EPCOT Park at the Walt Disney World Resort is seeing intense transformation lately.
The Lake Buena Vista theme park has already seen the debuts of its new Harmonious fireworks show and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and on Memorial Day weekend will see the launch of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
And, under the radar, Disney Pixar’s Turning Red (2022) has also made an appearance in the Disney Park!
After the success of Lin-Manual Miranda’s Encanto (2021), Turning Red is Walt Disney Studio’s new coming-of-age family movie with a divisive puberty twist.
The Pixar film follows a teenage girl named Mei Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) who finds herself turning into a giant red panda when her emotions get out of control. The animated movie highlights the difficult mother-daughter relationship between Mei and her mother, Ming Lee (voiced by Sandra Oh), as she balances being perfect with being herself.
The Disney Pixar movie, with songs by Billie Eilish, has received critical acclaim for its plot, humor, animation, and vocal acting, with many praising female director Domee Shi’s red panda analogy of puberty, mother issues, and teenage emotion.
And since its release onto Disney+ back on March 11, 2022, Disney Park fans of Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang) and her fluffy panda alter-ego have been able to celebrate Domee Shi’s Turning Red in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park!
That’s right! Turing Red has already been making its impact in the Canada pavilion in EPCOT at Disney World. The main character Mei Lee is Chinese-Canadian, and so the Canada pavilion in EPCOT has been celebrating in a delicious way.
The Canada pavilion is part of EPCOT’s World Showcase, located next to the United Kingdom pavilion. The beautiful pavilion features a canyon, a waterfall, gardens, and giant totem poles. The main attraction is Canada: Far and Wide, a Circle-Vision 360° movie narrated by Canadian actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy that replaced the original O Canada! presented by Martin Short.
For those unfamiliar with the Turning Red dishes on offer, Walt Disney World has had some delectable limited-time-only treats available in EPCOT. At the Canada Popcorn Cart, Guests can try the Pand-Ade, a coconut-pomegranate lemonade with pomegranate boba pearls, until May 31.
And over at the beloved Le Cellier Steakhouse, Guests can try a new Turning Red menu, available until May 31.
There’s a new Beef Stir Fry Poutine, made with fries, Canadian cheddar, stir-fry beef, and gravy with Asian flavors, the Shrimp & Pork Dumplings, made with pickled cucumber, sesame-soy drizzle, and crispy noodles, and lastly, the Turning Red Cake, made of citrus and vanilla chiffon cake, with raspberry coulis and fresh strawberries.
We were intrigued by the Beef Stir Fry Poutine, and we were not disappointed! The dish was served in a bamboo steamer basket that gave it a unique presentation, fitting for Turning Red’s Asian cultural story.
The gravy reminded us of a classic teriyaki flavor with a little kick from the spices. While the heat from the spices was enough to give the tastebuds a little mid-afternoon wake-up, it did not build with each bite to the point that it overpowered the other flavors.
The fries were the same as all the other poutines and were cooked to perfection with crispy outsides. The beef was thinly cut and melted in your mouth while the additional veggie toppings consisted of green beans, bell peppers, and thin sesame sticks. To finish it off, the poutine had the signature squeak in your mouth cheese curds. Overall, it was a surprise dish that worked very well and one that we wish we could find closer to home.
Paired with Le Cellier’s famous Cheddar Cheese Soup and pretzel bread with maple butter, the dish was a welcome surprise to the Canadian restaurant’s menu.
We’ll have to wait and see if Mei Lee and her red panda self will make appearances soon in character meet and greets at either Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
In the meantime, Guests can enjoy EPCOT’s delicious treats and Disney World’s selection of Turning Red merchandise.