It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it will be in about a month and a half.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival bookings begin today, August 16th, and even though the festival is still a month and a half away, it’s always good to start planning early — especially when events book up as quickly as they do at the festival. I’ll be doing a few guest blogs here at Touring Plans about the different parts of the festival, but I wanted to begin with an overview of what you can expect during the event.
Epcot and select restaurants around Walt Disney World
September 30-November 13, 2011
The largest food and wine festival in the world, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival will be celebrating it’s 16th annual event this year. Accomplished chefs (including some celebrity chefs) from around the world join experts in in the culinary and beverage fields to present a series of events about a variety of “consumable” topics! Pair this with some fantastic Disney magic and some great food, and you have the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
Overview — What You Can Expect at the Festival
With 45 full days of culinary adventure, there’s a lot to talk about! I’ll go into more detail in later posts, but to begin, let’s cover the basics. Here are the major events, activities, and draws to the festival:
Special and Signature Events: Taking place in restaurants and event spaces around Epcot and the rest of Walt Disney World, these events range in cost from $55 to $495 and cover a gamut of topics including pizza and beer tastings, desserts and fireworks events, multi-course meals with celebrity chefs, and wine schools that offer a certificate of completion when you’re finished! But there’s so much more! You’ll find more info on these events in our Special and Signature Events coverage over on DFB.
Low-Cost Seminars and Demonstrations: Ranging in price from $10-13, these events offer guests the opportunity to see a dish made by an expert chef in a show kitchen, learn about select wines and beers, or take a turn at the art of mixology. Culinary demos and beverage seminars usually last about 45 minutes and are often followed by a meet and greet, book signing, or bottle signing with the event presenter. See more details and what events are available in our low-cost seminar and demo coverage over on DFB.
International Marketplace Booths: These are considered by many to be the true draw of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. 30 tasting booths set up around the World Showcase offer guests the chance to indulge in tapas-sized portions of regional and ethnic cuisine as well as sample some great wines, beers, and spirits from the represented countries. Prices for food and beverages range from $3-8, with larger beverages costing a bit more.
This, in my opinion, is the ultimate way to spend a meal during the festival — simply check the booth menus to decide what you want to try, then spend an hour noshing around the World Showcase! It’s lovely. But here’s a tip — in the evenings and on weekends the booths start to develop long lines. If you head to the booths when they first open at 11am, you won’t have to battle the crowds quite as much.
New booths being introduced this year are Hawaii, the Caribbean, Portugal (with its own wine bar!), and Scandinavia (returning from a hiatus). You can see full menus and details about the booths (including food pics) at our World Showcase Booths page.
As you can see, there’s a lot to do at the festival with just those three types of events, but there’s a lot more where that came from. I’ll be back with you soon to detail those different opportunities and give you a few more tips and tricks about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
You can book special events and seminars starting today — August 16th — by calling 407-WDW-FEST! If you’re a Tables in Wonderland member, Disney Vacation Club member, or Annual Passholder for Walt Disney World, you’ll get a discount on seminars and demos offered Monday-Thursday — don’t forget to ask!
Check out all of our coverage (including live coverage during the festival) on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival section of the Disney Food Blog.