A few weeks back, G-Fan and I went to TDS to check out this fall's "A La Carte" event at TDS. An event that is reminicent of "Disney's Delicious Days" a few years ago. Given the lukewarm response of that particular event, I did have to question OLC's motives for reprising an event that was somewhat similar to Delicious Days and one that vaguely celebrates TDS' 6th anniversary the way "Dramatic DisneySea" events did...which also, "A La Carte" seems to draw from as all.
There is no denying what demoghaphics the OLC people are going after with "A La Carte"... young females, and couples, with disposable income.
Many would probably think this "A La Carte" event is something along the lines of EPCOT's Wine/Food fest... well... yes and no. Unlike EPCOT, there are no temporary food stands serving overpriced samples of food and wine from various regions of the World. Here at TDS, many of the restaurants are offering special set menus and liquor options as part of the event.. in addition to the regularly scheduled culinary options.
For added fun, two restaurants in the park are being highlighted for the event.. Mediterranean Harbor's Portofino Cafe for example, has been temporarily remaned the "Festa Pinocchio". The restaurant has been redecorated with a Pinocchio theme and offers special menus during this event. The decor is temporary but nicely done. As an added incentive, they have also gone out of the way to offer walk-around entertainment to delight dinning guests. It adds to a most enjoyable dinning experience.
Similarly, In the Arabian Coast area of TDS, the Casbah Food Court has temporarily become "Genie's Cafe". It also offers special decor and menus.
Other special treats and food related souvenirs can be found all over TDS, at regular food stands and other counter service restaurants.
Like "Dramatic DisneySea", the "A La Carte" event also features a decidedly femenine line of merchandise and a look that is reminicent of the classic Audrey Hepburn movies... like "Funny Face" for example.
At EPCOT, I have always questioned the popularity of the Wine/Food Fest simply because EPCOT already offers a very varied and expansive international menu in it's different venues.. Similarly, I wonder why OLC feels the need to offer a "food" festival here, concidering that TDS is already the premier culinary park of all of the Disney resorts... (yes, more so than EPCOT in my honest opinion). I guess this type of event gives OLC a chance to brag about that fact, while offering very subtle experiences to entice local guests to re-discover that aspect of TDS.
Still... to me, the "A La Carte" event is beneath TDS (and OLC's) capabilities. "A La Carte" is a small scale event, mostly driven by the few makeovers at some restaurants and also by the abundant line of merchandise that will appeal to the young ladies who frequent this park in search of romance and a funfilled evening at TDR with thier boyfriends. Even more disappointing... all I wanted to get here was an event pin, yet, in all of the extravagant merchandise.. they forgot/did not care to produce a pin for this event. Bummer.
I guess this is the only way I can differenciate between what EPCOT does, versus what TDS does... EPCOT aims to capture the alcohol types with some over priced wine/liquor options and expensive hors d'ouvres-type portions around the World Showcase lagoon... while TDS aims for a more sophisticated feel in order to draw the ones who can afford a luxurious experience to drop some cash on overly expensive meal menus and some fancy merchandise.
This is the only way I can separate both events, based on what I can see so far... EPCOT of course does TDS one better... the shows at the American Garden stage. Village People anyone? YMCA!! OLC could not bring itself to dump money on a special show or parade for this event...and I think it would have been a great way to highlight some of Disney' most visible culinary characters, like the Chef from Lil Mermaid and Ratatouille. A missed opportunity here.
Anyways... since you are dying to see some of the "A La Carte" menus, decor and merchandise..(or maybe not) then I invite you to browse thru this photo album, which also include some photos from the other regular activities held daily at the park, such as "Lido Meet and Smile", "Mythica", "BraviSEAmo!" and other stuff... Hope you enjoy.