Get ready to eat and drink your way around the world at Epcot’s 18th Annual International Food & Wine Festival! The 2013 festival kicked off on September 27, and runs through November 11. Epcot admission is required to participate.
All around Epcot’s World Showcase are marketplaces featuring food, wine and beer samples from countries around the world! Portions are appetizer-sized and range in price from about $4-$8 for food, and $3-$6 for drinks. No need to worry about dining reservations when you’re at the festival, you can fill up on delicious samples and try traditional cuisine from various countries. Get a map at the entrance and highlight those things you most want to try. You will likely need multiple days (or at least a couple of meals) to try everything you’d like to. My advice: share with a friend and try more things!
New this year: after the popularity of the Disney movie, Brave, Scotland will participate for the first time! This marketplace will feature beers, meads and Scotch, including the featured cocktail, the Rusty Nail – a whisky martini made from Scotch and Drambuie. The all-vegan marketplace, Terra, returns to the festival, as does Brazil, with an all-new menu, and Hawaii, with its very popular Kalua Pork Slider.
You can pick up a map and a passport (listing menu items from each marketplace) at the Welcome Center, located in Future World East near Mission: SPACE. You can also find maps and passports around World Showcase. Sneak a peek at the festival menu here: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/marketplace-menus-at-the-2013-epcotinternational-food-wine-festival/.
How to decide where to start? Pick a country whose menu looks good to you, and start sampling! During my trip to the festival 2 years ago, we happened upon the Ireland kiosk first, and I’m so glad we did! My favorite festival item can be found here: The Lobster & Seafood Fisherman’s Pie (so good I got it more than once).
My other favorite was the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake which is not on the menu in Ireland this year. I have high hopes for the Warm Chocolate Pudding with Bailey’s Custard that has taken its place. Other crowd-favorites include the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup (in Canada of course), the Kalua Pork Slider in Hawaii, and the Ravioli Di Formaggia, which comes highly recommended and is at the top of my list this year!
I highly recommend a visit to the Desserts & Champagne Marketplace as well. The offerings are delicious, and I will be trying the Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake and Frozen S’mores this time around. To make things easier when paying for all these samples, I recommend purchasing a small, Food and Wine Festival gift card that can be worn on your wrist, and loaded with any amount of money you’d like.
I speak from experience when I say you do not want to be digging in your purse for your credit card/regular gift cards constantly. I wish I had learned about these handy little cards before I lost a gift card that still had $75 remaining on it (hats off to guest services though – I had my most recent receipt, showing the card’s balance, and they were able to verify the number and issue me another gift card). Lesson learned, however: the wristlet gift card is the way to go.
Seminars, tasting events and other special events are available by reservation. The festival hosts several celebrity chefs and features an “Eat to the Beat” concert series. This year’s musical guests include the Go-Go’s, Boyz II Men, the Pointer Sisters, and many more. Performances are held several times nightly at the America Gardens Theater.
More information on the festival, including special experiences and Eat to the Beat concert series information, can be found here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-foodand-wine-festival/.
Disney Visa Cardholders can enjoy a special perk for cardholders only: access to the Chase Lounge during the festival, located in the America Pavilion on the 3rd floor. Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and electronic charging stations are available from 11:00 am, until park closing. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase as well.
If you fall in love with one of the wines you sample, be sure to visit the Wine Shop at the Festival Welcome Center, where you can purchase your favorite selection, as well as other souvenirs from the event.
Ready to plan your visit to the Epcot’s Annual Food and Wine Festival? I can help you plan a last minute trip to this year’s festival, or a visit to next year’s festival. We are currently booking vacations through December 2014.
Want to plan a Disney vacation, but not sure where to start? Let Stephanie do the work, while you have all the fun! As part of the team at Mickey Travels LLC, Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Stephanie can help with all aspects of your vacation planning for ANY Disney destination – land or sea! Planning services and no-obligation quotes are always FREE!