Few events at Walt Disney World are as anticipated or as celebrated as the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This year it runs for 75 days and boasts more food, wine, and events than any previous year. With over 30 booths there is more to do than ever before. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Festival and some tips for first-timers or seasoned pros.
Pick up a Festival Passport
The first thing to do is pick up a Festival Passport. It’s a fun guide to every item on each menu! You can put a sticker on the page after you eat there, and there are plenty of places to make other notes if you wish. You can pick up a Passport at any of the booths in the Festival, at Guest Services, or next to the maps and times guides at the two entrances to the park.
Disney has gone above and beyond in recent years to make the Food and Wine Festival fun for the whole family. There are a few playgrounds set up, dance parties with Disney characters, and even cooking classes just for kids! Remy’s Ratatouille Hide ‘n’ Squeak Scavenger Hunt is back as well (the maps are $5.99 each)- it’s fun to find Remy around the different booths whether you purchase the map or not. New this year is a Junior Chef Kitchen on Sundays. Kids can also learn to make Candy Sushi next to Sunshine Seasons. This fun food is made from fish gummies and rice cereal and is such a fun treat!
Eat to the Beat Concert Series
Every night the Food and Wine Festival offers three shows (5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, 8:30 pm) with singers or bands you know and love. Each singer goes for 2-3 nights so you can have the opportunity to see a few different ones if you have a week long trip. The concerts are included in your Epcot admission. If you’d like to assure you get a seat you can make a dining reservation for the concert of your choice. Most of the World Showcase restaurants are included and you can eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner and go to the show later in the day.
If you want just about anything for your home with the Food and Wine Festival logo on it, then you’re in luck! You can stop by the Festival Center or many of the other shops around the park and get towels, plates, aprons, pie plates, salt and pepper shakers, and wine stoppers, just to name a few. There is also a brand new wine shop filled with wines from around the world. Minnie Mouse ears and a variety of Figment items are also available. If you have an annual pass there is exclusive merchandise just for you as well.
A few tips
Pace yourself- you don’t have to eat it all in one day (and probably shouldn’t!). A park hopper ticket is great. You can enjoy part of your day in another park and come to Epcot for meals. The bites are small but still sharable. Though some you won’t want to share, like the Cheese Soup in Canada or the Crispy Pork Belly in Brazil. The Festival is much less crowded during the week than on the weekend, so try and visit Sunday evening through Friday afternoon. Seminars and Tastings are available each week at the Festival Center- more on this coming next week!
My Favorite Foods
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs August 30-November 12, 2018.