With the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival just around the corner, I am starting my official guide to the festival to help you navigate this ever growing event.
I have been enjoying the delights of the Food & Wine Festival since the early 2000s. This is one of my absolute favorite times of year to visit Walt Disney World. Over the years, I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing the Food & Wine Festival get better and better, and I’m certain 2019 will be the best yet! But I’ve also seen it grow immensely in popularity over the years, which is a GREAT thing for the festival, however the festival can be quite busy and chaotic at times – especially on evenings and weekends. This can be challenging if you don’t know what to expect and don’t have a plan. So I’m here to help!
This year’s 87-day festival begins on August 29 and ends on November 23, 2019. Enjoying the majority of the festival will cost you no more than your entrance ticket into Epcot. However, if you plan on sampling food and drinks during the event, that will cost you additional money.
Last year, there were 41 booths and locations offering various foods and drinks during the event (no word yet on this year’s booth details). Each booth typically showcases 3-4 small plates and 3 or more drink options. Each range approximately $4-8 each, so it could add up quickly if you don’t prioritize and/or set a budget for yourself. There is also an additional fee for any talks, demonstrations or premium events you decide to attend. For these, reservations are highly recommended (more details below on that). There are however plenty of free things to do such as various scheduled bottle signings, book signings and meet and greets.
To find out more, be sure to visit the Festival Welcome Center, where you’ll also find amazing Food & Wine Festival merchandise and delicious wines!
EAT TO THE BEAT CONCERT SERIES
Eat to the Beat Concert Series
Each night during the Food and Wine Festival a free special concert takes place at the America Gardens Theater. This year, they are adding different show times depending on the day of the week you attend. See details below:
- Where: America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase, Epcot
- When: Daily from August 29 through November 19, 2019
- Showtimes – Sundays to Thursdays: 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM
- Showtimes – Fridays and Saturdays: 6:30 PM, 7:45 PM and 9:00 PM
Depending on the performer and popularity, generally you can line up for your seat 45-60 minutes before the concert time. Some performers draw larger crowds so the wait time might be slightly longer. You can gauge this by strolling past the theater before showtime to see how many people are already lined up.
2019 FULL LINEUP:
- Plain White T’s – August 29 through 31
- Sawyer Brown – NEW! – September 1 through 2
- MercyMe – September 3 through 4
- Grace Kelly – NEW! – September 5 through 6
- Zach Williams – NEW! – September 7 through 8
- Lauren Daigle – NEW! – September 9 through 10
- Jimmie Allen – NEW! – September 11 through 12
- TBD – September 13 through 15
- The Allman Betts Band – September 16 through 17
- Everclear – September 18 through 19
- STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas – September 20 through 22
- Post Modern Jukebox – September 23 through 24
- Blue October – September 25 through 26
- Mark Wills – September 27 through 29
- Sugar Ray – September 30 through October 2
- TBD – October 3 through 9
- Boyce Avenue – NEW! – October 10 through 11
- Southern Avenue – NEW! – October 12 through 13
- Kenny G – October 14 through 15
- 38 Special – October 16 through 17
- Baha Men – October 18 through 20
- Billy Ocean – October 21 through 22
- Sheila E – October 23 through 25
- High Valley – October 26 through 27
- Hanson – October 28 through 30
- Sheena Easton – October 31 through November 1
- Kris Allen – NEW! – November 2 through 3
- Boyz II Men – November 4 through 6
- The Hooters – November 7 through 8
- Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy – November 9 through 11
- TBD – November 12 through 18
- DCapella – NEW! – November 19
Eat to the Beat Dining Package:
There is an opportunity to reserve an Eat to the Beat Dining Package. With certain restaurants participating, you can reserve breakfast, lunch or dinner and included with the price is priority and guaranteed seating for the scheduled concert that day. To make your reservations, click here.
- Chefs de France
- Coral Reef
- The Garden Grill
- La Hacienda de San Angel (dinner only)
- Nine Dragons
- Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
- San Angel Inn Restaurante
- Spice Road Table
- Teppan Edo
- Tokyo Dining
- Tutto Italia Ristorante
- Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Breakfast, lunch and dinner prices vary per person. For pricing details and to make reservations, click here. If have only done this option once, as most often I am too busy eating and drinking my way around the world and don’t want to take time away from the festival for a sit down meal. I’m also usually too full from all the snacking, and am not looking for a full meal.
