The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival began on July 15, and this year it runs all the way to November 20. That’s 129 days of extra foods, beverages, entertainment, and more! On July 16 I was part of a media group that was invited to check out this year’s offerings. It was my second visit to the festival, I had also gone on opening day. Here’s a bit of information on what you can expect when you visit.
I’ll start with a little bit of news. It was confirmed that Creations Shop will open later this summer. This will be EPCOT’s new flagship store. It’s to be a “lighter, brighter, more welcoming experience”. Mickey Mouse will be interpreted in different ways throughout the new space. Club Cool will return as part of Creations Shop, and will still be sponsored by Coca Cola.
We were also given a peek inside the courtyard for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. We had to put away our phones and cameras for this, so there are no pictures. We could see the new quick service restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris, on the right as we entered the courtyard. The centerpiece is the fountain that is near the ride’s entrance. It features Remy on top, but his family and friends are also part of the creation. The fountain includes champagne (this is Paris, after all) and the water coming out of the bottles bubbles. It’s a great effect.
There are a lot of details that you might miss when you are getting near Remy’s Paris. The middle of the walkway appears to be more worn than around the edges, because that’s where it would have more traffic. There are subtle nods to the rats in the ironwork. I look forward to the day that I can return with my camera. I’ve already seen part of the ride, it’s going to be so much fun. If you’d like to have a sneak peek of your own, much of the courtyard is visible from Disney’s Skyliner. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open on October 1 as part of The World’s Most Magical Celebration.
Now onto the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Once again, the Global Marketplaces are the star. You can enjoy food from six continents, giving a whole new meaning to “eating around the world”. Over 50 percent of this year’s offerings are new. Make sure that you pick up a Passport when you enter EPCOT, because that’s the best way to make sure that you don’t miss a Global Marketplace. Some of them are indoors, giving guests a much-needed break from the Florida heat. Several of the Global Marketplaces will not open until October 1. These include The Alps, India, Lobster Landing, and Mac & Eats. One tip about the new booth The Noodle Exchange. It has two types of pho, both of which are spicy. If you’re like me and don’t want the extra heat on a hot summer’s day, let the Cast Members know. It’s easy to make a mild version of either pho that is still full of flavor.
There is plenty of new merchandise for this year’s EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. The sponsor this year is CORKSICLE, and you can find many different items of drinkware with their logo. Some of these are sold at the Global Marketplaces. There are also five different collections that you can look for. The EPCOT International Food & Wine Logo Collection has items for your kitchen, tumblers, apparel, wine glasses, and so much more. Belle Be Our Guest Collection is perfect for “Beauty and the Beast” fans. My personal favorite item is the measuring cup set that features Chip. Remy Shake Things Up Collection will help you to get ready for the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, with apparel from Her Universe, as well as kitchen items and other treasures. Minnie is perfecting her apple pie recipe, which is the inspiration for the Apple Orchard Collection. You’ll find clothing, mugs, and a pie pan that is “sweet as pie”. The final collection is the Figment Passholder Collection. The fan favorite character is featured on items that include a t-shirt and a MagicBand. You can find festival merchandise all over EPCOT. There are booths around World Showcase with various items, or you can look inside some of the stores. There are plenty of great things to choose from, so save some room in your suitcase.
The popular Remy’s Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt has returned for 2021. It’s simple to play. Purchase a map for $9.99. The map will tell you where to look for Remy around World Showcase. When you find him, take the matching sticker and place it on the spot on the map. When you’re done, return your map for a prize. If you can’t find Remy, don’t worry. You’ll receive your prize even if your map is blank. The prize this year is your choice of one of four bowls. They feature the four different character merchandise collections at this year’s Food & Wine Festival. We were told that they do expect to run out of the bowls, so if having one is important to you make sure you get to EPCOT sooner rather than later. If the bowls are gone you will receive a different prize.
Emile’s Fromage Montage is almost like a scavenger hunt but you’ve been given all the answers. You’ll need to purchase cheese-based dishes from five different Global Marketplaces. You can find the location in your Passport. Keep that Passport out, because once you purchase the dish it will be stamped. After all five spots have been filled, you can receive a sixth dish for free! Just head to Shimmering Sips and show the Cast Members your completed Passport.
Entertainment is an important part of all four festivals at EPCOT. The Eat to the Beat Concerts have not returned, but that doesn’t mean the park will be silent. You can enjoy JAMMin’ Chefs on the Canada Mill Stage several times a day. Voices of Liberty and Mariachi Cobre perform in the America Gardens Theater. Fridays through Mondays there is more live entertainment with the America Gardens Bandstand presented by Florida Blue Medicare. Local acts are featured, and you’re sure to have a wonderful time!
We’re in the second half of 2021, and it looks like there are good things on the horizon. It’s nice that Disney has dropped the “Taste of” in the name. That makes things feel a little more normal. There is much to love about this year’s EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.