For more than twenty years, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has featured marketplaces with ethnic cuisine samplings from the top "foodie" cities of the world. This year, 30 international marketplaces from all over the globe will offer tasty treats at the 21th anniversary of the event.
Over the years, the Festival has grown. In its first year, it ran just 30 days. This year it will run an amazing 62 days! The marketplace experiences have also expanded from the park's World Showcase into Future World and will feature 32 new marketplace dishes and 49 new cocktails, beers, wines and ciders.
New to the event will be the Artistry of Wine & Cheese area, that will evoke the ambiance of Napa Valley, with grape vines and welcoming pergolas along the walkway to Future World West. The area will feature the Cheese Studio marketplace where cheese sample platters will be served on an artist's palette to pair with wines. Also featured will be the Wine Studio that will serve premium wines on tap and showcase palate-pleasing wine varietals organized by color in artful displays.
If you can't decide what to try, perhaps these 5 "must see" food booths picked by About.com's former Disney World contributing writer, Samantha McNesby will inspire you. And, a complimentary Festival Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited, makes a perfect scrapbook souvenir.
The 62-day festival, featured in our "Wine Lovers Guide to Disney World," also features wine and beer tasting seminars, a lineup of winemakers from around the globe and an impressive list of guest chefs, elegant dinners, grand tastings and pairings.
Additional special experiences can also be booked beginning July 30, including Culinary Demonstrations, Mixology Seminars and Wine Seminars. Special festival experiences require Epcot admission which is not included in pricing. Festival special event highlights include:
__ Rockin' Burger Block Party will serve specialty burgers and sliders inspired by musicians such as Dave Matthews' Dreaming Tree Wines and Carlos Santana's Casa Noble Tequila. There will be a DJ spinning for guests to take the dance floor. Gratuity is included in the per guest charge. Theme park admission is required, but not included.
__ Party for the Senses featuring Disney Chefs from Around the World begins with reserved seating at the Eat to the Beat concert. Afterwards, a variety of stations will be set up to offer samples of cuisine from around the world. This popular special event will be held at the World Show Place Events Pavilion. Epcot admission is required, but not included in the price of this special event.
For more special festival events and further information visit epcotfoodfestival.com or call 407/WDW-FEST (407-939-3378) for reservations.
- Celebrity chef appearances.
- ABC's 'The Chew" will tape 5 episodes of their show.
- The Festival Welcome Center will again host daily wine seminars, bottle signings, author events and culinary demonstrations.
- Eat to the Beat! concerts will again entertain guests three times nightly at America Gardens Theatre.
Along with the entertainment showcased at Epcot pavilions and special exhibits, festival guests can enjoy Eat to the Beat! concerts performed each evening at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase. The evening concerts are scheduled daily at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. and are included with regular Epcot admission. The 2016 lineup includes:
- September 14-15: Wang Chung "Everybody Have Fun Tonight"
- September 16-18: STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas "We Built This City"
- September 19-20: Air Supply "All Out of Love"
- September 21-23: BoDeans "Closer to Free"
- September 24-25: Fuel "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)"
- September 26-28: Sugar Ray "Fly"
- September 29-30: Los Lobos "La Bamba"
- October 1-2: David Cook "Light On"
- October 3-4: Wilson Phillips "Hold On"
- October 5-6: Blue Traveler "Run-Around"
- October 7-9: Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah"
- October 10-11: 38 Spacial "Hold On Loosely"
- October 12-13: Jeffrey Osborne "On the Wings of Love"
- October 14-16: Tiffany "I Think We're Alone Now"
- October 17-19: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx "Lady"
- October 20-21: Christopher Cross "Sailing"
- October 22-23: Toad The Wet Sprocket "Walk on the Ocean"
- October 24-25: Chaka Khan "I Feel for You"
- October 26-27: Billy Ocean "Caribbean Queen"
- October 28-29: Living Colour "Cult of Personality"
- October 30-November 1: Hanson "Get the Girl Back"
- November 2-3: Soul Asylum "Runaway Train"
- November 4-6: Delta Rae "Bottom of the River"
- November 7-9: Boyz II Men "Motownphilly"
- November 10-11: Sister Hazel "All For You"
- November 12-14: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy "Go Daddy-O"
Guests planning to attend the concerts should keep in mind that while there is no additional charge for the concerts beyond Epcot admission, but seating at the theater is limited.
Eat to the Beat! dining packages are available. They pair the great sounds of favorite artists (and reserved seating for the concerts) with either breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of many popular Epcot restaurants. Call 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378) or visit epcotfoodfestival.com for reservations.
World Showcase will be the backdrop for performers from many countries as they sing, dance, perform acrobatics and comedy for the festivities. A sampling of entertainment might include:
- Perfect harmony of Voices of Liberty (American Adventure rotunda)
- Retro British hits by British Revolution (United Kingdom pavilion)
- Contemporary twist to Scottish folk music by the Paul McKenna Band (United Kingdom pavilion)
- Classic American pop hits performed a cappella by American Music Machine (America Gardens Theatre)
- Infectious beat of internationally acclaimed Mariachi Cobre (Mexico pavilion)
- Jaw-dropping stunts by The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats (China pavilion)
And, of course, the laser and musical fireworks finale, "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth," will cap each festival evening.
When planning your vacation or getaway to Disney World, remember that entrance to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, plus Back to Basics series, Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog, special book signings, cultural adventures, Eat to the Beat concerts and all attractions are included with regular Epcot admission. In addition, each guest will receive a complimentary Festival Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
The weekly Party for the Senses grand tasting, Food and Wine Pairings at select Epcot restaurants, Signature Dining, Epcot Wine Schools, Sweet Sundays and other specialty events require reservations (reservations open July 30) and separate event admission. Tapa-sized portions of regional specialties run $3 to $8 each.
Additional festival details are available at epcotfoodfestival.com. Guests can call 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378) for information or make reservations for special events and programs.
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