The Uncorked Librarian to Epcot Food and Wine is like Jessica Jones to her bottle of whiskey. Well, maybe that sounds wrong, but you get the idea. As an annual passholder and local, I look forward to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival every year, studying menus like my life depends on it and elbowing my way into the park to get a piece of that tender Australian lamb chop. What is on the menu this year? What is brand new—like say some bubbly OJ in a brand new Festival Center—and what shouldn’t you miss? Sadly, what is also missing? While there is so much to cover, here are 5 musts on your foodie agenda for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2018. This is what The Uncorked Librarian found to be worth your precious park time.
Epcot Food And Wine Festival General Information
Epcot Food and Wine commences August 30, 2018 and ends November 12, 2018. Of course, the event takes place at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park. Although the Festival is technically located in the World Showcase, every year the vendors spread further and further into the park. This year, kiosks venture out past Test Track. Always be sure to check park and World Showcase hours online or in your Disney app. This year, Food and Wine has been opening at 9 AM unlike the 11 AM that we usually aim for. You can find the 5-day calendar here. I always recommend arriving early, not because I am an alcoholic, but because the lines get heavier at night. Plus, FL is an inferno after lunch.
Once you arrive–and don’t forget passholders have their own fast entrance line–be sure to check out these 5 musts:
Five Musts For Epcot Food and Wine in 2018
1. Sipping on Mimosas and Munching On Brunch Snacks at the New Mimosa Bar
I’m not going to lie: there were so many women in this line, and who could resist a station called “Simmering Sips Mimosa Bar.” Don’t get me wrong—or scream sexist—there were guys too, but the rose gold ears and gaggles of giggling ladies definitely made this kiosk our biggest line. I sprinted here. Hand raised; sign me up; I am a happy SUCKER.
As a brand new passport stop, the mimosa bar is especially cool because it’s in the AC. Haha, get it? Whatever. You know this type of venue is key when it’s 100+ degrees with the steamy FL heat index and everyone around you smells like they are sweating out pure vodka and beer. Plus, the weather has been unpredictable, and no one wants to die by lightning before they get their liquid nitro truffle at the Chocolate Studio. Am I right?
What can you expect to find at the newest kiosk? Six different types of mimosas, one of which is a non-alcoholic apple pie flavored frozen slushie, Joffrey’s famous coffee, and breakfast treats like danishes, croissants, and muffins. I am in love! My blood sugar, not so much.
Small disclosure: we enjoyed Madras and Blood Orange mimosas, but we both thought they were lacking a bit of bubbly. Luke warm, I wasn’t as wow’d. I’m willing to give them another go. They were beyond slammed.
P.S. Prep for your visit and the crazy weather. Find cheaper Disney Gear from ponchos to ears on Amazon here.
2. Buying and Trying Wine at the New, Improved, and Moved Festival Center
Festival Center has moved! It is no longer the same as the Odyssey, which is the first place we headed for beer and wine flights and those sparkling mimosas. Like the 50 other people going the same way, we hit a wall at the completely closed Odyssey. Our fault for not checking the map, but damn, we are old pros.
The brand new Festival Center is located past Test Track where all of the construction is quietly happening. The Center opens at 9 AM, has AC, and is gorgeous—wine and beer line the walls. Uncork me! Live trees ensconce kiosks and high ceilings greet the boozy traveler.
What you can find at Festival Center:
A new Junior Chef Kitchen
Meet and greets with celebrated chefs and authors
The Chocolate Experience—learn how chocolate is made
The Coffee Learning Experience
All the festival merch you could want
A WINE SHOP with featured Disney wines
Bevie and Cheese Seminars
PLUS three global marketplaces: AKA Passport Kiosks
Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar
Craft Drafts (beer, beer, beer)
The Festival Wine Shop (SO MUCH WINE TO TRY)
I could have just stayed here ALL DAY.
We tried two wine flights and mimosas. I love all the Syrah choices that Epcot Food and Wine offers this year. The Fess Parker Riesling and MacMurray Estate Pinot Gris hit the spot. So excited to see a Sangiovese too. It’s Californian instead of Italian, but hey, I’ll take it. Disney is on point this 2018 with wine selections.
