As i sit here at the computer in my Animal Kingdom Lodge hoodie, sipping Southerntier Pumpking beer, i realize this can only mean one thing… fall is almost here!!!! Fall is my favorite time of year and especially my favorite time at Disney World! All sorts of amazing things start happening come September, kids go back to school so the parks are less crowded (YAASSS!!!), the temperature in Florida is slightly more bearable, and my favorite part of all- the end of September marks the beginning of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival where you can enjoy food and beverages from even more places around the world- it’s amazing!! Have i mentioned i’m mostly here for the food? 🙂 On a personal note- our wedding anniversary is also at the end of September so its like Epcot’s anniversary present to us!! Yeah Epcot cares about me like that 😉
So these are the things i ate and drank at the 2014 Food and Wine Festival along with my recommendations on how to best enjoy and tour the Food and Wine festival- we want to get the most out of it right!? Let’s do this!
When i entered Epcot that beautiful morning the hub was abuzz. World showcase and the Festival kiosks were not open yet but i was ready to get the party started! I headed straight for the Epcot Festival Center and the guys headed off to their favorite Epcot spot, Club Cool, where they sample free soda from around the world- more on our favorite free things at Walt Disney World here.The Festival center is to the left of Spaceship Earth heading towards Test Track- it’s tucked back and in a portion of Epcot we don’t typically frequent, in 2013 i had a very hard time finding it (i’m terrible with directions) but now i know! 🙂 I think a lot of people skip the festival center thinking it’s not important or valuable or maybe they don’t even know it’s there- don’t do that to yourself! 😉
If you’re going to the Food & Wine Festival DO NOT skip the festival center! My two main reasons for hitting the Festival Center are picking up our FREE passports and FREE chocolate! I also bought chocolate but we’ll get to that in a minute 🙂 The Passports are really great- Each country kiosk has a page in the passport and a space for a stamp. Whenever you sample food from that country you present the Passport at the register and receive and special stamp! It’s a neat added thing to do and it serves a great token to remember all the great food you tried on your trip. Because once you’re cheese drunk and filled up on Filet with Truffle Sauce you are not going to remember what country that awesome other thing you had this morning came from! Not that i know from experience or anything… 😉
Onto the edible stuff… the chocolate!
After receiving a free chocolate square at the door and admiring the beautiful chocolate displays it was time for “breakfast”…
The sipping chocolate was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! If you are a chocolate lover or even a chocolate liker i highly recommend it. And if your an Annual Passholder- mention it- i ended up getting 10% off just like at the Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney! It is very rich but it’s a dark chocolate so its not overly sweet and it was served at that perfect, warm your soul temperature. This is the perfect start to your festival day! After you’ve grabbed your passports from the desk out front and gotten your chocolate fix, be sure to check out the festival merchandise- this is where you’ll find the most unique selection of artwork, cookbooks, and other festival items including limited releases and those specifically for Disney World Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members. Then start conquering your day with a little extra pep in your step. This is me feeling extra saucy mid-way through my Sipping chocolate…
Now onto the food!!!
One of my Biggest tips is to head on over to World Showcase when it opens at 11:00 and catch yourself an early lunch. The lines will be much shorter earlier in the day so take advantage! At night a lot of local business types and college students come out to enjoy the festival. I’m a firm believer that food is more enjoyable when i don’t have to stand in line for 20 minutes to get it. SO, head over early and grab your most desired/most likely to have a long wait later item.
This (most desired item) for many is the Filet with Truffle sauce in Canada. This is because it can be hard to get an ADR (advance dining reservation) at Le Cellier and it’s a fine/signature dining experience and it’s on the expensive side. So the Food and Wine Festival is a way to experience a taste of Le Cellier Steakhouse without the big dollar commitment. Fortunately for us we hit the Canada kiosk first… unfortunately for you guys i was still drunk on chocolate and inhaled the delicious steak without taking a single photo! We also tried the Cheddar Beer soup that everyone raves about but to be honest i didn’t love it. It didn’t seem particularly special- nothing jumped out at me and i felt like i was sipping on a tiny cup of nacho cheese sauce. There are high top tables near the water in the Canada area of World Showcase- take advantage of them! It’s a beautiful spot to stand and relax plus it makes me sad to see people eating their Filet on the top of a trash can… seriously guys, i don’t need that negativity in my life.
