Monday, August 29, 2011

Magical Moments - Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Starting on 9/30 and running until 11/13 is one of my favorite events at WDW, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. During this festival you can sample delicious food and wine from around the world, see some of your favorite singers from the 80's and 90's in concert, and attend special events set up around World Showcase Lagoon. Located in Future World East is the 2011 Food and Wine Festival Welcome Center. Here you can plan your day by picking up your Marketplace Discovery Passport which identifies the food and wine kiosks or "Marketplaces" set up around World Showcase. You can also attend a variety of culinary offerings in the Welcome Center such as cooking demonstrations and book signings.

The theme of this years EIF&WF is "A Passport to a World of Flavors". The festival will feature 25 Marketplaces from which you can purchase sample sized portions. You will be able to try food from places as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Singapore and Ireland as well as many others. This year features three new Marketplaces, Hawaii, Portugal and the Caribbean Islands. The samples range in price from about $3 to $8.

The Eat to the Beat Concert Series is held at the American Gardens Theatre and features three performances each day at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45. Performers this year include Taylor Dayne, The Pointer Sisters, Air Supply and Richard Marx.

There are a number of Speical Events the take place during the festival as well as some Premium Events, the Premium Events require a seperate admission. Special Events include: The Cranberry Bog Display presented by Ocean Spray, where you can learn about the history, harvesting process and health benefits of cranberries; the Home Entertaining Seminar Hosted by HGTV in which your favorite HGTV stars share creative ideas to entertain at home; Book Signings and Meet & Greets for celebrated authors and personalities from the food and beverage industry; and Bottle Signings by celebrated winemakers.

Premium Events include: Mixology Seminars where an expert demonstrates how to create both trendy and classic cocktails, and serve you the final product ($12 per person); Culinary Demonstrations in which celebrated chef's give tips for working in the kitchen as well as offer delicious samples ($11-$13 per person); Wine & Beverage Seminars where you can learn tips form wine/beverage experts as well as sample some of their offerings; and the Party of the Senses which inludes a reserved seat at the Eat to the Beat concert and then dinner featuring international cuisine. Entertainment for the Party of the Senses is provided by Cirque du Soleil (over $60 per person).

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a truly unique experience that we highly recommend attending. A few tips: Be sure to stop by the Welcome Center and plan your day. We've mentioned some of the events that take place but there are many more. Find out what events you want to attend and plan accordingly. If you plan on attending one of the Premium Events, buy your tickets in advance. These events are very popular and can sell out. If you want seats close to the stage during the concerts, plan on standing in line at least 30 minutes prior to the show. Finally, relax and enjoy yourself. Do not feel you need to see or sample everything, just take your time and have fun.

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