The Food and Wine Festival is held at Epcot every fall for several weeks and includes special events, food booths where you can sample items from various countries, celebrity chefs and more.
Here's an overview of the festival and how you can plan your time there.
When is it?
Although the festival has always started in September and ended in November, Disney extended the dates for 2014.
In 2014, the Food and Wine Festival was held September 19 through November 10.
In 2015, it will be held September 25 through November 16.
What takes place at the Food and Wine Festival?
There are more than 2 dozen food booths sprinkled throughout the World Showcase which allow you to sample many foods from various countries (there's a free "passport" available that you can get stamped as you visit the various booths). In 2014, there are some new options such as the Patagonia Booth (with items from Argentina and Chile), a Farm Fresh booth and a Brazilian booth.
The appetizer-sized portions available at the booths usually range in price from $4.00 - $8.00 (with drinks ranging from $3-$6) and Disney Dining Plan credits can be used for many items.
When the festival begins, 2014 menus and prices will be available but you can view the 2013 menus and prices to get an idea of the offerings (look for the DDP icons on the menus to see which items can be purchased with credits).
Eat to the Beat concerts
Throughout the festival, musical acts from
my childhood the 80s and 90s perform at the America Gardens Theater (a stage located in the American Adventure section of the World Showcase). These concerts take place 3 times per evening (at 5:30pm, 6:45pm, and 8:00pm) and don't cost any extra.
Here's the concert lineup for 2014:
- September 19-21 – Jo Dee Messina
- September 22-23 – The Pointer Sisters
- September 24-25 – Rick Springfield
- September 26-27 – Christopher Cross
- September 28-29 – Hanson
- September 30-October 2 – Air Supply
- October 3-5 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
- October 6-8 – Sugar Ray
- October 9-10 – Fuel
- October 11-12 – Sister Hazel
- October 13-14 – TBD
- October 15-16 – Billy Ocean
- October 17-19 – Night Ranger
- October 20-22 – Smash Mouth
- October 23-24 – Jim Brickman
- October 25-26 – Los Lonely Boys
- October 27-28 – Wilson Phillips
- October 29-31 – Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX
- November 1-2 – 38 Special
- November 3-5 – Boyz II Men
- November 6-7 – David Cook
- November 8-10 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
There are a few premium offerings (translation: they cost extra money) during the Food and Wine Festival. Tickets will likely go on sale in August and can be booked by calling 407-WDW-FEST.
Here are the options for 2014:
- Party for the Senses (offered on some Saturday nights) - held in the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion, this elegant party is perfect for foodies. Sample great food from famous chefs, choose from 50 wines and beers and enjoy live entertainment. (Price in 2013 was $145-285)
- Parisian Breakfast (offered on Saturday mornings) - a French breakfast at Chefs de France that includes mimosas, freshly made baguettes, brioches, croissants, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and orange juice. (Price in 2013 was $37)
- Sunday Mornings with... (I bet you can guess when it's offered) - brunch starring an acclaimed pastry chef or baker creating three favorite desserts for sampling
- Boot Camp Series which is described as an "interactive experience with epicurean challenges to hone your 'inner chef'"
Celebrity chefs appear during the festival at demonstrations and special events. In 2014, the list of chefs includes Warren Brown, Rock Harper, Jennifer Hill Booker, Erika Davis, Paula DaSilva, Gale Gand, Dana Herbert, Jamie Deen, Jerome Brown, Dean Max, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro, Allen Susser, Duskie Estes, and John Stewart.
More details (including dates and exactly which events they'll be appearing at) should come later.
The welcome center is located in Future World near Mission: Space and Ellen's Energy Adventure and features some experiences and opportunities for shopping (and guests using the festival passport can get their completion stamp here).
Offerings here usually include:
- Merchandise shops - purchase Food and Wine Festival logo merchandise at the Stockpot Shop, such as pins, shirts, hats, aprons, kitchenware and artwork
View merchandise shop pics
- Festival Center Wine Shop - browse through hundreds of wines that have been showcased at the Festival
View wine shop pics
- Wine/Beverage seminars - Learn tips from a wine or beverage expert and sample the selections. Daily at 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00 pm. Cost for 2013 was $14, tax included.
- Culinary demonstrations - 45-minute demonstrations that will give you tips and samples from chefs and beverage professionals. Mon-Sat at 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 pm, Sundays at 1:00 and 5:00pm. Cost for 2013 was $14, tax included.
- Mixology seminars - learn how to prepare both trendy and classic cocktails from a professional mixologist. Daily at 6:00 pm. Cost for 2013 was $15.
- The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli Chocolate Company - Chocolate sculptures will be on display from the Walt Disney World Resort Pastry chefs. Sample chocolate, purchase drinking chocolate, select a wine and chocolate pairing and shop for Ghirardelli chocolates. Daily from 9:00am - park close.
- Authentic taste seminars - 30 minute seminars discussing the origins of pure ingredients. Fridays-Sundays at 12:15, 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00pm.
- Book signings and meet & greets - a chance to meet authors and other personalities speaking at the Festival. There will be the opportunity for you to get your purchased books and merchandise items autographed. Check schedules to see when they'll be appearing.
- Bottle signings - an opportunity to meet the winemakers and get your purchased bottle of wine autographed. Check daily schedules for info on when they will appear.
Planning your time at the Food and Wine Festival
When to go
Though the Food and Wine Festival takes place 7 days a week during the festival dates, the weekends are when it gets really busy due to the influx of locals who come to enjoy it. For that reason, I would choose a date Monday - Thursday if you can.
A touring plan
If you have 1 day at Epcot, I'd spend the first part of the day in Future World using my Epcot touring plans to ride rides and then use the last part of the day for Food and Wine Festival activities.
Here's what I'd do for the festival, beginning in early afternoon:
- Visit the Welcome Center to browse merchandise and enjoy various demonstrations/events that are held in the afternoon
- Head for the World Showcase, stopping by the cranberry bog on the way
- Pick up a marketplace passport to get stamped as you work through the World Showcase
- Stop by kiosks, enjoying various food and drinks, getting stamps as you go
- Attend 1 of the Eat to the Beat concerts at 5:30pm, 6:45pm, or 8:00pm
- On your way out of Epcot, stop by the Welcome Center to pick up any merchandise or wines that you'd like to take home with you (and you can also get a completion stamp on your passport if you'd like)
The 2014 festival map will be released later this year but you can view the 2013 map as a reference until then.
Need more details and info?
You can visit EpcotFoodFestival.com and you can also pre-order the Disney Food Blog guide to the 2014 Food and Wine Festival and download the 2013 mini-guide immediately for $14.95.
As more details are released for 2014, I'll be updating this post to include new info.
Will you be attending the Food and Wine Festival? (I will!)
Do you have questions or comments to add? Feel free to share in the comments.