Wednesday, March 15, 2017

DCA Food & Wine Festival - Kanine Krunchies

Happy Wednesday!

I'm SO sorry for the lateness of this post, but a technical blustery day blew our schedule back to today! 

On Friday, I went with a fan of the blog (Hi, Joy!) to check out the offerings at the DCA Food & Wine Festival. 

It's located along the parade route (there isn't any parade right now due to Guardians of the Galaxy construction anyway...), in the same area the Festival of Holidays was placed.  In fact, they just pulled out and redressed the booths. Not that this is a bad thing, if you didn't know, you probably couldn't tell. 

Plus, if it isn't broke, why fix it? 

Or Baroque....

Nice little "Welcome Center" at the entrance, but I'll discuss it later..

Merchandise kiosks....

If you wanna take your wine to-go....(well, not really....)

Also, Disney brings in other companies (mostly botanical and food-related), to fill in the spaces.  It's different, but nice....

And now...the Main Event....

Now, of course, with only three people, the food report just cannot be comprehensive. This is a small operation I'm runnin' here! (For now...) But, hopefully, it will give you an idea of the variety this year...

Yes, the Apple Maple Bacon Whoopie Pie IS back, and as good as it was....

This is the smoked mac and cheese with bacon and barbecue seasoned onions.  It had a nice texture and anyone who doesn't like bacon needs to be considered suspect. 

Here is the bay shrimp Louie salad served in a mini Boudin sourdough bread bowl (from the Sweet & Sourdough booth). 

From "I Heart Artichokes" we have the Grilled and chilled artichoke hearts with Romesco sauce.  Interesting, I hadn't had artichokes before, but the sauce was very good as well. 

At The Onion Lair, this is the French Onion mac and cheese with Parmesan crumble and chives. Another interesting twist.  A little adventurous, but not too much for the more picky eaters in the park. 

Here we have (left to right), Vanilla Bean crème fraîche Panna cotta with Amarena cherry jus and an EVOO madeleine (from Olive Us), Artichoke carbonara with garlic aioli and smoked bacon (I Heart Artichoke), Warm olive focaccia with olive oil and sea salt (Olive Us), and the Passion fruit posset and coconut chia with mango compote and jelly (Seafood...Sustained).

Orange iced tea with orange pearls from I heart Artichokes. 

Bottom line, it was ALL good. Seriously all good.  I don't know that I could think of something to say about anything that was bad, taste-wise.

Again, keep reading, we'll get to the problems.

These nice little blurbs were cute, although I'd like proof Walt intended to name the dwarfs after different kinds of wine.  Would have made my grandmother's favorite Disney movie MORE her favorite...

Here is the Mimosa flight from Uncork California.  As you can tell from the sign, you got Pear, Apricot and Mango Mimosa. Again, everything was great. The pear was a little more subtle in taste against the other two, though. 

Now, when you go to drink...look for the numbers first so you remember which is which....

There are two showcase areas, one in Hollywood Backlot (where they are doing more wine and beer tastings) and the other in Paradise Pier.  

Now, for the bad news....

Alright, the food was fantastic.....but Operations strikes again.

Just to back up a little, last year, we partook in several booths before finding the Sip and Savor Passes in the Blue Sky Cellar.  Now, we're not oblivious, we try to get all the information to be had.  Why were they essentially hiding?

So, this year.....
Since seating is kind of hard to come by, my mother went to go get the Sip and Savor Pass, available at few locations (I'll get to that in a minute).

The Sip and Savor Pass is located in the two AP "Corners" in Paradise Pier and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot in Stage 17.  Why are the only two areas where you can get the pass on opposite parts of the park, nowhere near the actual booths?

When she got to the Paradise Pier location, they had the cards...but no registers.   A cast member was actually going down the line of people waiting (starting from the back or the line, which also makes no sense) to inform everyone about the situation.  Not that they weren't working....they just didn't have any. How, on the first day of the festival, do you have NO registers....with two days of soft openings? That will be a theme of the day, by the way...

That Welcome booth right in front of the festival couldn't be made to accommodate the AP Sip and Savor cards? Really?

Then, to make things worse, TWO booths, at noon on the first day of the festival were out of food.  You read that right.  Out of Food.  My mother, being the fantastic assistant to the blog she is, was trying to cover all the bases and the Garlic booth was out of sliders, the Cheese and Nuts booth out of brie.  She went to the Artichoke booth and said, "Ok, if you're out of food, we're going over to Disneyland and eating a burger."  The Cast Member was shocked. The festival starts its day at 11 and at 12 both the neighboring booths are out of food?!

Well, this CM was kind enough to explain.  The food is made with remote preparation system and brought TO the booths.  OK, fine, I get it, the booths are small. But why is the food not brought over fast enough? Or why is communication so bad booths have no food to serve customers? At lunch?

As the CM put it, "I thought two days of soft opening were to fix these problems."
Apparently, not.

For at least two years now, in so many events, in both parks, we've seen issues with Operations.  Basic bonehead problems.  At what point is Disney going to look into this and fix it? Who needs to be fired? Who needs to be brought in?

The supposed hallmark of Disney's legacy is service.  Walt said himself you could build anything you want but it's the PEOPLE who make the endeavor work. It's also the people who can mess up a good event, attraction or experience.  And right now, I'm finding nicer Team Members at Universal and Knott's. The wrong people in the executive areas are setting things up without a thought for logistics, alienating their core audience, Annual Passholders.  Not smart.

Plus, once you lose the aspect of your company that sets you apart, superior service, then what do you have? Crowds, angry entitled parents, 1/3 of the park's attractions down, an hour to get into the park because of inefficient security measures, where does it end? It certainly won't when people stop coming, but does something large and problematic from a PR perspective have to happen before this kind of thing gets reined in?

Now that the Festival has run a few more days, I sincerely hope the issue is rectified.

So, that's it for the moment.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Thank you to Joy and my mother, Regina, for helping out with the event!

And thank you, readers, for coming back! If you have any questions, similar experiences to share, comments PLEASE feel free to add your comment below.  This blog can only grow with the help of its readers.

Have a great day! 

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