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Report from the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Report from the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

The Festival offers 30 marketplace booths that supply tastes of food representative of 21 countries, in 6 continents, along with beverages/beer/wine selections/new cocktails.  Disney Parks blog states there are 40 new dishes and more than 80 new beverages available this year. There is more than food and wine available; the evenings bring music through the “Eat to the Beat” concerts in the American Gardens Theater.  The Festival is celebrating its 18th year and is wildly popular.   You can experience the Festival on whatever level you would like, from sampling a few bites of food to signature dining experiences.  It will run you approximately $400.00 to eat one of every food item available at this year’s festival marketplaces, not including alcoholic beverages.  There are additional special meals, seminars, and educational events throughout the Festival days, at a range of additional prices.  Check your special guide that you can pick up just in front of the fountains in Future World.  You can also pick up a Passport where you will find a handy checklist of the kiosks, concert schedule, list of free events at the Festival Center, followed by pages that list each marketplace along with the food/beverage offerings and an open space that you may get a stamp for showing you visited each of the 30 marketplaces.  The Passport book also has a place for your notes and a spot for a stamp of completion.  Take the time to visit the Festival Center in Future World to see additional free events. (Admission to EPCOT is required.)

The Passport, and the map, are numbered and the numbers begin to the left (in the direction of Mexico) if you are standing on the Future World side and facing World Showcase. If you come in the morning it is suggested that you visit the Festival Center and other parts of Future World that interest you, then head to World Showcase when it opens.  Most people have been found to turn right, even though the kiosks are numbered/listed from the left.  If there are a lot of people there that day, take the boat and cross the lake to Morocco and start in France.  That will help you get ahead of the crowd.

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As my family arrived on the first Sunday afternoon of the festival, we were under a hot Florida sun and we gravitated toward the very cold items like Frozen S’mores  which is a non-alcoholic drink made with chocolate milk, bits of chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow cream and marshmallows.  It was a very light but flavorful offering and can be enjoyed by all ages. This is offered at the “Desserts & Champagne” marketplace, opposite the boat ramp for the boat that goes to Morocco. The beer selections were also much appreciated, by the adults, as we walked around the world. We attempted to purchase “Fresh Watermelon Juice” at the “Terra” marketplace, but they had run out of watermelon earlier and were unable to get more to complete the day.  Another location that ran out of ingredients was Belgium who was unable to make Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef as they ran out of some ingredients. The temperature dropped and it was a beautiful evening in Epcot. The crowd was pretty heavy in the evening and there was some shortage in offerings due to that.  I expect this first weekend will give the chefs a better understanding of guests demand for certain items over others.  We did not expect to eat something from every marketplace this day; rather we chose the items at the top of our wish lists.  But I have to say as we approached Poland, we immediately turned and were drawn closer by the delicious smells coming from their marketplace.  I also noticed others doing the same thing, many commenting on how delicious the smell was and wondering what they were cooking.  Similar behavior was seen and heard when approaching the Florida Growers marketplace with the Grass Fed Beef Sliders smelling and tasting so delicious.  Some of the countries’ cast members were very exuberant in their pride of country and encouraged people to come to their marketplaces in entertaining ways.  It was a delightful time, this first trip to the 18th Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  The weekend brings large crowds, especially Saturdays.  If you would like a quieter pace, and shorter lines, try to come during the week.

There is a Festival Cookbook you can buy to take the recipes home with you to recreate the tastes you experienced at the festival.  There is additional special merchandise just for this event including apparel, home décor, art, coffee mugs, banners, wine bottle carriers, and more.

CHASE Visa is a sponsor of the event and have made available to all Chase Visa Debit and Credit cards, including Chase Disney Visa customers, a “Chase Lounge” open from 11AM to park closing during the Festival.  It is located on the third floor of the American Adventure building.  The lounge provides a place to relax with comfortable seating, complimentary beverages, charging stations, Wi-Fi, and a rare view from inside the American Adventure out over the water, World Showcase, Future World, and if you are there at the right time, Illuminations.

Here is a link to our complete picture gallery of food available at the Festival.  CLICK HERE

 

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.