Full Review: Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot’s Germany Pavilion

You may remember how much I love sitting in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot with a beer and some food, and people watching.  Its really a perfect spot for a break in the middle of the day, and I thought nothing could top that.  BUT WAIT!  Enter the Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion at the Epcot World Showcase.

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How pretty!  We went near Christmas time, so everything was decorated.

The Biergarten Restaurant is awesome.  Seriously.  I was admittedly skeptical, we rarely book a table service restaurant at Disney, particularly buffet service restaurants as we never feel like we eat enough to justify it.  However, I really really enjoyed Biergarten.  The restaurant is located in the back of the Germany Pavilion on the let hand side.  As you enter the restaurant, you are “transported into a traditional Bavarian village” where you enjoy your meal while listening to an Oompah Band.

All the food is buffet style, and is, of course, of the German persuasion. There is also a selection of German beers, which you can order by the 1/2 liter or liter (we went with 1/2 liters). You also sit at communal tables – I think they seat about 8 people depending on where in the restaurant they are. We had a party of 4, another party of 2, and us at ours and no one was too interested in chatting beyond their individual parties (though I’m sure that varies, depending on if you order the 1/2 liter or liter of beer).  For those of you who might get nervous about this sort of thing, it wasn’t awkward at all.

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Beer and menu – shaped like a beer stein!
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Menu page 1 – Beer Selection
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Menu page 2 – Wine Selection

So.  The food.  GUYS THE FOOD.  Okay, so this is a buffet style restaurant, and there are plenty of food options even for non-adventurous eaters.  I’m 99% positive the food pales in comparison to what you can get in Germany, but regardless, it still tastes pretty awesome, particularly for a buffet.  The buffet starts with a selection of cold items like potato salad, macaroni salad, sausage salad (I didn’t know sausage was considered a salad, but hey…), rolls and pretzel rolls (GET A PRETZEL ROLL).  Then hot items like a seasonal soup (ours was beer cheese, which I used as a dip for the pretzel roll), roast vegetables, sausage, pork schnitzel (my personal favorite), meatballs, a carving station, etc.  Finally, a variety of desserts like black forest cake and apple strudel, among other things.  Everything was great, I don’t think I tried anything I didn’t like, but my favorite was definitely the pork schnitzel.  Actually I liked it so much that I missed it when I got back and made it for dinner about a month later.

There really isn’t too much to say about the entertainment, they’re pretty fun to watch and for most of the time you’re eating they’ll be sort of in the background.  You’re going to have a specific reservation time, and the band goes on at various times throughout the day, but you will get to see the entertainment regardless of your reservation time, so don’t worry about it.  There is a dance floor, but no one was dancing while we were there – maybe because it was lunch time.

Overall, the atmosphere of the restaurant is really great and fun.  It will run you $15 to $34.99 per adult for lunch and $35 to $59.99 per adult for dinner.  Pricing depends on time of year.  It was $34.99 for lunch when we were there in early December 2016.

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on the Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot?

After being a bit skeptical as its kind of pricey for lunch, and a buffet, I was pleasantly surprised!  Of course, the beers are pretty big, so that might have had something to do with it, but the food was good (again, for a buffet), there were plenty of options, and the atmosphere was really fun.  If you’re looking for table service at Epcot I recommend it for lunch as its cheaper than dinner, but overall it was a good time and I’d definitely go again on another trip!

Initial Reactions: Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We visited Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Memorial Day weekend, which was the first weekend the new section of Animal Kingdom was open to the public.

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Map of the World of Avatar, courtesy disneyworld.disney.go.com

I’m going to preface this blog post with the fact that we have never seen Avatar.  We also didn’t go to Disney that weekend with the goal of fully checking out the World of Avatar, we were there for Megacon, but decided to take a day trip over to take a look around.  What actually ended up happening is that we wandered around for awhile, looking at the gigantic lines (everywhere, not just in the World of Avatar), then decided we were going to drink all day.  It was a very crowded weekend in the parks.  It was also hot.

