This Friday begins 53 days of foodie festivities at Epcot, home to the 19th International Food & Wine Festival September 19 – November 10. Nearly 300 chefs have come together to showcase fare from across the globe at more than 25 food-and-beverage stops, hundreds of food and beverage seminars and workshops, as well as dozens of epicurean events from five-course dinners to chef-led brunch-and-learns.
At a bare minimum, a culinary tour around the World Showcase Promenade is in order, but festival fans should also take note of this year’s new Late Nights LIVE offering, which gives guests access to an after-hours street party from 9:45pm to 1pm each Thursday. Featuring six tastes (food and beverages) from select marketplaces, as well as live music and entertainment, this starlit affair costst $79 plus tax, but does not require extra Epcot admission. More info here.
The Eat to the Beat concert series is back and has a stellar line-up of music icons slated to entertain guests during daily concerts at 5:30, 6:45 and 8pm. Consider opting for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series Dinner Package, which pairs a dinner at select Epcot restaurants with guaranteed seating to the evening’s showcase. Prices and a full list of participating restaurants here.
There are scores of culinary classes, workshops, pairings and demonstrations offered at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, including a new Boot Camp Series that guests a two-hour immersion on select Sundays.
“Food for Thought” sessions, which will take place on select Fridays and Saturdays at 10am, will give cooking enthusiasts the chance to meet celebrity chefs (including Norman Van Aken) while they share cooking tips and personal stories. Tickets to these interactive events are $169 per person; Epcot admission required and not included.
Here are a few other events and festivities to note:
Dining Through the Decades—A Tribute to Walt Disney
Friday, October 24, 7:30-10pm
$99 for general admission and $119 for reserved seating.
This event will feature interactive cooking stations scattered throughout the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. Admission to Epcot is required and not included in event price.
Party for the Senses
Saturday, October 25 from 7:30-10 pm
World ShowPlace Events Pavilion
Starting at $149 per person. Admission to Epcot is required and not included in event price.
This grand culinary your will feature interactive and educational stations with lots of wonderful things to taste and sip.
Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island
Saturday, September 20, 7:30-10pm
Dive into Puerto Rico via the tropical island’s dishes and hand-crafted cocktails.
$99 per. person Admission to Epcot is required and not included in event price.
Make it an Overnight
If you’re planning on making it an overnight, consider checking out the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium package, which gives you Epcot admission, an in-room gift with wine for guests 21 and older, a festival wine glass, truffles and a credential for 10 VIP “premium package areas” around World Showcase promenade. The package also includes a festival MagicBand, a $50 Disney Gift Card and one admission to Late Nights LIVE! on Thursday night. Cost is $199 per guest, plus tax and runs from noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday between Sept. 22 and Nov. 6. Overnight stay at a Disney hotel is required to get access to this package.
The Mega Splurge
If you’ve got an extra $399 per person laying around to spend on an ultra-splurge, unforgettable day, take a look at the Ultimate Day at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival package. Here’s what you’ll get:
- Welcome flute of champagne and a perfectly paired bite in the special VIP Lounge
- VIP access to attractions at Epcot, including Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, Soarin’, Spaceship Earth and The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Hosted beverage tasting, followed by a 6-course tapas-style lunch—paired with wines, ales or spirits by sommeliers and chefs
- Private backstage tour of the Greenhouse Gardens at Living with the Land, followed by a stroll to World Showcase
- Meet and greet with Disney Chefs who will give an introduction to the International Marketplaces of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, accompanied by a 3-course international tasting
- A glass of bubbly and VIP Seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series
- Special reserved location to watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
This tour is currently offered on Thursdays and Sundays only. Call (407) 939-8687 for more info
- Weekend evenings are absolutely packed so if you don’t want to feel like herded cattle, call in sick for work and go midweek as soon as the World Showcase opens, which is daily at 11am.
- Create a budget and stick to it. You won’t believe how easy it is to break the bank when so many tempting dishes and drinks are being wafted under your nose. Using the Festival’s preloaded cards can make it easier to budget.
- Lots of seminars and events are free and lots require advance tickets. Spend some time perusing the Festival site to see what piques your interest before you head to the park.