The tadpoles are back in school, and we're leaping right into the fall season. It's one of my favorite times of the year ... and for good reason, because it's also the start of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!
This event has been taking people’s taste buds all over the world since 1995. This year, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is taking place for 87 days from Aug. 29 to Nov. 23, 2019. That’s the longest run in this festival’s history! (It also just so hoppened to fall on the same day as Star Wars: Galaxy Edge’s opening day ... it was a busy day for us frogs!) Our festival guide is chock-full of information to get you ready for the event. Find out what's new this year, and read all about our froggy favorite tips to have a ribbeting good time. Let's hop to it!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 Dates & Overview
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, 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 Food and Wine 2019 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 around the world.
Brand-new marketplaces for 2019 include the Appleseed Orchard Marketplace and the Alps Marketplace. Other new additions, The Donut Box and Cool Wash, will debut a little bit later on Oct. 1, 2019.
The Appleseed Orchard Marketplace features apple-inspired beers, ciders and wine, along with a Charcuterie and Cheese plate and a kid-friendly frozen apple pie drink. It's actually divided into two bars — a Cider Bar and a Wine Bar — and is located indoors (yes, with AC!) next to Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada. It's a perfect place to cool off when you're in need of a break.
The Alps Marketplace is serving up tasty dishes such as Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and a Baguette and Venison Stew with Crushed Potatoes. There is a wine flight available, as well.
Here's the official list for the 2019 festival:
- Active Eats
- The Alps - NEW
- Appleseed Orchard - NEW
- Brewer's Collection
- The Cheese Studio
- The Chocolate Studio
- Coastal Eats
- Cool Wash — opens Oct. 1
- The Donut Box — opens Oct. 1
- Earth Eats
- Flavors from Fire
- Hops & Barley
- Islands of the Caribbean
- Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar
- The Wine & Dine Studio
New this year, families can enjoy Emile's Fromage Montage to sample a variety of cheese dishes. 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
Be sure to collect a stamp in your Festival Passport for each cheese dish. (If you froget like I did, just show your receipt to the cashier ... they were happy to give me a stamp!) You can try all five dishes or return to the same location multiple times if you have a favorite. Once you have all five stamps, bring your passport to Simmering Sips for a complimentary specialty cheesecake. You don't have to get all five in one day. It's toadally fine if you 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 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 (non-alcoholic drink) at Appleseed Orchard - Cider Bar
- Angry Orchard Rose Hard Cider at Hops & Barley (The American Adventure)
It was a great start to the festival, and we can't wait to go back and try out some more yummy foods and drinks during future visits. We'll update here to dish on which items seem to be the most popular this year!
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! (This year, Chef Remy is 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. (Putting a finite amount on the gift card will also help you budget.)
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 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. Find out more about the 2019 festival's special demonstrations below:
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 allow you to get a hands-on lesson from kitchen experts. Your senses will be enlightened as you learn 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 to find out which seminar is right for you!
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 allows 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. Start off with a sparkling wine toast before indulging in a spread of delicious dishes as you listen 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 will take place on select Sundays through Nov. 17 at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. Epcot admission is required in addition to the cost of the brunch, which is $139 per guest. 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! During each 90-minute seminar at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion, a notable cheese expert (how can I become one?!) will explain the aromas, textures and flavors of popular cheeses around the world. Guests will be able to sample the cheese selections with complementary wine or craft beer selections.
- 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 will share their kitchen knowledge, and you'll be able to sample anything they whip up. For a full list of presentations, these are the official 2019 event calendars for the culinary demonstrations and the beverage seminars.
