My favorite festival has arrived. I love the Food & Wine Festival in Epcot. It is our tradition to come every year since there are always new stands and new foods. This year the festival is longer and runs from Aug 31st to November 13th.
This year, there are 35 food stands including 5 new ones (Flavors from Fire, Coastal Eats, Light Lab, Active Eats, and the Almond Orchard).
First of all, grab a passport and select the food you would like to try. Make sure you know some of the food you want to try and the stands you want to stop by. We always do that and of course, we often add other foods that we see on the way but at least it gives us a good start.
Going to the Food & Wine can be a little bit pricey. The food goes from $4 to $8 on average. This is why you need to select the food you would like to try. During my first food and wine festival, I didn’t pay attention to anything. I was swapping my card left and right and at the end of the day, I spent a lot of money. The best way is to set yourself a budget and to put the money on a gift card. You can get one at any merchandising location. Once you spent all the money available on your gift card, you can choose to refill it or stick to your budget. Doing this, you shouldn’t have any surprise looking at your account the next day. FYI, the minimum amount to recharge your gift card is $15.
It is pretty hot in Orlando, don’t forget to bring your water bottle. You can buy some in the park for $3, but it is better to bring your own and refill it in the fountains while enjoying the amazing food and wine. Make sure you stay hydrated. When I used to work in Disney, we saw a lot of people getting suffer from severe dehydration or even pass out.
Go early. This year we went around 11 am. It was much better. We barely had to wait in line. Usually, we go at the end of the day because it is not as hot, but the park is so crowded and the lines are gigantic.
Start in Canada. We usually start in Mexico, but we realized that most people do that. This year we started backward and it was fewer people in the line. I am not sure If it was because we went early but I am sure starting in Canada was definitely a great idea.
Make sure you enjoy the AC, I recommend going to a couple of attractions while you are going around the showcase. Go see a movie in China or in France and enjoy the AC. It gets so hot that sometimes take a break in a cooler place is a great idea.
Of course, most of the people go to the food and wine festival to try food and wine from all over the world but did you know that there are a lot of events going on? There are a lot of seminars, classes… Don’t forget to stop by the Festival Center for the schedule of the events available to you. Make sure you check the schedule of Eat To the Beat Concert Series. The concerts usually start at the end of the afternoon around 5.30 pm (Boyz II Men, Hanson… are coming). Good news, you don’t pay anything but your Admission to the park to enjoy the concerts. You can check the schedule here.
If you have kids, they can go on a scavenger hunt with Rémi from Ratatouille. They need to locate Remy’s statuette hidden throughout the park and match the ingredient stickers on the map that you can purchase at different locations.
Enough with the suspense this is what we tried:
We started in Hawaii where we tried the Grilled Tuna Tazaki with seaweed salad, pickled cucumber and wasabi cream. It was wonderful. I didn’t want to try it because I don’t eat spicy food but it wasn’t spicy at all. And the cucumber aioli was refreshing in the Orlando heat!
We then went to Australia and had the Grilled Lamb T-Bone with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies. I am a meat lover, so this one was my favorite. It was very delicious.
We went to the Refreshment Port where I wanted to try the Pineapple Dole WHIP. I wanted to try it for so long and I wasn’t disappointed. I love Ice Cream and pineapple so it was the perfect refreshment for me. You can have one with some Bacardi Coconut Rum, but I was so hot that I decided to go with the virgin version!
Of course I had to stop at the French Pavilion, Kevin and I have been together for 7 years but he never wanted to try Escargot. He finally did. We got the Croissant aux Escargots and he actually liked it!
It wasn’t part of the food and wine Festival’s choices but I also went to the French bakery and had a tarte aux fraises. I was craving one. I didn’t get my usual ice cream this time. If you ever go to Epcot make sure you stop by the French Ice Cream Shop. It is seriously the best ice cream in town.
We then went to Germany were Kevin tried the Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll. It was apparently really good. He paired it with the Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner Beer.
And he also had Red Hot Spicy Thai Curry Beef from the Thailand stand, unfortunately he was eating it before I could take a picture. Kevin said it was ok but was the least favorite out of all the things we tried.
There are so many more food options. I am sure I will be back again before the end of the festival since there is a lot I want to try out. The waffle in Belgium and the beef filet mignon in Canada are on top of my To Eat List.
Everyone should go to the Food and Wine Festival at least once in their lifetime. It is amazing! I love it and wait for it all year long. There are so many great food options, and it allows you to get out of your comfort zone by trying little portion of food from all over the world. Are you going to the food and wine festival this year? What are the foods you want to try?