It may seem incredible, but the 24th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be the longest running event at Epcot at 87 tasty days. Starting on August 29 (The same day Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge officially opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and running all the way through November 23 (after the first Candlelight Processional), there will be a lot of delicious delights to enjoy.
Today we get our first look at Epcot’s biggest foodie celebration including celebrity chef guests, family fun, Eat to the Beat concert acts, and more
One thing we’ve been wondering, is how Disney will handle a festival when their usual ‘Festival Center’ is closed. The former Wonders of Life pavilion is being remodeled into the Play pavilion, which means the Oddyssey takes on some of the HQ focus, bt there’s not room to do all the workshops and culinary demonstrations they usually do. It looks like some of those events will be moved out to the countries in the World Showcase some will become tasting and dining events. The culinary demonstrations will end a few days before the end of the festival, presumably because those spaces will be used by something during the Festival of the Holidays and Disney needs time to switch them over.
Anyone remember when they used to have the wine and beer tasting tents in France and America? Surely there’s room to bring something like that back?
There’s a lot more new information about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Here’s what we know so far from Disney:
Epcot guests can begin with the aromas and flavors of 30 festive global food and wine marketplaces that extend from Future World to encircle the World Showcase promenade. Guests also can explore opportunities for special tastings and pairings, plus premium dining events featuring chef personalities such as Maneet Chauhan, Rick Bayless, Rock Harper and Florida darling Art Smith. Reservations for special programming and premium festival events open May 15 and can be made by calling (407) WDW-FEST.
Back by popular demand, the Disney du Jour Dance Party in Future World will expand to seven days a week. Sundays through Thursdays, a DJ will lead the interactive fun. Fridays and Saturdays, Radio Disney stars will pump up the mix with live performances. Actress-singer Meg Donnelly, from the Disney Channel original movie “Zombies,” will appear opening weekend, and more weekend celebrity headliners will join the lineup throughout the festival.
Other family activities on tap are Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt and the popular Candy Sushi interactive experience.
Throughout the event, guests can dish with their favorite celebrity and Disney chefs, and book seats for tasting and dining events in Mexico, France, Japan, Italy, Morocco and other World Showcase pavilions. Guests can also get their gourmet groove on during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series that runs three times nightly Aug. 29-Nov. 19. Eat to the Beat Dining Packages, available at select table-service locations, will include guaranteed concert seating.
The first of five popular Party for the Senses events – each a delectable tribute to the sensory arts – will kick off Sept. 21 in the park’s World Showplace Events Pavilion.
More highlights from the 24th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival:
- 30 Global Marketplaces, plus additional locations across the festival, will present fresh flavors at a variety of marketplaces such as Africa, where the new Kenyan Coffee Barbecue Beef Tenderloin with sweet potato and corn mealie pap with Kachumbari slaw will tempt guests to return for seconds. At Earth Eats marketplace guests can dig into the new plant-based Cottage Piewith carrots, mushrooms and peas topped with mashed cauliflower and white beans.
- The back-by-demand Sunday Brunch with the Chef series in World Showplace Events Pavilion will kick off Sept. 1 with celebrity Chef Jamie Deen and continue on select Sundays through Nov. 17. The chef lineup includes Cat Cora, Carla Hall, Fabio Viviani, Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro, Richard Blais, Robert Irvine, David Burtka, Graham Elliot and Aarti Sequeira.
- Three times nightly, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series – 249 concerts in all – will rev up fans at the America Gardens Theatre stage through Nov. 19 with the biggest musical menu of top talent in the festival’s history, including new acts Lauren Daigle(contemporary Christian), Kris Allen (pop, alt-rock), Sawyer Brown (country) and Boyce Avenue (rock, pop). Returning festival favorites spanning a broad range of eras and genres include Plain White T’s, Sugar Ray, Hanson, Sheila E. and Boyz II Men. Showtimes Sundays through Thursdays will be 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday shows are slated for 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m.
- Eat to the Beat Dining Packages will let guests choose their favorite restaurant for a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner plus guaranteed concert seating that evening.
- The grandest of the festival’s hot-ticket tasting events, Party for the Senses at World Showplace Events Pavilion will welcome acclaimed chefs and vintners Sept. 21, Oct. 5, 12 and 19 (All Disney Chef Night!) and Nov. 9. This event showcases creative bites and palate-pleasing sips with sensational live entertainment featuring Femmes of Rock, who wowed guests last year with their blistering solos and innovative arrangements.
- “Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!” hands-on workshops on select Mondays and Thursdays through Nov. 14 will offer new opportunities for guests to work side-by-side with visiting chefs, bakers, mixologists and other pros.
- Popular TV chefs and other culinary icons will entertain guests and inspire their palates on select dates at festival seminars and other events. Some of the big names on tap are Bryan Voltaggio, Kenny Gilbert, Maneet Chauhan, Jet Tila, Shaun O’Neale, Keegan Gerhard, Dan Pashman and Rock Harper.
- Book & Bottle Signings by some of the world’s top vintners and chefs will return on select dates this year, in addition to the popular The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli, offering guests samples.
- Culinary Demonstrations (available through 16) and Beverage Seminars (available through Nov. 17) will offer learning and tasting sessions select days throughout the festival.
- Don’t forget about the exciting new merchandise to commemorate the Festival! Chef Minnie will join Chef Mickey this year to bring a “sprinkle” of fun to the festival. This new merchandise line depicts them busily making cupcakes and other delectable desserts with ingredients that include rose-gold accents and a little sparkle. Chef Minnie will also bring her sense of style to a new cupcake headband and other festival apparel. Guests can also celebrate the Festival with returning favorites including the Taste Your Way Around the World, Brews, Figment, and Remy collections.
Included with Epcot Admission
Eat to the Beat concerts through Nov. 19 only, Disney du Jour Dance Party, Festival Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.
Special Programming by Reservation
Party for the Senses, Sunday Brunch with the Chef, Cheese Seminars and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Reservations for special programming and premium festival events open May 15 and can be made by calling (407) WDW-FEST.
Are you planning on a visit to the 24th Epcot International Food and Wine Festival? Let us know your favorite part of the festival in the comments.
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