Guide to the Epcot Food And Wine Festival-
Did you know that the most magical place on earth gets a little bit more magically delicious each fall? If you are as obsessed with delicious food and good drinks as I am, then you can’t miss the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
Fall means the Food & Wine Festival is back! The Disney Food and Wine Festival is a several week extravaganza that allows visitors to taste delicious food & drink from all around the world. This year with 35 food & drink stations (to celebrate Epcot’s 35th anniversary), over 100,000 dessert options and 50+ wines to sample, no one will leave hungry!
What is the Epcot Food And Wine Festival-
The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is a once a year celebration of global cuisines & drinks, that allows visitors to “taste their way around the world”. Park guests can explore the many options along Epcot’s World Showcase Promenade, using the complimentary Festival Passport to plan.
Each food station usually has two or three small plates and a dessert to sample ranging from $5-$10. If you are a lush like me so inclined there are beverage pairings to go with each plate. With hundreds of options, it’s the perfect time to try a dish you might be too shy to order at a restaurant like Escargot or Kimchi.
And even if you’ve been before, this year is a can’t miss. There will be 39 new marketplace dishes and 65 new cocktails, beers, wines and ciders!
Photo courtesy of Disney
Can’t Miss Dishes & Drinks-
With so many options and only so much stomach room, it can be hard to choose what to eat and drink. Thankfully, my mom and her friend, Judy, have been to the festival several times and made sure I tried all the best options!
Below are just some of our favorite dish & drink pairings from the Disney Food and Wine Festival:
- Italy- Crispy Calamari with Spicy Pomodoro Sauce & a Cannoli al Cioccolato
- Belgium- Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream
- Refreshment Port- Pineapple Dolewhip with Bacardi Rum
- Canada- Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup served with a Pretzel Roll & “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce
- New Zealand- Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney & Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumb
- Thailand (returning again to the festival this year!)- Marinated Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Stir-fried Vegetables. I recommend washing it down with a nice cold Singha beer!
- Brazil- Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça
- Mexico- Rib Eye Taco: Marinated Rib Eye, Roasted Chipotle Sauce and Grilled Scallions on a Corn Tortilla with a classic lime margarita to finish it off.
- India- A non-alcoholic Mango Lassi
- China- Beijing Roasted Duck Bao Bun with Hoisin Sauce & Chicken Potstickers. Wash it down with the delicious Happy Peach drink with is a mix of DeKuyper Peach Liqueur and Myers’s Dark Rum!
- Greece- Loaded Greek “Nachos”: Pita Chips, Meatless Sausage Crumbles, and Vegan Tzatziki
- Flavors from Fire (new this year!)- Sweet Pancake with Spicy Chipotle Chicken Sausage, Onion Jam, and Maple Butter Syrup
- France- La Passion Martini Slush: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, Cranberry and Passion Fruit Juice. This is the most delicious drink! The line is always long at this booth, with good reason. This refreshing cocktail is worth the wait!
- Hawaii- Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour DOLE® Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise, washed down with a Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde Lager.
Did I miss your favorite Epcot Food and Wine Festival dish? Let me know in the comments!
Tips & Tricks for Getting the most out of the Disney Food and Wine Festival-
- Plan your route ahead of time- It’s a large festival with lots of options, so if you want to see it all, it’s best to go in with a game plan. Arrive early, preferably right before the festival booths open and known exactly where you want to hit. Disney has a list of each booth and its menu options so that you can pick and choose your must-haves before hand.
- Buy Mini Festival gift card- This was one of my favorite features of the Festival! If you aren’t staying on property and don’t have a magic band, you can opt to purchase one of these small festival gift cards that can be worn as a bracelet. It can be activated with as little as $15 dollars on it and you don’t have to worry about lugging around a bag all day if you don’t want to. It also makes it easy to manage your spending, which brings me to my next point…
- Budget wisely- This festival isn’t cheap and you can easily find yourself dropping $100 at only a few booths if you don’t plan wisely. Bringing a friend and sharing each tasting plate can help you save money— and also tummy room, so you can try more!
- Stay cool and hydrated- It’s hot out there! Take a break and pop into some of the shops (Japan’s is awesome!), take a ride with the three amigos in Mexico, or perhaps take a nap during the show at the American Pavilion— you’re choice! Before you head into the AC, be sure to stop at any counter service restaurant and ask for a free glass of ice water.
