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Guide to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2018

With the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival just around the corner, I thought I’d pull together all the information we know in one place and create an unofficial guide to the festival to help you navigate this ever growing event.

I have been enjoying the delights of the Food & Wine Festival since 2000. This is one of my absolute favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World and my favorite festival to attend. Over the years, I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing it get better and better, and 2018 will be no different! But I’ve also seen it grow immensely in popularity over the years, which is a GREAT thing, however the festival can be quite busy – 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!

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Overview

This year’s 75-day festival begins on August 30, 2018 and ends on November 12, 2018. 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.

There are 41 booths and locations offering various foods and drinks during the event. Each booth typically showcases 3-4 small plates and 3 drinks. 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 the talks, demonstrations and premium events. For these, reservations are highly recommended. 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!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Global Marketplaces

This year’s festival is spectacular. It features various foods and drinks from over 40 different locations across the globe. Some of our tried and true favorites are returning, but there is a ton of new delectable treats to be tried!

Some of the newest additions include (just a sampling):

The Almond Orchard hosted by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze – Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Pulled Chicken, Toasted Blue Diamond Almonds and Parmesan Cheese served with Nut Thins Crackers

The Cheese Studio hosted by Boursin Cheese – Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel and Pecan Crunch

Earth Eats – The IMPOSSIBLE Burger Slider and Wasabi Cream and Spicy Asian Slaw on a Sesame Seed Bun

Hops & Barley – New Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast Style” with Horseradish Cream and Crispy Fried Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side

Mexico – Short Rib Tostada: Corn Tortilla topped with Short Ribs, Black Beans, Salsa Verde and Spring Onion

Here are all of the global marketplaces represented this year:

  • Active Eats

  • Africa

  • The Almond Orchard

  • Australia

  • Belgium

  • Brazil

  • Brewer’s Collection

  • Canada

  • The Cheese Studio

  • China

  • The Chocolate Studio

  • Coastal Eats

  • Craft Drafts

  • Earth Eats

  • The Festival Center Wine Shop

  • Flavors from Fire

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hawai’i

  • Hops & Barley

  • India

  • Ireland

  • Islands of the Caribbean

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • Light Lab

  • Mexico

  • Morocco

  • New Zealand

  • Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar

  • Spain

  • Thailand

  • Wine & Dine Studio

If you are wondering what I am most excited about… I can tell you right now, I will be making a run for the new Steakhouse Blended Burger: Blended Beef and Wild Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun from Earth Eats AND the new Guinness Baileys Shake from Ireland!

For a listing of the full menus, click here.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Light Lab

Have you tried the offerings from the Light Lab? This is such a unique adventure I think everyone should try. Last year it was located in Innoventions West, and I would suspect it would be in the same place this year.

It’s a great place to cool off and try a refreshing concoction! This year’s offerings include:

  • Phosphorescent Phreeze

  • InfraRED

  • UltraVIOLET

  • Bleu Spectrum: Blanc de Bleu Cuvee Mousseux with Boba Pearls

  • Original Sin Dry Rose Hard Cider, New York, NY (Cider Flight)

  • Ciderboys Zen Berry Hard Cider, Stevens Point, WI (Cider Flight)

  • Playalinda Brewing Co. Red Cherry Tart, Titusville, FL (RGB Flight)

  • GrassLands Brewing Company Green Kiwi Blonde, Tallahassee, FL (RGB Flight)

  • M.I.A. Beer Company Blue-berry Golden Ale, Doral, FL (RGB Flight)

  • Cider Flight

  • RGB Flight

So take a step into the Light Lab, cool down, and enjoy something unique to the Food and Wine Festival.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival 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 at 5:30PM, 6:45PM, and 8:00PM. See full listing of performers and dates below.

Depending on the performer and popularity, generally you can line up for your seat 30-45 minutes before the concert time. Some performers do 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.

FULL LINEUP:

  • August 30 to 31: Blue October

  • September 1 to 3: Tiffany

  • September 4 to 5: MercyMe – NEW!

  • September 6 to 7: Glass Tiger – NEW!

  • September 8 to 9: Tauren Wells – NEW!

  • September 10 to 11: Postmodern Jukebox

  • September 12 to 13: Vertical Horizon – NEW!

  • September 14 to 16: Baha Men

  • September 17 to 19: Plain White T’s

  • September 20 to 21: Living Color

  • September 22 to 23: Sheila E – NEW!

  • September 24 to 26: Sugar Ray

  • September 27 to 28: David Cook

  • September 29 to 30: Jeffrey Osborne

  • October 1 to 2: Jim Belushi & The Sacred Hearts – NEW!

  • October 3 to 4: Everclear

  • October 5 to 7: Mark Wills

  • October 8 to 10: Air Supply

  • October 11 to 12: Anderson East – NEW!

