For a record 46 days beginning Sept. 28, Disney guests can taste their way around the world during the 17th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase at Walt Disney World Resort. The culinary event, named one of the Best Food and Wine Festivals by the Travel Channel, runs through Nov. 12 and includes daily Eat to the Beat pop concerts plus one extra day of festival fun.
This year’s foodie celebration introduces a new chocolate tasting experience, fresh Florida Local flavors and the first marketplace with vegan cuisine, TERRA. The festival also introduces its first Watermelon Patch and brings back for a second year the popular “Discover the Cranberry” Bog experience and weekend HGTV celebrity home-design seminars.
Festival chefs are firing on all burners with menus designed for every palate and a new Marketplace VIP Access Chef Tour geared toward the foodie who wants the inside culinary scoop.
Fresh from festival planners
New festival marketplaces debut – TERRA Marketplace will offer vegan cuisine including Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice and Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese; Florida Local marketplace will introduce fresh twists on regional flavor samplings, including a zesty Shrimp Ceviche. More than 25 ethnic and regional marketplaces with tantalizing new aromas and flavors will tempt guests in the World Showcase.
Marketplace Chef Tours give VIP access – Each Wednesday, festival chefs will host a walking-and-tasting tour around World Showcase with stops at several international marketplaces. Already sold out for the duration of this year’s festival, the new tour is a clear indicator of the high level of guest interest in the story behind new marketplace tastes. Guests still can discover plenty of chef access at available premium events like Party for the Senses or Festival Center daily Culinary Demonstrations.
Newly crafted beverages are geared toward family dining – Children of all ages can try inventive new sips like the Silk Berry Smoothie and Nesquik Chocolate or Strawberry Foam during the family’s marketplace dine-around. Child-friendly bites to pair will include beef empanadas and cheese fondue.
Fan favorites debut at Eat to the Beat Concerts – Pop acts like Smash Mouth (Oct. 11-12) and Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice” (Oct. 13-14) will sizzle during their first Epcot nightly concerts included with other festival activities in admission. Eighteen Eat to the Beat acts are slated, including other new bands Blues Traveler (Nov. 5-6) and Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX (Nov. 7-8). Night Ranger kicks off the concert series Sept. 28-30, and other returning fan favorites include Boyz II Men, The Pointer Sisters, Sister Hazel and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
HGTV sets the table – Superstar HGTV designers host home entertaining seminars every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Cranberry bog returns; Watermelons sprout in Future World – Cast members talk with guests about the festive Ocean Spray cranberries floating in the midst of Future World. The National Watermelon Promotion Board presents the first Epcot Watermelon Patch filled with the giant fruits and dotted with storyboards that explain how they grow.
Gourmet chocolate by Ghirardelli debuts at Festival Center – The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar immerses guests in the sweet sights and smells of the famous flavor and reveals the journey from cocoa beans to the chocolate bar. Guests can taste samples and purchase chocolate drinks.
Celebrity chefs bring it – Renowned chefs like Robert Irvine, Cat Cora, Gale Gand, Dominique Macquet and Rock Harper share their talents during culinary demos.
Festival Welcome Center buzzes with extras – Guests can make the most of complimentary Authentic Taste seminars. Culinary demonstrations, mixology seminars and wine seminars feature new tastes and sips for a nominal fee.
Reserved culinary events kick tastings up a notch – Special culinary programs showcase a lineup of renowned winemakers, guest chefs and speakers participating in elegant dinners, luncheons, seminars and wine schools. Just added: a Citrico’s luncheon featuring Lasseter wines.
Other festival highlights include:
- More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting dinners and tasting events.
- A complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
- Party for the Senses grand tasting events Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Nov. 3 featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
- “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery on select Fridays.
What’s Included with Epcot Admission
Authentic Taste seminars, HGTV seminars, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.
Special Programming by Reservation
The Party for the Senses grand tasting events and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select events and programs are at www.epcotfoodfestival.com.