Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Disney Review: Flavors of Morocco

During the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival there are many opportunities to partake in various culinary experiences.   My husband and I  wanted to try a wine pairing event and were intrigued by the Tuesday offering, Flavors of Morocco held at Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase.

It was a dreary afternoon as the clouds had literally burst about two hours before the 3:30 p.m. event.   Restaurant Marrakesh was practically deserted.    If you have ever dined in this restaurant it has a large ground level that surrounds a performance space.   On either side of this space is additional seating which is raised about 3 feet and is only accessible by small staircases.  

It was a small group of 15 adults.  One of the guests was in a wheelchair and she was incapable of standing on her own and navigating the stairs.   This meant the humiliation of having to be carried up the stairs in order to attend the event.   The Thespian believes that the lack of handicap access for this event was not thought out when planning where in Restaurant Marrakesh to set up the event.    The Thespian believes that the thought was to separate the wine pairing participants from the general dining population, however, since this restaurant predates the ADA law, it meant that it was difficult and humiliating for this guest to participate in the event.

On a positive note, the chef for Restaurant Marrakesh introduced himself to the group and described the three courses he had planned for us and asked about allergies and dietary needs.    Challenge of the day: two of the guests were vegetarians.   The chef outdid himself and created a three course vegetarian meal for these guests that provided variety and excellent flavors that complimented the flavors for the regular meat-based meal he had planned.    We regularly quizzed the vegetarians and they felt that they received an excellent meal.

The courses were diverse and flavorful, the wines well matched.   The wines were Moroccan, French and Californian and perfectly matched the courses.

Partaking in a wine pairing event is an excellent way to enhance one's EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. It is imperative when booking to mention any potential issues, such as dietary or mobility.    The Thespian witnessed Disney at its best when the chef created a three course vegetarian meal for two of the participants without any advance notice of their needs.   The Thespian also witnessed a rare worst for Disney as a wheelchair-bound guest had to endure the humiliation of being carried up stairs in order to participate, something Disney should consider when planning events for next year's Food and Wine Festival.

The Flavors of Morocco wine pairing event was a separate ticketed event above the cost of required theme park admission.    For information on special events visit and select Parks and Resorts and then search for special events or special dining events.

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