Shimmering Sips is our next stop at the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World. In this Global Marketplace review, we’ll look at the menu prices, share food photos, and offer thoughts on what is–and is not–worth your money or Disney Dining Plan credits.
You might recognize this Global Marketplace in a couple of different ways. Visually, this was previously the Almond Orchard Hosted By Almond Breeze Almond Milk. Name-wise, Shimmering Sips was previously in the Wonders of Life Festival Center, which is now being converted to the Play Pavilion.
Basically, the end result is a booth that has a bunch of almond-centric items plus mimosas and a ton of sparkling wine. I’m guessing the idea is that you’ll get loaded on booze so that the almond-based ice creams don’t taste so awful. As the official Shimmering Sips online menu suggests, let’s “get the party started!”
As I noted in our past review of the Almond Orchard booth, I think it could potentially be cool to learn more about Almond Breeze as a milk substitute in recipes, but I’m not a fan of using a corporate sponsorship to force this stuff where it doesn’t belong.
I say this as someone who (unfortunately) uses almond milk with regularity due to lactose intolerance. For some reason, people in my position generally pretend that almond milk is just as good as regular milk–or maybe believe it because they seldom taste the real thing?
It’s sort of like when you see a vegetarian restaurant with a 4.5/5 star review on TripAdvisor or Google. Sure, it could be exceptional…or those reviewing it could have limited perspective or be over-compensating. This is something I’ve learned the hard way as we’ve “embraced” plant-forward diets, and something I guess I’ve also learned when it comes to almond milk.
As someone who regularly dabbles in the dark arts of (glorious) real dairy, I have no problem admitting almond milk flat-out isn’t as good. But once again, I digress.
Here’s the menu for Shimmering Sips:
Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae made with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze® Almondmilk, fresh Berries, and Chocolate Almond Streusel (V) (KA)
Cheesecake Trio: Raspberry, Chocolate, and New York-style Cheesecake Bites (V) (KA)
Shimmering Strawberry Soft-serve in a Waffle Cone (V) (KA)
Now our photos and reviews of each item…
Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae ($4.25) – I was a excited prior to ordering this item, which was awful last year but looked totally different on the menu photo outside the booth.
After all, this is an interesting concept and maybe would be good with some slight tweaks. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed at all. There’s just a colossal quality difference between what’s advertised (above) and what you receive (below).
I wasn’t a huge fan of this last year, and most people in our group disagreed then. This year, no one in our party of 4 wanted more than a bite of this. It has an odd tang, and the flavor is ‘off’ in the soft serve. Moreover, the sweetness of the banana is overpowered by the tartness of the berries, and the chocolate powder on top is chalky and off-putting.
Neither of these qualities ruined the sundae for me, but I’d still take normal soft serve from anywhere in Walt Disney World over this–and definitely opt for something like L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot or Ample Hills 5 minutes from International Gateway. Avoid this.
Cheesecake Trio: Raspberry, Chocolate, and New York-style Cheesecake Bites ($5) – These aren’t as bad as the sundae, but they’re also nothing special.
Basically, they’re light and airy cheesecake bites, each with predominantly artificial flavors. They’re like the cheesecake equivalent of Walt Disney World’s most basic cupcake. Not recommended out of pocket or on the Disney Dining Plan.
Shimmering Strawberry Soft-serve in a Waffle Cone ($5.25) – This is ordinary soft serve ice cream. You’ve probably had this countless times. It’s tasty, refreshing, safe, and predictable.
It’s also not something that belongs at a foodie event. Still…it’s the best item at Shimmering Sips, so if you “must” order a food item from every marketplace, go with this one.
In terms of drinks, Shimmering Sips has a lot going on. Above is a look at the mimosas from last year (plus the Frozen Apple Pie drink, which moved over to Apple Orchard), which are the same as what’s listed below:
Tropical Mimosa with Sparkling Wine and Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava Juices
Key Lime Mimosa with Key Lime Sparkling Wine and Cranberry Juice
Blood Orange Mimosa with Sparkling Wine and Blood Orange Juice
Frozen Mimosa featuring White Claw Natural Lime Hard Seltzer
Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut, Champagne
Dom Pérignon Brut, Champagne
Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé, Champagne
Mimosa Flight also available
Overall, Shimmering Sips is the worst booth at the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in terms of cuisine/desserts. All three things are unambitious or fail to deliver flavor-wise, and it’s hard to envision any of these things at a “proper” food festival. We’re often hard on the Italy booth, but at least that Global Marketplace puts in an effort. At least Shimmering Sips has the mimosas and champagne to redeem it, but the other half of the menu needs a total rethink.
What do you think of the Shimmering Sips booth? Have you tried any of the three food items at this booth? Think I’m too hard on the ice cream and desserts here? 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!