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Pretty stuff.  A floating mountain.

Anyway.  The World of Avatar was pretty cool even just looking at it, and there is some awesome stuff to see.

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More floating mountains.

The World of Avatar is located by Pizzafari and Tiffins.  It was about 95 degrees the day we were there and Animal Kingdom had kindly provided “hydration stations” (jugs of water and cups) along the path to the World of Avatar, and were encouraging you to make sure you stayed hydrated.  As a reminder, you can also get free ice water from most kiosks or restaurants that have fountain drinks.

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A big flower thing?

First of all, the World of Avatar is BIG.  We didn’t go on any of the rides or into the store (again, lines), but we spent at least 2 hours looking around.  Although, we walk slow.  The level of detail is crazy.  I’m sure if we had seen Avatar we would have appreciated this more, but seriously I looked at a tree and there was some weird like Avatar green slime on it.  Themed down to the smallest detail.

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Waterfall.

There are 2 rides in the World of Avatar.  The Na’vi River Journey and the Avatar Flight of Passage.  The Na’vi River Journey is a gentle drifting boat ride, and the Avatar Flight of Passage is a 3D movie ride where you ride a banshee, more of a thrill ride.  When we were there the wait times were 250 minutes according to the board, but we heard a CM say that that they had put the wait time at the maximum it could go and it could be longer or shorter.  Right now (on Sunday June 25th at about 1:00pm) the wait times are 60 minutes for the Na’vi River Journey and 110 for Avatar Flight of Passage, so they have definitely dropped.

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Yeah okay I’m not really sure, I didn’t see Avatar.

There is also a store, Windtraders, which sells – you guessed it – Avatar and Disney stuff.  There is a quick service restaurant (Satu’li Canteen) that was actually not crowded at all when we were there, but it was about 11:30am.  There looked to be plenty of seating, and the menu was pretty interesting.  There is also a drink stand, Pongu Pongu, and I definitely want to get my hands on some Hawkes’ Grog Ale, which is a Golden Ale flavored with wheat and citrus and is apparently green.

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Umm this is maybe significant in some way.

If you’re just there for a few hours and not going on any rides, the showcase is the Valley of Mo’ara and the ABSOLUTELY GIGANTIC FLOATING MOUNTAINS. Pictures do not do these things justice.  They are SO BIG.  And SO COOL.  Although they’re so big that I got inexplicably nervous walking under them and looking up at them.  There really is a ton of detail and a lot to see, and while you’re walking around you’ll probably find some cool interactive stuff – its not a land to breeze through while trying to get on a ride.  Take your time, look at the details.

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A… mech…?  I guess….?  I dont know.  I think I should have watched the movie.

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on the The World of Avatar?

In no particular order, my initial reaction(s) to the World of Avatar were:

  1.  This place is gigantic.
  2.  There is some serious detail in this land.
  3.  Wow, this is really pretty.
  4.  IS THAT THE LINE?!
  5.  Damn, those floating mountains are huge.
  6.  It is incredibly hot today.
  7.  I wonder what the structural integrity of these floating mountains is.
  8.  I probably should have watched Avatar, I’m going to pretend this is Zangarmarsh from World of Warcraft.
  9.  IS THAT THE LINE????!!!!!!

Eventually, we are going to go on those rides and I’ll provide a more full review.  For now, the detail and theming of the land was worth the walk around.

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Floating mountains are neat.

Full Review: The Polite Pig at Disney Springs

We live somewhat locally to the Walt Disney World resort area (well, locally enough that we can drive).  I believe I’ve said this before, but on our final day we like to visit Disney Springs to do any last minute shopping, grab lunch, go for a walk, and buy some Sprinkles Cupcakes to home (thus preserving some of our vacation for longer).  We were recently in Orlando for MegaCon, which will be featured in an upcoming post, and made our way over to Disney for a few days as well.  On our way out, we stopped at The Polite Pig for lunch, which is a “modern BBQ outpost with Florida cuisine and an array of libations on tap,” according to disneyworld.disney.go.com.

