luigi’s Pizza, go nuts for donuts at Lard Lad, enjoy a “Taco Fresho” with Bumblebee Man and imbibe at Moe’s Tavern.
There will also be a new attraction called Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, which is a spinning ride, and two new Simpsons characters for guests to meet – Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob.
But the highlight for some, will be that guests will be able to enjoy Duff Beer, brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando. Mmmmm…beer…
No exact date has been given for the opening, but the buildings are already in place, so I expect any week now.
It looks like the Orlando Fashion Square Mall is about to undergo a major renovation. One that includes demolishing a portion of the mall to build an attached 125-room Starwood hotel, quite possibly their Element brand.
As such, many stores in that section of the mall will be moved to other locations, some permanent, some temporary. One that won’t however, is Bath & Body Works, which will close May 25, 2013. The chain is “rebranding its concept,” so it made sense to just close and possibly reopen in the mall at a later date.
The hotel is projected to open fourth quarter 2014. Restaurants expected to open in the hotel area include BJ’s Brew House, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Red Robin, according to the mall’s new owner, UP Development, Inc.
In the meantime, several new businesses are opening in the mall. London Smoothie House opened earlier this year. Fashion retailer Papaya will open October 2013, and Pure Element Salon will also open this year.
Here is an artist rendering of what the mall will look like once the hotel is finished. It will sit above mall stores and restaurants, with its own entrance, and a roof-top pool.
The May-Hem Horror Festival takes place this weekend, May 24-26, here in Orlando, and it features guest stars from the worlds of movie, TV, books, music and more.
- Cast members from The Warriors, including Michael Beck, Deborah van Valenburgh, David Harris, and more
- Musician Zakk Wylde
- Actor Zach Galligan (Gremlins, Waxwork)
- Actress Betsy Russell (Saw III – VI)
- Actress Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story: Asylum)
- Cast members from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, including Peter Barton and Judie Aronson
- Cast members from The Walking Dead, including Nick Gomez and Daniel Thomas May
- Horror director Adam Green (Hatchet I-III, Frozen, Holliston) and his fellow Holliston castmate Joe Lynch
There will also be a Zombie Walk, a Tattoo Festival where you can get a horror tattoo right on the show floor from well known ink masters, bands and live performances, a Celebrity Poker Tournament, movie screenings, huge parties by the pool and a dealers room full of horror memorabilia.
Running in tandom with May-Hem, is Halloween Extreme, which is designed to introduce the best products of the Haunted House industry to attendees, and to create a place where horror fans and Halloween fanatics can mingle, attend classes, dress up like zombies, meet celebrities and celebrate a true “Halloween in May.”
General admission to May-Hem is $50 for a weekend pass, or you can buy individual day passes for $30 (Friday and Sunday) or $35 (Saturday).
Admission to Halloween Extreme is $30 for a weekend pass, $15 for Friday only, $20 for Saturday or Sunday only.
You can also buy a combo weekend pass to both events for $70 online or $85 at the door.
Some special events during the fests (such as the Zombie Prom), as well as autographs from the celebrities in attendance, are an additional fee.
Both May-Hem and Halloween Extreme are being held at the Rosen Centre Orlando (9840 International Dr.).
Orlando Restaurant Week is a great way to get out and try some new restaurants, while making less of a dent in your wallet. Unfortunately, there is only a little over a week to take advantage of this promotion, as it ends May 31, 2013.
Basically each participating restaurant is offering up a set menu at a special price, ranging from $10 to $35 per person. Depending on the restaurant, you can find a menu for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Some are offering for more than one meal.
One place I recommend checking out is the new Hash House A Go Go on International Drive. They have menus for all three meals, starting at only $10. You can also enjoy lunch at B&B Junction (a starter, a burger, and a soda or iced tea) for only $10. Dinner there is $5 more, but you also get a dessert and you can even drink a draft beer with your meal price.
Many restaurants around the Orlando area are participating, so grab some friends and enjoy a meal out while the promotion is still on. For more information, visit OrlandoRestaurantWeek.com.
Late last week, award-winning Hue restaurant in Thornton Park, announced that it will be closing in the next few weeks.
A notice posted on the restaurant’s website states: “Please join us for ‘last call’ as we celebrate 12 successful years as downtown Orlando’s most critically acclaimed and award-winning restaurant.”
Open since 2001, Hue has been a cornerstone (literally) in Thornton Park. The owners, Urban Life Management, state they plan to open a new eatery in the same location, at a later date, possibly as early as this fall. They say it will be the “next great restaurant concept.”
In the meantime, a posting on Hue’s facebook page mentions that “All Hue infusions and Bloody Mary bar will be moved to Cityfish.” No word on what will happen to Hue’s “Disco Brunch.”
Cityfish is located at 617 E. Central Blvd, on the same block as Hue (it also shares owners).
For Universal Orlando guests, a one-day/one-park ticket, will now have a $92 base price – that means before tax. With tax, that will put the ticket price over $100 per adult.
Other Universal ticket options have also gone up in price. A one-day/two-park ticket is now $128, and a two-day/two-park ticket is now $146.99 (both before tax). These prices are for buying online in advance. Ticket prices at the gate may be more.
Of course, Florida residents can take advantage of discounted Universal Orlando annual passes online, as well.
Currently, the other two big parks, Walt Disney World and SeaWorld, offer their one-day/one-park tickets for $89 per adult.