Is fall your favorite time to visit Walt Disney World? It is mine! Part of the reason is the Halloween festivities, but the other part is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and this year is slated to be bigger than ever because it’s the 20th anniversary! The festival, which is famous for offering delicious small bites, tantalizing beverages, educational seminars, a concert series, signature dinners, tasting events, and celebrity chefs, will take place this year from September 25 through November 16 and will once again be sponsored by Chase.
To help celebrate the 20th year of the extremely popular event, there will be new wine tastings, rockin’ parties, and culinary experiences built around the 20-year milestone. Oh, and this year, Chef Remy from Ratatouille will invite guests to join a culinary scavenger hunt. How fun!
As always, there are new dishes introduced each year, and this year is no exception. New options for 2015 will include things like Pepper Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese at the Farm Fresh Marketplace and refreshing sips like the Scottish Citrus Thistle at the Scotland Marketplace. Other new dishes set to debut are Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Kumara Dumpling at the New Zealand Marketplace and Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Peppers, Onions and Snap Peas at the Australia Marketplace. You also won’t want to miss the different champagne, cocktails and “mocktails” that will also be found on festival menus.
And don’t forget to pick up your complimentary festival passport that you will want to get stamped to commemorate that you stopped at each booth and tried the different food or beverage items.
In addition, celebrity chefs will be entertaining foodies at new and returning premium events, such as Cat Cora, Jamie Deen, Robert Irvine, Rock Harper, Kenny Gilbert, Buddy Valastro, and John Ash. (He participated in the inaugural festival back in 1996.) These chefs will not only cook for guests, as well as share their culinary know-how during demos and premium events in the Festival Center.
Speaking of the Festival Center, guests can join and take part in culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars and mixology seminars daily for a nominal fee. More festival fun will include the complimentary Back to Basics weekend series featuring epicurean tips and tricks from the pros.
For those who were sad to learn that the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog would not be found in Future World last year, I have good news–it will be returning for 2015! Hooray! Guests can discover the cranberry’s rich agricultural heritage and learn fun facts about the tart fruits.
The Eat to the Beat Concert Series will be returning with 4 first time musical acts; they are Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest, and Chaka Khan. The series will open on September 25-27 with former American Idol winner, David Cook. Other popular acts, including Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters, Jo Dee Messina, Boyz II Men and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, who will all return to rock the America Gardens Theatre stage this fall.
New this year will be Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak, which invites kids of all ages to join a World Showcase scavenger hunt for little Remy statuettes hidden around the park’s World Showcase. Maps, stickers and prizes are involved.
As I mentioned, the Festival is sponsored by Chase, which means the Chase Lounge will be returning to the American Adventure Pavilion, where guests who own a Chase debit or credit card will find complimentary refreshments and interactive fun.
There will also be the annual and popular Party for the Senses grand tasting events every Saturday in October showcasing tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment. In addition, there will be quite a few new premium events including the new “French Family Meal Traditions” lunch on Fridays and Sundays; new “Rockin’ Burger Block Party” on select dates; and new beverage events to include “Exploring Wines from 1996 to Now” that salutes the festival’s 20th year.
The Festival is always so much fun and such a great experience for guests of all ages, and it appears that this year will be no exception! As more details get released, I’ll make sure to let you know them!