It’s no secret that we LOVE the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival — so much that we’re already hungry for details about the 2019 event! The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has been been taking people’s taste buds all over the world since 1995, and we can’t wait for this year’s journey. Disney World just announced that Food and Wine Festival 2019 will take place for 87 days from August 29 to November 23. That’s the longest run in this festival’s history! (Did you notice the first day is the same as Star Wars: Galaxy Edge’s opening day?!) We’re already starting to imagine the tastes and smells around World Showcase.
While we all wait for more details about food booths, celebrity chef appearances and special demonstrations, check out our festival guide, which is chock-full of information about the event. Its got everything you need to know and what to expect, so that you can get a head start on planning! And of course, you can always check back later, as we’ll be updating the guide as soon as we get our hands on more info. Let's hop to it!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 Dates & Overview
One of Epcot's most popular events, this daily festival will run a whopping 87 days from August 29 through November 23, 2019. The good news is you'll be able to experience the bulk of the 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 2018 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. Here is the list of global marketplaces from 2018's festival to give you an idea of how expansive the options are:
- Active Eats
- The Almond Orchard
- Brewer's Collection
- The Cheese Studio
- The Chocolate Studio
- Coastal Eats
- Craft Drafts
- Earth Eats
- The Festival Center Wine Shop
- Flavors from Fire
- Hops & Barley
- Islands of the Caribbean
- Light Lab
- New Zealand
- Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar
- Wine & Dine Studio
Once Disney releases the Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 menus, we’ll post them here!
We were so hoppy that many of our favorite locations returned in 2018, and we're hopful we'll see them in 2019, too. Some of the highlighted 2018 items included more gourmet options, such as:
- New Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast Style” with Horseradish Cream, Crispy Fried Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side at Hops & Barley Marketplace)
- Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak, smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro at Flavors from Fire)
- Vegetarian Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese, and Pumpkin Seeds at The Wine & Dine Studio
If you're curious what some of my faves were ... I LOVED the Key Lime Mimosa from Shimmering Sips. (The menu was everything I dreamed of and MORE. So many options!) Spain's Charcuterie Cone was seriously my dream snack, and don't get me started on the Guinness Baileys Shake in Ireland ... SO GOOD.
An absolute TADPOLE HIGHLIGHT is the Light Lab in Future World. Indoors (in the AC, might I add) is an ultraviolet room filled with colorful science experiments! Little ones can learn how their taste buds work through interactive beverages. It was brand-new in 2017 and returned in 2018, so we hope to see it again 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. These mini-sized gift cards include a wearable plastic band so that you can swipe and go! 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 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!
Don't you want to be as happy as the guy in the photo above? YES, YOU DO. The festival allows your inner chef or aspiring sommelier 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 are an additional fee. Here are some 2018 highlights that we expect to return in 2019:
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 fromcocktail creations to sushi-rolling. We'll update this post with the official event calendar to get the deets on featured appearances and presentations so that you find out which seminar is right for you once it becomes available for 2019!
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 when it's released for 2019 for more details, but 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.
We expect that Sunday Brunch with the Chef will take place on select Sundays throughout the duration of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion. Epcot admission is required in addition to the cost of the brunch (which was $129 per guest in 2018). We can't wait to find out the lineup of celebrity chefs for 2019! You can check out the dates and corresponding guests of honor from 2018's festival below:
- Richard Blais (Top Chef; owner of Trail Blais culinary company in California)
- Jamie Deen (co-owner of The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, Georgia)
- Tiffani Thiessen (actress and author of Pull Up a Chair)
- Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto (Chef/owner of Morimoto Restaurants, including Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs)
- Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss; owner of Carlo’s Bake Shop in New Jersey)
- Art Smith (Top Chef; restaurateur behind Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs )
- Geoffrey Zakarian (Iron Chef, Chopped and The Kitchen; restaurateur behind Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Florida)
- Carla Hall (chef and author)
- Alex Guarnaschelli (Iron Chef and Iron Chef Gauntlet; Executive Chef at Butter in New York City)
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 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-November 19, in order to prepare for the Candlelight Processional, part of Epcot International Festival of Holidays. An entire schedule has yet to be released, but the lineup will feature a large variety of pop, rock, R&B, country, Christian, swing and Latin artists.
