From Europe, to Australia, to Scandinavia, to Asia and Mexico, you can taste your way through six continents at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.
Here are my are my top tips for getting the most out of your EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival experience.
1 - WHAT TO BRING
Dress comfortably. It may be the fall season, but here in Florida the temperatures still may feel like summer. Since you'll be walking around the World Showcase, I recommend wearing sneakers and light clothing. Also, bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. In addition, you may want to carry a canvas bag or backpack for any recipes, giveaways or gift items you may pick up at the festival.
2 - WHERE TO START
Start your tour of 'A World Of Flavors' at the welcome center near the entrance of the park. Located between The Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE, you'll find a large golden dome. That's the Festival Welcome Center. Here you'll discover all kinds of helpful brochures and maps to help navigate your culinary adventure. In addition, if you plan on attending any cooking demonstrations or wine and beverage seminars, this is where they will be held.
3 - PICK UP A PASSPORT
At the Festival Welcome Center, pick up a free 'Discovery Passport' with a list of countries represented as well as their menu. Use this to track your delicious destinations, food pairings and notes. Plus it's a fun little souvenir! Now, there is no humanly possible way you could taste/experience it all in just one day, so go through and pick your favorites to start with first. My recommendation is to share with friends and just have one bite from each kiosk around the International Marketplace.
4 - PLAN YOUR ROUTE
In addition to the Discovery Passport, grab a festival brochure where you'll find a schedule of events and map of the International Marketplace. Check the show times for culinary demonstrations, wine and beverage seminars and the Eat To The Beat concert series. Some of these are for a nominal extra fee, but you'll typically get to meet celebrity chefs and have a little take away souvenir and recipe.
5 - PURCHASE A WRISTBAND
Because each of the tapas-style portions ranges from $3 to $8, an easy way to track your spending is to purchase a Disney Gift Card to swipe at each kiosk. That way, you can load it with the amount you want to spend and will more easily know when you've reached the end of your budget. EPCOT has made this even more convenient and fun with a festival themed gift card wrist band. (See the photo below.)
6 - EAT TO THE BEAT
The Eat To The Beat concert series is included with admission to EPCOT and there are 18 pop music icons performing throughout the month. Typically, show times are around 5:15, 7:30 and 7:45 pm. Performances are held at the American Garden Theatre which is directly across the lagoon. Plan your dining around the world to arrive at the theatre with enough time to grab a good seat.
7 - STAY FOR THE FIREWORKS
EPCOT's fireworks and light show, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, is spectacular. Plan to finish your evening at the festival around the lagoon to witness this amazing pyrotechnic performance. It's the perfect ending to a perfect day!
8 - SLEEP ON SITE
Did you know there was a 'secret' back entrance to EPCOT? Yes, you can skip the parking lots and long lines and just walk right in at the Paris Pavillion. There's nothing better than waking up in the morning, getting dressed, and walking right out to the festival. And then, ending a day of wining and dining by walking right back up to your hotel room. Disney's Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts are the closet to EPCOTS 'secret' park entrance.
CALL: 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378)
WHEN: September 19 - November 10, 2014