Sangria University: Class Review
Like sangria? First, Thank the Phoenicians (they brought wine from Spain to other parts of the world). Second, sign up for the Sangria University Class? Well, maybe. The class has much more potential than how it is currently executed. Let's discuss.
What is Sangria University?
Starting with the basic information. Sangria University is held on Saturdays and Sunday, at Coronado Resort. The class starts at 1:30pm at Three Bridges with a run time of 90 minutes. The cost is $59 per person.
You are walked through what Sangria is, where did it come from, how is it made? You will sample and discuss four sangria options (the ones served at Three Bridges) with your host. Following that, you will get the chance to make your own sangria from a list of provided ingredients.
My Experience Overview
As I mentioned above, SO much potential here. It is set up well. Three Bridges has a reputation for tasty sangria options. Who doesn't love some edutainment (education + entertainment)? The experience fell very flat on how they executed it. Small changes would have made a big impact. See "misses" below. I wouldn't pay to do it again. If you love sangria or are staying at Coronado, that would more likely let me recommend it as an add-on for your vacation. If you will lose a big chunk of day getting there and back or do not really like sangria, I would skip it.
Let me start with the good though, that is only fair. Three Bridges is not open to the public at 1:30pm yet, so you and your classmates have the place to yourself. You sign up in advance (60 days) online, so you will know in advance if you have that on your calendar. Similar to other Disney World offerings, if it sells out you can keep trying to see if it opens up.
At $59 per person it is a good value afternoon outing. You get four good sized sangrias to taste, plus the one you make yourself, totalling five. Plus water and chips. The hosts will also seat you when you arrive and check-in, ensuring you will end up at an appropriately sized table for your group. (Though if you have your heart set on a certain one they may not be able to accomodate).
I did learn some stuff (not nearly as much as I hoped, but we will get to that).
Playing experimental mixologist to create your own special flavor of sangria was fun!
After the class I was going to EPCOT, and was able to easily get a Coronado resort bus at the pick-up out front for transport.
It pains me to not have fully positive reviews, but I must. Coronado is really doing themselves a major disservice on executing Sangria University. Of course, my experience is only ONE of the many classes they have done over the years; but if this one class is a reflection of how it always goes? Not good. Hopefully my below experience was an exception.
We started late. WAY late. Like 2pm late. (When it was scheduled at 1:30pm). All of the tables were laid out. All of the wines were poured and on our tables. We waited for ONE LATE GROUP of people. This one group didn't arrive until nearly 1:50pm and held everyone up. I have no idea why Disney didn't start without them. As I had planned to leave about 3-3:15, I had made other plans to get to in EPCOT, thus I ended up leaving early (as did many others) due to the late start.
When they did start....they were staring down a room of a displeased audience. No jokes or lightheartedness the host attempted worked; we'd been overly patient and wanted to get going. Perhaps the saddest part, dare I say a wine tragedy, of this late start...the ice melted. Sangria has ice in it; having ice is one of the things that makes it sangria. In the warm weather, it melted by our 2pm start and every sangria was watery. The dripping condensation while we waited until 2pm soaked the table and multiple napkins. Our experience was, literally, diluted.
Our host for this 90 minute adventure apparently thought this was his own personal comedy hour. Making bad attempts at jokes and humor; it didn't fly. The content was so convoluted from his constant joking it was hard to pull out the nuggets of sangria learning I'd come for. It didn't help that he seemed annoyed we were not laughing and playing along. I can't speak for my classmates, but we were not trying to be rude. We were just bored of waiting so long and were there to learn. He also went way too fast. Whether that was his style or due to the late start, I'm not sure.
For me personally, I found it hard to take him seriously as a well educated teacher of sangria. He made a few very incorrect comments about wine. He made many disparaging remarks about wines and ingredients HE doesn't like. He made fun of people that "can smell fresh cut grass in Chardonnay" - isn't that so ridiculous he said. Well, yes. Because what you smell in a wine is a HUGE part of enjoying wine. And, your Chardonnay should absolutely not be smelling like fresh cut grass (I wonder if he meant Sauvignon Blanc?). Needless to say, the professionalism and poise we'd expect from Disney educators was not there.
The lecture and tasting part was barely 30 minutes of the 90 minutes. The remaining hour was essentially going one table by one table to get ingredients to make your own sangria. It took forever. I did enjoy playing experimental mixologist, aiming to make an appley-pie-esq sangria (I think I succeeded!) But sadly wasn't able to stick around for much longer since I had somewhere else to be.
So there is some feedback and class information that is neither good nor bad. Just depends on how you plan and spend your vacations.
Starting with the 1:30 pm timing. For some people that is a big bummer right in the middle of the day; leaving what you are doing to go there and back. However, some may love the chance to break up the day, doing something in the morning then something else in the afternoon. That call is all yours and how you like to spend your Disney World vacation.
The class is only offered (currently) Saturday and Sunday, so there is limited availability, but again booking is 60 days out like other ADRs (check the website for cancellation policies). This is obviously a bummer if you are interested and not visiting on a weekend.
As part of the experience, you can upgrade to higher end liquors and ingredients. I did not choose too, I didn't feel the need. If there is a liquor or ingredient you really want to include in the make-your-own sangria, you may have to shell out more money.
Three Bridges is covered - so in the event of rain it will not be canceled (not sure about other weather conditions such as lightening or dangerous levels of rain).
There is no direct transportation, but you can access Coronado by taking a resort bus from a park or Disney Springs. Of course, always a ride share can be called. This can be seen as an inconvenience depending on your plans. But, for example, if you are spending the morning at Magic Kingdom, you can take a resort bus to Coronado, then a bus from Coronado to your evening plans. If Sangria University is a must do, I'd plan that first then plan the rest of your day around it.
Overall, I'm glad I checked it out. I don't like sangria enough, nor did I have a good enough experience, to pay for it again. As for you, reader, if you love sangria and it won't be a major disruption to other plans, go ahead. Maybe they've made adjustments to the lecture notes or maybe, they will start on time.
~Cheers & Ears