The 17th anniversary of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is promising paradise found, with tastes of Hawaii and the Caribbean new to the menu.
Each year, the festival features marketplaces with ethnic cuisine samplings from the top "foodie" cities of the world. More than 25 international marketplaces from Hawaii to Belgium will offer tasty treats. If you can't decide, perhaps these 5 "must see" food booths picked by About.com's Disney World former contributing writer, Samantha McNesby will inspire you.
The 46-day festival, featured in our "Wine Lovers Guide to Disney World," also features wine and beer tasting seminars, a lineup of winemakers from around the globe and an impressive list of guest chefs, elegant dinners, grand tastings and pairings.
- More than 300 national and international wines
- More than 76 kinds of international foods
- 160 of America's most celebrated chefs and Walt Disney World chefs
- More than 300 wine and beer seminars
- More than 1,200 fireworks exploding each night over World Showcase Lagoon in "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" grand finale
- 138 Eat to the Beat! concerts
- 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne
- 1.5 million samplings throughout the festival
- 300,000 wine servings
- 100,000 desserts served... sweet!
- Celebrity chef appearances.
- The Festival Welcome Center will again host daily wine seminars, bottle signings, author events and culinary demonstrations.
- Eat to the Beat! concerts will again entertain guests three times nightly at America Gardens Theatre.
World Showcase will be the backdrop for performers from many countries as they sing, dance, perform arobatics and comedy for the festivities. A sampling of entertainment includes:
- High-energy Celtic music of Off Kilter (Canada)
- The Arabic rhythms of Mo'Rockin (Morocco)
- Perfect harmony of Voices of Liberty (American Adventure rotunda)
- Infectious beat of internationally acclaimed Mariachi Cobre (Mexico)
- Retro British hits by British Revolution (United Kingdom)
- Jaw-dropping stunts by The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats (China)
- Hilarious antics of World Showcase Players (United Kingdom)
Along with the entertainment showcased at Epcot pavilions and special exhibits, festival guests can enjoy Eat to the Beat! concerts performed each evening at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase. The evening concerts are scheduled daily at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. and are included with regular Epcot admission. The 2012 lineup includes:
- Night Ranger - September 28-30
- Sugar Ray - October 1-3
- STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas - October 4-7
- Boyz II Men - October 8-10
- Smash Mouth - October 11-12
- Javier Colon, winner of "The Voice" - October 13-14
- Air Supply - October 15-17
- Gin Blossoms - October 18-19
- Survivor - October 20-21
- Hanson - October 22-23
- The Pointer Sisters - October 24-25
- Sister Hazel - October 26-28
- Billy Ocean - October 29-31
- .38 Special - November 1-2
- Howard Jones LIVE - November 3-4
- Blues Travelers - November 5-6
- Dennis DeYoung, Original member of the group STYX - November 7-8
- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - November 9-12
And, of course, the laser and musical fireworks finale, "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth," will cap each festival evening.
Entrance to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, plus select wine and beer seminars, cooking demonstrations, culinary exhibits and all attractions are included with regular Epcot admission. In addition, each guest will receive a complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport to be stamped at each international marketplace visited for the perfect scrapbook souvenir.
The weekly Party for the Senses grand tasting, Food and Wine Pairings at select Epcot restaurants, Signature Dining, Epcot Wine Schools, Sweet Sundays and other specialty events require reservations and separate event admission. Tapa-sized portions of regional specialties run $3 to $8 each.
Additional festival details are available at www.DisneyWorld.com/foodandwine. Guests can call 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378) for information or make reservations for special events and programs. Guests planning to attend the concerts should keep in mind that while there is no additional charge for the concerts beyond Epcot admission, but seating at the theater is limited.