Most people associate EPCOT with one thing… drinking!! This is in part to the annual EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. Fall was a very slow time at all the Walt Disney World theme parks and in 1996 then EPCOT VP of Operations, George Kalogridis came up with the idea of marketplaces offering small plates and sips to encourage guests to visit during the month of October. The festival is now a perennial favorite, and Mr. Kalogridis retired as the President of Walt Disney World and Fall is one of the most popular times to visit the parks!
I often plan my annual trip in September so I am able to experience the Food and Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (in Magic Kingdom) as well as other fall festivities. I typically take a longer vacation and enjoy the Food and Wine Festival for two or three days of my trip because there is SO much to do.
This is what most people associate with the festival. It really is a food aficionado’s paradise full of delicious dishes, fine wine, craft beer, spirits, and other beverages sure to satisfy every palate—from roughly 30 individual marketplaces including Hawaii, Brazil, and the Alps.
It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to try something from each booth in a single day so I recommend visiting multiple days during your trip.
Take a look at the kiosk menus online. Highlight a few items you know you want to try. The Festival often offers a wonderful mixture of favorites from past festivals as well as new concoctions. I knew there are usually a few must haves that I wanted to ensure I had room for so I hit those kiosks first.
If you are visiting EPCOT during the late summer into fall, you will encounter a food booth. What you may not know is available are the amazing
For those looking for something special, you may want to look at this year’s slate of celebrity chefs. These visiting chefs host a variety of daily demonstrations, Party for the Senses grand tasting experiences, beverage and cheese seminars, and other events, all of which are a big part of the festival. Past attendees have included Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine, Masaharu Morimoto, Buddy Valastro, Carla Hall, and my favorite, Art Smith.
On the entertainment front, you can catch some of your favorite performers at the free Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Festival favorites include Plain White T’s, Sugar Ray, Hanson, Sheila E., and Boyz II Men. I got to live out my teenage fantasies when I lucked out with a seat in the front row for 98*. The band performed ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana and skipped energetically across the stage. My family LOVES NBC’s Masked Singer and competes to see who can guess the most celebrities correctly. I won the season 5 pool by guessing Nick Lachey correctly because I recognized his skip despite the pig costume.
If you don’t want to waste park time waiting for a seat you can purchase an Eat to the Beat dining package which includes priority seating with your dinner at select restaurants. There is also a Disney du Jour Dance Party in Future World where on weekdays a DJ will perform; on Fridays and Saturdays, Radio Disney personalities pump up the mix with live performance and the park favorite Jammitors become the Jammin’ Chefs.
The Food and Wine Festival has plenty of activities to get kids in on the fun. We love the Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt and your kids can enjoy the Family Play Zone while you enjoy your Rose. . The popular Candy Sushi interactive experience is also a ton of fun for kids of all ages, offering guests the chance to learn how to roll sweet sushi treats with a Disney Chef.
The Food and Wine festival has become extremely popular, which means it can get crowded quickly. It is important to have an idea of your priorities so you make sure to have those experiences. Check out this post for some tips for maximizing your day.
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