If you are ever fortunate enough to visit Walt Disney World between mid-September and mid-November, you must run, not walk, to Epcot. This is the location of the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and is a seasonal event that should not be missed!
The basic idea is this: there are food and beverage “kiosks” set up all around Epcot’s World Showcase. Using cash or snack credits from the Disney dining plan, guests canpurchase small portions of foods inspired by different countries and parts of the world. Each kiosk also has wine or beverages designed to pair with certain food offerings. During our last visit to the Food & Wine Festival, my family took advantage of the marketplaces to create a tapas-style meal once each day. We would literally eat and drink our way around the world! An average “eater” will need between 4 and 6 of the snack-sized portions to comprise a full meal, depending on your choices.
The event is as delicious as it sounds, but the food and beverage offerings are only a fraction of what this multi-week event has in store. Check out this list of featured activities guaranteed to add a whole new dimension of magic to your autumnal adventures in Disney!
5. Eat to the Beat Concert Series
What pairs better with good food than great music? Each night, one of 20 or so bands or artists performs three live shows in the America Gardens Theater. The 2014 lineup includes, among others, Smash Mouth, Boys II Men, Air Supply, and Jo Dee Messina. A dinner package, including a meal at one of 13 Epcot restaurants and reserved seats to the concert, is available on select nights.
4. Party for the Senses
This event is sure to dazzle your eyes, ears, and palate! Every Saturday in October and the first week in November, guests of the party begin the evening with reserved seating for an Eat to the Beat concert. Following the concert, 50 food and beverage tasting stations are set up in the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. General admission to this event is $149 per person.
3. Culinary Demonstrations
Each day in the Festival Center, three guest chefs will be on hand to create culinary masterpieces while providing tips and tricks to enhance your own cooking abilities. Guests of these lessons will then sample the delicious fare. The cost for these demos is $15 per person. There is a similar type of event called a “Beverage Seminar” featuring wines and spirits from around the world.
2. Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
This nighttime half marathon begins at 10:00pm at ESPN Wide World of Sports and winds through 13.1 miles of Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot theme parks. That run will seem to fly by as you are entertained by your favorite Disney characters along the course. Runners are then invited to a post race “Finish-Line Party” in Epcot, where they are given access to the festival kiosks, character meet and greets, and select Epcot attractions. The registration fee for this race is around $200.
1. International Marketplaces
These “marketplaces” are the heart and soul of the Food and Wine Festival. There are 25 distinct marketplaces, each representing a different state, country, or specific “genre” of food. Portions are snack sized and generally priced between five and seven dollars. With two or three different food offerings and between three and five different beverage offerings at each marketplace, there are literally hundreds of tasty treats to temp your taste buds. Among the most tantalizing choices on the 2014 menu are the Patagonian grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato purée, and the Canadian cheddar cheese soup. For a complete list of menu items, refer to our article “34 Reasons You’ll Love the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival”.
Even if you do nothing but walk Epcot’s World Showcase and indulge in epicurean delights to your heart’s content, this event should be on any Disney Fanatic’s “Bucket List”. Have you ever visited the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival? Tell us about your favorite festival events below!