In one week’s time I had the chance to attend two ‘mixology seminars’. One at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and one aboard the Disney Dream.
While both seminars cost the same I quickly realized the phrase ‘mixology seminar’ can be interpreted many different ways. From presentation style to level of involvement – these two seminars could not be further apart.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Seminar Options
Many of you know that every fall Epcot World Showcase is lined with a wonderful collection of food booths offering tid-bits and libations from around the globe. You can easily enjoy your time at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival by just visiting the booths.
But another world awaits you at the Food and Wine Festival Center located between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy. Within the walls of of this air conditioned oasis (yes, I do visit often to get a break from the heat and you can usually find a seat too) you will find wine, culinary and mixology seminars.
Most of these seminars have a nominal cost so they will not break the bank. They do fill up so I recommend making advance reservations (407-WDW-FEST). There are also a limited number of walk up spots available for those that don’t want to commit or like to live life dangerously.
These seminars are usually hosted by the winery, food company, distillery, etc. So be prepared for a 30 minute commercial of their product as the focus will be to purchase it on the way out.
But most of the presenters also take the time to educate the audience on the item at hand. They can be very informative and entertaining.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Mixology Seminars
For 2016, the Mixology Seminars have been included with all of the other beverage seminars. So you will need to check the the Food and Wine Festival Beverage calendar for the time you will be there and look for the spirits.
There will be different vendors presenting their product and sharing with you 3-4 drink recipes with samples.
Do not expect this to be a hands on class. You will not be mixing drinks. This is a presentation only as there are about 100 people in attendance and there is no way they could manage the logistics of that.
Instead you will have someone on stage showing you how to mix the drinks and then you will be provided with a small sample of the drink so you get an idea of the taste.
Cast Member Ricky to the rescue
The one seminar I did attend at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is probably not one Disney would like to remember. But at the same time I still laugh out loud when I think back to this train wreck of a mixology seminar.
We chose the BooYa Tequila (since this seminar BooYa Tequila has gone out of business and I am not surprised) mixology seminar because 1- it fit our schedule and 2- tequila is hot right now.
In attendance was my husband, my sister and I. We had gotten Kids Night Out to take care of the kids so we could have an adults night at the festival.
As we entered the seating area for our seminar we over heard our host for the evening tell the Disney Cast Member Ricky (soon to be our favorite Cast Member EVER) that they wanted the group to have fun.
We also noticed that our host has probably partaken of a couple of drinks before the seminar. She wasn’t quite all there if you get my drift.
The seminar starts and all I can say is ‘Oh My!’. The woman didn’t really give us any information about tequila or BooYa. She would describe (literally) the photos in the presentation and yell ‘BOOYA’ about every 3 minutes. (I unfortunately lost my recording of the ‘BOOYA’ yell. It was my ring tone for a couple of months – it was that good.)
Disjointed was an understatement. It’s like she forgot the entire presentation. And the woman on stage wasn’t any better. I guess she ‘mixed’ the drinks. But she never spoke until the ending to tell us all her best BooYa cocktail.
Remember this is a ‘cocktail’ or mixed drink seminar. She said her favorite tequila cocktail was to serve it in a glass with a lime wedge on the glass. Yep – riveting.
Now for the star… After each ‘recipe’ Cast Member Ricky would come out with the samples. He would strut, smile, and point at wink at the audience. You never knew what he was going to do but he took a train wreck and had us all smiling and laughing.
We learned absolutely nothing at the seminar (as seen by these notes taken by another seminar attendee) but we had a fabulous time and made memories that will last a life time.
- Was this a stellar moment for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – No
- Will I attend another mixology seminar – Yes
- Do I want to find Ricky again – BOOYA!
Disney Cruise Line Tasting and Seminars
Whether you are on board the Disney Magic, Wonder, Dream or Fantasy there will be a number of tasting and seminars to fill your time between shore excursions and family fun.
A sampling of offerings include:
- Wines of the World Cellar Master Presentation
- Beer Tasting (4 & 7 Day Cruises)
- Martini and Tequila/Margarita tastings (4 & 7 Day Cruises)
- Stem to Stern Wine Tasting
Unlike Epcot International Food and Wine Festival there are no set dates and times for these experiences. You will need to watch your in-room Navigator (ship daily schedule of events) and ask Guest Services or Concierge to book you as they do sell out.
The good news is that you can usually get a spot the same day (or even half hour before like I did). On a cruise everything ebbs and flows so just go with it.
Mixology Seminar on the Disney Dream
Talk About Participation
While on our 4 day Disney Cruise, Mr T got sick. So one afternoon Mr J was in the Oceaneers Club (Kids Club) and Joe was taking care of Mr T as he slept. I had nothing to do.
So I walked across the hall to the Concierge lounge and asked our Cast Member Linda for ideas on what to do. She recommended the Mixology Seminar in the Sky Line lounge. It was $15 and started in 30 minutes. I was sold and off I went.
The location of the mixology seminar is in the Sky Line bar in the night club district of the boat. I am not a ‘club’ person but I fell in love with this bar. It is gorgeous and includes large windows (screens) showing some of the most iconic sky lines across the world. We identified Chicago, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Singapore during our hour long seminar.
Everyone will have their own station with everything they need to make 4 different drinks. The first one is made by the bartender and is served to get us relaxed and in the mood to socialize. (our bartender made a lovely Bahama Breeze)
You may have noted the word socialize above. Unlike the presentation mode of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival the seminars on the Disney Cruise Line are all about learning and getting to know everyone.
You may be asked to volunteer or to work with your neighbor to make a drink. With only about 25 people it is easy to walk away with new friends. I met a lovely couple from Kentucky and some rowdy older gentlemen from Georgia. I think at one time they even belted out a song or two.
In the end we made a Caipirinha, a Martini and a B-52. The Caipirinha was my favorite!
This was also the first time I had ever had a martini. Wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I would recommend either mixology seminar to anyone but I would set expectations. At Epcot International Food and Wine Festival expect a presentation with a tasting of the cocktails. On a Disney Cruise ship be prepared to work for your drinks and get to know your fellow passengers.
And either one of these would work for someone going solo. At the presentation style you can easily keep to your self while at the participation style you will quickly become members of other groups of people.
I just about want to say the Disney Dream was better with the hands on intimate approach. But the laughter from BooYa keeps me coming back. I guess you really can make a good time out of anything.
Now it is your turn… Tell me below if you prefer one style over another?
More articles that may interest you…
- Upstate New York Finger Lakes Wine Trail – Quality Wine along Keuka Lake
- Tips for Attending Epcot Food and Wine Festival with Kids
- Disney Dream Concierge Level
- Saving Money with the Epcot World Showcase Wine Walk