Ah, yes, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, aka my favorite park’s time to shine. The International Food and Wine Festival feature kiosks serving up amazing small plates and wine/other boozy drinks from around the world. Add the Eat to the Beat Concert series and you have the recipe for the perfect evening at Disney World. The Epcot Food and Wine Festival happens to be my favorite time of the year at the park, and I couldn’t wait to eat my way around World Showcase. Here’s everything you need to know, including updates for the 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
- 1 Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2018 Dates
- 2 How much does the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Cost?
- 3 Best food on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival menu
- 4 Best drinks on the Epcot Food and Wine menu
- 5 The Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Series
- 6 Wine and Dine Half Marathon
- 7 Party for the Senses
- 8 Other Food and Wine events
- 9 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips
- 10 Epcot Food and Wine Exclusive merchandise
- 11 What to pack for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival
- 12 Ready to buy your Epcot Food and Wine Festival tickets?
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Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2018 Dates
The Disney Food and Wine Festival 2018 dates run from August 30th-November 12th. The Festival takes place every day during Epcot’s park hours aka 9-9. World Showcase, where the majority of the Food and Wine kiosks are located, doesn’t officially open until 11 am, but you’ll still be able to start your festival revelry prior to that with a visit to Taste Track for a cronut or the Festival Headquarters.
How much does the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Cost?
That’ll depend on your park ticket and how much you want to eat and drink. The good news is that there aren’t any special Epcot Food and Wine Festival tickets. It’s included as part of your park admission. The bad news is that no day at Disney is ever cheap. One day adult tickets for Epcot start at $102, but will be cheaper if you buy multi-day tickets. You can also save money by purchasing through Undercover Tourist. They’re an official partner so their tickets are legit and I’ve used them on my last few Disney World trips. How much you spend on food is entirely up to you. Food items ranged from $4 to $8 and most drinks were in the $4-$8 dollar range, though there were a few pricier ones. I’d plan on eating at least two food items and two drinks, but if you want to make a day of it, you could easily spend $60 or more per person. If you’re on the dining plan, snack credits can be used for most of the food items, and you get a pretty good value for your credits that way.
The best thing I ate was the chocolate/almond truffle frozen with liquid nitrogen and topped with whiskey caramel sauce. It’s available at the Chocolate Studio between World Showcase and the Imagination pavilion. The chocolate was so smooth that it tasted like heaven. It’s the perfect dessert for a Florida day.
My favorite actual food on the Epcot Food and Wine menu was the teriyaki chicken bun from the Japan kiosk. Teriyaki is one of my favorite sauces and when served with chicken and veggies in a piping hot bun, it was amazing. I liked it so much that I posed for a PhotoPass picture with it because I didn’t have anywhere to set it down. Now that’s true love.
Schinkennudeln – You can’t go wrong with ham and cheese and potatoes, so I gave the German kiosk another chance after a somewhat disappointing dish at the Flower and Garden Festival. This looked like it was baked into a casserole and sliced into squares to be served, and it was just the right amount of cheesy without being too heavy.
I’ve never been in love with French food in general, but the Carbonade de boeuf from the France kiosk was delicious. I mostly tried it because I’m obsessed with mashed potatoes and wanted to snag some of those. They were worth it alone, but the tender beef was the perfect, fall-off-your-fork consistency.
I’m a huge fan of boozy desserts, so I obviously had to try the chocolate pudding with Irish crème liqueur custard from the Ireland kiosk. I was not disappointed as its gooey center was perfect with the warm custard poured all over the top. The servers did not skimp on the custard either.
My favorite drink was the first one that I tried – the frozen mimosa at the festival headquarters. It was sweet and cold and absolutely perfect. You can get an early start on your drink sampling with one of these – plus, drinking before noon is classy if it’s a mimosa.
I like the bubbles in champagne, but I always wish it was sweeter. The Blanc de Bleu Cuvée Mousseux with Boba Pearls drink solves that problem by adding boba beads to the bubbly (and it’s pretty too). The trick is to figure out a drinking technique that will allow you to mix the boba beads in with sips of champagne. Otherwise you’ll end up with most of them at the bottom of the champagne flute like I did. The Light Lab also has a boozy slushie – it counts as a snack credit! – but we’re not really sure how it tastes because my mom and sister ordered them and then found out that all of the machines freezing them were out and since we didn’t want to wait for the new batches to freeze, they just got a refund and we moved on to use our FastPasses for Character Spot.
I only like sweet wines, so I wasn’t drawn to many of the offerings at the festival, but I decided to try the Riesling flight from the Germany kiosk. It comes with a little card to tell you which wines are which, and I loved all three of them. They appeared to be arranged in order of sweetness, so you should be able to guess which was my favorite.
Check out the full menus here.
The Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Series
The Epcot Food and Wine concerts can be hit or miss depending on your taste in music and who is playing that night. If you check the Eat to the Beat concert series schedule in advance, it’s possible to plan your trip around a particular artist you really want to see though. My dates weren’t flexible though, so I wasn’t particularly interested in either of the options I had. The Epcot Food and Wine 2018 schedule features some good ones though – I’d love to see Postmodern Jukebox there and 98 Degrees would be a nice nostalgia kick.
You can also book an Eat to the Beat Dining Package with a reservation at one of Epcot’s many restaurants and guaranteed seating at one of the concerts that night. It’s a little pricier than just dining, but if getting in to see a show without lining up early for it is important to you, it’s not a bad deal. You can find the full Eat to the Beat Concert series schedule here.
Wine and Dine Half Marathon
The Wine and Dine races are one of the most popular Run Disney events. With a half marathon, 10k, two-course challenge, a 5k, and some kids races, runners can pick the best distance for their skill level. There are also exclusive post-race parties at Epcot featuring entertainment and some rides. The downside: race weekend is crazy crowded, so factor that in when making your plans.