  • October 13 to 14: Smash Mouth

  • October 15 to 16: NEW! 98 Degrees

  • October 17 to 18: 38 Special

  • October 19 to 21: The Devon Allman Project

  • October 22 to 23: Kenny G

  • October 24 to 25: Billy Ocean

  • October 26 to 28: Starship featuring Mickey Thomas

  • October 29 to 31: Hanson

  • November 1 to 2: High Valley – NEW!

  • November 3 to 4: Taylor Dayne

  • November 5 to 7: Boyz II Men

  • November 8 to 9: The Hooters

  • November 10 to 12: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

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.

Participating Restaurants:

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

  • Biergarten

  • Chefs de France

  • Coral Reef

  • The Garden Grill

  • La Hacienda de San Angel (dinner only)

  • Nine Dragons

  • Marrakesh

  • 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 and lunch prices vary ($45-$70) and dinner prices vary ($52-$80) per person. 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 30-45 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 did this last year for Air Supply. 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!

What’s New at the Food and Wine Festival?

Sunday Brunch with the Chef

Start your day in the most delicious way at a two-hour event including a brunch buffet and featuring distinguished culinary television personality. While enjoying a meal inspired by some of our VIP guest’s favorite dishes, attendees will be part of an in-depth question-and-answer session featuring kitchen tips, tricks and insights. Finally, foodies are in for a fabulous piece de resistance: a sparkling wine toast and an exclusive meet-and-greet photo opportunity with our celebrated gourmet guest.

Along with the price of your park admission, this event will cost an additional $129 per person.

  • September 2: Richard Blais (Top Chef; owner of Trail Blais culinary company in California)

  • September 9: Jamie Deen (co-owner of The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, Georgia)

  • September 16: Tiffani Thiessen (actress and author of Pull Up a Chair)

  • September 23: Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto (Chef/owner of Morimoto Restaurants, including Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs)

  • October 7: Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss; owner of Carlo’s Bake Shop in New Jersey)

  • October 14: Art Smith (Top Chef; restaurateur behind Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs )

  • October 21: Geoffrey Zakarian (Iron Chef, Chopped and The Kitchen; restaurateur behind Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Florida)

  • October 28: Carla Hall (chef and author)

  • November 11: Alex Guarnaschelli (Iron Chef and Iron Chef Gauntlet; Executive Chef at Butter in New York City)

Food & Beverage Pairing

Learn from the pros at these 45-minute sessions, held each Friday to Sunday at 2:30PM. For $25, enjoy a collaboration between the featured chef and beverage presenter, pick up a few tips and best of all, taste the demonstrated dish and beverage pairing!

Family Fun!

There will also be various other activities that have been confirmed for the festival as well:

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Hide ‘n’ Squeak Scavenger Hunt

  • Festival Playground: Kids can jump and play on a playground inspired by Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2”, located near Test Track.

  • Character Dance Party (Friday and Saturday Evenings) – Disney Du Jour Dance Party: On Fridays and Saturdays during the festival, kids of all ages can rock out at Fountain View Stage with a rotating menu of Disney characters, hosted by Radio Disney stars.

  • 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.

  • Junior Chef Kitchen Program (every Sunday)

Tips and Strategies for the Food and Wine 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 ranging from $4-7 and drinks ranging from $4-8 each, 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!!

Annual Passholder Food & Wine Benefits

There is some exciting new for Passholders!! This year during the 2018 Food & Wine Festival, Walt Disney World will be offering 2 different gifts to take home.

Passholder Magnet

On your first visit, receive a complimentary Passholder magnet to add to your collection!

Chef-Mickey Cutting Board

On the fourth visit, take home a complimentary, Passholder-exclusive Chef-Mickey cutting board!

Visit the theatre across from The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli® Chocolate Company – located in the Festival Center to receive your gift.

Supplies for both the magnet and cutting board are limited and subject to availability. Limit one per Annual Passholder.

Thank You Thursdays:

This year, on select Thursdays, Disney Annual Passholders will receive early access to Epcot!

Enter the park at 8:00AM for early access to shopping at the Festival Center and Mouse Gear. Mimosas will be available for purchase during the exclusive shopping window from 8:00AM-9:00AM.

No registration required, simply have your photo ID and Annual Pass ready to show when you enter the park.

Thank You Thursday dates:

  • August 30, 2018

  • September 20, 2018

  • October 18, 2018

Disney Annual Passholder Merchandise

There is always an array of merchandise available to Annual Passholder’s and this year is no exception:

  • Figment T-shirt and cinch sack, a beverage pitcher, and two glasses featuring Figment and Minnie Mouse. – available starting August 30, 2018

  • A Goofy raglan tee, a ladies fashion tee, and two glasses featuring Mickey Mouse and a Festival tagline. – available starting September 20, 2018

  • A Remy hoodie and Remy Tervis – available starting October 18, 2018.

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