Hawaiian Kalua pork sliders, Scottish seared sea scallops, Australian garlic shrimp, Brazilian black beer and Belgian chocolate are just a few of the tastes guests can experience at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. From Sept. 14-Nov. 14, Epcot guests can sample cuisine from nearly 300 chefs, 30 marketplaces and a buffet of special events both in the World Showcase and in the Festival Pavilion. So grab your festival passport and a fork and dig right in!
Surrounding Epcot's World Showcase, guests can walk the 1.2-mile promenade to sample specialty food and beverage items from 30 marketplaces. Items typically range from $3-$8, giving diners the chance to try multiple items and even check them off a passport. Visitors will find festival vendors in Epcot's permanent country pavilions like China, France, Canada and Italy, along with tents representing Africa, South Korea, Greece and Brazil. New marketplaces introduced this year include the Islands of the Caribbean, featuring mojo pork with black beans, seared grouper and mojitos; the Wine and Dine Studio, offering several gourmet food items paired with wine along with a trio of artisan cheese; and the Chocolate Studio, serving such specialty items as a liquid nitro chocolate-almond truffle with warm whiskey caramel paired with port or sparkling wine.
ABC's "The Chew"
Back by popular demand, the hosts of ABC's "The Chew" will return to the festival Oct. 5-7 to tape a week's worth of shows. The show will also have its very own marketplace called The Chew Collective, featuring grilled beef skewers with romaine, apricots and feta cheese, ricotta and zucchini ravioli with rustic tomato sauce and a peanut butter, white chocolate mousse with caramel drizzle. (Yum!)
Celebrity Chef Appearances
Stop by the festival center for cooking demonstrations, seminars and cookbook signings from local celebrity chefs like Emily Ellyn, Kathleen Blake, Kevin Fonzo and James Petrakis to big names including Buddy Valastro, Jamie Deen, Kevin Dundon, Paul Wahlburg, Masaharu Morimoto and Robert Irvine.
Free Nightly Concerts
The festival has also brought back its free "Eat to the Beat" concert series with nightly shows at the America Pavilion stage. This year's lineup includes Wang Chung ("Everybody Have Fun Tonight") Sept. 14-15; STARSHIP ("We Built This City) Sept. 16-18; Air Supply ("All Out of Love") Sept. 19-20; BoDeans ("Good Things") Sept. 21-23; Fuel ("Hemorrhage") Sept. 24-25; Sugar Ray ("Fly") Sept. 26-28; Los Lobos ("La Bamba") Sept. 29-30; David Cook ("Light On") Oct. 1-2; Wilson Phillips ("Hold On") Oct. 3-4; Blues Traveler ("Run Around") Oct. 5-6; Plain White T's ("Hey There Delilah") Oct. 7-9; 38 Special ("Hold On Loosely") Oct. 10-11; Jeffrey Osborne ("On the Wings of Love") Oct. 12-13; Tiffany ("I Think We're Alone Now") Oct. 14-16; Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX ("Come Sail Away") Oct. 17-19; Christopher Cross ("Sailing") Oct. 20-21; Toad the Wet Sprocket ("All I Want") Oct. 22-23; Chaka Khan ("I'm Every Woman") Oct. 24-25; Billy Ocean ("Caribbean Queen") Oct. 26-27; Living Colour ("Cult of Personality") Oct. 28-29; Hanson ("Get The Girl Back") Oct. 30-Nov. 1; Soul Asylum ("Runaway Train") Nov. 2-3; Delta Rae ("Run") Nov. 4-6; Boys II Men ("End of the Road") Nov. 7-9; Sister Hazel ("All for You") Nov. 10-11; and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy ("Go Daddy-O") Nov. 12-14.
Premium events are offered throughout the festival for an extra fee. During Party for the Senses, guests can attend grand tasting events (Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 28, 29), showcasing cuisine from renowned chefs at Disney and all over the country, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment from the acrobats of Cirque de Soleil. (Prices range from $169-$329.) Other special events include a Parisian Breakfast ($40), a Mexican Tequila Lunch ($85); a five-course Italian lunch with wine pairing ($99) and much more. Bon Appétit! Salud! Dig in!
Popular Epcot Rides & Attractions
All attractions at Epcot will be running during the food and wine festival. New this year are an enhanced Soarin' and the long-anticipated Frozen Ever After. (To skip the long lines, make a reservation through Disney's free FastPass+ system for up to three rides per day.) In the new Soarin' ride, guests strap in to a hang-glider and are lifted up through the clouds and over a snowy mountain range. Through the journey, you soar over the world's most beautiful and stunning landmarks, from Sydney's Opera House to the Taj Mahal. When you fly over an African savana near Mount Kilimanjaro, you will actually smell the grass as the elephants run. It's a pretty amazing trip, even though you've actually just been inside a large IMAX theater. Just when you think you've gotten "Let It Go" out of your head, the Norway Pavilion has expanded to make room for the "Frozen" princesses. Board a Viking ship and head up the North Mountain to see favorite characters from the movie in Frozen Ever After. Next door, Anna and Elsa greet guests inside their country cottage. Other popular rides at Epcot include Test Track, Nemo and Friends and Mission Space. Multiple character spots are also available for children to meet favorites like Minnie, Mickey, Belle, Jasmine, Alice, Mary Poppins and more.
Tickets to Epcot are $97 for a one-day pass, which includes most festival activities, access to the World Showcase and all the attractions. If your time is limited, and you only want to attend the festival for a half day or evening, the Park Hopper option allows you to visit two parks in one day for $155.