Large portions of bland foods…Sea World’s Seven Seas Food Festival 2024

Last weekend, we visited Sea World for their Seven Seas Food Festival. We do the Epcot Food & Wine Festival every year, but this is only the second time we’ve done Sea World’s. Hubs, after our first time, dubbed Sea World’s festival the winner. I wasn’t so enamored with it. And this second visit has me declaring Sea World a definite second-place effort.

Let’s start with parking to get into the park: $34.08! $32 + tax!

We were shocked! You can tell by all the exclamation points. But, as it turns out, parking at Disney is $30. So it’s close. But still. Sea World is not Disney. Who do they think they are? It’s almost like they don’t want us to go to the park.

Then we found that the prices of their samples were all $10.99 or 11.99! Even the dang doughnut! It was ridiculous. Unfortunately, I don’t have the exact price for each item, like I do with Epcot. We purchased a 10-sample lanyard for $70. So, each of our samples cost only $7. You MUST get the lanyard if you plan to go. Of course, then you’re forced to try ten things.

If you think the samples are expensive, take a look at the prices in their restaurants.

And this isn’t some fancy, sit-down, get waited on restaurant. It’s your typical fast-food, counter-ordering, hope there’s a seat available restaurant.

Okay, enough complaining about this stuff. Let’s complain about the food!

Shrimp & Grits!

Our fist stop was the Gulf Coast Market for “Cajun Shrimp and Grits.” The description says “Cheddar Stone Grits, Royal Red Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, Roasted Tomatoes, Green Peas”

Well, I’ve had shrimp & grits before and I have to say, this dish was very mild by comparison. And they put the word “Cajun” in the title! You see “Cajun” and you expect flavor. Lots of flavor. But here, the grits were bland. I don’t know what the dollop of sauce is on top in the picture, nor what the reddish brown sauce is, but they were bland. The shrimp was tender and tasted like shrimp. The sausage was flavorful, if mild.

Overall, it was okay, but I’d be disappointed if I ordered shrimp & grits in a restaurant and got this.

Next stop Mexico for a “Taco al Pastor.”

Described as “Chipotle Ancho Adobo Chicken, Pineapple, Cabbage, Onion, Cilantro”

What it tasted like was BBQ and onion. It was okay, but needed more flavor.

Brazil was next for the Galinhada.

“Marinated Chicken Thigh, Saffron Rice”

The chicken was…chicken. You know, not much flavor. It should have been spiced and/or marinated. Anything for some flavor! And the rice had no flavor at all. But the chicken was moist and the taste of chicken by itself is actually pretty good. And the dish was warm. So, it was okay.

Then we went to Cafe de Mar for a much anticipated Whiskey Bacon Cinnamon Roll.

I was ready for it, anyway. Hubs isn’t a fan of bacon.

Alas, it was awful.

The description reads, “Topped with Whiskey Maple Glaze.” (Sea World really needs to do better with the descriptions.)

As it turns out, I am not a fan of “whiskey bacon.” I thought I’d love whiskey. Maybe I would, just not on bacon. And I LOVE bacon. But the whiskey, in this case, ruined it. I actually shuddered from the horror of tasting it. And when I took a bite of just cinnamon bun, I was shocked at how little sugar was in it. Was there any sugar in it? This was a BIG no.

Let’s talk duck. Ever since I had a turducken one Thanksgiving, I’ve been chasing that wonderful duck flavor. I guess duck only has flavor if it’s wrapped around a chicken and stuck inside a turkey. Because this duck could have been chicken for all its lack of flavor.

Described as “Duck Confit–Served with Tabais Beans.”

I don’t know what Tabais beans are, but they have no flavor, at least in the way they were prepared in the “France” booth.

There was, I will admit, something crunchy in the beans that had some flavor. I’m pretty sure it was celery.

Off to the All American Market for some fried pickles.

Oh my. Not what we were expecting at all. Very pickle-y. Too pickle-y. Hubs described it as “McDonald’s burger and fries all in one bite.” Yeah, that was pretty much it.

I don’t recall what the sauce was, but it was offered as an option and we chose to have it on the side. It’s not mentioned in the description. In fact, this dish had no description at all, besides: “New!”

I wouldn’t eat it again.

Next up, Sweet Sips for the Choco Loco Cupcake.

There’s no way for anyone to screw up “Chocolate Cupcake, Chocolate Fudge Icing, Chocolate Whipped Topping, Dipped in Chocolate” right?

Dear god they managed to do it!

And how did they screw this up? By keeping it in a refrigerator. All that moisture you see in the picture…that’s condensation.

Everything on top was amazing! But the cupcake itself was hard, dry, dense, and flavorless. It’s possible if we’d let it thaw a bit, it might have been better, but I’m thinking once you dry out a cupcake into bits of cardboard, it’s game over.

Shame. But we ate all of it.

And as we ate our cupcake, we were visited by a mama blue-winged teal and her ducklings!

Then we were off to get some non-sweet food because we were on a raging sugar high. We got the Walking Gyros at the Mediterranean Market.

Described as “Pita Chips, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Tzatziki Sauce.”

Well, I was confused. What is walking about this dish? I didn’t eat many of the chips. They were pretty thick. The tzatziki sauce was way too mild. Not the tzatziki I’m familiar with. But the meat was very tasty, so, overall, I enjoyed the whole thing. Unfortunately, in the end, all I could taste was salt.

And what do you crave after a salty snack…if you’re me? Sweets! So we were off to the Irish Market for the “Jameson Donut–Chocolate Jameson Mousse, Chocolate Icing, Candy Orange.”

There was no “candy orange” so far as we could tell. But it tasted like a donut, even though it–like the cupcake–was refrigerated and therefore dense and tough. The Jameson Mousse in the middle was really tasty, and really sparse.

I liked it, despite the texture, which says a lot more about me than it does about the donut.

Last but not least, and the dish we attempted to eat first shortly after 11:00 when the food festival was supposed to begin only to find that the whole thing just sort of stumbled along to an opening sometime between 11:00 and 11:20:

Deep Fried Dumplings–Asian Vegetable Medley, Ponzu Sauce”

Once again, flavor was hard to find. Alone, the dumplings were very dry. Much better with the bits of grass and peppers on top. The sauce tasted okay, but was, as you expected no doubt, lacking in flavor.

So, we ate a lot of flavorless dishes and a couple of tasty desserts.

My total takeaway is “large portions of bland foods.” I think Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival is much better. Hubs, on the other hand, still feels like Epcot’s is phoning it in. I guess the battle of the food festivals will continue…

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