Hoppy news! After a temporary closure due to COVID-19, EPCOT will reopen July 15. And guess what? This year's Food and Wine Festival will begin opening day, earlier than ever! A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, a modified version of EPCOT's most popular festival, will debut starting July 15, offering guests access to over 20 signature global food and drink marketplaces.
As one of our favorite events of the year, EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival combines our love for Disney, food and wine. Honestly, what could be better than hopping around World Showcase and sampling new foods and drinks? I can smell the delicious aromas already!
This event has been taking people’s taste buds all over the world since 1995. Our festival guide is chock-full of information and froggy favorite tips to get you ready for the event. Upon Disney World's reopening after its temporary closure due to COVID-19, "A Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival" will begin July 15 and continue through the fall as the longest running festival ever! This modified experience will be offering 20 global marketplaces, as well as some floral fun from the Flower & Garden Festival sprinkled in. Keep checking back as the details for 2020 simmer. In the meantime, let's hop to it!
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Dates & Overview
In 2020, the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival will begin July 15, 2020, and continue through the fall season as the longest festival yet! This modified festival experience will feature its signature global marketplaces, with some Flower & Garden Festival fun sprinkled in. The Eat to the Beat Concert Series will not take place due to a lack of physical distancing. However, there will still be musical acts and entertainment from local acts such as Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors. No details about the special demonstrations and seminars have been released yet.
One of the best parts about one of EPCOT's most popular events is that you can experience the bulk of the fall festival with your regular Disney World tickets. However, you will need to foot the bill for your eats and drinks, which can add up if you have a hearty appetite like us frogs. For the most part, kiosk food prices usually run between $4 and $9, with beverages varying from $3 to $10.
There is an additional charge for some of the talks, demonstrations and premium events. Reservations are strongly recommended for those experiences. There are plenty of free things to do, though, including book and bottle signings, meet-and-greets and more. You'll find more about that at the Festival Welcome Center, which also offers plenty of foodie merchandise and delicious wines!
Before you dive in to all of the delicious details, let us tempt your tastebuds with this video that showcases the sights and sounds of the 2019 festival. (Please refrain from licking the screen.)
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Global Marketplaces
The global marketplaces are the heart and soul of the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. True to World Showcase fashion, the food and drinks focus largely on interesting cuisines from around the world. Fear not! The portions are intentionally small so you can sip and savor your way around the world.
Details about the 2020 global marketplaces have yet to be released, but here are all of the global marketplaces that were available in 2019:
- Active Eats
- The Alps - NEW
- Appleseed Orchard - NEW
- Brewer's Collection
- The Cheese Studio
- The Chocolate Studio
- Coastal Eats
- Cool Wash — opened Oct. 1
- The Donut Box — opened Oct. 1
- Earth Eats
- Flavors from Fire
- Hops & Barley
- Islands of the Caribbean
- Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar
- The Wine & Dine Studio
New in 2019, families were able to sample a variety of cheese dishes that were part of Emile's Fromage Montage. You could purchase any five of the participating food items from the list below:
- Impossible Cottage Pie at Earth Eats
- Black Pepper Boursin Soufflé at The Cheese Studio
- Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese at The Alps
- Schinkennudeln at Germany
- Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) at Brazil
Tad and Lily collected a stamp in our Festival Passport for each cheese dish we had. (If you froget like we did, just show your receipt to the cashier ... they were happy to give us a stamp!) Once we had all five stamps, we brought our passport to Simmering Sips for a complimentary specialty cheesecake. We liked that we could try all five dishes or return to the same location multiple times (Lily loved the Brazilian cheese bread), and we didn't have to get all five in one day. It was toadally fine for us to come back for more over several days to avoid cheese fatigue and save some room for more goodies.
When we visited on the first day of the 2019 Food and Wine festival, we sampled:
- NEW - Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese at The Alps
- Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) at Brazil
- NEW - Frozen Apple Pie (nonalcoholic drink) at Appleseed Orchard - Cider Bar
- Angry Orchard Rose Hard Cider at Hops & Barley (The American Adventure)
All of these marketplaces take credit and debit cards, but we find it's easier to use our MagicBands if we're staying on-site. (You can currently save on your Disney World hotel room by booking with us!) We're also fans of purchasing an official festival gift card for the day, available at several merchandise locations around EPCOT. These mini-sized gift cards include a wearable plastic band so that you can swipe and go! (Last year, Chef Remy was featured posing with cheese and grapes — super cute!) Set your limit at the outset, and these gift cards keep you on a budget. They also make a fun souvenir and let you enjoy all of the food and drinks you want until reach the end.