We’ll be back for chocolate and beer flights. Pacing.
Personally, I loved watching the creation of marbled scarves hidden next to the wine. For a fee, you can join in on the fun.
For passholders, you also pick up your Day One magnet here, but I won’t even go into that insanity during our visit. On Labor Day weekend—rookie move for us—the lines double and triple wrapped around the Center. Granted this was Day Four, which means diehard passholders wanted their grand prize: a badass cutting board. You can find all of the details here. If I can’t drink it or drink out of it, the reward is meaningless.
More Central Florida Travel Tips With Places You Should Visit:
3. Eating ALL the CRONUTS at Taste Track Doughnuts
This one is self-explanatory. One of the second longest lines, this donut stand is perfect for the family, and who doesn’t want cronuts? Cinnamon, chocolate, and marshmallow cronuts plus gelato and pancake milkshakes? Not to mention that the kiosk is right outside of your favorite ride: Test Track. You’ll find a lot more walking room here than in the showcase too. My recommendation? Enter Epcot, hook a left to Festival Center to booze up, head over to Taste Track, and then country hop around the World Showcase.
4. Revisiting Old Favs Like Long Lost Lovers
I’d love to know your favorite oldies but goodies. Mine are (but please don’t forget I have Ulcerative Colitis and am married to a Celiac—we eat with care):
- Seared Scallops at The Wine and Dine Studio
- Grilled Lamb Chop in Australia—if you don’t try this dish, did you even really go to Epcot Food and Wine? The answer is no. No, you didn’t.
- Spanakopita in Greece
- Belgian Waffles from Belgium
OMG DISNEY, where is my German Potato Pancake? In my memory and broken heart; that’s where.
Also, the Light Lab no longer has glowing food and donuts. However, they do have a wild drink in a lab flask. Maybe acceptable compensation?
Lastly, my husband has Celiacs and has to eat gluten-free. The options are lacking this year.
- Craft beer flights at Festival Center; did you know Central 28 is only about 45 minutes from the park?
- Cider flights at Light Lab in Future World West (perfect for those who are GF)
- Any of the sangrias and margaritas in Mexico
- St-Germain Sparkling Kir in France—one word, Elderflower
Skip the green beer at Light Lab: GrassLands Green Kiwi. Everyone was chucking it. Colorful flights are not really beer. Sorry not sorry. Barf.
5. Special Events: Concert Series, Celebrity Chefs, Seminars
If free, poppy concerts are your thing, be sure to check the schedule for: Sugar Ray, David Cook, Smash Mouth, 98 Degrees (I know, I didn’t think they still existed either), Hanson, and Boyz II Men.
As always, you can expect celebrity chefs, which are nearly impossible to find out in advance. Rumor has it Buddy Valastro (October 7) and Carla Hall (October 28) are on schedule for the Sunday Brunch with a Chef series.
Of course there are the usual food and wine pairings, cheese seminars, VIP experiences, and Party for the Senses, but you can find me filling up around the world. That’s all I need to get my Food and Wine on.
P.S. Learn how to save money on your travels, including free airfare and hotels, with this course. Food and Wine is the perfect opportunity to start accumulating points.
Are You Ready to Wine and Dine?
With all of Epcot’s Festivals now a part of a passport series, this year’s 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival has yet to be as good as last year’s or my favorite. Of course, I still LIVE FOR IT. The gluten-free options are lacking, a few of my favs are missing, and some of the drinks require more bubbles and flavor. We usually visit the festival at least 4-5 times a year, and will be back for many more gluttonous attempts. Don’t let this turn you off, though. The Festival is amazing, and we are spoiled locals.
I am enamored by the new Festival Center and plethora of wine choices. The wine shop and chocolate experience is a nice touch, and I appreciate the Light Lab as they work to alter and change choices. There are more tables with umbrellas, AC spaces, and spread out marketplaces. Australia is still a tradition along with my elderflower champagne in France. The merchandise is fun and the marbling scarves tie in a little art festival. Round two, here I come!
I’d love to know what you think of your visit. Comment below or message me.
What other tips or guides would you like to see? Eating gluten-free at Epcot? The best merch? Where go afterwards?
Happy Uncorking! Grab a FL travel guide on Amazon before your visit.
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