The first or last stop while Snacking Around World Showcase at Epcot, Refreshment Port has gone from being a dull ‘safety net’ for picky eaters who only do fries and hot dog to a place for some delicious indulgences in recent years. In this review, we’ll discuss the new poutine at Refreshment Port for the 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and also take a brief look at its normal menu options.
For those unfamiliar with it (the generic name doesn’t help), Refreshment Port is a permanent food booth located at the entrance to World Showcase on the right side as you enter. This snack spot typically serves the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from nearby Le Cellier, plus varieties of poutine, croissant doughnuts, and ice cream.
For the 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival, the soup has moved to the Canada Global Marketplace next door and the cronut menu has relocated to Taste Track in Future World, where it has also expanded. (Read our Taste Track Review for more on that glorious location.)
Here’s the Food & Wine menu for Refreshment Port at Epcot:
- Beef Brisket Poutine: French Fries with Beef Brisket, Beer Cheese Sauce, and Poutine Gravy topped with Crispy Onions
- Sweet Potato Poutine: Sweet Potato Fries with Caramel Sauce, Mini Marshmallows, and Pecans (V)
…and our reviews & photos of these items…
First up is the Beef Brisket Poutine. These are regular Walt Disney World fries topped with brisket, beer cheese, poutine gravy, and crispy onions. This is one of the rare items at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival that is a huge, shareable portion.
We did these towards the end of our first day at the festival, which was a mistake. When I say these are shareable, I mean it. Our crew was around six deep at this point, and it took every once of our energy to finish these. In hindsight, I think it would be a far superior idea for a smaller party to start with the poutine before hitting other Global Marketplaces. This would make a good mini-lunch for two people, and you’d spend far less money grazing around World Showcase afterwards. (Whatever you do, don’t eat this poutine alone.)
Quality here is shockingly good. Obviously, these are just the normal fries served at Walt Disney World, so nothing special. The beef brisket likewise is not the paragon of fine meat, but we found it amply tender and flavorful. The beer cheese and gravy were also quite good. This all culminated in an epic comfort food, and one that was better than anyone would expect. This one is highly recommended, and something I could see as a go-to dish at Epcot in the future.
After the rousing success of the Beef Brisket Poutine, expectations are high for the Sweet Potato Poutine. Well, unless you’re me. I used to have a long rant about sweet potato fries in our Hungry Bear Restaurant Review (I’ve since toned it down because regular fries were restored to the menu) and am generally not a fan.
As such, I’m probably not the right person to ask about these. Attempting to set aside my bias against the ghastliness that is sweet potato fries, I was not a fan of this dish as a whole. The problem is that the toppings don’t really do much for this “poutine.” (Canadians–before you reply with “this isn’t real poutine,” please keep in mind that Epcot plays fast and loose with every country’s cuisine. Very little is “authentic” in a strictly traditional sense, but then again, chefs everywhere put their own fingerprints on classic dishes and give them inventive twists.)
The fries are topped with caramel sauce, mini marshmallows, and pecans, but none of those flavors are even remotely pronounced. The “caramel” is more like gelatinous sugar, and there’s not even enough of it to make the mini marshmallows and pecan crumble stick to the fries. The end result is basically just sweet potato fries that are extra sugary. At which point…why not just order sweet potato fries by themselves?
In addition to the seasonal “poutine” for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, the booth normally serves its Signature Poutine (with Canadian Cheddar Cheese sauce) and Traditional Poutine, the latter of which is still currently available.
Both of these are also guilty pleasures of mine, with smaller portion sizes more suited to snacking around World Showcase.
Then of course, there’s the cronut. As noted above, this is another item that has been displaced from the menu during Food & Wine. I love these cronuts, especially topped with soft serve. I’ve also found these to be more consistently fresh, probably due to having less variety and more foot traffic in this area.
Overall, Refreshment Port has transformed in the last few years from a forgettable snack stand for picky eaters to something that still serves crowd-pleasing favorites, but with more unique choices. That’s a win for Epcot guests, and makes it a must-visit location year round at Walt Disney World.
Check out our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booth Menus post if you want to see and read more about every menu this year. You’ll also want to read our full Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide before you go to get an idea of what to do, strategy for the festival (yes, you will need a strategy), and much more!
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What do you think of the poutine at Refreshment Port? If you’ve tried the sweet potato version, do you agree with our lackluster review, or think this is a concerted smear campaign? Have you tried any of the other items at this snack spot? Any thoughts on these items? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!