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Talks, Demonstrations & More
The Food and Wine Festival allows your inner chef or aspiring sommelier to shine. You can fine-tune your kitchen skills at a number of cooking demonstrations: wine and beverage, mixology and cheese seminars, and food and wine pairings. Many of these events require reservations (which you can make by calling 407-939-3378), and some come at an additional fee.
Take a peek at 2019's special demonstrations below. We still don't know if these will be hoppening this year, but we will update if details are released!
Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!
I don't know about you, but I could always use a little how-to from kitchen experts to help expand my skills. These interactive experiences allowed you to get a hands-on lesson from kitchen experts. Your senses were enlightened as you learned anything from cocktail creations to sushi-rolling. Take a look at the official 2019 event calendar to get the deets on featured appearances and presentations!
Food & Beverage Pairings
Not ready to roll up your sleeves and cook, but still want to enjoy the yummy delights of a professional? Join a featured chef and beverage presenter to learn how to pair a match made in culinary heaven. This 45-minute demonstration allowed you to sample the dish and beverage in the spotlight! You can check out the official event calendar for more details. We're always excited for those featuring chefs from Disney World restaurants and resorts!
Sunday Brunch with the Chef
Breakfast buffet? Gourmet guest of honor? Say no more. This specialty brunch event started off with a sparkling wine toast before indulging in a spread of delicious dishes as you listened to the celebrity guest offer their favorite tips and tricks. (Enjoying all-you-can-eat food while learning how to better cook for future reference is just my style!)
Sunday Brunch with the Chef took place on select Sundays at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. EPCOT admission is required in addition to the cost of the brunch, which was $139 per guest in 2019. You can check out the dates and corresponding guests of honor for the 2019 festival below:
- September 1: Jamie Deen (co-owner of The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, Georgia)
- September 8: Carla Hall (Celebrity Chef & author of Carla Hall’s Soul Food)
- September 15: Fabio Viviani (Fabio Viviani Hospitality Group, Celebrity Chef & Restauranteur)
- September 22: Richard Blais (Chef & Entrepreneur)
- September 29: Robert Irvine (Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible)
- October 6: Buddy Valastro (Celebrity Chef)
- October 13: David Burtka (Celebrity Chef & author of Life is a Party)
- October 20: Andrew Zimmern (Chef, Writer & TV Personality)
- October 27: Cat Cora (Corlich Enterprises & Cat Cora, INC.)
- November 10: Graham Elliot (Coast restaurant at MGM Cotai in Macau)
- November 17: Aarti Sequeria (Cookbook Author & Food Network Personality)
If you're a cheese connoisseur, you'll definitely have to consider attending one of these seminars on select Saturdays if they return in 2020! During each 90-minute seminar at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion, a notable cheese expert (how can I become one?!) explained the aromas, textures and flavors of popular cheeses around the world. Guests could sample the cheese selections with complementary wine or craft beer selections. In 2019, cheese seminar dates and hosts included:
- September 14: New World Cheeses and Old World Wines hosted by Max McCalman
- September 28: Mediterranean Cheeses and Wines hosted by Tonda Corrente
- October 5: Great British Cheeses and Ales hosted by Max McCalman
- October 12: Italian Cheeses and Wines hosted by Erin Hedley
- October 19: French Cheeses and Wines hosted by Max McCalman
- October 26: The Great Cheeses and Wines of the Western United States hosted by Max McCalman
- November 9: Season's Best Cheeses and Wines hosted by Max McCalman
Beverage Seminars and Culinary Demonstrations
Want to sharpen your cooking skills or improve your winemaking or brewing expertise? In these 45-minute demonstrations, the experts shared their kitchen knowledge, and you were able to sample anything they whipped up. For a full list of presentations, these were the official 2019 event calendars for the culinary demonstrations and the beverage seminars.
NEW Tailgate Tasting hosted by ESPN's Monday Night Football
In 2019, this brand-new event had football fans can celebrating their love for the sport with tailgate tasters. The 45-minute program, available select Sundays, paired grub and a beverage tasting inspired by the cities of pro teams playing each Monday night. You could learn how to prepare these dishes so you could cook them for your own tailgate party!
