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Epcot Food and Wine Festival

I just got back from speaking at the Epcot Center International Food and Wine Festival on behalf of HGTV for the second year in a row. If any of you haven’t been to Disney World, you are missing out on quite the experience. It’s like Disney on crack, except crack that a really happy princess makes in her pink kitchen.

Everything is just super happy and fun all the time. They don’t skimp, they don’t cheat, everything is as authentic as possible. For instance, the waitresses at the Sushi restaurant at Epcot are one-year exchange students from Japan. The French servers are from France, etc. I had a tour guide that gave me so much fascinating information about Disney that I’m currently an expert on all things Disney. For instance, did you know that the The Magic Kingdom in LA can fit entirely inside the overflow parking lot of JUST the Magic Kingdom in Disney World? And that’s just one of it’s five parks. It’s huge, 47 square feet miles of huge, to be exact.

I stayed at Animal Kingdom, which is all safari themed and looks like a huge African lodge.

animal kingdom

And outside your window all day are giraffes and all sorts of animals.

Oh good morning, Giraffe. You have a VERY long neck.

Everyday I spoke at the Food and Wine Festival on this stage:

epcot audience

My presentation this year was all about “Taking, sharing, and styling holiday memories.” I’ll definitely be blogging about it, don’t you worry.

Check out my Madonna mic. I felt like one of those dudes that sells Slapchop or really sharp knives that are constantly chopping impenetrable tomatoes. (And yes, what you’ll see up there are a bunch of Blurb and PinHole Press photo albums and gifts … my review and recommendations to come later).


This is some of the audience one day. Look at them just laughing away at my jokes. “Ha ha ha, ” they say … also because I asked them to act like they were laughing at my jokes.

Then afterward I just hung out and talked to people, answered questions, etc:

Jenny and Steve were celebrating their second anniversary. They came two days in a row, which was so nice of them. Plus, they got all my jokes. Not that my jokes are complicated, but you know, senses of humor are nuanced and mine can be tricky, and by tricky I mean often silly and stupid.

Look at that princess. SOOOOO cute.

This family drove in just to see me. So thank you SOOOOO  much.

Then afterward I got driven around in a carriage. Then I married Prince Charming.

This is from last year since at the last minute Mr. Hendo couldn’t make it this year, but I never blogged about it last year so I’ll throw some of those pics in so I don’t look so lonely.

Last year Brian got his face painted like a duck, because he’s a massive Oregon Ducks fan. But then he had to spend the rest of the night like that and because of his scruff he kinda looked like he was a criminal. And not the kind of criminal that robs people … like sociopathic kinda crimes.

My favorite park is Animal Kingdom:

I climbed Mount Everest with that annoying smirk on my face.

We watched “The Lion King” show, which was fun for kids, but mainly I liked all the pretty costumes.

So pretty.

Last year I made it a point to meet Ariel and Eric due to my love for “The Little Mermaid.” The only problem was that there was a huge line of princess toddlers to meet them and I was due back on stage so my tour guide had me cut in front of all these little girls. I apologized profusely and I only took 15 seconds with them, but it was hilarious. Of course some of the moms recognized me and then I over-explained like crazy, blabbing on about needing to speak, in a hurry, I know every lyric to the cartoon, etc., etc. I was mortified, but it was hilarious.

Then Brian and I got put in jail for cutting in line.

And then we went on a safari.

Last year with Brian was crazy fun, but without him this year was a bit different. Still very fun, but going on rides with your favorite person clearly trumps going on rides by yourself:

emly and brian henderson

Quick recommendations:

1. Flying Fish restaurant on the boardwalk — delicious.

2. Animal Kingdom is awesome for families, and I will definitely stay there with kids or a group, but I was by myself this time so it was kinda isolating. I would stay at the Boardwalk where you have access to tons of restaurants at night if you are a couple or by yourself.

3. Jico, the restaurant at Animal Kingdom, is DELICIOUS.

4. My favorite rides are: Everest, Space Mountain, and Rock’n Rollercoaster.  Although classics like Pirates of Caribbean and It’s A Small World are always really fun.

5. The Grand Floridian is super pretty and undoubtedly up my alley design-wise. Get the Cobb salad at the restaurant, it’s soooo good.

6. Go during The Food and Wine Festival because everyone felt entitled, nay, expected to be drinking all day, so while I wasn’t because I was working, it was a fun atmosphere to be around.

epcot drinking fountain

Also, I recommend these drinking fountains because they are VERY pretty.

So thanks HGTV and Disney for the trip. It was a blast.

Info on the 2013 festival is HERE. 

Also, just in case you didn’t get a good peek at this picture, I’ll leave it with you:

Would you let this man babysit your children? Methinks, no.

Go DUCKS!!!!!


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