Another major tip for Food and Wine Fest: if you are on the Disney Dining Plan save your snack credits for the Kiosks! You can use your snack credit for a $7 filet or lobster roll instead of a $3 Dole Whip! Don’t get me wrong… definitely still get the Dole Whip just pay for it out of pocket 🙂
For lunch desert we hit up Mexico!
The only desert option (unless you count drinks!) was a sweet corn cheesecake and David loves cheesecake so we went for it! It definitely had a distinct corn taste and was interesting. The whipped cream topping with caramel drizzle added the majority of the sweetness. I liked it but i would save my desert for something with a little more pizzazz next time.
On our way back to Future World to enjoy some rides and visit the manatees we grabbed what was my new favorite thing in an unexpected place!! Check it out…
This was the best hash i have ever had! The hollandaise sauce is the perfect addition to this dish- it really helps temper the heat from the jalapenos. This is a very hearty sample, they are not shy with the portion given and it’s another one of those dishes that warm the soul- it’s not to be missed!
We came back later in the afternoon/evening and on the way we grabbed this for our little man:
This is another FREE and AWESOME activity the kids can take part in. I highly reccommend it! They have so Much fun with Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure! They get their own phone and missions what are like scavenger hunts. This is a great way to keep the kids entertained in World Showcase while you enjoy sipping on your favorite beer or snacking around the world. Our favorite missions are those centered around Germany or Norway although i imagine Mexico would be fun as well. The only one we have done and did not like was France- it was much more difficult for him to find the clues here and we had to assist A LOT! So maybe France is more suited for older kids. Sidenote: I’ve seen plenty of adults walking around with these too so dont be shy! 😉
This is what we do while “Agent D” is on a mission (we’re supervising close by of course).
We absolutely love this beer! Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Beer in Germany Pavilion at Epcot World Showcase is a “must have” for us each year. My top tip for this is go into the quick service restaurant in the Germany pavilion Sommerfest- you can get it on draft rather than in the bottle at the outdoor cart or kiosk with the pretzels! This beer is great in a bottle but even better on draft… and you get more win, win!
Now back to the food!
Everything we tried here was “meh” to me- here’s what we got along with a snapshot of the full menu at the South Korea Kiosk
This Kimchi Dog was a very small portion. Two bites at most and the color of the hot dog was a little off-putting to me personally. The rice brew was bright and refreshing and perfect for the hot afternoon, but don’t expect it to be sweet. The husband loved it since he loves all things grapefruit.
Italy is a very popular World Showcase stop during the Food and Wine Festival as well as the rest of the year. This year we tried the Baked Ravioli, awesome! And the Chocolate covered Canolli.
The Chocolate-covered Cannoli Filled with Sweet Ricotta at the Italy Kiosk was yummy but it melted fast in the Florida heat… eating it quickly shouldn’t be too much of a hardship though 😉
The following is my largest disappointment at the Epcot Food & Wine Fest:
As a coffee lover and a lover of all things Fall this seemed like the perfect fit! But since it was a super hot Florida day i opted to get it iced and i think that may be where i went wrong…
This was so incredibly bad… i know Joffrey’s catches a lot of crap for being terrible but i typically like it! For a long time it was the main option if you needed a caffeine fix at the parks- of course now Starbucks is popping up everywhere and this drink made me almost ok with that. I don’t think i even finished it and after i felt sick from the excessive sweetness, and i am a sweet coffee kind of gal.
Greece is always one of our favorite Kiosks at the Food and Wine Festival. The Griddled Greek Cheese is something you absolutely must try- it’s topped with honey and pistachio and it’s incredible. If someone wants to share.. tell them to get their own 😉 We have
no photo found one! of this dish because by this point in the evening the soggy day escalated to a thunderstorm. Right after we got our cheese the bottom dropped out and the thunder started.
I learned this year much to my dismay that in the event of a thunderstorm or even thunder in close proximity to the park the kiosks shut down for safety. So we waited it out in the new Craft Beer house. This was a good call. There is seating inside and you can get wonderful beer flights along with pub snacks like nuts.
That was our day! What are your favorite things about Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival? Please feel Free to leave questions and comments in the comment section below! Subscribe to stay up to date with our Walt Disney World tips and Adventures!