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Premium Events
The festival typically holds premium events that offer guests the chance to explore even more fabulous cuisine. Can you tell your Asiago from your Roquefort? Fromage lovers will enjoy the Wine and Cheese Pairing Seminars. The annual Party for the Senses, held on select dates in October, is a grand tasting event featuring bites from chefs of the Disney Parks. We'll be sure to update with more information on premium events for 2020 as details are released!
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Kids' Activities
Even though "wine" takes up half of the festival's name, the tadpoles aren't left out! There are several family-friendly activities that any frog at any age can participate in.
Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt
Embark on a Ratatouille-inspired scavenger hunt around the park, which is returning in 2020. Be on the lookout for statuettes of Remy hidden throughout World Showcase. You can purchase the map and stickers from select merchandise locations, including Pin Central, Port of Entry or World Traveler at International Gateway.
This tadpole-friendly seminar debuted at the 2018 festival and returned for 2019 (so we hope to see it again in 2020). Attendees are able to learn how to roll their own sweet sushi treats with a Disney Chef at The Land pavilion at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. daily. It costs $10 per guest (of all ages). Reservations are not required, but you can book online or call 407-939-3378.
Disney du Jour Dance Party
The Disney du Jour Dance Party in Future World expanded to all seven days of the week for the 2019 festival. From Sundays through Thursdays, a live DJ spun some tunes, while on Fridays and Saturdays, stars from Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country artists performed live! Check out all of last year's appearances below:
- August 30 to 31: Meg Donnelly
- September 13 to 14: Jenna Raine
- September 27 to 28: Isabella Nicole
- October 4 to 5: Avenue Beat
- October 11 to 12: Sky Katz
- October 18 to 19: JAGMAC
- November 1 to 2: AJ Mitchell
- November 8 to 9: Kylie Cantrall
- November 15 to 16: Erin Bowman
- November 22 to 23: Tegan Marie
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Eat to the Beat Concert Series
The Eat to the Beat Concert Series will not take place in 2020, due to the lack of proper physical distancing. However, local musical acts such as Mariachi Cobre and JAMMitors will entertain guests with multiple performances throughout the day.
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Merchandise
Leap doesn't believe me, but I swear the festival merch gets cuter and cuter each year, and I just cannot resist. Disney just keeps hitting home runs with cool spirit jerseys, and I basically wanted to take home the entire Chef Minnie & Mickey collection.
Visit the Festival Center (located at the World ShowPlace Events pavilion in between the U.K. and Canada pavilions) for the widest selection in one place. You'll find ornaments, mugs, ears, apparel, kitchenware, art and so much more! You can also find festival merchandise throughout smaller kiosk locations in Future World and World Showcase. Some Flower & Garden Festival 2020 merchandise will also be available!
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020 Tips
With so many visitors to EPCOT during the festival, especially on evenings and weekends, it helps to have a few insider tips. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Make a plan before heading out.
If you take your food as seriously as I do, you'll want to identify a few must-try items in advance. It's a great way to whet your appetite, and it can help you budget. I make a list of the things I want to try and at which global marketplaces I can find them. It's not meant to be exhaustive because I want to leave a little room for discovery, but it helps me plan which foods (OK, desserts) I don't want to miss.
You can also do this when you get to the festival. Use your Food and Wine Festival Passport to note the dishes that you're most interested in sampling. Be sure to check out the times and musical guests for the Eat to the Beat concert series, calendar of demonstrations and chef appearances, as well. You never know who might be coming to town while you're visiting or what new skills you can learn at a cooking demo!
2. Have a budget and stick to it.
As we mentioned earlier, setting a spending limit at the outset is the best way not to go overboard. You can use cash, credit, debit, cards, MagicBands (if you're staying at a Disney World Resort hotel) and quick-service meal and snack credits (if you're using the Disney Dining Plan). We prefer the miniature-sized festival gift cards because they are convenient with their wrist strap, and also make nice souvenirs.
3. Don't limit yourself to World Showcase.
The concept of eating and drinking "around the world" has become so common that many people forget about the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival offerings outside of World Showcase. Some of our favorite items last year appeared in Future World.
Just beyond this area, a bit closer to World Showcase is where you'll find some of the more classic — and always amazing — booths such as the Chocolate and Cheese Studios and Wine & Dine. If I were limited to only visiting three booths at the entire festival, these would be it! The wine and cheese flight at Wine & Dine is a delectable deal, and we all know I can't pass up chocolate creations. These areas also have prime dining stops with plenty of tables for all of your snacks. And for the beer lover in your family, don't miss the Craft Beer pavilion right behind Test Track — a great place for yummy food and snacks, and to cool off!
