Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2016

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2016

Know Before You Go Essential Facts:

  • This seasonal event is held at the World Showcase in Epcot
  • Admission is included in your normal park ticket
  • One day park tickets begin at $97.00 per adult, ask your travel agent for prices
  • Marketplace food & beverage samples require a separate purchase
  • The Quick Service Dining Plan is accepted
  • Alcohol will only be served to guests 21 years of age or older
  • It runs from September 14 – November 14, 2016

If your ideal vacation includes the words “wine & dine,” then the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the event for you!  The World Showcase comes to life with 30 unique food & beverage kiosks only available during this time of year.  Each one gives you the opportunity to sample a small bite of international flavor.  You can then wash it down with a special brew or sparkling glass.  In addition to the tasty food and drink, the festival brings in celebrity chefs, live music, seminars, book & bottle signings, and more!  There may be no wrong way to eat your way through Epcot, but let’s make sure you know where you want to get started.

Global Marketplaces

These are the small booths set up outside the World Showcase pavilion.  Each marketplace showcases the unique flavors of their country and couples the food with speciality drinks.  Many of the countries represented can only be found during the festival. With 30 marketplace booths, we don’t have time to list off everything offered at each stop. Click here for a link to all the booths. Here’s a sample of what to expect!

Africa

Normally, you can only find African flavors at the restaurants inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom Lodge. However, during the festival, chefs dish up buttered chicken with micro cilantro and naan bread, and berbers-style beef tenderloin tips! Beverages include Indaba Chenin Blanc, Simonsig Pinotage, and Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz.

Brazil

If the Rio Olympics have you in the mood for Brazilian food, you are in luck! This year, Brazil is represented with crispy pork belly and escondidinho de carne, a layered meat pie with mashed yucca. You can party like it’s Rio de Janeiro with Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer, Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine, or Frozen Caipirinha.

NEW! – Islands of the Caribbean

Here, you can get a taste of the tropics with mojo pork with black beans, cilantro rice and pickled onions.  Or, try the seared grouper, pigeon peas and rice with coconut sauce.  Island cocktails include a frozen mojito, Caribbean sangria, and Presidente Pilsner.

NEW! – Chocolate Studio

For the sweet tooth in your group, like myself, you don’t want to miss this stop.  Indulge in a red wine chocolate truffle, Ghirardelli chocolate raspberry torte, or liquid nitro chocolate-almond truffle with warm whiskey caramel.  Wow!

All right, there is a quick sample of the flavors available around the global marketplace. Some of the other stops will focus primarily on satisfying your liquid appetite. To learn about the Wine & Dine Studio, Craft Beers, or Hops & Barley marketplaces, be sure to visit the website. For now, let’s move onto the…

Eat to the Beat Concert Series

Photo - Disney Parks Blog

Photo – Disney Parks Blog

This nightly concert series takes place at the American Gardens Theatre, located out in front of the American Adventure pavilion. Shows are 35 minutes long and take place at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:00 pm. These performances are included in your Epcot admission, but seating at the outdoor theater is limited and available on a first come basis.

This year, the festival is hosting 26 musical acts, including 8 new artists! 2016’s lineup is the most extensive in Food & Wine history. Entertainment and artist appearances are subject to change, but here is a list of the scheduled acts:

  • Sept. 14-15: Wang Chung
  • Sept. 16-18: STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
  • Sept. 19-20: Air Supply
  • Sept. 21-23: BoDeans
  • Sept. 24-25: Fuel
  • Sept. 26-28: Sugar Ray
  • Sept. 29-30: Los Lobos
  • Oct. 1-2: David Cook
  • Oct. 3-4: Wilson Phillips
  • Oct. 5-6: Blues Traveler
  • Oct. 7-9: Plain White T’s
  • Oct. 10-11: 38 Special
  • Oct. 12-13: Jeffery Osborne
  • Oct. 14-16: Tiffany
  • Oct. 17-19: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX
  • Oct. 20-21: Christopher Cross
  • Oct. 22-23: Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • Oct. 24-25: Chaka Khan
  • Oct. 26-27: Billy Ocean
  • Oct. 28-29: Living Colour
  • Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Hanson
  • Nov. 2-3: Soul Asylum
  • Nov. 4-6: Delta Rae
  • Nov. 7-9: Boyz II Men
  • Nov. 10-11: Sister Hazel
  • Nov. 12-14: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

If you happen to be a really big fan of Blues Traveler, Sister Hazel, or any of the rest you may want to consider the Eat to the Beat Dining Package. This offering pairs a dining reservation at one of 15 World Showcase restaurants with reserved seating at the America Gardens Theater. Most of the restaurants offer lunch or dinner reservations, while Akershus in Norway also offers a breakfast reservation. Price for the package varies by location and meal time. Expect to pay between $41-$69 per adult for lunch, and $51-$77 per adult for dinner. Kids will run between $14-$41 for meals. Here are a couple of important things to note when booking an Eat to the Beat Dining Package:

  • Dining reservations must be at least 2.5 hours prior to showtime
  • Tax and gratuity are not included
  • Valid Epcot admission is required and not included
  • Alcohol will only be served to guests 21 and older
  • Reservations require a credit card guarantee
  • Magic Your Wine Dine, Deluxe Dine, Premium and Platinum dining packages will be accepted as payment
  • Call (407) 939-3378 to reserve your spot

 

Festival Center Happenings

Photo -Disney

Photo -Disney

Let’s talk about the exciting things happening in other parts of Epcot during the festival! The Festival Center is located in between Mission Space and the Universe of Energy. This shining golden dome was previously known as the Wonders of Life Pavilion. It used to house one of my favorite rides as a kid, Body Wars! Perhaps we will take some time to reminiscence about this lost ride and pavilion another day. You need to know about the Festival Center regarding the Food & Wine event, so you don’t miss out on the demonstrations, seminars, talks, bottle signings, and celebrity chefs!

