We were a little late to the party this year, but better late than never! We have mentioned in previous posts that Disney appears to be turning EPCOT into a “festival” center, and we are certainly good with that, with all the unique activities and experiences of the International Festival of the Arts, the Flower & Garden Festival and finally the International Food & Wine Festival. What could they do to fill in the gaps? We will soon find out with the International Festival of the Holidays starting November 18th!
Disney continues their summer-to-fall tradition with the 2018 International Food & Wine Festival and they have not held back on the quality or variety of their offerings. Since EPCOT is an international experience, it is wise not to start on this world-wide food tour without a passport. When attending this culinary festival, stop by almost any kiosk and pick up this handy guide (pictured right). In it you will find the various food, drink and dessert offerings, experiences and presentations as well as a page of stickers to “validate” your passport as you travel the world. While there are 11 countries represented around the Showcase Lagoon, Disney has even added a few extras just for the food experience such as Australia, Greece, Thailand and others.
As usual, the food does not disappoint! It is easy to find something to please every palate, from savory to spicy and vegan to carnivore. Don’t forge dessert! Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are available, including those featured in the Light Lab that are designed to trick your taste buds. You can even find that elusive “Dole Whip,” with or without Bacardi Coconut Rum!
To give everyone the best opportunity to sample more of the offerings, food is delivered as a small plate and each one costs an average of $5. Be sure to share so you can experience more and don’t make a meal out of just one thing!
We only had one night at EPCOT where we could tour the festival, so we had to limit our food choices. We sampled the offerings at “Next Eats” where we picked up Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn and Butterbean Succotash, a Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-Lemongrass Cream, and Loaded Mac & Cheese with Pepper Bacon, Peppers and Green Onions for our side.
If you are more into the total experience, it is possible have lunch with a celebrity chef such as Jamie Deen, Art Smith, Buddy Valastro and others. Or attend a special presentation by a other famous chefs as Geoffrey Zakarian, Carla Hall, Robert Irvine, Tiffani Thiessen, and many more. For the foodie, opportunities are limitless in how one would shape their experience.
But food isn’t the only reason to visit EPCOT. Disney includes mini-concerts by many of music’s iconic performers, bands and even tribute bands. Whether your taste is Pop, Country, R&B or Christian, the Eat to the Beat concert series offers top artists performing nightly. Groups such as Air Supply, Hanson, Mercy Me, Plain White T’s; and individual musicians such as Kenny G, Tiffany, and Mark Wills are on tap for the duration of the festival. These concerts are part of the park admission, so there is no additional charge to see your favorite performers.
Alas, time is limited. The International Food & Wine Festival ends November 12. Never fear though – if you miss it, there is always next year so plan ahead to satiate that foodie that resides inside each of us.