Party for the Senses
This exclusive – and pricey – dining option is the ultimate experience for foodies at the Food and Wine Festival. The party lasts from 7-9:30 on select Saturdays, and includes reserved seating for the 5:30 performance of the Eat to the Beat concert series. With special entertainment, and incredible menu, and popular chefs, you won’t want to miss this if food is your thing. Party for the Senses takes place in the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion between Canada and the UK. With tickets starting at $229/person (plus park admission), it’s not something for budget travelers, but if you’re really into food, it’s an option.
Other Food and Wine events
At the Festival Center in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, you’ll find a coffee demonstration stage to learn about the process of making coffee from start to finish. Celebrity chefs and beverage connoisseurs will also be making appearances and signing books and bottles. At the Chocolate Experiences hosted by Ghirardelli, you can see some awesome sculptures made out of chocolate. Plus, when we were there, they were handing out free pieces of chocolate, so it’s worth a stop just to grab one of the delicious Ghirardelli squares.
You can reserve a spot at a culinary demonstration for $17/person if you want to attend one of the demos presented by top chefs. You’ll get a seat at the Festival Center Stage and get to sample some of the dishes prepared during the demo.
The 2018 Food and Wine Festival introduced a new option on select Mondays – Tailgate Tastings. This 45-minute program is offered on some Mondays in the Festival Center. Featuring three sample-sized offerings based on the cities home to that night’s Monday Night Football teams, plus three beverages, this is a great opportunity to try some exclusive samples. In order to attend, you need to pick up a wristband at the Festival Center starting at 9 am on the day of. All guests must be present to get wristbands, so make sure your whole party is together at the time.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips
- Head to World Showcase early if you want to hit a lot of food kiosks. This will allow you to pace yourself so you have time to try everything on your list and you’ll also find shorter lines earlier in the day.
- Try to avoid weekends if possible. That’s when the locals turn out and crowds are at their highest.
- Likewise, avoid the Wine and Dine race weekend – November 1-4 in 2018 – because crowds will be insane.
- If you have your heart set on seeing a particular act at the Eat to the Beat Concerts, try booking a dining package that guarantees priority seating. Otherwise, you can join the ranks of people camping out in line for a few hours before the show.I normally advocate making dining reservations at Epcot, but to make the most of Food and Wine, I’d skip the table service meal and eat your heart out at the kiosks.
- Dining plan quick service meals can be used at the kiosks if you buy three snack-sized items at the same time.
- You can use snack credits for food items and get some pretty great deals. This year, the Canada kiosk has a filet mignon dish from Le Cellier that costs $8. You can use a snack credit for it, which might be the best snack credit value at the parks. I didn’t redeem my snacks for anything less than $5, which is pretty decent overall.
- Definitely check out the menu online and/or grab one of the passports at the Festival Headquarters in the old Wonders of Life pavilion located next to Mission: Space. It’ll help you plan out your eating/drinking for the day so you don’t get to the last kiosk and see something you’re absolutely dying to try but too stuffed to eat.
Epcot Food and Wine Exclusive merchandise
There are a whole bunch of souvenirs you can buy for the festival. My sister and I picked up Epcot Food and Wine shirts that are super comfy and seemed fairly reasonably priced for a Disney souvenir. I’m a huge Figment fan, so I loved seeing all of the shirts and tumblers with his adorable face plastered all over them. They were also selling handy little trays with a spot for food and a holder for your sample-sized drink that would make it a lot easier to eat and drink while walking. Food and Wine exclusive merchandise can be found at the festival headquarters near Mission: Space or at various kiosks around the park.
What to pack for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival
You’ll want to bring your standard Disney parks essentials from this packing list, but here are a few important ones:
- Sunscreen. Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be roasted alive by the sun. It’s Florida. Make sure it’s sweatproof because you’ll probably be doing plenty of that. I like this kind from Neutrogena because it’s not as slimy as other brands. And don’t forget an even less greasy facial sunscreen option.
- A waterproof backpack. You’ll need something to carry your stuff around in all day. I never hit the parks without one like this.
- Water bottle. You’ll want to mix some water in between wine and beer samples to stay hydrated during the day.
- Good walking shoes. You’re going to be on your feet a lot and Epcot is enormous. The Food and Wine Festival doesn’t offer a lot of spots to sit down and eat your food – you’ll likely be standing even while snacking. Make sure you have something comfy to walk around in.
- Portable cell phone charger. I never travel without this one. You’ll be taking plenty of pictures and probably using the WDW app to make FastPass reservations all day, and that can drain your battery in a flash.
- Your Magic Band – If you’re staying on property, you’ll get one of these included in your reservation. If you’re not (or if you just want a fancier one), you can get some really cool ones online like this Toy Story option. Or you can go with the ever-adorable Carl and Ellie from Up. They’re a fun way to show off your Disney style.
Ready to buy your Epcot Food and Wine Festival tickets?
Head over to Undercover Tourist to save a few dollars. They’re an official Disney partner, so unlike other online sites, their tickets are real. I’ve used them myself multiple times and had the ticket codes in my inbox almost immediately. All you have to do is link them to your Magic Band or get an entry card at the park entrance and you can put those savings toward an extra food or drink option at the festival. You can also book discounted hotels on their site if you plan on staying on Disney property or nearby.
Looking for more Disney World tips? Check out these other insider guides:
- The Grown-Up’s Guide to Epcot
- The Grown-Up’s Guide to Disney World
- How to Save Time at Disney World Using Your Smartphone
- The Grown-Up’s Guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
- The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
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