Plan Your Visit: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
One of the most anticipated Epcot festivals is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The late summer and fall festival drives thousands of visitors each year who seek out the tastes of over 30 different countries. Each country has their own marketplace that features food, wine & beer. If you’re new to this AWESOME festival, here’s your first-time visitor’s guide!
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: First-Time Visitor’s Guide
The Global Marketplaces
Located all around world showcases, guests can enjoy the different global marketplaces. Each one represents a different country. The appetizer-sized portions typically range in price from $4.00 – $8.00 and provide the perfect opportunity to try traditional cuisine from around the world.
If you’re using the Disney Dining Plan, you can use your snack credits for the food options. Be sure to bring your ID with you for every alcohol purchase – they do check.
Each year, Disney adds new dishes and a few new marketplaces. When you arrive at Epcot, be sure to grab a FREE “Marketplace Discovery Passport” which has a menu for each marketplace and you can add a sticker next to each marketplace you’ve tasted. It’s nearly impossible to taste and eat everything in one visit, so pace yourself. Plus, it would cost $1720.08 to eat and drink everything (2018 prices) – YIKES.
Must-Try Food & Beverage Picks:
- Berry Almond Sundae – The Almond Orchard hosted by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze (Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae with Fresh Berries and Chocolate Almond Streusel) — $4.50
- Lamington Cake – Australia (Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut) — $3.75
- Teriyakki Chicken Bun – Japan (Steamed bun filled with Chicken, Vegetables and a Sweet Teriyaki Sauce) — $5.50
- Fuji Apple Cocktail – Japan (Sake, Peach Schnapps and Green Apple Syrup) — $8.50
- Beef Brisket Poutine – Refreshment Port (French Fries with Beef Brisket, Beer Cheese Sauce and Poutine Gravy topped with Crispy Onions) — $8.69
- Sweet Potato Poutine – Refreshment Port (Sweet Potato Fries with Caramel Sauce, Mini Marshmallows and Pecans) — $6.49
Special Dining Events At Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
The festival offers an array of seminars for foodies that feature celebrity chefs, food pairings, beverage seminars and culinary demonstrations. The Festival Center is where guests can find most of these seminars to learn culinary skills from chefs, bakers and mixologists.
Past celebrity chefs include: Tiffani Thiessen, Richard Blais, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine, Masaharu Morimoto, Buddy Valastro, Art Smith and Carla Hall.
These seminars are hard-tickets events and the majority of them cost extra on top of your park ticket. Be sure to book early, online or over the phone, to grab a spot. The Disney Parks Blog is usually the first to announce the new seminars for the festival, check throughout the summer months.
Eat To The Beat Concert Series
Held at the American Gardens Theater, in the America Pavilion, guests can enjoy the Eat To The Beat Concert Series. Each week, they host a different musical group (Sugar Ray, Mercy Me and Kenny G have been past guest artists). Performances are at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 p.m. and they tend to fill up quickly. You’ll want to arrive early for a great spot – it’s included in your park ticket. Once again, Disney Parks Blog will announce the weekly guests artists.
If you want a great spot at the concert, consider booking an Eat To The Beat Concert Series Dining Package. They guarantee you reserved seating for the concerts.
Lunch and dinner is offered at 15 different restaurants with breakfast available at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Prices do vary by the restaurant you pick, but start at $46.00 for lunch (includes appetizer, entree, dessert, and drink).
Lunch reservations will have reserved seating at the 5:30 p.m. show; dinner reservations will have reservations for the 6:45 or 8:00 p.m. show. If you want to book it, dining reservation start times must be at least 2.5 hours prior to the Eat to the Beat concert showtime.
Need a more budget-friendly dining package? Available only day of, guests can visit the Liberty Inn and purchase a counter service option. At a cost of $29.99, Food & Wine guests can get a package that includes an entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage. Most importantly though, this deal provides reserved seating at that night’s Eat to the Beat concert.
