I experienced my first Food and Wine Festival at Epcot last year. I was really excited to check it off my Disney dork to do list. We had a a lot of fun wandering around World Showcase sipping and snacking. There was no way we could do it all so we took a look at the list and decided which things we really wanted to try (a strategy I highly recommend). I had a great time, but I wasn’t prepared for the cost! It was pretty expensive for a small sampling of regional cuisine. To make a day out of grazing around the lagoon would have been quite expensive. I also didn’t realize just how busy this event could be. There were a few items I passed up simply because I didn’t want to wait on the long queue. Unfortunately, I won’t make it down this year for this event. But, from what I’ve been reading in the online Disney geek community, it seems that people are really enjoying themselves.
This year the festival runs from September 25 – November 8 and features cities from around the world. The are approximately 25 booths serving sample-sized portions of international delicacies from six continents. Epcot will celebrate the fare of cities ranging from Athens to Buenos Aires to Tokyo. Many guest favorites are returning to the festival with a few new selections; Bangkok Rio de Janiero are making their debut in 2009. Guests will also find kiosks and exibits on the World Showcase promenade featuring art, entertainment, and crafts from several destinations.
In addition to sampling international cuisine and libations there are several special events to attend throughout the seven week run.
The Eat to the Beat concerts in the American Gardens Theater at the American Adventure are free with the cost of your park ticket. Musical acts this year include: Better than Ezra, Boyz II Men, Jon Secada, Kool and the Gang, and En Vogue to name a few. There are also several other special demonstrations, tastings, and parties offered during the festival. Many of demonstrations and seminars are free, such as the History of Beer, but others cost a small fee and should be booked in advance. Disney refers to their more expensive lectures and parties as “Special Festival Experiences” and these fill up fast. Several celebrity chefs are set to appear this year at many of these “special experiences” including one of the newest members of the Disney family, Cat Kora. Though I’ve never taken part in any of these I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.
Have you toured this year’s offerings? If so, please let me know what you thought! If I hear lots of positive feedback maybe I’ll get back down for it next year.
Next time I’ll take a look at some very important locations at the Magic Kingdom…