For starters, this is a good first stop to pick up your Festival Passport. The passport is full of information on the Global Marketplaces and is a fun way to collect stamps from all the venues you visit. The Festival Center also has helpful information like park maps and show times.

This is also the location of many of the seminars and demonstrations. Many of these have an additional cost and require advanced reservations. Let’s talk about the different offerings and essential facts with each.

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

Starting inside the Festival Center, this is where you can attend daily culinary demonstrations. Here you can watch celebrated chefs, many from inside Walt Disney World, demonstrate their expertise in making a specialty dish. Those in attendance can pick up some great tips and tricks as they watch the chef cook for 45 minutes. At the end of the presentation, small samples of the dish are served along with a tasting size wine or beer.

 

  • Festival Center, Chef’s Showcase
  • Held daily, 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm
  • $15 per guest, tax included
Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

Cheese lovers will want to prepare their sniffers for the Cheese Seminar held on select Saturdays.  As you take in the aroma of cheeses from Asiago to Zamorano, your taste buds will anticipate the curated wheel of international offerings that await. You will be able to sample these cheeses and pair them with complimentary wines, beers, and other beverages.

  • Festival Center, Chef’s Showcase
  • Select Saturdays
  • 9:15 am – 10:45 am
  • $89 per guest – plus tax, gratuity included

Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!

This is your chance to get a hands on lesson as you work side-by-side with chefs. They will teach you about everything from rolling sushi to whipping up sweet treats, and even which foods pair well with wine and why. At the end of class you can celebrate by downing those tasty creations.

  • Festival Center, Chef’s Showcase
  • Daily 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm
  • Cost $49 per guest, tax included
  • Limited availability

Beverage Boot Camp

The Beverage Boot Camp offers unique opportunities to learn more about your spirit of choice. The first is…

Exploring Wines the Mondavi Way

This 2 hour seminar is lead by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. Along the way you will learn about winemaking as the event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Robert Mondavi Winery. The event includes wine tasting and a light reception.

  • Epcot, East Hall at World ShowPlace Events Pavilion
  • Sunday, Sept. 18th, 2016, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • $129 per guest – plus tax, gratuity included

Demystifying Bourbon the Maker’s Mark Way

Do you know the difference between blended and straight Southern whiskey? More importantly, do you want to know?  Well, if yes to the later, then you might enjoy this in-depth look from grain to barrel. You will learn about fermentation, distillation and aging in barrels.  Plus, take part in a light reception, complete with traditional cocktail tasting.

  • Epcot, East Hall at World ShowPlace Events Pavilion
  • Sunday, October 30, 2016, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • $129 per guest – plus tax, gratuity included

NEW this year are several offerings located outside of Epcot.  For an additional price you can learn the Secrets of Flavor at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, experience Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, go Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, or have Brunch with a Twist at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  All take place on select days and have limited availability. Click here for full details.

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

If all of this food and drink seems too pedestrian for your sophisticated palate, perhaps you are ripe for the celebrity chef experience! Gourmet celebrity chefs including Robert Irvine, Cat Cora, Bryan Voltaggio, and my personal favorite Alex Guarnaschelli, will be making scheduled appearances. Actually, there are 16 celebrity chefs in total scheduled to appear on select Fridays and Sundays. Click here for the full list.

While enjoying the visiting chef’s favorite breakfast dish, you will take in a cooking demo and participate in a question-and-answer session.  Cap it all off with a sparkling toast and you have a meal for the stars!

  • Festival Center, Chef’s Showcase
  • Select Fridays and Sundays
  • 9:15 am – 10:45 am
  • $129 per guest – plus tax, gratuity included
Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

Now, if you happen to be fans of the 5 celebrity chefs on ABC’s The CHEW, listen up! The Emmy Award-winning cast is hitting the road, bringing their talents to Epcot. Full episodes will be filmed at the parks and you have a chance to attend! Here are the details:

  • Worldview Plaza at Epcot
  • Wednesday through Friday, October 5-7, 2016
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Audience tickets can be requested on The CHEW website
  • Epcot admission is required

Whew! I’m getting hungry. I have to say, I had no idea the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival had so much to offer until I started this podcast. Believe or not, we haven’t even covered everything there is to do! If you want to learn more about the Grand Tasting Events, Festival Packages, Speciality Dining offerings, book signings, bottle signings and more, check out Disney’s page here.

As we wrap up our culinary adventure, I encourage you to go listen to this week’s podcast. In addition to everything covered here today, I tell you how the Food & Wine Festival keeps the kiddos in the group entertained. Here’s a quick hint, the answer sits under the chef’s hat!

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