Everything You Need to Know about the 2019 Food & Wine Festival

We are less than two weeks away from the 25th edition of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. It’s the signature festival at Walt Disney World, but the hype isn’t as high this year for an odd reason. The event starts on the same date as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Yes, this fall is a wonderful time to spend your Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points. You can visit Star Wars Land and experience one of the most famous festivals in the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 Food & Wine Festival.

The Basics of The Food & Wine Festival

Unless you’re new to DVC, you’re familiar with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, whether you’ve attended an event or not. It rivals Aspen’s Food & Wine Festival as the most famous one in America and has been a Disney tradition since 1995.

The gist of it is precisely what the name implies. Epcot hosts a series of temporary food kiosks that serve various foods and wines. Saying it like that dulls the brilliance of the exhibition, though.

Food and Wine Festival Booth Champagne and Desserts

You will never eat better in your life than during the Food & Wine Festival. The cuisine available during this limited-time engagement surpasses anything else that you’ll find onsite, especially once you factor in prices. Most menu items cost less than $10. Better yet, guests participating in the Disney Dining Plan program can exchange snack credits for entrees.

This exhibition is one of the cost-friendliest things you’ll ever find at Walt Disney World. And it comes with a secondary benefit. You’ll get to expand your palate and discover flavors that are otherwise unavailable in Orlando. This aspect explains why the locals come out in full force for Food & Wine. It’s a foodie’s dream at a price that rivals anything in town.

Over the years, the festival has expanded. It was once reserved to the World Showcase. Disney’s since added a few spots in Future World as well, most memorably Taste Track near the Test Track attraction. That stand did so well that it’s become (mostly) permanent.

The 2019 version of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the longest one ever. It will run from August 29th through November 23rd. That’s 87 total days for the event, giving you almost three full months to experience it.

What Are the Booths for 2019’s Festival?

For the 2019 campaign, Food & Wine will present 35 different kiosks plus a few specialty spots like Hops & Barley, Intermission Café, and Refreshment Outpost. These places serve special treats for guests. In some instances, you’ll receive rewards for being annual passholders or card-carrying DVC members.

The official list of food booths for this year is:

  • Active Eats
  • Africa
  • Almond Orchard
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brewer’s Collection
  • Canada
  • Cheese Studio
  • China
  • Chocolate Studio
  • Coastal Eats
  • Craft Beers
  • Desserts & Champagne
  • Earth Eats
  • Farm Fresh
  • Flavors from Fire
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hawaii
  • Hops & Barley
  • India
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Islands of the Caribbean
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Light Lab
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Spain
  • Thailand
  • Wine

Our friends at Disney Tourist Blog have posted the menus for every food booth. You can plan several dining experiences by examining the various offerings. The one piece of advice I’ll offer is that you should consider where each booth is when you plot your meal. The World Showcase is 1.3 miles long, and most of the kiosks are still located in this area.

Wine taster and cheese platter at Epcot's International food and wine festival

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

You don’t want to pick up two things that are on opposite sides of World Showcase Lagoon. You’ll get exhausted during the walk. Plus, your food will get cold. Here’s a map of the World Showcase for those of you who don’t have all of the pavilions memorized.

Disney will publish a Food & Wine Festival map during the event. You should pick up a copy so that you can find the location of the kiosks that interest you. Also, My Disney Experience should have this information. When in doubt, remember that you can always ask a friendly cast member for directions, too.

The Returning Festival Favorites

Long-time attendees at the Food & Wine Festival look forward to certain events, almost all of which are back for this year. For example, Disney will offer more of the ever-popular celebrity chef interactions than ever before.

Roughly 75 celebrity chefs will host training sessions or serve food to guests. We’re talking about some of the most famous people in the industry such as Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Rick Bayless, and Food Network star Robert Irvine. Renowned Top Chef contestants like Carla Hall, Richard Blais, and Fabio Viviani are all a part of this year’s proceedings. In fact, Heartthrob Fabio is the face of Disney’s TasteEpcot website.

Disney chefs are also integral to the proceedings. I already mentioned Morimoto, who operates Morimoto Asia but isn’t there daily due to his voluminous business interests elsewhere. Approximately 80 chefs who do work at Disney theme park restaurants will participate in Food & Wine this year.

Disney’s even imported chefs from Shanghai Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. For this reason, the international cuisine will be more authentic than ever before. For that matter, a couple of sous chefs from Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa will represent their DVC hotel during the event. Fans of that resort will get a rare opportunity to enjoy some of the cuisine from there without traveling to Hawaii.Aulani DVC including mamas snack shop

While culinary demonstrations are one of the most fascinating parts of the exhibition, many guests prefer the hands-on approach. Guided interactive cooking experiences are available. Most of them aren’t free, though. Plus, they sell out. You’ll want to contact Disney’s Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book your experience.

