Epcot has always been my favorite Disney park. I especially love walking around the World Showcase, checking out the food, entertainment, and shops from the countries that are represented. Although I love visiting Epcot any time of year, I especially enjoy visiting in the fall, during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. The festival, which is included with your admission ticket to Epcot, is a wonderful way to sample delicious foods from around the world. Thinking of attending the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival? Here’s what you need to know.
Note: I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel, and purchased my own ticket, hotel, and airfare for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Dates
This year, the festival is taking place from August 31st, 2017 through November 13, 2017. For dates in the future, keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog which usually releases the dates well in advance. It’s a popular time to visit the parks, especially for locals. Midweek seems to be best. Our recent visit was on a Friday, and it was definitely less crowded earlier in the day. Once you are at the park, grab a complimentary festival passport, which includes a schedule of events as well as a listing of booths and food options. It’s always a good idea to know which options are available before you start sampling, because unfortunately, your eyes will be bigger than your stomach. The passport also indicates kid-friendly food options.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Prices
Admission to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is included with a park ticket to Epcot. If you have the park hopper option on your ticket, you can visit a different park on the same day that you attend the festival. Everything else at Epcot is open so you can experience the rides and attractions, as well as the Food and Wine Festival.
You do need to pay for the individual food and wine tastings, although the Disney Dining Plan is accepted for some of the food samples. I find the easiest way to pay for my food is to purchase one of the Food & Wine mini gift cards if I don’t have a MagicBand. It works just like any other Disney gift card, but can be worn on your wrist. That way, you don’t have to reach into your purse or pocket every time you want to try something. You can activate the card with a minimum of $15.
There is also a tasting sampler available. This year (2017), it’s $65 plus tax and includes vouchers of 8 food or beverage tastings, plus a limited edition pin.
There are other special events (see below) that you’ll need to pay separately for.
Epcot Food and Wine Food Tastings
The tastings are definitely the highlight of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Throughout the park you’ll find various kiosks featuring different cuisines. In the World Showcase, the kiosks are associated with various countries, many of which aren’t typically represented in the World Showcase. In Future World, you’ll also find kiosks, including Earth Eats (with food inspired by ABC’s The Chew), the Chocolate Studio, and the Cheese Studio. Some of my favorites during our recent trip were Greece (where I had the Taste of Greece sampler) and Spain (where I had the Charcuterie Cone). Each kiosk also offers beverage selections, including wine, beer, and mixed drinks.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events
When I visit the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, I limit myself to just the food tastings. But there are definitely lots of other great special events and packages that are offered as part of the food and wine festival. Packages include a tasting sampler and an Eat to the Beat Dinner Package. You’ll want to make reservations for the dinner package in advance, as availability is limited.
There are other special events that you’ll have to pay for separately, including the Party for the Senses. This is a separate ticketed event that you need to purchase separately. It’s definitely recommended that you book online. See details here.
Many celebrity chefs offer cooking demonstrations during the event. Visit this website for more details and a listing of the chefs.
Food and Wine Concerts
In addition to the food, there’s also the Eat to the Beat concert series that is offered as part of the festival. Admission to the shows is free, but dinner packages are offered for better seating options. You can see the full schedule of performers at this webpage – performers include Boyz II Men and Squeeze.
Quick Tips for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
- Make advance reservations if you’d like to do any of the special events including the Eat to the Beat dinner packages
- Skip lunch or dinner and eat food samples at the kiosks
- Consider the food and beverage sampler if you’d like to try a bunch of stuff
- Look at the free festival passport and develop a game plan before buying anything
- Consider going to the festival midweek and early in the day to limit crowds