Do you remain obsessed with Harry and Meghan?
Are you eagerly awaiting their fall tour of Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand?
I know I am, and I gobble up every bit of gossip about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Did you know they got a Labrador retriever and named him Oz?
Did you know Meghan calls Harry “my love”?
Did you know Harry’s favorite cocktail contains pineapple and coconut rum — and there’s a similar taste sensation at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?
To celebrate Harry and Meghan, we headed to Disney World, that fantasy land where every little girl can become a princess.
Here’s our special “Harry and Meghan Tour” of Epcot Food & Wine Fest.
Crowns and Mickey ears optional.
Start with a sparkling toast at the new Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar: One of the longest lines inside Festival Center, which is in the front of Epcot, was at this new bar, where Champagne is never plain.
Choose from Key Lime Mimosa (Key lime sparkling wine and cranberry juice, $6), Blood Orange Mimosa (sparkling wine and blood orange juice, $6), Tropical Mimosa (sparkling wine, pomegranate, orange and grapefruit juices, $6) or a Frozen Mimosa … and more.
We saw lots of folks balancing multiple mimosas.
And here’s a thing about Epcot Food & Wine, if you’ve never been there: Booze is king. All kinds of booze, and people start drinking early.
Cocktails, wine and craft beers — many from Florida — are featured at all of the 35 “global marketplaces,” which are kiosks where you order taste-size food and drink.
So, beware of the sweaty and the inebriated. As the queen will tell you, rowdy behavior is neither proper, royal nor civilized.
Harry and Meghan will travel to New Zealand soon: You don’t have to make the trip to try our favorite new discovery, the Frozen Wine Cocktail featuring Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($7).
Be sure to stop in Australia, too, like the duke and duchess will: At the Australia marketplace, we tried a dessert favorite: the Lamington, a little chunk of yellow cake dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut. It tastes like an Almond Joy.
Drink like Harry: Back in Harry’s pre-Meghan partying days, he is said to have enjoyed a drink called the “Treasure Chest” at London’s Mahiki nightclub. It contains pineapple juice, coconut rum and lime. That reminds us of our all-time favorite festival food: the pineapple soft-serve ice cream with Bacardi coconut rum ($9.50). It’s at the Refreshment Port, in Showcase Plaza, between Future World and World Showcase in Epcot.
Meghan used to live in Toronto: So, we stopped by the Canada marketplace and indulged in one of the food and wine festival’s most popular dishes: “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with a Truffle Butter Sauce. We paired it with the suggested wine, Chateau Des Charmes Equuleus Red Blend.
At $14, this was a good deal: The piece of filet was about three-fourths the size of my palm — and tender and delicious. A serving of wine in this pairing is about a half-glass.
United Kingdom, home sweet home: Of course, the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase is where a true royal fan would throw back a pint of Guinness.
At the Rose & Crown Pub, a fixture in Epcot, and the Yorkshire County Fish Shop, where tourists line up for fish and chips, staff members Alice and Melissa — both from the U.K. — cooed over Meghan for her “chic modernity.”
Stop at the Tea Caddy and get a couple of mugs for your favorite newlyweds: One says “Mr. Right” and the other says “Mrs. Always Right.”
Would the Duchess of Sussex ever indulge in such sarcasm? Who knows … but they’d be perfect for serving a spot of Prince of Wales tea.
Fun facts about this year’s event:
*Now 75 days long, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival began in 1996 with an initial run of 30 days.
*There are more than 30 global marketplaces; the new Taste Track, for example, features specialty croissant doughnuts and the pancake milkshake.
*Expanded offerings at the Festival Center will include the new Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar, Craft Drafts and the Festival Center Wine Shop, all with new menus.
*Guests will discover more than 35 new marketplace dishes and 70 new nonalcoholic beverages, cocktails, wines and beers, including seven festival-exclusive brews.
*More than 50 domestic and international wines will be offered at global marketplaces.
*More than 65 wineries and 40-plus breweries from around the world, including local craft beer operations, will be represented at festival marketplaces.
*197 Disney and guest chefs will present culinary demonstrations and will cook for festival events.
*Celebrity chefs and visiting culinarians from eight countries and 20 U.S. states will participate in culinary demos, book signings, and special tasting events and dinners.
*During Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak festival scavenger hunt, guests help Remy scour the park for the ingredients to make his signature dish, ratatouille. Along the way, they’ll find 15 Remy statuettes hidden throughout World Showcase and the global marketplaces. Guests can purchase their maps and stickers at select merchandise locations, then take their completed maps to Disney Traders at the entrance to World Showcase to choose a new surprise, compliments of chef Remy.
*In all, the festival will feature nearly 400 events, including the new “Sunday Brunch with the Chef” series, Party for the Senses, Food & Wine Pairings, Cheese Seminars and additional events in multiple World Showcase pavilions.
Taste your way around the world
What to know if you go to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
When: Festival is a record 75 days this year. It opened Aug. 30 and ends Nov. 12.
What: Are you ready for a bacchanal of deliciousness? An explosion of calories? An experience that will leave you sweaty, dizzy and 5 pounds fatter? Then it’s time to drive to Disney World and experience the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the massive global feast that really has to be tasted to be believed. The food and wine fest features 35 “global marketplaces” with food and drink from around the world. The kiosks circle Epcot’s World Showcase and also dot Future World. Want to learn how to cook like a celebrity chef? Sign up for one of the special dining/cooking seminars inside the Festival Center in Future World, Be sure to pick up a “Festival Passport,” a pocket-size guide to all the marketplaces and dishes. Like rock music? Stay for one of the nightly “Eat to the Beat” concert series featuring oldies by such folks as Sugar Ray and new artists, too.
Cost: Epcot admission required. One-day, one-park tickets cost $102 weekdays and $114 on weekends. Florida residents, check for deals on seasonal passes and multiday tickets.
For more information: Go to epcotfoodfestival.com