It is actually a quick service BBQ restaurant that has a full bar (indoor and outdoor), with indoor and outdoor seating.  You place your order at the counter, they give you a pager, you go find a seat and they bring you your food at the table.  While we were there they also came around with samples of blondies and oatmeal cookies which were pretty great, although not great enough to make us actually purchase one.

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Menu behind the counter at the Polite Pig – it was actually this hard to see in real-life, but there were paper menus available for the visually challenged
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Sauce bar at the Polite Pig

Because it was lunchtime, we decided to split a few things instead of ordering our own individual meals.  The menu isn’t too extensive, but has some great options on it.  We ordered the pork shoulder ($14), the mac and cheese ($6), and the hop salt pretzel ($10).  I found the menu to be pricy as the sides are à la carte, but since we were splitting all of this it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and trust me this was plenty of food.  We also didn’t have any alcoholic beverages on this trip (again, lunch, and we needed to drive home), which kept the cost down.

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Pork shoulder, pretzels, beer cheese fondue (top left), IPA mustard (hard to see in the middle).
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Better view of the beer cheese fondue and IPA mustard, plus some of the sauces from the sauce bar.  I’m not positive what these were, I found them un-remarkable.
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Better view of the mac and cheese and one of the pretzels.

The Polite Pig actually doesn’t get great reviews on Yelp, although I think most of it is due to the food cost issue.  We actually really enjoyed everything we had, particularly the pork shoulder.  The Polite Pig has a “BBQ sauce” bar (… actually, its just dispensers, like ketchup/mustard dispensers, and paper cups), which has a variety of options you can see on the menu, but we found that the pork shoulder really didn’t need any sauces to make it enjoyable, it was actually very flavorful on its own.  We did dip the pretzel in each one of the sauces, and while good, they were nothing to write home about.  The pretzel itself comes with beer cheese fondue (a HUGE AMOUNT OF IT) and IPA mustard, both of which were incredibly tasty – so much so that I usually couldn’t decide which to dip my pretzel into.  Finally, the mac and cheese was REALLY GOOD GUYS.  Sometimes mac and cheese can be kinda flavorless, but I really enjoyed it.

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A very tilted picture of the Polite Pig interior.
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Outdoor bar seating at the Polite Pig

Lets talk about seating.  There is indoor and outdoor seating, and its a pretty big place, we didn’t have to wait long to find a table.  They seemed right on top of cleaning off the tables as soon as one party was done, so even though we had a minute of “table-hovering,” we still sat down at a clean table.  There is also a lot of bar seating available, or I suppose you could get your food to-go and sit somewhere outside at Disney Springs.  The only thing I’ll mention about this is the day we were there was really hot (around 95 degrees), and while there were still people sitting in the “patio” area as it was partially shaded, I don’t think this would be the best place to sit in the middle of August, which would cut out some of the seating options.

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Taps at the bar
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Taps behind the counter where you order food

I’ll also say that while we didn’t partake, the bar options certainly looked intriguing.  I don’t really like bourbon, but there is a bourbon bar with options ranging from $9 to $99.  I suppose if I liked bourbon this would entertain me more.  There are also a variety of beers (I really like Florida Cracker from Cigar City, you should give it a try if you can find it in your area or if you happen to go somewhere that has it), and cocktails on tap.  Again, you can see all of these options on their menu.

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Polite Pig Merchandise!

So Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on the The Polite Pig in Disney Springs?

Well, I liked the Polite Pig. I thought it was a good option for lunch and we definitely got plenty of food, despite not ordering our own meals. We actually brought one of the pretzels home because it was too much (and BBQ is really heavy). I do think its pretty expensive given that you need to order the sides separately, but I would go back, possibly sit at the bar, and try some of the beers or cocktails.

And yeah, on a slightly unrelated note, if you can find Cigar City beers anywhere, definitely give them a try.