There is nothing as heart-warming as a day at Disney World with the tadpoles. Every now and then, though, it's nice to get away from it all with my sweet Leap, just the two of us, and remind ourselves why we decided to share a lily pad for life!
There might be no better time and place to embrace your grand romance than the annual International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. Oh, I know what you're thinking, especially if you have experienced Food & Wine before: Aren't the crowds a little bit overwhelming sometimes? Wouldn't that put a damper on romance?
The answer is "yes" to the first question (depending on time of day and day of the week) and "not necessarily" to the second question.
Yes, Food & Wine in the fall and its sister festival, Flower & Garden in the spring, are very popular times to visit Epcot. On the weekends, when well-known Eat to the Beat musical acts are scheduled to perform at America Gardens Theatre, World Showcase can fill up faster than a puddle in a dirt road on a rainy day.
But let me tell you, there is something beautiful about getting lost together in a crowd. Nothing is as intimate as two people in love surrounded by strangers, and when you add delicious food and maybe a little bubbly to the mix—voila! Fireworks!
Speaking of fireworks ... one of the most gorgeous and inspiring shows at Disney World is IllumiNations, and you will most definitely want to find a cozy spot to watch it together—the perfect ending to a wonderful day of gorging and drinking and gazing into each other’s eyes. (And without the hassle of air travel to Europe, Africa or Asia!)
There’s lots to do before then, of course. So, let’s get started with the tips for romancing the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
About those crowds …
Among the many great features of Epcot are all the locations throughout World Showcase that offer shady solitude. No matter what country you’re in, no matter what scrumptious delicacy you choose to share or beverage you choose to sample, you’re never far from a quiet, intimate setting where the two of you can sit and enjoy your food and the moment.
Here are five of our favorites:
- Victoria Garden, Canada - Inspired by the fabulous Butchart Gardens in British Columbia, a stroll among the flowers here will set the mood!
- Courtyard and hedge maze, United Kingdom - There’s a reason they hold weddings in this secluded, fairytale setting!
- The courtyard and quiet French “street,” France - Between les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie and the entrance to the upscale restaurant Monsieur Paul, a recreated Paris street provides the sweet illusion of lounging at a quiet café. C’est manifique!
- Fez House, Morocco - Here, you’ll find an open courtyard surrounded by two stories of an authentic recreation of a Moroccan home. Rest in the shade and admire the mosaics, carvings and peaceful, easy feeling.
- Japanese Garden, Japan - Behind a five-story pavilion is an authentic Japanese garden, waterfall and koi pond, reminiscent of the many such gardens that dot Tokyo and represent the ideals of peace and communion with nature.
Insider tip: Speaking of Paris, here’s a way to melt a heart. With the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, look into your significant other’s eyes and say, softly, Je t'aime de tout mon coeur. (It means, “I love you with all of my heart.”)
It really is as if they planned the Food & Wine Festival just for romance. Champagne, decadent desserts, romantic settings ... memories everywhere you turn.
And isn’t that what romance is about? Making and sharing memories with someone you love? Epcot provides seemingly endless opportunities to find something to remember around every corner.
With 182 scheduled concerts scattered around the park—including the big-time weekend acts at the America pavilion—you can dance the day away between snacks.
If slow, quiet boat rides are your idea of a fun time together, hop aboard the ferry and cross the lagoon to Future World. Or, if that trip seems too fast, head out to Friendship Launch through the International Gateway (between France and the UK) and take the ferry ride around to the Epcot deluxe resort hotels.
Insider tip: Disembark from the ferry at the Boardwalk Resort and take a quiet stroll back to turn-of-the-20th-century Atlantic City.
If you do head out of the park, don’t stay gone long. There is just too much food to eat, too many wines to sample, too many romantic moments to savor!You’ll want to check out at least two unique Global Marketplaces that might not otherwise catch your eye—the Chocolate Studio (new for 2016) and the Desserts & Champagne marketplace. Grab a fork, share the decadence and float away to a dream afternoon on the bubbles of Dom Perignon and many other favorites!
If you need to let your food settle for a while, head back over to Future World and settle in for a relaxing trip back in time on Spaceship Earth. Or, if you want to complete the round-the-world experience, head to the Land and jump on board the new Soarin’ Around the World (Fastpass+ recommended!).
Oh, we almost forgot our top-secret formula for sure-fire romance: Hold hands everywhere you go and laugh a lot.
Now you’re all set for a romantic time at Food & Wine. Bon appetit, and may all your lily pads be heart-shaped!
We hope you've found your own inspiration for romancing the Epcot Food and Wine Festival! If you're bringing the tadpoles, take advantage of Disney's child care services or an-in room sitter.