You all know Patty, Kelly, and I are passionate about what we do, which is why there’s only a few times a year you’ll find us closing up shop to take part in something truly magical. The Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival is one of those rare occasions. While it runs from August 29th to November 23rd this year, I knew we had to be there for opening day. So, we made sure the stoves were off; the dishes put away, and we headed to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, to enjoy everything the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has to offer.
And believe me, it has so much to offer.
If you’ve never been to this Festival, let me paint the picture. It takes place throughout Epcot where you get to sample different dishes from all around the globe. When it comes experiencing world flavors and culture, this Festival is nothing short of magical. Of course, we wouldn’t expect anything less from the most magical place on earth.
4 First-Timer Tips for the Ultimate Festival Experience
1. Check out the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Website. Really, this should be your go-to research with just about anything these days, but the world is a huge place—even at Epcot. Do your research and you can prioritize your day, making sure you don’t miss out on the events you’re passionate about.
Music lovers’ check out the Eat to the Beat concert series, where you can tap your feet, eat your favorite foods, and listen to music from chart-topping musical acts.
Cheese Connoisseurs will love the cheese seminars, where you can sample delicious cheeses in creative ways.
Plus, there’s plenty of stuff for the kids, like the Family Play Zone, and, for some scavenger hunt fun, check out Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak
Me, personally, I’m passionate about the Apple Strudel in Germany
2. Save the dates for any celebrity chef cooking demonstrations too. I’ve hosted a few in the past, and let me tell you, that’s the best time to taste-test your favorite chef’s best dishes. We always try to go over-the-top to make sure you have a great food experience.
3. It’s hot. So make sure you bring your sunblock and a hat if you’re sensitive to the heat, and don’t forget to stay hydrated. Taking care of yourself during your Epcot world travels should be a high priority, after all, you want to enjoy the Festival to the max.
4. While technically not a tip, I highly recommend checking out the Party for the Senses. It’s a food and wine event done only the way Disney can do it. You do need a separate ticket for this event, so check the website for dates and how to reserve your tickets.
Eating Your Way Around the World
To make this an authentic travel experience, you’ll receive a Festival Passport. It lists all your travel destinations, the food and drink provided, and, just like with real passports, you can add a “stamp” so you know where you’ve been. Make sure you hang onto it, because not only is it a great guidebook, but it’s also a great souvenir to take home.
Patty loved marking up her copy as we traveled around the world, and we know you will too.
My first stop made it very hard to choose just want to try, but ultimately, I went with the Kalua Pork Slider. Made with Sweet-and-Sour DOLE® Pineapple Chutney and spicy Mayonnaise, these sliders are the perfect flavor combos for a tropical treat. In fact, it’s so festive, you’ll probably want to break out the grass skirts and do the hula.
Kelly definitely did.
After we got our fill of tropical tastes, we headed over to Australia where Kelly and I grabbed two Roasted Lamb Chops—and can I say, that that they cooked it to absolute perfection? If you’ve never had lamb chops, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the perfect place to try it.
The newest Festival attraction comes straight from The Alps. It’s called Raclette Swiss Cheese, and trust me when I say, it’s a cheese lover’s dream. The best part? You get to see how they melt the cheese right off the wheel and dish it up on freshly baked bread. While Kelly and Patty had their favorites, this was definitely mine.
The Journey Continues
Patty, Kelly, and I continued on our way, grabbing some gorgeous and tasty mimosa’s from Shimmering Sips and some amazing marinated chicken from Thailand.
And one of the best things?
We got to meet some talented, featured chefs making the flavor-packed food, including Chef Dave, who is the top chef behind the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. We hung out at the Islands of the Caribbean where I sampled the Jerk Spiced Chicken with Mango Chutney. (It was Patty’s favorite!)
By the end of the day, Patty, Kelly, and I were stuffed—and exhausted. Having adventures around the world at Epcot takes a lot out of you. But if you don’t get to do everything on the first day, that’s okay. The Festival runs for nearly three months! There’s definitely time to come back for seconds—or firsts in other countries.
We love coming to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and this year was the best one yet! We’re back in the Mr. Food Test Kitchen, working to bring you some new and inspiring recipes. If nothing else, the Festival always gives us a few new ideas to try, and I bet it’ll do the same for you.
One thing I know for sure, is that whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned Festival fan, after every bite, all you will want to say is, “OOH IT’S SO GOOD!!”™
WHAT’S YOUR FIRST DESTINATION AT THE EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL?