If there is one festival I look forward to every year it’s the Food & Wine event at EPCOT. 2013 will mark the 18th anniversary of the event that finds Disney guests sipping and savoring fresh flavors from six continents and more than 25 food booths. When you add in the special events, exhibits and generally fun atmosphere, you just can’t beat it. The 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase runs from Sept. 27 to Nov. 11, 2013.
Disney chefs will debut the authentic tastes of Scotland at the celebrated 46-day festival known for innovative food, wine, beer, cocktails, music and entertainment. The sizzling aromas of more than 25 ethnic and specialized marketplaces including Africa, Brazil and Florida Local will tempt guests strolling the World Showcase Promenade. Celebrity chefs like Warren Brown and Jamie Deen will bring culinary cachet to special festival events and demonstrations.
Festival planners will present a delectable menu of premium programming, plus daily wine tastings and mixology seminars. Nightly Eat to the Beat concerts will keep the party rockin’, and six bands will make their festival debut this year. In Future World, the iconic Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog will return for a third year to introduce families to the cranberry’s rich agricultural heritage.
New marketplace debuts; favorites return -Traditional flavors with a twist will pair with beers and Scotch at the new Scotland Marketplace designed by Walt Disney Imagineering. Scottish officials were so impressed with the hit Disney film, “Brave,” that they contacted festival planners about participating in this year’s festival. The Brazil Marketplace returns by popular demand with an exciting new menu following a one-year hiatus. Hawai’i is back with its flavorful Kalua Pork Slider, and Terra, which debuted last year, returns with vegan favorite Trick’n Chicken Curry.
Fan favorites rock the house at Eat to the Beat! Concerts – “We Got the Beat” with The Go-Go’s (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) and five other musical acts are set to make first appearances at Eat to the Beat nightly concerts. Also new to the festival stage: Edwin McCain (Oct. 10-11), The Manhattan Transfer (Oct. 12-13), Wilson Phillips (Oct. 14-15), Spin Doctors (Oct. 31-Nov. 1), and Christopher Cross (Nov. 2-3) Nineteen bands are slated, with STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas kicking off the concert series Sept. 27-29. Returning fan favorites include The Pointer Sisters, Smash Mouth, Boyz II Men, Sister Hazel, Air Supply, Hanson and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Celebrity chefs cook and dish – Renowned chefs like Cat Cora, Warren Brown, Paula DaSilva, Gale Gand, Jamie Deen, Robert Irvine, Dean Max, Rock Harper, Jeff Henderson, Art Smith, Buddy Valastro, Allen Susser, Andrew Zimmern, Erika Davis, Ben Sargent, Carla Hall, ”Cake Boy” Eric Lanlard, Duskie Estes and John Stewart, Bryan Voltaggio and Emily Ellyn share their talents during culinary demos and premium events.
Festival Welcome Center buzzes with activities – Guests can make the most of complimentary Authentic Taste seminars. Culinary demonstrations and wine seminars feature new tastes and sips for a nominal fee.
Reserved culinary events draw foodies — Special culinary programs showcase a lineup of renowned winemakers, guest chefs and speakers like Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson as they participate in elegant dinners, luncheons, seminars and wine schools.
Other festival highlights include:
- More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country
- A complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
- Party for the Senses grand tasting events Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26, and Nov. 2 featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
- Premium events including “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery on select Fridays, Cheese Seminars on Saturdays and Sweet Sundays on Sundays.
By The Numbers
The 46-day festival at Disney’s Epcot theme park serves up authentic cuisine from six continents; wine, beer and inventive new cocktails; nightly Eat to the Beat! concerts with entertainment ranging from rock and soul to funk and blues; cultural exhibits of more than 25 international regions; and regularly scheduled performances by acrobats, musicians, dancers and comedy troupes. Exotic marketplaces from Scotland to Brazil offer exciting taste treats. The festival is believed to be the largest food and wine event of its kind in the world, beginning at the Festival Welcome Center in Future World and fanning around the promenade encircling World Showcase Lagoon.
Here are some facts about the 18th annual event:
- More than 300 national and international wines
- A record 46 days long, the festival began in 1996 with a first run of 30 days
- More than 220 food-and-beverage menu items, each tapas-sized portion or drink priced $3-$8
- 100-plus celebrity chefs and 160 Walt Disney World chefs
- More than 300 wine and beer seminars take place during the 46-day festival
- More than 1,200 fireworks exploding each night over World Showcase Lagoon in “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth”
- 138 Eat to the Beat! concerts performed; 6 bands appearing for the first time at this year’s festival
- The festival’s Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog is refilled three times during the course of the 46-day event, using a total of 910,000 cranberries or more than 3,000 pounds of the sweet-tart fruit
- 1.5 million sumptuous samplings throughout the festival
- 300,000 wine servings — if laid end-to-end the number of wine glasses used would reach from Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista to the Disney Cruise Line terminal at Port Canaveral, Fla.
- 360,000 beer servings, enough to fill the aquariums 5 times over at Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- 100,000 dessert servings including the dessert trio of Cherry Pistachio Mousse, Orange Cupcake and Hazelnut Cheesecake. More than 500 pounds of watermelon is expected to be tasted at the “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery parties
- More than 80,000 servings dished up of the most popular savory item at the 2012 international marketplaces: the “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce from Canada