Last week I was given the opportunity to attend the annual International Food and Wine Festival with my girlfriend and lifestyle blogger, Tami Reed of Talking with Tami at Walt Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida. Tami is a blogger for Disney and as a huge foodie I was thrilled she invited me along for this exciting trip!
We flew out at 6:00 on Tuesday morning and landed in Orlando where we went nonstop until 11:00 PM.
First, we stopped in at Magic Kingdom for my first ever glimpse of Disney, then we ventured over to Epcot where we grabbed our Festival Passport and thoroughly enjoyed a taste of so many culinary delights from all over the world!
Epcot is celebrating 35 years, so there is one big party going on right now!
Y’all, the food was really good. With over 35 food and wine “marketplaces” there was plenty of options for tasty delights. The festival actually began August 31, but continues to run until November 13, a full 75 days to check it all out!
During the festival, park guests can mix and mingle with celebrity chefs, experience hands-on culinary workshops and demonstrations and enjoy live music each evening at Eat to the Beat concerts. They also can book special tasting experiences at Epcot and at Disney resort restaurants. Family fun will be in the mix with kid-friendly dishes geared toward young palates and a Ratatouille-inspired culinary scavenger hunt.
Popular chefs and other known culinary enthusiasts have been on hand to entertain foodies and inspire the chef in all of us!
Throughout the days of the festival you can learn to pair beer and wines with different foods if you choose, or just stroll and eat, which is what Tami and I did!
We picked up a passport upon entering the gates at Epcot, purchased a special festival gift card to make purchasing a little easier and headed off to explore the World Showcase where most of the food tastings were held. Some of my favorite tastings were Ireland, France, Canada, and Mexico!
If you plan to go, here are a few quick things to know:
**When you purchase an Epcot admission it includes your Culinary passport, Back to the basics cooking seminars and the Eat to the Beat concert series, plus any other Epcot attraction covered under general admission. There is a small fee for any food that you taste in the World Showcase and for some culinary classes.
**Purchase a special Food & Wine Festival gift card to make purchasing so much easier than counting cash or swiping your credit card all over the park. We put $60 on our card (which I guess to be the cost of one meal at a park restaurant) and it was plenty for the time that we had. Most tastings were $4-$10 depending on what you chose, with beer and wine drinks quite a bit more. If you need more, money you can add to it and anything left over can be spent at any of the Disney parks.
**Tasting plates are a decent sized portion, so if you want to share in an effort not to get too full and taste more, it can definitely happen! Tami and I were actually full after a couple of stops, but I was really bad and kept tasting.
**Some events do require advanced reservations, so be sure to check a schedule before you go and book those early… they will sell out.
**Be nice as some lines can be long. Disney is popular attraction for guests all over the world and everyone wants the same memorable experience that you have. Be patient and be kind. The lines do move rather fast, the longest line I experienced was in “France” and it was about a 10 minute wait for Creme Brûlée. Go first thing in the morning if you want to avoid the heaviest of lines.
**Don’t forget to visit the Festival Center. Here is where you will find classes, seminars, and have to opportunity to purchase culinary related items to carry home.
**Allow plenty of time for your visit. Tami and I just had part of one day, but I could have easily spent 2 or 3 days there to get the full experience.
Have you ever visited Epcot for the International Food and Wine Festival? Let me know your favorite part! I fully intend to return again!