Finally it’s Food and Wine Festival season! With September coming to a close, the International Food and Wine Festival has just started up in Epcot. This year the festival is celebrating 20 years of food, wine, beverages, and culture. The Food and Wine Festival started its 2015 celebration on September 25th and will run until November 16th.
Experiencing the food at the Food and Wine Festival was my favorite part. Sampling flavors from around the world at each Global Marketplace is a great way to discover new dishes that you may have never tried before. These Global Marketplaces are pint sized food stands, but offer amazingly delicious food.
The biggest lapse that occurred at the festival happened at approximately 12:45 p.m. when the Dominican Republic Global Marketplace ran out of food. The cast member had the simple explanation of “We are currently out of food, but we are making more.” I understand that this is a popular event, but after waiting in a 10 minute line just to find out that they ran out of all the food, not just one particular dish, is inexcusable. Fortunately when we did return to the Dominican Republic Marketplace later that day the food was back, and delicious.
Overall I had many great dishes, including a Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney, Le Cellier’s wild mushroom beef filet mignon, and a New England Lobster Roll. That being said, my favorite overall dish was located in the Brazil Global Marketplace, which was the crispy pork belly with black beans. This crispy pork belly will melt in your mouth and leave you wanting you to go back for one more.
Each dish was amazing and I think the food itself was my personal highlight of the festival. And it wasn’t just me, throughout the day I rarely heard anyone complain about any of the food. It proved to me that the Food and Wine Festival is a great event even if you don’t drink alcohol.
Wine and alcoholic beverages are the highlight for many guests who come to the Food and Wine festival. With a variety of choices at many of the Global Marketplaces there are options for everyone, over the age of 21 of course. There’s even the Wine Shop located in the Festival Center, which featured full bottles of wine that are sent back to your Disney hotel room.
While I am not a big wine drinker, I did have the opportunity to experience a few of the beers. The cups were small for the festival, but I actually enjoyed being able to sample and taste more without the repercussions of drinking too much alcohol. My favorite choice for beer was the Norbertus Special Hefeweizen located at the Brewer’s Collection.
This is how Epcot should always feel. The Global Marketplaces add an element that Epcot needs year round. With the addition of the Global Marketplaces the World Showcase felt alive. Enjoying the cuisine from countries that Epcot typically doesn’t have made the experience feel special. It seemed like the park had special entertainment going on everywhere. For example, the Cranberry Bog, a miniature cranberry bog located in between Future World and World Showcase, seemed a favorite among many of the guests who surrounded it, and that was just a small feature.
The Eat to the Beat Concert Series kicked off with David Cook on its first night, and will continue this year with bands and singers like Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Boyz II Men, and many more. While I missed David Cook’s performance, this concert series can be a great way to see a free concert, with park admission.
Additional experiences like food demonstrations, and videos on how the festival is pulled together were being shown the Festival Center.
The biggest downside to the event happened to be the weather. I experienced the first day of the event on September 25th when the park was extremely hot. The heat and humidity felt like mid-July, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the festival. If you plan on taking a trip to Walt Disney World for the Food and Wine Festival I do suggest that you plan for a trip closer to the end of the festival than the beginning simply because most of the festival is an outdoor event with very little air-conditioned experiences.