It’s getting to be the time of year for one of my favorite Fall Disney World events- The International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. Last year was my first time attending the event and already, I call it one of my favorite annual events. I had heard a lot of buzz about it for years, but as I am not much of a wine-drinker, I didn’t think it would be a big deal for me. I’m so glad I went last year, because now I have a new Fall event to look forward to each year.
I’m a little hesitant to admit that the reason that I even went last year was not for the food and wine, but to see Boyz II Men live in concert. Yes, there is live music at the Festival, too. The concert drew me there, it just also happened to be the International Food and Wine Festival. Luckily, I went with a friend who had been to this event several years in a row to show me the ropes. She, like many other Food and Wine regulars, had visited Epcot’s website to plan out which places she wanted to stop at. She had mapped out the kiosks and the route we would need to walk to get the foods and drinks that she had been craving since the event last year- serious stuff. So my first, and I assure you not the last, experience with this event was somewhat atypical.
Being with the seasoned professional, it felt like a rip-roaring tour. Neglecting the rides, stores, and other attractions, we zipped through the “countries” like a rock star on a world tour. The participating food and wine providers set up stations, or kiosks, along the main walking path of the park. The fare offered, matches the “country” you are walking through. For instance, in Morocco, my friend insisted we get keftas, which are small pockets of dough filled with meat and spices- absolutely delicious! We slowed down a bit while we ate, but we kept moving toward the next treat. I quickly learned that you don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival. Being a food lover will suffice.
After this first taste, my friend explained to me that we don’t have to stop at the same kiosks every time. Now that I had one under my belt and knew the basic routine I grabbed a menu, which are readily available all throughout the park. Soon, I was heading to my own choices and she was heading to hers. Often, they were yards away from each other, so once we got our goodies, we joined back up and continued walking. So we were still able to enjoy the event together.
Each item purchased is about the size of a side dish that you would find at restaurants. The drink samples are about three ounces. I was thrilled to find a piña colada that was a full six ounces. Each food and drink costs $4.00 or $5.00. After a few items, you can get pretty full. There are desserts, too. My favorite was Chocolate Crème Brulée from France.
Of course, besides the delicious food and drinks, there is live music and all of the usual attractions at Epcot. So, children are still welcome and everyone can enjoy plenty to do. There are some extra events that you can sign up for in advance, like special tastings and contests. You can also choose to eat at the regular restaurants and eateries. The kiosks are in addition, not instead of the regular dining offerings. It is being held from September 25th to November 8th this year. You’ll know the pros. They’ll be the ones zipping through country to country, eating as they go.
We have many guests who come every year to the Food and Wine Festival and they end up spending 20 or more days in Orlando. Many of these guests book vacation homes in Orlando instead of Orlando hotels because it gives them much more space to spread out and they all come with a private pool. October is probably the best weather month in Orlando…not too hot…not too cold…and not too much rain.