I personally don’t think you absolutely need to purchase a Dining Package for priority seating to be able to enjoy the concert. As mentioned earlier, you can opt to wait stand-by for approximately 45-60 minutes and still get a pretty good seats. Truthfully the performers can be heard throughout the World Showcase, typically from Germany to Morocco, so if you prefer not to wait for a seat you can wander through the general area and still hear the concert. I’ve done this several times. I bought some beer and snacks from Hops & Barley and sat at one of the picnic tables – I was able to enjoy the whole concert just fine while eating!
FOOD BOOTHS AND MENUS – WHAT’S NEW?
There are so may new and returning food booths this year for the festival!
Let’s check out what’s NEW!!
Appleseed Orchard featuring a Charcuterie and Cheese Plate, Caramel-Apple Popcorn, an assortment of brews and Frozen Apple Pie (a non-alcoholic option).
The Alps Marketplace featuring Swiss Cheese with Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and Baguette, Venison Stew, Blueberry and Almond Frangipane Tart and an assortment of cocktails.
Emile’s Fromage Montage featuring Enjoy a “cheese crawl” throughout the World Showcase and sample a variety of cheeses.
WHAT’S ELSE IS HAPPENING AT THE FESTIVAL?
Party for the Senses
This is a NEW PREMIER event. General event details:
- World ShowPlace Events Pavilion in Epcot
- Select Saturdays during the Festival
- Wine View Lounge: 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
- Reserved Seating: 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM
- From $229 to $359 per Guest per Guest—plus tax, gratuity included
- Dates: September 21; October 5, 12 and 19; November 9
World ShowPlace Events Pavilion becomes a sophisticated setting showcasing the talents of 20 eminent chefs. Enjoy elegant views, sumptuous flavors, delectable scents and palpable textures; all of which are combined with the thrilling sounds of the international sensation: FEMMES OF ROCK.
There are 2 types of seating options for this event:
Category 1: Wine View Lounge
This is true VIP Status! The party starts at 6:30 PM.
Upon arriving at your private, premium reserved table, you’ll find an “amuse-bouche” and a celebratory welcome beverage. Your early entrance offers a special chef’s briefing and photo opportunity. Throughout the night, enjoy Wine View Lounge’s exclusive premium bar service and artisanal cheeses—plus all that makes this event the most palatable party of the year.
You’ll bring home a parting gift and special premium wine glass as souvenirs of a truly elegant evening!
- $359 per Guest—plus tax, gratuity included
- Limited availability
- Official event check-in begins at 6:15 PM at World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. If you’re exploring the park earlier in the day, stop by to receive your credentials any time after 11:00 AM
- Guests will receive a parting gift
- Complimentary Minnie Van service will be available to transport Guests from their Walt Disney World Resort hotel to the event. Complimentary return service at the end of the event will also be provided.
- For Guests already at Epcot, complimentary transportation to the event from the Main Entrance—near Guest Relations—will be available. Complimentary return service at the end of the event will also be provided.
Category 2: Reserved Seating
Reserve your table on the main floor and receive your complimentary welcome beverage!
- $229 per Guest—plus tax, gratuity included
- Limited availability
- Epcot admission required and not included with ticket
- Private, reserved table seating
- Event-exclusive wine glass
- Official event check-in begins at 6:45 PM at World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. If you’re exploring the park earlier in the day, stop by to receive your credentials any time after 11:00 AM
Official Event Calendar including Appearances and Presentations:
Sunday Brunch with the Chef
Hosted by celebrity chefs such as Cat Cora, Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro and others. (Select Sundays through November 17)
Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It!
Hands-on workshops that let you rub shoulders with visiting chefs, bakers, mixologists and other pros. (Select Mondays and Thursdays through November 14). Click here to make reservations!
Tailgate Tasting hosted by ESPN’s Monday Night Football
Available on select Sundays starting September 8 through November 17. The 45-minute program will pair gridiron grub with a beverage tasting inspired by the cities of pro teams playing each Monday night. And you’ll even learn how to prepare the dishes for your next tailgate party!
For more information or to make reservations, visit TasteEpcot.com or call 407-939-3378.
There will also be various other activities that have been confirmed for the festival as well:
- Remy’s Ratatouille Hide ‘n’ Squeak Scavenger Hunt is back!
