As previously mentioned, during my trips, I like to make a note of any cast members that go above and beyond what I expect for my money. I thought sharing these stories might be a fun article series, so let’s get started.
During a recent visit to Epcot, I was enjoying sampling drinks and treats from the various World Showcase pavilions. Mostly drinks. I came across this beer stand in front of Norway:
They had a Scandinavian beer listed which had a pronunciation guide. This caught my attention. The beer was called Aass Pilsner, an apparently Disney preferred people saying “Ouse” instead of … something else.
I tried one, and enjoyed it, even if I promptly forgot how it was pronounced.
Later during my visit, I passed through Norway again and wanted to check out the Kringla bakery.
This used to be one of my “must do” things at Epcot back in the 1990s. They had a popular apple pastry I would always get, though I later found very similar ones at local bakeries so perhaps it wasn’t particularly Norwegian.
Looking inside on this trip, I saw no such pastry — or even anything close. Instead, I saw many items I hadn’t had before. Plus lots of Frozen themed treats. Of course.
I also noticed they had alcohol bottles on display, which was something I don’t remember from my earlier days at pretty much any Epcot food location. (I still recall my surprise at finding a cart in Germany selling shots for the first time!)
I tried a Viking Coffee, which I am sure is a culturally accurate representation of Norwegian culture 😉 It was coffee with Baileys Irish Cream, which is quite common here, and Kamora Coffee Liquor, which I had never heard of.
It’s amazing how tiny of a cup you get for $11.25 at Disney.
Later that evening, while camped out to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, I went on a food run. After walking practically the entire length of Word Showcase, I ended up back at Kringla. They had a Norwegian Club sandwich which looked tasty, even though I assumed it was another Disney invention. Much to my surprise, the cast member there explained that it was actually as special sandwich they had at home. He also introduced me to Lefse, which was a “soft flatbread rolled with cinnamon, sugar and butter.” It resembled a rolled tortilla. I also found out that the Aass Pislner was special, in that it was only available back in Norway and at Epcot.
I was set for a dinner, dessert and … another drink. The Lefse and sandwich were both delicious. The second Aass, even more so.
A bit later, I passed through the bakery one more time, to ask some questions about pronunciation. (“Uh, what was the thing I just ate called again?”) I spoke with the same cast member who had assisted me earlier, Alfred.
The bakery was slow at the moment, and Alfred took time to educate me a bit on Norwegian spelling, including writing out some of the alphabet characters they use:
We also discussed the School Bread item, and I got a bit of a background about its history and cultural significance. He said it was one of the most popular pastries there.
So I left with a School Bread.
This type of interaction is what I remember from the EPCOT Center I visited as a teenager in 1983. That was the first time I’d ever had any interaction with people from other parts of the world (other than Mexico, of course; I lived in Houston at the time and that was right next door). I was so glad to see Epcot still had ambassadors like Alfred.
Kudos to you, my foreign friend. I thank you so much for your time and attention, and for making my visit extra special.
Until next time…