Food & Wine Festival Signature Dinners
Of the 11 countries that are always available at World Showcase, some of the restaurants offer an exclusive, immersive, and tasty dining experience. Be sure to book these dining experiences early as well! These are a few of the experiences that have been offered in past years:
- Mexican Tequila Lunch – La Hacienda de San Angel, Mexico Pavilion
- Italian Food, Wine Vs. Beer Pairing at Via Napoli – Via Napoli, Italy Pavilion
- Italian Regional Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon – Tutto Gusto, Italy Pavilion
- Parisian Breakfast – Chefs de France, France Pavilion
- French Family Meal Traditions – Monsieur Paul, France Pavilion
- The Parisian Afternoon, Sandwiches, Macarons and Bubbles! – Monsieur Paul, France Pavilion
- The “Hibachi” Experience: Iron Chef – Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion
- Tokyo Pairing – Tokyo Dining, Japan Pavilion
- Mediterranean Food & Wine Pairing – Spice Road Table, Morocco Pavilion
Food & Wine Festival Activities For Kids
So many readers ask me about touring Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival with kids. Disney offered plenty for younger guests to enjoy as well. They have Junior Chef seminars that you can sign up for and participate with your child.
I love that Disney has play areas around the park, so kids can play on a playground while parents can enjoy some food and drink.
New for 2018, they offered the Du Jour Dance Party family-friendly dance party at the Fountain View Stage – Friday and Saturday evenings. The event offers music, interactive dances and activities for kids of all ages. A different pairing of Disney characters will stop by each weekend. Every party is highlighted by a special concert appearance by an up-and-coming artist from Radio Disney.
Guests can purchase the Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt game for $6.99 + tax . Kids can search for 15 little Remy statuettes with maps, stickers, and prizes. It’s a fun souvenir!
Paying For Your Epcot Food & Wine Festival Food & Drink
There are several ways guests can pay for their Food & Wine festival tastes. Of course, you can use your snack credits at all of the global marketplaces. If you don’t have any snack credits left, 1 quick-service meal = 3 snack credits.
Purchase a Food & Wine Festival (Disney) gift card to pay your way around the Festival. They have one that’s a wristband – which is convenient. It’s easier than trying to dig for cash or credit cards as you walk around. As a special offer, with a $250 activation, guests receive a specially themed lanyard and carrying sleeve.
If you have gift cards left over, these cards can also be used at select Disney destinations nationwide. If you’re saving for your visit, check your local grocery store for gas points or gift card offers to purchase before your travel dates.
Special Epcot Food & Wine Festival Merchandise
Each year, Disney releases limited edition Food & Wine Festival merchandise. Many times, it features Chef Mickey, Figment or Chef Remy. One of the most popular merchandise picks is the Dooney & Bourke printed leather handbags. They release a new print for the festival every year.
They offer specialty bottles of beer, wine and coffee that make a great souvenir to remember the flavors from your trip. You can also bring home tabletop, kitchen, and housewife products. Apparel, headbands, and baseball caps are also be available. Shop in MouseGears, the Festival Center and select specialty popup shops for merchandise.
Food & Wine Festival Special PhotoPass Opportunities
Look for special magic shots at the festival! Disney PhotoPass photographers are located throughout the park and they offer special photo opportunities to commemorate your festival visit. When you are visiting WDW, you can link photos to your Disney account with your Disney PhotoPass card, MagicBand, park ticket, Memory Maker card or annual pass.
Special Events Happening During The Festival
When planning your visit, you might happen to stumble upon some of the special events happening during the festival time. Special tv episodes have previously been recorded for ABC & Food Network at the festival.
Plus, Run Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend happens every November! It includes kids races, a 5k, 10k, half marathon and challenge event. Runners can participate in any event and access the “after party” which is a private event at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival – with less crowds.
Make dining reservations in My Disney Experience or by calling (407) WDW-DINE
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