Eating Around the World at the 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Hey all! Today I want to take a break from writing about my recent trip to Paris and Rome, and share a peek of what I’ve been up to since returning stateside. Blog-wise, it looks like I’ll be in Europe through the end of the year, and I’m in no hurry to stop writing about my favorite place in the world!
That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped adventuring around my adopted hometown of Orlando, however! September was a very busy, very exciting month, both in my blogging and in my personal life. It started off with the wedding of a good friend, quickly followed by Dan’s birthday weekend, and finally a visit from my younger brother Jared. September also marked the beginning of two of my favorite seasonal theme park events: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World! Because these events have a limited run, I wanted to jump right in and share them while they are still going strong. First up is the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!
If you’ve never heard of the festival, check out my post on the 2015 Food and Wine Fest. In that post, I cover the when and where of the festival, share some mouthwatering food pics, and offer some advice for seasoned and first-time festival-goers alike.
This is my tenth year attending the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival (what!?) and it’s an event I never tire of. Simply put, it’s a collection of themed booths scattered around Epcot’s World Showcase, each serving up a selection of food and wine that best represents the unique styles of various countries. In one afternoon, you can sample roasted duck from China, escargots from France, spanakopita from Greece, and so much more!
In addition to booths representing 22 countries, this year’s festival features specialty booths dedicated to wine and cheese, chocolate, local beers, champagne and desserts, and the flavors of Florida. There are even a couple of booths hosted by the television show The Chew! In total, there are 30 festival booths. (For those counting their festival stamps in confusion, I do not include stops at Refreshment Ports, Joffrey’s coffee stands, etc. They may have food and wine options, but I hardly think grapes and Mickey pretzels qualify as international food offerings.) Many of the food and drink offerings remain consistent throughout the years, while new booths and food options encourage visitors to return year after year.
I’ve been to this year’s Food and Wine Fest four times since it opened a little over two weeks ago, and I’ve had the chance to sample items from half the booths so far. I make it a goal to visit each booth at least once, and I’ll be updating this post as I add stamps to my festival passport.
Of course, a trip around the world can get very expensive. These sample menus, seen around World Showcase, are a good indicator of what you can expect to pay for all these tasty little morsels.
My number one money saving tip here is simply to skip the drinks, which can cost upward of $10 per (sample-sized!) glass. Another good way to control festival spending is to load up a Disney gift card, available at most gift stores around the resort, and stick to the amount on that card. Of course, one of the perks of being a Walt Disney World passholder is that I can visit the festival as often as I like, and spread my spending over several trips. Money-saving tip number three is to split dishes with your friends! Between Dan and I, we usually manage to try most of the more expensive cocktails at least once, something I would not attempt on my own.
With that said, let’s quit talking and take a peek at some of this year’s festival dishes! Remember to check back for more photos as the event progresses, and comment below with your favorite festival dish!
And while you might not guess it from the name, there’s more to the Food and Wine Festival than…well, food and wine. There are concerts, drink seminars, cooking classes, meet and greets, and even entire wine bottles for sale. Not to mention, all the everyday attractions of Epcot remain open, such as the newly revamped Soarin. I recommend a ride on Living With the Land for a firsthand look at where a lot of the Festival food is grown. I won’t talk too much on those topics here, but if you are curious about all the extra features of the annual International Food & Wine Festival, make sure to check out my 2015 Festival Roundup!
Additional photos will be posted below as I make my way around the world, so make sure to check back often for more! This year’s festival runs through November 14, 2016, so there’s still plenty of time to get out there and taste the world for yourself. I’ll see you there!