When most people think of Disney, they think of children. Particularly, they think of their own childhood and how it was influenced by the Disney music, movies and TV shows they enjoyed and the Disney Theme Parks they visited.
But now that they are adults, most people think they have out grown Disney. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Disney is for people of all ages!! Walt Disney once said “Adults are only kids grown up, anyway”.
In this series of articles, you will learn about ways you can enjoy Disney as an adult. Whether you are single, a young couple without kids or empty nesters – Disney offers something for everyone to enjoy! This article spotlights the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.
20th Annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is the perfect event for adults to attend. This event features food and beverages from countries around the world. You will have the opportunity to taste amazing cuisines, experience wonderful cultures, learn from the culinary stars you watch on TV and groove to the music performed by some of your favorite singers and bands. You’ll feel like you have taken a trip around the world – without ever leaving Orlando.
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL hosts many seasonal events each year. One of the most popular events is the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. This event, in its 20th year, allows guests to go on a culinary adventure by celebrating the culture and cuisine of countries around the world featuring the finest food, wine and beverage offerings.
This year’s EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will be held from September 25 – November 16, 2015. The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival events will take place in locations throughout the World Showcase as well as the Festival Welcome Center.
EPCOT’s World Showcase
EPCOT’s World Showcase features pavilions that represent eleven countries – Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. Each pavilion has its own architectural landmark and is staffed with people from that particular country. This helps to make the experience feel very authentic.
Festival Welcome Center
The Festival Welcome Center is located in Future World between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy attractions. The Festival Welcome Center is open daily from 9:00 am to park closing. The Information Desk is open daily from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm.
The Festival Welcome Center features a Wine shop, merchandise shops, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt, book and bottle signings, meet and greets, seminars, and demonstrations.
During the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, there will be Marketplaces located throughout the World Showcase where you can purchase food and beverage samples from a variety of countries. The appetizer sized portions provide a great way to sample traditional cuisine from around the world.
This year’s Marketplaces will feature food and beverages from 20 countries including Africa, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Greece, Ireland, Poland, South Korea and the United States. There will also be booths with craft beers, cheese, desserts and champagne and more!
The items can range in price from $4.00 – $8.00 for food and $3.00 – $6.00 for beverages. Many items can be purchased using a Snack Credit provided on the Disney Dining Plan. If you are not on the Dining Plan, purchasing an EPCOT Food and Wine Festival reloadable gift card is a great option. There is a gift card option that comes with a convenient wrist strap to keep the card handy.
Learn from the Best!
Demonstrations and seminars will be held throughout the festival. Some of the most recognizable faces in the culinary industry will be hosting events. Here is a sample of the events being offered:
A Lesson from the Pros – This is a 45 minute cooking demonstration where you will learn useful culinary tips before enjoying a sample of the each dish and beverage that has been prepared. This event is held daily at 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm at the Festival Welcome Center at the Chef’s Showcase. Click here to see the schedule. The cost is $15.00/person. Advance reservations are recommended.
Mixology Seminars – Enjoy happy hour watching a skilled mixologist demonstrate their knack for creating a cocktail. Then enjoy the delicious libations they create. This event is held daily at 6:00 pm at the Festival Welcome Center on the Vineyard Stage. The cost is $15.00/person. Guests must be 21 or over to participate. Advance reservations are recommended.
Brunch with the Greats – This event features a plated brunch that includes one of the guest of honor’s favorite dishes. Get culinary insights into what makes their selection special. Then sit down for a question and answer session. Brunch hosts include Bryan Voltaggio, Cat Cora, Robert Irvine, Buddy Valastro and Alex Guaranaschelli. This event is held on Fridays and Sundays from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Festival Welcome Center at the Chef’s Showcase. The cost is $129.00/person. Note: guests are subject to change or cancellation without notice. Advance reservations are recommended.
The Chew – This year for the first time, the ABC daytime talk show – The Chew – will be filming at EPCOT during the festival. Hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz will be there October 7th – 9th to tape five episodes that will air on October 12th – 16th.
There will be two shows taped on Wednesday, October 7th and Thursday, October 8th – at 8:00 am and 11:00 am. And one show taped on Friday, October 9th at 8:00 am. Tickets are free. To learn more about The Chew or to reserve your tickets, click here.
Eat to the Beat Concert Series
Each evening you’ll enjoy performances by one of over 20 chart topping solo artists and bands. This year’s artists include Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, the Pointer Sisters, Rick Springfield, Air Supply, the SOS Band, Tiffany, Boyz II Men, Hanson, Maxi Priest and Chaka Khan.
Daily performances take place at the American Gardens Theater located outside of the American pavilion. Performances are at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:00 pm. Entrance to the concerts is included with your EPCOT admission ticket.
You can also reserve an “Eat to the Beat Dining package” which guarantees you reserved seating for the concerts. Packages are available for 13 restaurants for lunch or dinner. Prices start at $34.99/person for lunch. Lunch reservations will be seated at the 5:30 pm show and dinner reservations will be seated at the 6:45 pm or 8:00 pm show.
This year you can schedule a FastPass for the concerts. Disney resort guests can make their FastPass reservations up to 60 days in advance. Other guests can make their FastPass reservations up to 30 days in advance.
If you need a place to rest, Chase will be hosted the Chase Lounge again this year. The lounge is located on the third floor of the American Pavilion. Complimentary beverages are provided as well as charging stations for your elections. The lounge is open daily from 11:00 am until the park closes and is open to Disney Visa cardholders. You must present your card for access to the Lounge.
The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival provides the escape that every adult needs while allowing them to satisfy their culinary, cultural and musical appetites. And if you have never visited the Walt Disney World Resort sans children, this is the perfect event to try. After your time spent at EPCOT, you will never look at Disney the same. Bon appetit!
NOTE: Admission to EPCOT is required to attend the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Most events are included with park admission but several experiences require a separate admission fee or purchase to participate such as food and beverage samples, wine and cheese tastings, and culinary demonstrations.
For information on booking your trip to the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, click here