• Explore the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in this week's Theme Park Thursday

    By: Shelley Caran


    Orlando, Fla. - The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival begins today at Walt Disney World, and there are more ways than ever to immerse yourself in a culinary tour of the world!

    From now until November 13, 2017, guest at Epcot are invited to spend the next 75 days enjoying more marketplaces, beverages, concerts, and culinary experiences celebrating 35 years of the park.

    In addition to the park's attractions and regularly scheduled entertainment, your admission to Epcot also includes the opportunity to experience the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Center & Festival Passport, selected culinary experiences, and the extremely popular Eat to the Beat Concert Series.


    At the 2017 festival, 35 global marketplaces will include five new marketplaces to help celebrate 35 years of Epcot – they include Active Eats, Coastal Eats, Flavors from Fire and Light Lab, all expanding into the park’s Future World area. The Almond Orchard, hosted by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, is the fifth new marketplace located along the World Showcase promenade.

    In addition to the new favorites, India & Spain marketplaces will be returning to the Epcot International Food & Wine line-up.

    The best way to keep up with what you have and want to try is with a Festival Passport that is complimentary. The Festival Passport features all 35 festival marketplaces and other outdoor food and beverage locations with special festival offerings, and is widely available throughout the park.

    Eat to the Beat Concert Series

    Three times a night the Eat to the Beat concert series will rock the American Gardens Theatre Stage with new musical acts and returning festival favorites spanning a broad range of eras and genres such as rock, pop and rhythm and blues. 

    Even though there are 225 concerts in total, they are often standing room only. If you want to make sure that you grab a seat for your favorite artist you will want to queue up at least 30 minutes before the performance.

    To plan which concerts you want to attend, check the lineup for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series here.

    Culinary Workshops

    While you are at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, there are several ways you can learn more about cooking, entertaining, and mixology.  

    Some of my favorite culinary learning experiences include:

    • “Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!” hands-on workshops, which debuted in 2016 at the Festival Center, will return with fresh opportunities for guests to interact with visiting chefs, bakers, mixologists and other pros. 
    • Popular TV chefs and other culinary icons will entertain foodies and inspire their palates at Festival Center demonstrations with new concepts and themes. Just a few of many superstars on tap: Shaun O’Neale, Buddy Valastro, Cat Cora, Carla Hall, and my personal favorite Alex Guarnaschelli!
    • The complimentary Back to Basics Festival Center weekend series will share epicurean tips and tricks from the pros.
    • The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli at the Festival Center, will offer guest samples after learning about the history of chocolate production.
    • Culinary Demonstrations and Beverage Seminars will offer daily learning and tasting opportunities at the Festival Center. On select Saturdays, Cheese Seminars will be a fromage aficionado’s delight.

    You can find out even more about the event hosts and topics at epcotfoodfestival.com.

    Fun for the Family

    This year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has a heavy focus on family fun with kid-friendly dishes geared toward young palates, new learning opportunities and culinary experiences, and a Ratatouille-inspired culinary scavenger hunt.

    The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has such a wide variety of small plates, making it the ideal place to let your little one's palate soar! The Festival Passports include a list of ingredients in the description making conversations about trying new things easier, and with the portion sizes (and prices) being less than they would find in a restaurant the new foods are less intimidating.

    Also new to the Festival are culinary demonstrations & experiences like the Light Lab marketplace are geared towards making food fun for little chefs. 

    During Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak festival scavenger hunt, guests can help Remy scour the park for the ingredients to make his signature dish, ratatouille (for an additional fee). Along the way, they’ll find 15 Remy statuettes hidden throughout World Showcase and the global marketplaces.  Guests can purchase their map and stickers at select merchandise locations, then take their completed maps to Disney Traders at the entrance to World Showcase or World Traveler at International Gateway to choose a new surprise, compliments of Chef Remy.


    Premium Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Events

    There are several ways to take yourEpcot International Food & Wine Festival experience to the next level with premium events.

    The Party for the Senses grand tasting events showcase creative bites and palate-pleasing sips from eminent chefs and beverage experts plus exciting new live entertainment and a nod to 35 years of Epcot. Seating is guaranteed for all event guests.

    Then at select Walt Disney World Resort Restaurants, you can experience other premium events like a Secrets of Flavor epicurean experience and Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef.

    And then throughout World Showcase, participating restaurants will be offering specialty Dining and Pairing events.

    You can book these and other special events online at epcotfoodfestival.com or by calling 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378).

    That's it for this week's special Epcot International Food & Wine Festival themed Theme Park Thursday, and I hope that this helps you plan your visit to the park to experience this culinary wonderland! 


    Make sure you follow @icFloridaEvents on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram for the latest theme park news and tips.



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