Fall is my favorite time of year for a variety of reasons. But I particularly enjoy this time of year because it is one of the happiest times at The Happiest Place on Earth; Walt Disney World’s International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. From the last week of September through about mid-November each year the Epcot theme park explodes into a full-blown festival of the culinary senses. The Epcot park is all about education, with a focus on technology and cultural awareness. Personally, I believe it is also one of the most beautiful and walkable parks to visit.
Food and Wine Festival – Epcot Disney World
The park has 11 pavilions in the World Showcase, all of which highlight a particular country from around the World. The goal is to educate guests about each culture by experiencing it through architecture, rides, videos, shows, art, food, and shopping. In short, it feels like a whirlwind trip around the World in a day. But when the Food and Wine Festival is taking place, the park brings in 20+ additional kiosks that represent other countries. The primary focus is food and drink, but some featured countries will have larger set ups that include literature and products for sale.
Food from around the World
My favorite thing to do (besides trying on fun hats in each country & posing for pictures) is to wander around the Showcase and stopping at various kiosks to sample food, drinks, and desserts. What I love about the festival is that the portions are small and priced anywhere from $1 to around $5. Be sure to bring lots of cash and be prepared to be overwhelmed by the sights and smells. There is no way to taste it all on your own, so I will often share with my friends just so that we can try more items and not fill ourselves up before we even make it halfway around the World!
For an added convenience, you can purchase a pre-paid Disney Gift card for the event. Swiping this card for all of your purchases throughout the day is much easier than fumbling with cash or making a million separate purchases with your debit or credit card. This is also a good way to maintain a budget during your experience (which I often have trouble with!).
Eat to the Beat
In addition to the kiosks, the festival has various culinary demonstrations, mixology seminars, wine and beverage seminars, and signature dining with popular chefs. They also have the “Eat to the Beat” concert series, usually playing two shows each night. The concerts feature many popular artists. This year the lineup included artists such as: Sugar Ray, Starship, Boyz II Men, Smash Mouth, Air Supply, Gin Blossoms, Pointer Sisters, Sister Hazel, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – just to name a few! Admission to the concerts is included with your park admission…so eat up and rock out! With so much to see and experience at this event, be sure to visit the Festival Center when you arrive at the park to pick up your Marketplace Discovery Passport and Festival Guide. This will help you plan your day and get the most out of your visit.
Throughout the years, I’ve attended the Food and Wine Festival far more times than I could ever count. To this day, the thought of it makes my mouth water for my favorites from over the years such as: the beer cheese soup from Canada, the chilequiles from Mexico, potato & leek soup from Ireland, cauliflower mashed potatoes from Scandinavia, chicken & peanut sauce from China, spätzle from Germany, lamb pitas from Morocco, crème brulee from France, perogies from Poland, spanakopita from Greece, and Swedish meatballs with a lingonberry sauce. Oh, and let’s not forget the wine and plenty of local beer to choose from! The list of my favorites could just go on and on. It is easy to see how important it is to plan out your day, as well as putting a cap on your budget.
The experience is so much fun, and it’s easy to get caught up while trying to sample items from every kiosk. When all is said and done, you will surely need to be rolled out of the park; but you will be full with both food and drink, and wonderful memories with your family and friends. If you are a foodie like me, I have no doubt that as soon as you leave, you will already be planning your attack for your next visit to the Festival.
For more information about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
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