Also, the wine portion of Food & Wine merits special mention. Epcot does host a series of wine tastings that grape lovers should attend. Also, Party for the Senses returns for 2019. This Saturday-only event is a food and wine tasting plus an evening of dancing. It’s available on five different Saturdays starting on September 21st, but it’s certainly not for everyone. The cost is $359 plus tax per person. Think of it as Epcot Prom Night for Adults.

Eat to the Beat Concert Series

The other returning favorite this year is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Throughout the 21st century, guests have walked over to the America Gardens Theatre at the American Adventure Pavilion to catch a show. The musicians who play here are the kind that you’d find on the ‘80s and ‘90s channels on XM Radio.

These performers play three shows a night. Each set lasts about 45 minutes and features their greatest hits. Disney’s modified the schedule slightly this year. On Sundays through Thursdays, the concerts begin at 5:30 p.m. EST, but they start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Boyz II Men on stage, sitting, and singing

With a record-setting 87 days for this year’s Food & Wine Festival, Disney has a lot of performers booked. However, I should point out that the final date of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series is on November 19th. Epcot officials need a few extra days to prepare for the annual Candlelight Processional. So, the final days of Food & Wine won’t include any Eat to the Beat concerts.

Here’s the 2019 concert schedule:

  • Plain White T’s
    August 29 through 31
  • Sawyer Brown – NEW!
    September 1 through 2
  • MercyMe
    September 3 through 4
  • Grace Kelly – NEW!
    September 5 through 6
  • Zach Williams – NEW!
    September 7 through 8
  • Lauren Daigle – NEW!
    September 9 through 10
  • Jimmie Allen – NEW!
    September 11 through 12
  • Tiffany
    September 13 through 15
  • Smash Mouth
    September 16 through 17
  • Everclear
    September 18 through 19
  • STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
    September 20 through 22
  • Postmodern Jukebox
    September 23 through 24
  • Blue October
    September 25 through 26
  • Mark Wills
    September 27 through 29
  • Sugar Ray
    September 30 through October 2
  • Taylor Dayne
    October 3 through 4
  • INDIA – NEW!
    October 5 through 6
  • 98°
    October 7 through 9
  • Boyce Avenue – NEW!
    October 10 through 11
  • Southern Avenue – NEW!
    October 12 through 13
  • Kenny G
    October 14 through 15
  • 38 Special
    October 16 through 17
  • Baha Men
    October 18 through 20
  • Billy Ocean
    October 21 through 22
  • Sheila E.
    October 23 through 25
  • High Valley
    October 26 through 27
  • Hanson
    October 28 through 30
  • Sheena Easton
    October 31 through November 1
  • Kris Allen – NEW!
    November 2 through 3
  • Boyz II Men
    November 4 through 6
  • The Hooters
    November 7 through 8
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
    November 9 through 11
  • TBD
    November 12 through 14
  • BBMak – NEW!
    November 15 through 16
  • Spanish Harlem Orchestra – NEW!
    November 17 through 18
  • DCappella – NEW!
    November 19

Disney has also brought back the Eat to the Beat dinner packages. Fourteen different Table Service restaurants at Epcot participate. They are:

  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Chefs de France
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Garden Grill Restaurant
  • La Hacienda de San Angel
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant
  • Restaurant Marrakesh
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room
  • San Angel Inn Restaurante
  • Spice Road Table
  • Teppan Edo
  • Tokyo Dining
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante
  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

You’ll pay a bit more for the dinner package. However, you’ll get guaranteed seating for the event. For some of the most popular bands, that’s worth the upcharge…although the concert is no longer free when you take this approach.

The Major New Event

Each year, the Food & Wine Festival adds more unique events. The major one for 2019 is available on Sundays only. As a tie-in with ESPN’s Monday Football broadcasts, Epcot will present a new tasting package.

Called Tailgate Tasting, this event is a 45-minute program featuring three tasting portions with a specific theme. They’ll highlight the cuisine of the two cities participating in the Monday Night Football game of the week. So, every Tailgate Tasting will be different throughout the festival.

The event will debut on September 8th and run through November 17th. It has a modest cost of $19 plus tax per person, which is unusually inexpensive for Epcot tastings.

You’ll find this event at the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion between the United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions at the World Showcase. Disney does accept reservations for Tailgate Tasting. Since it’s a limited-time, first-time event, you should probably make one if you want to attend.

The 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is poised to become the greatest one yet. Running at 87 days, it’s nearly three months of delicious cuisine and potent potables. Best of all, almost everything comes at a cheaper price than standard theme park fare. In combination with the arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, this fall is one of the best times ever to visit Walt Disney World.

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