LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Walt Disney World guests can immerse themselves in cultural experiences from around the globe or sip to learn at a wine seminar. They can expand their culinary repertoire at one of many cooking demonstrations or drop by the Specialty Beer Garden. The opportunities are many when Future World and World Showcase overflow with first-rate food, wine and beer experiences during the six-week-long Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Sept. 30 through Nov. 13.
Each year, the festival features at least 20 international tasting marketplaces and a lineup of winemakers and guest chefs, elegant dinners, wine schools, tastings and pairings.
In recent years, the festival around World Showcase Lagoon has grown dramatically, attracting a diverse audience of more than one million each year -- from wine connoisseurs and epicures to droves of wine neophytes eager to boost their wine IQs. In addition, the fest's nightly Eat to the Beat! concert series will feature an even more varied lineup this year, including classic rock, oldies and country performers.
"The festival is our opportunity to showcase not only all the culinary and wine-related talent at Walt Disney World Resort, but also to introduce great celebrity chefs and wine connoisseurs in the industry," said Nora Carey, festival manager. "We strive to provide various levels of experiences that reflect the diverse interests of our guests, from simple marketplace tastings and seminars to extravagant dinners."
More than 100 wineries offer tastings, and guests can sample the marketplace cuisine in tasting portions ranging from $1 to $4.50. Other highlights include:
- The Festival Welcome Center, with a Champagne and Sparkling Wine Bar, commemorative posters and other festival keepsakes.
- Some 250 Disney chefs and guest chefs conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting elegant dinners and tasting events (past guest chefs have included Allen Susser, Dominique Macquet, John Ash, Diego Lozano, Michael Ginor and many others).
- Up to 1,200 wine and beer seminars providing complimentary samplings.
- Elegant dinners, the weekly Party for the Senses grand tasting and other by-reservation-only events.
- Along with the music, dance, acrobatics and avant-garde entertainment showcased at Epcot pavilions, festival guests can enjoy Eat to the Beat! concerts performed three times each evening at America Gardens Theatre.
- Entrance to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, plus wine and beer seminars and cooking demonstrations, is included with regular Epcot admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) for information or reservations for special events and programs. By summer, festival details will be posted on the Web site: disneyworld.com.