4. Annual Passholders — get your goods!
There are usually quite a few passholder-exclusive merchandise items available only in the Festival Center, such as pins, tumblers, magnets and shirts.
5. Go with a group to maximize the adventure.
Another way to sample a little bit of everything is to go to the festival with a group. Even if it's just you and your bestie, a good time is guaranteed. Whether it's friends, family or even some hoppy frogs you met in the hotel lobby, everyone is bound to have different tastes. Each person gets the dishes he or she wants and then shares with the group!
6. Scout places to eat.
You don't want to dash and dine at the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. Don't underestimate the importance of having a place to enjoy all of the food you're about to consume. During crowded times (evenings and weekends), it can be tough to grab a place to set your food down to enjoy. Most of the dining areas are high-top tables with no chairs. However, there are hidden alleys and areas throughout EPCOT to take a break and sip on that specialty drink.
We recommend scouting out a place to sit BEFORE grabbing those handfuls of food. That way, you're not left scrambling for seating. Have one member of your frog squad hold down your spot (or even a standing table) while others grab food and drinks.
7. Keep an eye out for photo-ops.
Cute photo with a short wait? Count us in! You can find colorful festival displays as you transition from Future World to World Showcase. In 2019, one of them featured Remy on top of pink layered cake, and another had a grand Eiffel Tower made out of cheese. Don't worry ... you'll likely find a PhotoPass photog (or a nice frog) near these prominent displays!
8. Pace yourself.
It can be very tempting to dive into every dish (or drink) you see, but this is where your plan comes in to play. Use that handy passport to help pace yourself as you travel around World Showcase ... but remember it's also OK to try something that just looks too yummy to pass up.
9. Let the kids have fun.
EPCOT Food and Wine Festival isn't just for adults! One of the most fun things about the festival — especially for the tadpoles — is getting your festival passport stamped. Everyone can get a passport, but if you're doing the festival as a family, we think it's easiest if you only get one. Every time we visit a new marketplace booth, Lily and Tad take turns getting it stamped.
10. ... And let them eat!
Sure, first impressions of EPCOT Food and Wine Festival cuisine may come off quite exquisite and not exactly kid-friendly. Have no fear! The festival does a great job of combining traditional favorites with something new and exciting. In fact, if you look inside your Festival Passport, you'll find a special icon that designates a dish as kid-approved! What better way to get your tadpoles to experiment with veggies than with interesting Disney dishes? (FYI, this Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese dish from the The Alps in 2019 was a great starting point. Plus, the tadpoles loved watching the cheese being poured onto the dish!)
11. Avoid evenings and weekends if possible.
Floridians love the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, so crowds tend to swell during evenings and weekends. For shorter lines, visit during the week and plan on going for lunch rather than during dinner hours. If you're going on a weekend, head for the World Showcase during the day or later in the evening as guests start to claim spots to see fireworks. It's worth going late if you go during the weekend — EPCOT usually remains open until 10 p.m. on those festival weekend evenings.
12. Try new things you might not consider beforehand.
Small plates inspired by cuisines from all around the globe could introduce you to your new favorite food, such as these spicy hummus fries from Morocco! Don't be afraid to try that vegetable you've never heard of, the cheese with the funny name or interesting new drink. You might just like them! (If not, I'll be hoppy to finish it for you.)
13. Get dessert for a memorable finish.
The savory dishes are certainly delicious, but my sweet tooth always has me coming back for dessert. Disney has some of the best in the world! From classic pairings such as lemon and raspberry to unexpected combinations of strawberry and basil or innovative truffles chilled with liquid nitrogen, you're sure to have a sweet ending to your day at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival!
14. Jump on wearable EPCOT Food and Wine Festival gift cards.
Tasting lanyards are no longer available for Food and Wine Festival, so while no special deals are offered, your next best bet for convenience is getting this wearable festival gift card. This avoids the fuss of pulling out your wallet at each marketplace, and it's a good way to budget each member of the squad. Put an allotted amount on each to pace your spending. You can find these at the festival markets throughout the park, including Port of Entry.
15. Dress up and have fun.
Whether it's just you and your bestie or a whole army of frogs, you'll have more fun if you get in the wine and foodie spirit. Wear your team colors, custom trip T-shirts or matching wine glasses. It will be a blast!
There is a lot to digest (so to speak) as you decide what to experience at EPCOT Food and Wine Festival 2020! Do you have any questions about this year's event? Share in comments below!