Fall is one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World, and one of the most popular. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is a huge event that draws many people to Walt Disney World just to visit the festival. In 2018 you can visit the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival from August 30-November 12. Here are 10 exciting things to look for in the 2018 Festival:
10. New Booths & Menu Items
While good food is guaranteed at the Food & Wine Festival, it is really exciting when planners add a new booth to the options, or new menu items to choose from. In 2018 there are a few new options to look forward to. The Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar will offer a selection of mimosas including Key Lime and Blood Orange. There is a Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Vinaigrette on the Wine & Dine Studio Menu that everyone is excited to try. Earth Eats has a Steakhouse Blended Burger with Blended Beef and Wild Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun. And over in Future World Taste Track will become a Festival kiosk featuring a pancake milkshake. Whether it is something new to everyone or new to you—trying new flavors at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is definitely something excited!
Everyone gets excited about Festival merchandise. There is always a selection of yearly merch that features the characters and logos from the Festival. You can find kitchenware, dishes, and drinkware; accessories; t-shirts; Magic Bands; Collectible Pins; even Dooney & Bourke. Most things can be found in the Festival Center in Future World, or around the World Showcase. This is the perfect way to commemorate your visit to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
8. Chef Opportunities for Kids
There are some very fun hands-on activities for kids this year at the Festival. This is a really nice addition to help kids feel included and get them excited about cooking. Every Sunday in the Festival Center kids have a chance to participate in the complimentary Junior Chef Kitchen. Here they get to prepare food and then eat it! This is a first come, first served limited space activity. At Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion kids can create a fun dessert at Candy Sushi presented by Skittles and Adventures by Disney. This is another free workshop where kids can roll candy treats like real sushi.
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7. Passholder Exclusives
Annual Passholders always get excited about Epcot Festivals, and the International Food & Wine Festival may be the one that causes the most anticipation. In addition to Annual Passholder exclusive merchandise, there are a few other options for Passholders. On your first visit to the Festival stop by the Festival Center and pick up an adorable Food & Wine themed AP magnet. On your 4th visit to the Festival you can pick up a small wooden cutting board with the Chef Mickey AP logo. Thank You Thursdays on August 30, September 20 & October 18 allow you early entry into Epcot with your Annual Pass and an opportunity to visit the Festival Center to purchase the exclusive merchandise released on each of those dates . . . as well as enjoying one of those Mimosas. Annual Passholders also get seating at the Eat to the Beat Concerts in September only. Just go by the America Gardens Theater to pick up your wristband early in the day (they are first come, first served).
6. Fun for Kids
Often the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival feels like more of an adult event, but this year planners have added some very fun features for kids. The first is a playground—and my little one LOVES these playgrounds during the Flower & Garden Festival. I am so happy they’ve added it to the Food & Wine Festival to give kids a place to burn off some energy. The Playground will be located in Future World near Test Track and the theme is Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. Another fun event for kids will be the new Disney Du Jour Dance Party. This only takes place on Friday & Saturday nights and is an interactive dance party featuring rotating duos of Disney Characters—so you may see different characters each time you attend. Characters might be Nick Wilde & Judy Hopps, Lilo & Stitch, Chip & Dale or others. The dance party is on the Fountain View Stage and features games and a concert by a special guest of Radio Disney.
5. Eat to the Beat Concerts
The concert series during Epcot’s festivals are always a great draw, and with a variety of acts and styles of music it is something to be excited about. Concerts take place just about every night and the artists vary, and many are there for just 2-3 nights. This is great because if you have a week long trip you might have the opportunity to see 3 different acts. Performers include Baha Men, Tiffany, Sugar Ray, Air Supply, Smash Mouth, 98 Degrees, Billy Ocean, Kenny G, Boyz II Men and many more.
4. Old Favorites
Everyone gets excited about new food or drink items to taste, but there are many perennial favorites of the Festival that fans are anxious to get back and taste again. One of these is the Kalua Pork Slider in the Hawaii booth—always a favorite and back again for 2018. Along with Canada’s Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll and Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce. Part of the excitement is going through the menus of the booth online and making your list!
3. Party for the Senses
Party for the Senses is a paid event that takes place in the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion between Canada and the UK from 7:00-9:30 on certain Saturdays. This party features multiple seating options, music, food, beverage, chefs and personalities. If you are a foodie and like to have fun while you sample various menu items, you will definitely want to look into reserving your place at one of these parties. They do have the potential to sell out even at the price points of $349 per person for seating in the Wine View Lounge and $229 per person for “reserved” seating (tax not included)—so if you are interested don’t wait to book.
2. Classes and Events
Throughout the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival there are many offers (both paid and complimentary) to offer you a more in-depth look, a learning experience, or a hands-on opportunity with food or beverage. You can have Sunday Brunch with Chef featuring celebrity chefs including Art Smith, Masaharu Morimoto, Jamie Deen, and Buddy Valastro. There are Food & Beverage Pairings in the Festival Center on Friday, Saturday & Sunday afternoons. There are specialty dining experiences like a Parisian Breakfast, Mexican Tequila Lunch, and Italian Food, Wine vs. Beer pairing. Beverage Seminars, Culinary Demonstrations, Cheese Seminars—all to help you learn more about food and drink. On Wednesday and Thursdays you can join chefs and beverage experts in hands-on experiences for Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It. Most of these experiences require reservations—please contact Disney or visit their website if you are interested.
1. Remy’s Hide & Squeak
I know there are a lot of things to get excited about for the Food & Wine Festival, but this little scavenger hunt is at the top of my list. This is fun for kids, adults, families, and groups. Throughout World Showcase you will find Remy from Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille hiding all around. You will get a map and stickers to place on it once you find each Remy. And the prize? Some super cute tumblers! Remember that you can redeem for the prize before you complete the map (in case you don’t want to return to that location), and you can buy multiple maps (you know, if you need a full set of tumblers).
What are you excited about for the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?