The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is quickly approaching. It will begin this year on August 29, which is the same day that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. It will run until November 23, making it the longest Food & Wine Festival in Walt Disney World history! On August 16 I was invited for a media sneak peek at what this festival holds in 2019.
There were two bits of news that we learned at the media event. The first is that the final artist for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series is Joey Fatone and Friends! This new project will also feature fellow *NYSYNC member Chris Kirkpatrick, as well as Ryan Cabrera. Fatone was on hand for our event. He promised that there will be more guests and surprises. He said that the idea of performing at Eat to the Beat started last year during Festival of the Holidays, when he was a celebrity narrator for the Candlelight Processional. Joey Fatone and Friends will be performing November 12 through 14. Having Fatone at Eat to the Beat is a perfect match. Not only does he have deep roots in Orlando, he also loves Disney. I think that he is just as excited about his performances as we were to hear the news.
The other bit of news was a new booth was announced. The Donut Box will feature, you guessed it, donuts. The treat available for us was the Black and White Coffee Cocktail garnished with a Fresh Yeast Donut with Chocolate Espresso Bean Crumbles. The Donut Box will be located near Test Track and Cool Wash. It will not open on August 29, instead the opening date will be October 1.
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We were treated to a performance by Grace Kelly. She is an amazing musician who will be the Eat to the Beat artist September 5 and 6. She is one of several first timers. Others include Sawyer Brown, Zach Williams, and Lauren Daigle. There are also plenty of returning favorites, such as MercyMe, 98°, Boys II Men, Mark Wills, and Tiffany. What is nice about the Eat to the Beat Concert Series is that it covers several genres of music. There are three concerts each evening. Keep in mind that the Eat to the Beat Concerts run only through November 19 instead of November 23, to allow the entertainment team to have enough time to switch things over for the Candlelight Processional.
We got to sample some of the new dishes that will be found at this year’s festival. A new Global Marketplace this year is Appleseed Orchard, which will feature apple dishes and beverages. Beer, wine, and cider flights will all be sold. Speaking of flights, Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar will have a flight available. Some of the food highlights are Pacifico True Striped Bass Tostada with Slaw and Fire-roasted Tomatillo Sauce (Coastal Eats), Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt (Islands of the Caribbean), and Spicy Kenyan Vegan Githeri with White Beans, Pigeon Peas, Curry Rice Pilaf and Kachumbari Slaw (Africa). There are also some delectable new desserts, such as Deconstructed Pavlova (Australia), Blueberry and Almond Frangipane Tart (The Alps), and Fruit and Nut Energy Bar (Active Eats).
There is plenty of new merch on hand for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. You’ll find T-shirts, hats, pins, and plenty of kitchen items. There are exclusives for Passholders, but there are also selections for everyone.
Although it’s not directly related to the Food & Wine Festival, I got to learn a bit about Character Couture. This is kind of like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but it’s for more than just princesses and pirates. Anyone ages “four through 104” can enjoy this service. There are different packages, and you can include hair, makeup, and nails. The Cast Members will work with you to create the look that you want. Character Couture is popular for those who love Disney bounding, because it can help to complete the look. You might think that it is only for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but that is not the case. Of course it does make sense on party nights, but it is also a fun extra any time of the year. One of the looks offered is a galactic style, which will fit right in at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Packages for Character Couture start at just $25, which makes it a fun and affordable extra.
I also had a long chat about runDisney. The medals for the upcoming Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend were on display. Those races will take place October 31 through November 3. While most of the races for this year’s weekend are sold out, there are still spots in some of the kids races. You can also sign up for the Post-Race Party, it’s not just for runners. If the Wine & Dine weekend won’t work for you, there are other races. The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is January 8 through 12, 2020, the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend February 20 through 23, 2020, and the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend April 16 through 19, 2020.
While it wasn’t mentioned during our event, remember that the last day of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will be September 30. Epcot Forever will debut the next evening. We will be bringing you information about the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival throughout its 87 days. I for one am excited for all that this annual event will hold. This fall is going to be incredible at Walt Disney World!