- Disney Du Jour Dance Party 7 days a week! Kids of all ages can rock out at Fountain View Stage – Sundays through Thursdays, a DJ will spin plenty of interactive fun, while on Fridays and Saturdays stars from Radio Disney pump up the mix with live performances
- Candy Sushi: At 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. daily, Guests can learn to roll their own sweet sushi at Sunshine Seasons in The Land Pavilion. Guests can check availability in advance at TasteEpcot.com.
TIPS AND STRATEGIES FOR THE FESTIVAL
TIP 1: Don’t forget to pick up your Guide Map and Passport.
These are essential to organizing your day. Know where you are going and use your Passport to check off where you’ve been and what you’ve tried. At the start of the day, highlight the offerings that are your “must do’s”, this way you can prioritize those and you don’t miss out!
TIP 2: Plan ahead!
By now we know the list of countries and food/drink offerings for the 2018 Food & Wine Festival. Similar to tip #1, make a list of must try items! Leave room for spontaneity and discovery, but having a list will allow you to not miss anything you want to try, and stay on budget.
TIP 3: Have a budget and stick with it!
With all the food and drink offerings at the festival, setting a limit right from the beginning
is the best way not to go overboard. My suggestion is to put a set amount of money on the mini special event wristband gift cards – this years is so cute, it has Remy on it! This will help you stay on track, and they are great souvenirs too!
TIP 4: Find a place to sit and relax!
Scouting out a place to sit and enjoy your tasty treats may be difficult, especially on evenings and weekends. There are a lot of high top tables around the World Showcase, but there are also many nooks and crannies where you can grab a seat and enjoy your food and wine. My recommendation, scout out a table before you purchase your treats. Have a friend hold the table while you get the food – another tip, ask to share a table! It’s a great way to meet new friends! I have met some of the most interesting people by doing this!
TIP 5: Don’t forget about Future World!
When most think about the Food & Wine Festival, most think about eating and drinking “around the world” – and while the Food & Wine festival takes place predominantly in the World Showcase, don’t forget or underestimate the offerings in Future World! Some of my favorite snacks are offered in Future World – Active Eats, Coastal Eats, Wine & Dine Studio, and the Cheese Studio! Be sure to check them out!!
TIP 6: Try new things!!
The Food and Wine Festival is a great time to experience new foods and drinks. With each small plate and drinks ranging from $4-8, it’s relatively inexpensive to test your palate. You may like something you wouldn’t otherwise try!
TIP 7: Pace yourself!!
With all the options available to us at the Food & Wine Festival, we often get excited and dig right in. By the time you hit the halfway point, you’ve had enough! The heat often does not help either. Use your Food & Wine Festival Guide to help you prioritize what to eat and drink first and go slowly. There is plenty of time to try everything!
TIP 8: Annual Passholders!
For anyone who is an AP holder, be sure to purchase the special limited Food and Wine Festival Merchandise! Most are limited quantities, so be sure to check them out early!
TIP 9: Food and Wine Festival Center!
Don’t overlook the Food and Wine Festival Center. Here is a great place to cool off, check out the Food and Wine Festival Merchandise and visit various vendors showcasing wine, beer and various food from around the world. You can pick up your Guide Map and Passports here too!
TIP 10: HAVE FUN!!!
None of any of this matters if you aren’t having fun. Let your hair down, try new things, make new friends and enjoy the atmosphere!!
Each year the Food and Wine Festival features unique merchandise made especially for the festival. This year is no different, and in my opinion, is cuter than ever! Below is just a sampling of what will be available!
Commemorative merchandise within the collection includes a stemmed Tervis, appetizer plate, baseball cap and other festive apparel ideal for foodie fans!
And for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, don’t miss out on purchasing this Passholder exclusive stemless insulated glass. Remember Annual Passholders receive 20% off all merchandise.
More fun commemorative items include a mug, rolling pin and cutting board. If you look closely, you can see Mickey Mouse and Spaceship Earth engravings on the rolling pin. How adorable!
And below are special Annual Passholder magnets made especially for the festival! Minnie is available from August 29-October 14 and Chef Remy is available from October 15-November 23.
This is just the start! There are so many fun commemorative items! Definitely be sure to pick up your favorite souvenir during the festival!