Since we have Disney season passes this year, we knew that one of the things we wanted to experience was Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival in the fall. The fact that our one-year anniversary fell right in the middle of the festival was pretty convenient too! Disney World was our first real trip as a couple, and it was also where we got engaged years later, so it made perfect sense to spend our anniversary weekend with the mouse.
As soon as we entered Epcot, we were amazed by how different it looked from when we had visited in July! We kept saying to each other, “Do you remember this whole area even being here last time?” So many details had been added to reflect the festival themes, including several large sign displays, themed topiaries, and new food pavilions around the entrance and around each country.
Since it was our anniversary and all, we had gotten tickets to a special event in the Festival Center: a wine and cheese tasting. Though it was a little pricey (about $75 a person), it was such a neat experience that it was worth the money. Inside the Festival Center dome, many spaces were set up for various demonstrations, and there was a little area to sit and watch The Chew, which was being filmed from Epcot.
For our tasting, we each had a plate with four different cheeses and two glasses of wine (that were topped off occasionally by servers). As the sommelier and the cheese expert explained the details, we tasted the combinations, tallying our scores on a little score card and discussing them with our table. I liked all of the cheeses and both wines, though not always the pairings. I’d never spent so much time and thought on tasting cheese before, and we both enjoyed it a ton.
After our cheese and wine tasting (which was at 10am), we rode a few rides and then headed over to the international section of Epcot. Each country had at least one extra kiosk set up on the street, selling tastes of 3-4 signature dishes. Many countries had even more kiosks for specialties like coffee or desserts. The lines were very long, but they moved fast, and even though it was busy, we were always able to find a spot to sit and eat. Guests can pick up a little “passport” at any of the stands, and the passport lists the options from all of the countries. The vendors stamp it when you buy something there, too! For lunch, we each chose a country and shared the samples.
I chose France’s offering: Boeuf Bourguignon, a croissant with escargots, and creme brulee. All three were absolutely delicious. In fact, I was so into the food I forgot to take a photo until I was halfway through! We also caught a fun street performance with a juggling chef and a balancing waiter. I was pretty impressed when he balanced on a tower of chairs!
Jason chose the food from Japan, and we had a spicy hand roll, a teriyaki gyoza bun, and a tempura shrimp roll. They were kinda spicy so, we ended up getting a Japanese shave ice too. Near where we were eating, we caught another pop-up performance: some drummers in front of the pagoda.
The Epcot Food and Wine Festival was such a cool experience, and maybe one of my favorite Disney experiences of all time! It was much more of an “adult” crowd, with groups of people in matching drinking-themed t shirts and tons of drink choices at each country. There were so many new things to try, even though we’ve now been to Epcot several times in the past few years.
I wish we had more free weekends this fall to go back. Next year we will probably go more than once. My only real issue with the Food and Wine Festival? Not enough room in my stomach to try everything!