Dates: September 14 through November 14, 2016 – Epcot
Easily one of the most popular and most anticipated events, Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is a celebration of food and drink from around the world. This experience runs from mid-September through mid-November and draws big crowds anxious to sample everything on offer.
The Food & Wine Festival is included with your admission ticket to Epcot although each of the items available at the many booths will run you a few bucks. There are a lot of various things to see at Food & Wine, but the stalls set up for all the various countries and regions are the real stars.
All of the food served is in small portions, with the idea being that you can sample from several booths. The other bonus is that if you gamble on an interesting sounding dish and lose, at least you aren’t wasting too much of it. Yet another bonus is that most of the items count as snacks on the Disney Dining Plan, which is a fabulous use of a snack credit.
In addition to food, each booth serves drinks that signify their theme. For instance, you can by Rosemount wines from the Australia booth or Glenfiddich Whisky flight from the Scotland stand. Again, most of these are small portions which not only allows for sampling, it helps keep the intoxication down ever so slightly.
Since we’re speaking of intoxication, be forewarned that many guests and locals alike view the Food & Wine Festival as a chance to sample as much alcohol as possible in a short time span. This means that you are just as likely to find someone’s lunch in the bushes as you are a hidden Mickey. If you are wary of this kind of behavior for any reason, you'll probably want to avoid Food & Wine on a weekend evening.
Around the entire perimeter of World Showcase you will find around 30 separate booths set up specifically for the Festival. Each one characterizes a country, continent, region, or culinary style and each one sells different food or drink items.
There are stands that represent Africa, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cheese, Craft Beers, Florida Local, Greece, Hawaii, Japan, Poland, Singapore…well, there’s a lot. The point is that everyone will find an item that sounds good, and in almost all cases, many more items than it is physically possible to ingest. New booths for 2016 include, The Chew Collective, Chocolate Studio, and Wine & Dine Studio.
Food & Wine in Future World
Food and Wine Festival's expansion in to Future World continues in 2016. The walkway toward Future World West (the side near Imagination), you will find the new Wine & Dine Studio. Menu highlights include Pork Tenderloin with Cannellini Bean Ragout and Zinfandel Reduction, and Seared Scallop with a Truffled Celery Root Puree, Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms.
Another new Future World booth for 2016 is Chocolate Studio which will sell a incredible looking Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey-Caramel. It's safe to say this booth will be pretty popular.
2016 Food & Wine booths in Future World booths:
- Wine and Dine Studio
- Chocolate Studio
Once you fill the tank with choice offerings from the Food & Wine booth you’ll need some time to digest before you go back for more. Luckily Epcot also hosts the Eat to the Beat concert series featuring many popular acts from both the recent past and the, well, not-as-recent past. Shows are at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM and all concerts are subject to last minute changes.
Here's the 2016 line up:
- Wang Chung – September 14-15, 2016
- Starship – September 16-18, 2016
- Air Supply – September 19-20, 2016
- BoDeans – September 21-23, 2016
- Fuel – September 24-25, 2016
- Sugar Ray – September 26-28, 2016
- Los Lobos – September 29-30, 2016
- David Cook – October 1-2, 2016
- Wilson Phillips – October 3-4, 2016
- Plain White T's – October 7-9, 2016
- 38 Special – October 10-11, 2016
- Jeffrey Osbourne – October 12-13, 2016
- Tiffany – October 14-16, 2016
- Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx – October 17-19, 2016
- Christopher Cross – October 20-21, 2016
- Toad the Wet Sprocket – October 22-23, 2016
- Chaka Khan – October 24-25, 2016
- Billy Ocean – October 26-27, 2016
- Living Colour – October 28-29, 2016
- Hanson – October 30-November 1, 2016
- Soul Asylum – November 2-3, 2016
- Delta Rae – November 4-6, 2016
- Boyz II Men – November 7-9, 2016
- Sister Hazel – November 10-11, 2016
- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – November 12-14, 2016
Celebrity Chef Demonstrations aka “What’s Cooking With…”
Another popular series that takes place during Food & Wine is the celebrity chef demonstrations, which is where culinary techniques are demonstrated…by a celebrity chef. These events require separate tickets that cost $129 per person, plus tax (Epcot admission is also required).
