That's the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.
- Walt Disney
Warren, our two girls, and I just returned from a long weekend in DisneyWorld, where Warren was a guest chef at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Our girls are five- and three-years-old, so of course we tagged along. They could never pass up on a chance to meet Elsa and Anna, or any other Disney princess for that matter.
If you've never been to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, I'd highly recommend it. The entire World Showcase is abuzz with people, wine, and food from all over the world. It's the only place I can think of where you can sample cuisine from Canada to Morocco to Europe to the Far East and all the way to Australia, all within the span of a few hours (and a few drinks!).
The highlight of the weekend is the Party of the Senses, a two-and-a-half hour foodie dream come true. Imagine walking into a grand hall with tables upon tables of meats, cheeses, chocolates, wine, liquor, and desserts, all prepared by renowned chefs from Disney and around the country. Then, halfway through stuffing your face with a second helping of Tuscan short ribs that literally melts in your mouth and is paired with a golden polenta (thank you, Lincoln Ristorante in NYC!), you pause to enjoy a mind-blowing performance by Cirque du Soleil. You then move onto the desserts, of which there are plenty, and continue to stuff your face until your tummy surrenders to a bliss it has only dreamed of.
That's the Party of the Senses.
For the Party, Warren made these snickerdoodle cake truffles that were absolutely divine. Served with a dollop of icing and a swirl of homemade caramel, they warmed one's soul as a good dessert should. I know I may seem biased, but if you know me, then you know that I'm not that into cakes (yes, you heard me correctly; I'm much more of a chocolate person) and I seldom eat cake (even ones made by my husband). But THESE!! I went back for seconds, and thirds. Paired with a coffee liquor, I was in heaven.
The other highlight of the weekend, surprisingly, was the Frozen sing-along. Now I know what you're thinking. BLECH! Trust me, I was thinking the same thing (I have two little girls, remember?), but what could I do? My girls were screaming for Elsa and Anna, and we were in DisneyWorld after all, so like the good parents that we try to be, Warren and I took the girls to what amounted to a big karaoke bar dressed up as a large theater in the middle of Hollywood Studios. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law, neither of whom had seen Frozen, tagged along (the poor things, I thought to myself, they have no idea what they're in for).
We sat near the front of the theater. My three-year-old kept turning to me and asked repeatedly, "When is it starting?" I told her to be patient and looked back to see people filing into the theater, including many parents that I'm sure were thinking the same thing I was, "please, make this short."
The curtain soon opened and in walked Anna, looking for her sister Elsa. Two random characters -- storytellers, we're told -- were tasked with rehashing the entire Frozen story in less than 30 minutes. They talked super-fast, made some jokes, and at certain points in their storytelling, paused so that audience members could watch the big screen and sing-along -- karaoke-style -- to all of the classic Frozen songs.
My kids, who are not known to be shy, gave it their all. They belted out the words, sang out of tune, even raised an invisible ice castle when the moment called for it. Instead of watching the stage, I just stared at my kids, and watched as a certain magic spell took hold. When Elsa finally appeared near the end of the show, my three-year-old was so visibly elated and in awe that I had tears in my eyes from seeing the sheer delight on her face.
And this, I realized, is what makes Disney so magical. Sure, kids get to see princesses, but it also lets grown-ups remember what it was like when we imagined and believed.
- Pam Brown (a.k.a. Mrs. CakeLove)