NEW Tailgate Tasting hosted by ESPN's Monday Night Football
During this brand-new event, football fans can celebrate their love for the sport with tailgate tasters. The 45-minute program, available select Sundays starting September 8 through November 17, will pair grub and a beverage tasting inspired by the cities of pro teams playing each Monday night. You'll learn how to prepare these dishes so you can cook them for your own tailgate party.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 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.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 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. 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 has returned for this year. Attendees will be able to learn how to roll their own sweet sushi treats with a Disney Chef at The Land pavilion, 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 is expanding to all seven days a week for the 2019 festival. From Sundays through Thursdays, a live DJ will spin some tunes, while on Fridays and Saturdays, stars from Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country artists will perform live! Over the opening weekend, Meg Donnelly from the Disney Channel original movie "Zombies" will be the first special star appearance. Check out all of the 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 Food and Wine Festival 2019 Eat to the Beat Concert Series
On every evening of the festival, a classic American band or artist takes the stage at the America Gardens Theater. This year, the concert series will end several days earlier than the festival, running from August 29 through November 19, in order to prepare for the Candlelight Processional, part of Epcot International Festival of Holidays. The lineup will feature a large variety of pop, rock, R&B, country, Christian, swing and Latin artists. See the full schedule below!
We've never felt the need to grab spots too early for these concerts. Even though people do stake out spots about 45 minutes before, we saw people snag good seats within 10 minutes of the start of the show. However, crowds may depend on the musical guest's popularity. We typically recommend getting there 20-30 minutes ahead of time and attending the earliest show.
Full Eat to the Beat 2019 Lineup
- August 29 to 31: Plain White T’s
- September 1 to 2: NEW! Sawyer Brown
- September 3 to 4: MercyMe
- September 5 to 6: NEW! Grace Kelly
- September 7 to 8: NEW! Zach Williams
- September 9 to 10: NEW! Lauren Daigle
- September 11 to 12: NEW! Jimmie Allen
- September 13 to 15: Tiffany
- September 16 to 17: Smash Mouth
- September 18 to 19: Everclear
- September 20 to 22: STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
- September 23 to 24: Post Modern Jukebox
- September 25 to 26: Blue October
- September 27 to 29: Mark Wills
- September 30 to October 2: Sugar Ray
- October 3 to 4: Taylor Dayne
- October 5 to 6: NEW! India
- October 7 to 9: 98°
- October 10 to 11: NEW! Boyce Avenue
- October 12 to 13: NEW! Southern Avenue
- October 14 to 15: Kenny G
- October 16 to 17: 38 Special
- October 18 to 20: Baha Men
- October 21 to 22: Billy Ocean
- October 23 to 25: Sheila E
- October 26 to 27: High Valley
- October 28 to 30: Hanson
- October 31 to November 1: Sheena Easton
- November 2 to 3: NEW! Kris Allen
- November 4 to 6: Boyz II Men
- November 7 to 8: The Hooters
- November 9 to 11: Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy
- November 12 to 14: NEW! Joey Fatone and Friends, featuring Chris Kirkpatrick and Ryan Cabrera
- November 15 to 16: NEW! BBMak
- November 17 to 18: NEW! Spanish Harlem Orchestra
- November 19: NEW! D’Capella
Eat to the Beat Dining Package
If you're a die-hard fan and can't miss your favorite band, check out the dining packages at some of our favorite Epcot restaurants for guaranteed seating. While we're usually huge fans of the convenient dining packages, this isn't our favorite option for Epcot Food and Wine Festival since we're too busy stuffing our faces with the quick bites at limited edition booths.
These are the restaurants available for dining packages in 2019:
- Biergarten Restaurant
- Chefs de France
- Coral Reef Restaurant
- Garden Grill Restaurant
- La Hacienda de San Angel (dinner only)
- Nine Dragons Restaurant
- Restaurant Marrakesh
- Rose & Crown Dining Room
- San Angel Inn Restaurante
- Spice Road Table
- Teppan Edo
- Tokyo Dining
- Tutto Italia Ristorante
- Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Epcot Food and Wine 2019 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, as well.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 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 pack 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. One of them features Remy on top of pink layered cake, and another has 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, look for 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 new marketplace, The Alps, is a great starting point. Plus, the tadpoles will love 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 like 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 2019! Do you have any questions about this year's event? Share in comments below!