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Epcot's Food & Wine Festival officially starts tomorrow

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Published: September 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts tomorrow, September 27. We'll welcome trip reports, including photos and food descriptions, from any Theme Park Insider readers attending this year's event. (Just post here if you're a registered member of the site, or email your report to themeparkinsider@gmail.com.)

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Disney's promoting some of this year's featured specialities with YouTube videos. The videos don't include specific ingredient measurements (ugh!), but perhaps they might inspire your kitchen creativity, even if you're not attending.

Australia: Grilled Lamb Chops (Yes, the Festival includes cuisine from nations not included in World Showcase)

Germany: Apple Strudel

Japan: Sushi California Roll

Mexico: Shrimp Tacos

Have you attended the Food & Wine Festival? Got some advice for first-timers? Please share your tips in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From Mitchell Botwin on September 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM
To a 1st timer I would say do your research and determine which countries interest you the most. To do all the countries takes multiple days. Don't use cash, put the money you will use to purchase food and beverage onto a gift card, it makes it fast and easy to get through the lines. Remember, you are there to enjoy yourself.
From Eric G on September 26, 2013 at 3:46 PM
How does using a gift card expedite the transaction more than cash? That makes no sense. Gift cards must be swiped and most often are processed like a credit card transaction which is frequently slower than cash. I understand why Disney pitches gift cards because there is no refund on the unused amount.

Personally, the Food & Wine Festival is way overrated if you're just going to nosh on food. It's very pricey for what you get. The demonstrations and seminars are the better parts, but access is limited. I've been several times since 1999 and I'm never in a hurry to go back for more.

Disney fans rave about it and their heads will be spinning after reading that statement. How dare anyone say anything bad about Epcot's Food & Wine!

From Daniel Etcheberry on September 26, 2013 at 5:57 PM
I have tried Australia's lamb chops, and they are delicious. Argentina is always my favorite; great beef, great empanada, and great red wine.
From chris cona on September 26, 2013 at 7:12 PM
A lot of fun you get to try a lot of different foods I would recommend Mexico and Australia.
From Anthony Murphy on September 27, 2013 at 5:12 AM
I will send over a trip report for sure!

Anyway, the Food and Wine Festival is one of my family's most favorite times at EPCOT. The park is already known for its selection of food and alcohol, this bumps it up to the nth degree! Not sure how many of you have visited Chicago, but it is very similar to the Taste of Chicago where there are stands to try different foods. Here are some of my tips:

Grab a map early! This will give you a menu of all the foods along with the schedule for the Culinary Demonstration

If you like Food Network, make sure to check out a couple Culinary Demonstrations. Disney usually brings out some pretty good chefs that you have seen on Food Network and the Cooking Channel. I would recommending trying to get tickets in the morning.

Take advantage of the FREE classes and demonstrations. While they fill fast, they are just as good as the paid events.

Share the food with others in your group. Share the taco, the sausage, the pretzel, etc. The whole point is to try all kinds of food and to discuss what you thought was good and bad.

If you can swing the money, do Party for the Senses. While it appears to have a pretty expensive fee, you defiantly make it up in food and (especially) drink. There are pours of wine that would regularly go for $20 a glass and above in restaurants. Plus, you get to speak with the guy who actually made it!

I will be put more later!

From Rob McCullough on September 27, 2013 at 7:19 AM
In the early days, samples were all even amounts, $1.00 - $3.00 and all seemed to include tax so there were no coins given in change.
Recently, and when they introduced the gift card scanners, they changed the prices so everything would wind up including coins in change. Thus the benefit of loading up a gift card. Nobody wants to manage a pocket full of coins, and it is a known fact that using plastic looses up people's willingness to spend.
From Mark Hollamon on September 27, 2013 at 7:43 AM
I agree with Eric G to an extent. I love Epcot and I love the F&WF, but over the years for me it has lost its organic feel because it has grown so large. When we first attended in 2000 you could walk right up to watch the Eat to the Beat band's show right as it was getting ready to start and get a seat. Now you see people lining up 2 hours or more before the show starts. Insane!

I also think the food has become a little "hit and miss" when it comes to effort and consistent value for the $. There are a few stops where you get really nice portions and some that seem kind of rudely skimpish for the price. The level of quality is not always the same as well.

That being said I will be attending a few times this year. It is easy when you are a resident because if the place is too crowded we just make one loop around the World Showcase and head out. Every once in awhile you can catch a day when attendance is fairly low (relatively speaking) and it is a big treat!

I would still recommend the event to family and friends. I just think it has some areas of opportunity.

From Nick Dakuginow on September 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Went yesterday, visited a few of the countries after walking around the entire World Showcase 2 1/2 times as booths were opening at random times after 11:30 am.

First, had the Lemongrass Chicken Curry with Coconut and Jasmine rice at Singapore. It was a bit spicy, which I like, but overall the taste wasn't great. Decent.

Had the Mongolian Beef on a steamed bun in China. The steamed bun is not what you'd expect, more like a pita, interesting. The beef wasn't great, the sauce was pretty good, and the steamed bun was a unique twist that tasted good.

Next, had a Belgian waffle with chocolate ganache and whipped cream in Belgium. Ugh, please do not get this, waste of $3+, hard, super crunchy, and super small.

And finished up with the Florida Local (I know, lol), beef slider, basically a mini cheeseburger which hit the spot.

I really wanted to try the Roast Bratwurst on a pretzel roll in Germany, closed all 3 times walking that way. Also, really wanted to try my first cheddar cheese soup from Canada, this was also closed all 3 times.

Yesterday, I did DHS, Epcot, MK, and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal, 13 hour ultimate theme park day from 8:45 am to 9:45 pm, and Food and Wine was the highlight of the day.

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