- Take advantage of Disney Transportation- Don’t drink & drive! Disney has tons of buses, trains, and boats to get you where you want to go during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. They even have an adorable new “Minnie Van” service. So there is no excuse to get behind the wheel if you throw back one too many sake shots in Japan.
Photo Courtesy Disney
What else is there to do besides stuffing your face?
Actually, there is a LOT of things going on during the Disney food and wine festival, other than drinking and eating your way through the stalls. Be sure to make time for some of the fun festival events going on:
- Mix it, Make it, Celebrate it!- Want to learn how to make a new dish or cocktail? The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is the place to do it! Sign up for one of the many chef run classes during the festival. Class attendees can learn anything from mixing a good craft whiskey cocktail to creating the perfect fluffy pancakes, straight from the experts! Classes cost $49 and advanced ticket purchases are suggested. A full schedule of classes can be found here.
- Eat to the Beat- The Epcot Food and Wine Festival also brings some fun musical acts to the park each year. In 2017, famous bands & sings such as the Plain White Ts, Baha Men and Boys II Men will be performing. Check out the full concert schedule here.
- Culinary Demonstrations- For only $17, you can watch world renowned chefs whip up a dish while sharing their expertise. Advanced reservations are suggested and can be made online. The full list of demonstrations for the 2017 festival can be found here.
- The CHEW live taping- ABC’s The CHEW will be live taping straight from the Disney Food and Wine Festival from October 4th- 6th. You will need both a valid park ticket and a The CHEW show ticket to attend the taping.
Photo Courtesy Disney
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Dress the part!
Don’t be like me, guys! I spent the whole festival walking around SUPER jealous of everyone’s super cute themed shirts. Apparently, sassy Disney themed shirts are the norm at Food & Wine. You can always DIY a shirt, but if you are lazy like me, you can order one of these adorable options off Etsy.com:
How cute are these Food & Wine themed shirts! I can’t get over how clever some of them are. These two were my favorites:
No Disney outfit is complete without the perfect pair of Mickey Ears! I love these wine themed versions:
In 2017, the festival will run from August 31st through November 13th. The cost of the park ticket that includes entrance to the special event cost $99 during off-peak days, $107 regular rate and $119 during peak days.
The park opens at 9 AM but the Food & Wine booths don’t open until 11 AM. Arrive promptly at 11 AM if you want to avoid long lines.
Where to Stay-
If you want to stay close to Epcot & the Disney Food and Wine Festival, then you can’t go wrong with the below options. All of them are located on Crescent Lake that is connected to the World Showcase Lagoon making walking or taking Disney transportation a breeze!
Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin— This has been the resort of choice for my family when we visit Disney for years! It’s an affordable option that allows you some of the perks of staying on Disney property but at a more affordable price. They have several restaurants and a pretty awesome outdoor pool. The only downside is expensive parking fees and you don’t get working Magic Bands.
Check out prices & availability here!
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn —This hotel is the perfect place to spend your Epcot Food and Wine festival weekend— with a massive waterslide, plentiful shops & activities and tons of restaurant & food options, you are sure to be entertained! They even have nightly performers on the boardwalk. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, but it’s really the experience that you’re paying for. It’s just a short walk from Epcot (so no worries about having a DD) and if you are so inclined, you can keep the party going at Jelly Rolls or the Atlantic City Dance Hall!
Check out the prices & availability for Disney’s Boardwalk Inn here!
Find Cheap Flights to Disney World-
The Disney Food and Wine Festival is held during Florida’s hurricane season, so it’s possible to get really great flight deals if you know where to look! It’s easiest to fly into Orlando’s main airport (MCO). If you are staying on Disney property, they even provide the Magical Express shuttle service straight to your hotel.
Skyscanner is a great options for searching & comparing dates, carriers & times all in one place. I’ve used their monthly view to find amazing low-cost deals all over the world. It even includes some great budget airlines like Spirit and Southwest, that often have good deals flying into MCO.
Compare airlines, dates and prices all in one place with Skyscanner.
The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is an absolute must for any foodie’s bucket list. I hope this guide inspired you to “bibbidty boppity booze your way around the world” at this year’s food & wine festival!
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by Kassie- The Fly Away Life