EPCOT’s World Showcase delivers on its promise of creating idealized representations of nations and cultures from around the world. Every one of its major pavilions set the stage for your world tour around the theme park. One of the best-themed areas is France. For the last couple of years, that Parisian theme continued while major renovations were happening along the back side of the area. Starting October 1st, we get to take a look inside the new area, its amazing new attraction, and a brand new restaurant.
While I would love to write more about the new ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, this post is all about La Crêperie de Paris, the new restaurant opening with the mini-land next month!
A Trip to France in Florida
Take a stroll along the river Seine in France’s new expansion. Turn down the Allée des Marchands (Alley of the Merchants if you didn’t take French in school), and pass through a beautiful arch that marks the line between a facsimile of France and the fantasy inspired by France in Ratatouille. All around you are blue rooftops and wrought iron rails with fun rat motifs. Even the manhole covers and the area’s fountain pay tribute to Remy, the rat with a chef’s palate.
If you think it’s difficult to accept the transition between realistic homage to a realistic take on a cartoon, just look to EPCOT’s Norway pavilion. The new French area pulls off the same feat, adding touches from the movie like a shop window displaying bottles of Chateau Ego wine or the scooter and motorbikes of Chef Colette and Chef Skinner. It’s not so far-fetched to think of the animated movie’s events happening in a very real Paris!
The area’s ride into a cartoon fantasy is bound to be amazing. Disneyland Paris created this attraction in the first place and proved itself quite popular. But where their land provides a restaurant that shrinks guests to rat-sized proportions, Imagineers chose to blend fantasy and reality in EPCOT’s version. Cue the crepes!
A Brief History of WDW Crepes
For some reason, Walt Disney World has a long history with crepes on menus, but mostly in the role of dessert. In the earliest days of the Magic Kingdom, Crepes Sherwood (think pancakes with mint filling) were on the dessert menu at King Stefan’s Royal Table. They were not well-liked, as I may have mentioned in an earlier post. Many other restaurants tried the same formula for years, never realizing the full potential of the famous French pancake.
Recent attempts fared better. Chefs de France, one of EPCOT’s major dining locations, has a small kiosk across the promenade from the main restaurant. Their kiosk makes crepes fresh in front of guests, combining them with fillings like chocolate, strawberry preserves, or a dusting of sugar. Get a bit of soft serve next to the main event and you have yourself a fine dessert!
AristoCrêpes is an even more recent attempt to highlight the wonder of thin pancakes rolled and stuffed with delicious fillings. Disney Springs installed this kiosk several years ago along the bridge between the Marketplace and the Landing. That’s the foot bridge that makes it easier to get from Rainforest Café to the Paddlefish riverboat. This spot offers up sweet treats with fruits, cream, chocolate hazelnut, and even a s’mores filling. But still no savory….
The Savory is On the Way!
And we arrive at last at the main event. Decades of dabbling into thin pancakes, and the chefs of Walt Disney World finally have a reason to show off. La Crêperie de Paris is a new restaurant and quick-service pickup location featuring that eminently adaptable delight, the crepe!
You will love the options at this restaurant. Thin crepes folded around classic, sweet ingredients like chocolate hazelnut spread, bananas and caramel, peaches and red berry sauce, pear with chocolate ganache, or apples and caramel are sure to meet the needs of most guests. What? More sweetness? Fine. Get some ice cream on top as well.
We also see the arrival of savory at long last. Galettes are similar to crepes except the thin shell is folded around its filling and baked at high temperature to ensure a crisp exterior with a warm and moist filling. Fill yours with a classic ham, egg, and swiss cheese. Maybe try the goat cheese with spinach and walnuts. But save some room for the Ratatouille itself: a thin crust filled with tomato, zucchini, and eggplant. The galettes are also made with specially imported French buckwheat flour, making them completely gluten free!
If you sit inside, take advantage of the prix fixe menu offering multiple courses. Start with soup or salad. Move to your savory galette, and round out the meal with a sweet crepe option. While you are living it up like a crepe-loving visitor to Brittany, order a glass of imported French cider to accompany. France’s Brittany region is known for both crepes and its alcoholic ciders. Why not get a taste of it all on your next trip to EPCOT?
This entire area is shaping up to be another must-see portion of your next Walt Disney World trip. Sure, there is a blockbuster attraction in the land where you will need to queue up early in the morning to get a spot. Look past all that and you have another immersive environment that will enchant you with all the charm of a Parisian neighborhood complete with sights, sounds, and smells. If you take the time, you can taste it all as well!
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