Chefs in attendance for 2016:
- Elizabeth Faulkner - September 1
- Bryan Voltaggio - September 18
- Andrea Robinson - September 23
- Andrea Robinson - September 25
- Graham Elliot - September 30
- Buddy Valastro - October 2
- Jamie Deen - October 7
- Cat Cora - October 9
- Emily Ellyn - October 14
- Andrew Zimmern - October 21
- Rock Harper - October 23
- Duff Goldman - October 28
- Geoffrey Zakarian - October 30
- Alex Guarnaschelli - November 4
- David Guas - November 6
- Sarah Fioroni - November 11
- Jehangir Mehta - November 13
If you still aren’t full of Food & Wine festivities there are plenty of extra events that Disney is only too happy to allow you to pay for. These seminars and exhibitions are very popular and sell out quickly. Here is the list for 2016:
- Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! - Daily - $49 - Hands-on experience where guests learn different culinary subjects.
- Rockin' Burger Block Party - September 30, October 14, and November 11 - $99 - Enjoy specialty burgers and while a DJ spins music. Located in World ShowPlace.
- Grand Floridian Brunch with a Twist - October 6 - $169 - A 5-course meal prepared by the chefs at Citricos in Grand Floridian Resort.
- Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto - September 21, 28 and October 5, 12 - $99 - Lunch and mixology session inside Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Polynesian Village Resort.
- The Secret of Flavor - September 22, October 20, and November 2 - $129 - 3-course "sensory-food connection" lunch at Yachtsman Steakhouse in Yacht Club Resort.
- Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef - October 7, 21 and November 3, 9 - $259 - A chef's table at Contemporary Resort hosted by Chef Frank Brough.
- Cheese Seminars - September 17, October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and November 5 - $89 - Cheese and wine experts teach you how to better enjoy... cheese and wine.
- Party for the Senses - October 1, 8, 15, 22, 28, and 29 - $169, $199, $329 - Chefs from around the world cook specialties at more than 50 tasting stations. A special, and extravagantly named, Yelloween Masquerade Party for the Senses takes place on October 29.
- Beverage Boot Camp Series - September 18, and October 30 - $129 - Are you serious about booze? Show how serious you are by attending thought provoking seminars like "Exploring Wines the Mondavi Way" or "Demystifying Bourbon the Jim Beam Way." Impress your friends with your new found facts about fermentation, distillation.
- Parisian Breakfast - Select Saturdays during Food & Wine - $40 - This one is "only" $40 which makes this one of the cheaper Food & Wine events. Guests enjoy mimosa, coffee, baguettes, brioches, and croissants inside Les Chefs de France at Epcot.
Why yes, we’re glad you asked. In the Food & Wine Festival Welcome Center, which is found in the shell of a building between Ellen’s Energy Adventure and Mission: Space formerly known as the Wonders of Life Pavilion, you can find lots of goodies.
It starts with the Food & Wine merchandise to commemorate your visit and continues into culinary displays, wine seminars, mixology demos, and book signings with chef/authors. Several of these events carry extra costs in the $15 range, so be prepared to fork over a little dough in exchange for those tasty morsels of knowledge.
As mentioned above, the Food & Wine Festival is immensely popular with both tourists and locals. What makes it an odd event from a crowd perspective is that the crowds gather primarily in World Showcase, near the Food & Wine booths. What that means is that attractions in Future World tend to have average to below average waits. So if you are just going to Epcot for the rides, spending time in Future World is still not a bad idea.
If you are interested in sampling the food and wine from Food & Wine (and you should be, it’s wonderful), the best time to go is…early. The booths open at 11 am and the crowds build as the day goes along, peaking around dinnertime. If you go at 11 am you will find the shortest lines, and even those are sometimes longer than we hope they will be.
As you might expect, weekdays are also a little less busy than weekends, when many of the locals come out to play. Saturdays in particular can be crazy, and the abundance of alcoholic beverages can give World Showcase a bit of a college street party feel. Don’t worry though, with even a little bit of forward planning using our Crowd Calendar you can easily avoid the rabble and much of the crowd.
Last updated by Brian McNichols on August 15, 2016