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…


  1. Spyro Gyra is playing this weekend. That bad is a must hear! This is usually the weekend we’re at F&W, but this year we did opening weekend instead and experienced the treat of “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy!”

    The food and wine are great, too. We went to five of the special tastings in the Festival Center. I highly recommend those. I learned quite a bit. Also the film running continuously in the Festival Center theater on viticulture (growing grapes) was very nicely done.

    My favorite kiosk this year was Vienna, Austria. Try all three courses . . . share with a friend or three! Second place to Bueno Aires, Argentina, and a close third to Paris, France. Yummmmmm!!!! Oh, Cork Ireland earns a solid honorable mention.

    I was somewhat saddened by the absence of Pearville, but got over it.

  2. We were at WDW October 2-10. We spent a couple of days at Epcot, and sampled the fare at the Food and Wine Booths. I was there with my 71 year-old mother, my husband, and my 4 year old son. We are adventurous eaters, even my little guy. (He loves regular little kid cuisine, but also has never come across a seafood that he will not eat – I mean shrimp, scallops, and fish, but also mussels, crayfish, uni, squid, oysters. He will also eat escargot. And while he does like ketchup, he also likes balsamic vinegar and hollandaise, to name a few.) We travel a lot, and like to sample different cuisines, so we were very excited about the Food & Wine festival. I would recommend it, with one caveat for those with food allergies.

    We enjoyed many of the food offerings at the festival. The lamb chop at – was it Australia or New Zealand? was great. Here is the disappointing part. I am allergic to MSG, something the Chinese half of my family claims is from my 1/2 non-Chinese heritage! I have gotten really spoiled by how sensitive the staff at Disney restaurants is when handling food allergies. I have had great experiences all over WDW when dealing with this issue – from CA Grill to Cosmic Ray’s. Even the buffet restaurants haven’t been phased. That’s why it was so shocking to be met with so many blank and confused looks by the staff at the Food and Wine venues. On several occasions (Poland stands out in my mind) they had to make a phone call to check. At Poland they never were able to get any answers. No one ever called them back. Their answer was that I would have to eat at my own risk. Ummmmm…no thank you! On multiple occasions at different countries phone calls had to be made to get the answers I needed, and let me tell you there was a lot of MSG being served!

    I think that it was so shocking because of the excellent job the Disney restaurants usually do. I don’t have an answer for why there is such a disconnect in food allergen knowledge, but I certainly had a harder time finding food to eat at the festival than I do at the permanent restaurants. It was still great, but based on my specific limitations I’m not sure that I would plan a trip to Orlando especially for the Food & Wine Festival.

    We did have a GREAT time on our vacation to WDW, it was still truly magical. (And for me…MSG free!) 🙂

  3. I genuinely liked your angle that you have on the topic. Certainly wasn’t planning on this at the time I started searching for tips. Your ideas was totally simple to understand. Im glad to find out that there’s an individual here that obviously understands on the spot what its is talking about.

Comments are closed.