We've never felt the need to stake out spots too early for these concerts, and typically recommend getting there 20-30 minutes ahead of time and attending the earliest show.
Listed below are the dates and the performers for the 2018 slate, with first-time Epcot Food and Wine Festival performers noted. Many performers return year after year.
Full Eat to the Beat 2018 Lineup
- August 30 to 31: Blue October
- September 1 to 3: Tiffany
- September 4 to 5: NEW! MercyMe
- September 6 to 7: NEW! Glass Tiger
- September 8 to 9: NEW! Tauren Wells
- September 10 to 11: Postmodern Jukebox
- September 12 to 13: NEW! Vertical Horizon
- September 14 to 16: Baha Men
- September 17 to 19: Plain White T’s
- September 20 to 21: Living Colour
- September 22 to 23: NEW! Sheila E
- September 24 to 26: Sugar Ray
- September 27 to 28: David Cook
- September 29 to 30: Jeffrey Osborne
- October 1 to 2: NEW! Jim Belushi & The Sacred Hearts
- October 3 to 4: Everclear
- October 5 to 7: Mark Wills
- October 8 to 10: Air Supply
- October 11 to 12: NEW! Anderson East
- October 13 to 14: Smash Mouth
- October 15 to 16: NEW! 98 Degrees
- October 17 to 18: 38 Special
- October 19 to 21: The Devon Allman Project
- October 22 to 23: Kenny G
- October 24 to 25: Billy Ocean
- October 26 to 28: Starship featuring Mickey Thomas
- October 29 to 31: Hanson
- November 1 to 2: NEW! High Valley
- November 3 to 4: Taylor Dayne
- November 5 to 7: Boyz II Men
- November 8 to 9: The Hooters
- November 10 to 12: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
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 were the restaurants available for dining packages in 2018:
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Biergarten Restaurant
- Chefs de France
- Coral Reef Restaurant
- The Garden Grill Restaurant
- La Hacienda de San Angel (dinner only)
- Nine Dragons
- Restaurant Marrakesh
- Rose & Crown Pub & 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. These wine cork ears from last year's festival are PERFECT, and Disney just keeps hitting home runs with cool spirit jerseys.
Visit the Festival Center (to the left of Mission Space) 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 FutureWorld and World Showcase, as well.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2019 Tips
With so many visitors to Epcot during the festival, especially in the 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 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 Passport to note the dishes you're most interested in sampling. Be sure to check out 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. Visit the Festival Center
While a majority of the Food and Wine Festival technically takes place in fall, Florida weather tends to stay on the hot and humid side later into the year. If you're looking to cool off, we highly recommend taking a stroll through the Festival Center.
Aside from being a great place to enjoy some AC, the Festival Center is also home to the many food and beverage seminars. There is also a wine-centric film showing on a loop that you can sit down and enjoy. Grab a bite at a couple of the food stations inside, including one dedicated to Ghirardelli chocolate. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Not to mention, the Festival Center is a hub for all of the special edition merchandise available during the festival — Mickey-themed kitchen art, cookbooks, apparel and more. While you can find much of this merchandise in smaller booths around World Showcase, this is the best place to scout out all items in one spot.
5. 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 and shirts.
6. 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 happy folks 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!
7. 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.
8. Keep an eye out for photo-ops
Cute photo with a short wait? Count us in. Last year, on the way to World Gateway (the path to the Boardwalk between the United Kingdom and France), you could find an adorbs Epcot Food and Wine 2018 display perfect for a family pic. Don't worry ... you'll likely find a PhotoPass photog (or a nice frog) nearby the festival's prominent displays!
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. ... And let them eat!
Sure, first impressions of Epcot Food and Wine Festival cuisine may come off quite exquisite and not exactly kid-friendly. But, have no fear! The festival does a great job of combining traditional favorites with something new and exciting. What better way to get your tadpoles to experiment with veggies than with interesting Disney dishes? (FYI, this Loaded Mac 'N' Cheese is still one of our fave dishes from both 2017 and 2018.)
12. 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.
13. 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! 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.
14. 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!
15. Hop 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.
16. 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!