With so many happenings, celebrations, major land openings and announcements coming in the next month, it is easy to wiz right by one of the most revered and anticipated festivals of the year, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. This year, there are some new updates and food choices as well as some new artists that will be performing at the Eat To The Beat Concert Series – which we know that we love.
Starting with some refreshment – because we know that it will still be hot- plan to check out the new Appleseed Orchard Marketplace which will offer a unique variety of craft brews, ciders, wines and lite bites. This new marketplace will be located next to Le Cellier Steakhouse in World Showcase. The “O Canada!” film will be refreshed with new footage and a projection-system upgrade for a visually-enhanced experience. While this behind-the-scenes work is in progress, the theater will transform to an all-new festival destination offering a place to cool down the camera and this livestreamer.
Celebrity chefs really bring it this year, and you won’t want to miss them! Making their festival debuts this year are restauranteur Fabio Viviani (Sept. 15), Food Network star and cookbook author Aarti Sequeira (Nov. 17), and David Burtka (Oct. 13), celebrity chef, author of “Life is a Party” and husband of actor Neil Patrick Harris.
Returning to the festival is the Sunday Brunch with the Chef experience. Among the chefs appearing this year are Jamie Deen (Sept. 1), Carla Hall (Sept. 8), Richard Blais (Sept. 22), Robert Irvine (Sept. 29) Hey, I know him!! and Graham Elliot (Nov. 10). Advance reservations are highly recommended for this popular experience.
More sweet and savory treats will debut at the brand-new The Alps Marketplace, where you can imagine you are in a snow-capped setting while dipping into your dish of Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and Baguette, or Venison Stew with Crushed Potatoes paired with a refreshing Frozen Rosé (Wow, typing these is almost as hard as saying them!)
And for the tantalizing scoop on chocolate, you won’t want to miss The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar hosted by Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. Located for the first time at the entrance of the Harvest Theater in The Land pavilion, Ghirardelli will whip up chocolate sundae treats that will be available for purchase at Sunshine Seasons.
Also new this year, families can enjoy Emile’s Fromage Montage where they can sample a variety of delicious cheeses served in inventive ways. Purchase any five cheese dishes from the official Global Marketplaces listed in the Festival Passport and make sure to collect a stamp for each cheese dish purchased. Once you’ve collected all five stamps, bring the stamped Festival Passport to Shimmering Sips for a complimentary specialty cheesecake unique to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. I know for this non-sweet eater, the savory stamped passport option is a new and refreshing twist.
And for all you football lovers out there, tailgaters, take note! You can pair your football mania with festival fun, no grills or picnic baskets required. Bookings start today for the new Tailgate Tasting hosted by ESPN’s Monday Night Football, available select Sundays starting September 8 – November 17. The 45-minute program will pair gridiron grub with a beverage tasting inspired by the cities of pro teams playing each Monday night. Even better, you’ll learn how to prepare the dishes for your next tailgate party! I know a few people that will really be excited for this.
Also, it goes without saying that the merch during the festival is a hot commodity. You can rock your festival look this year with stylish new gear for your global dine-around experience. Chef Minnie has joined Chef Mickey to bring sparkle and a “sprinkle” of fun to this line of accessories and apparel – the cupcake headband is sure to become a guest favorite! Chef Figment accessories and home goods will be all the purple rage. Chef Remy from Disney●Pixar’s “Ratatouille” has cooked up apparel and kitchenware designs featuring the best global ingredients. And you can toast your way around the world with the Brews Around the World collection or the classic Taste Your Way Around the World Collection!
Of course, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival would not be complete without the outstanding musical artists that bring down the house. The Eat to the Beat Concert Series returns this year from Aug. 29 – Nov. 19 with 249 concerts in all. Along with previously announced artists, such as the ever popular Mercy Me (yes, we will be going Mayne Mafia), newcomer India (“Mi Mayor Venganza”) will make her Epcot concert series debut Oct. 5 and 6. Taylor Dayne (“Tell it to My Heart”) returns Oct. 3 and 4, and Kenny G (“Songbird”) is back Oct. 14 and 15. Enjoy guaranteed concert seating by booking an Eat to the Beat Dining Package, available at participating Epcot restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner reservations.
Something new is the week-long expansion of the Disney du Jour Dance Party, with weekend Radio Disney artist appearances. Sundays through Thursdays, a DJ will lead the interactive fun. Fridays and Saturdays will feature performances by Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country artists and appearances from a few of your favorite Disney characters. Plan now to catch headliners Meg Donnelly (“With U,” Disney Channel’s Zombies) Aug. 30-31, Jenna Raine (“A Letter to Me”) Sept. 13-14, Sky Katz (“Like This,” Disney Channel’s Raven’s Home) Oct. 11-12 and JAGMAC (“Like a Band”) Oct. 18-19 – you’ll want to dance the night away with family and friends! I am sure that we will be catching some of these dance parties as well so you can groove ‘through the lens of this livestreamer.’
More NEW acts are joining the roster for the festival’s longest-ever Eat to the Beat Concert Series, a record-breaking 87 days long. Check out the full lineup here, and be sure to save the dates for Tiffany (“I Think We’re Alone Now”) on Sept. 13-15, 98° (“Give Me Just One Night”) on Oct. 7-9, BBMak (“Back Here”) on Nov. 15-16 and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra (“Un Gran Dia en El Barrio”) Nov. 17-18.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to plan your visit to the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. For more information or to make reservations, visit TasteEpcot.com or call 407-939-3378.