One of our favorite Walt Disney World events of the year, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, is finally back for its annual run. We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty gosh darn excited about it. And hungry! Which is good because there’s a huge buffet of tantalizing globally inspired bites and beverages on the menu, and we’re ready to make the most of every delicious crumb.
If you’re hoping to maximize your time at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, we’ve got you covered with this handy-dandy to-do list of the best activities the event has to offer. So, grab your Festival Passport and bring your appetite as we dig into the smorgasbord of fun that awaits you at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.
Top 12 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Activities to Add to Your To-Do List
This year, the International Food & Wine Festival does its tasty takeover of Epcot from July 27 to November 18, 2023, offering more than four and a half flavor-filled months of Global Marketplaces, live entertainment and other gastronomic goodies that foodies of all kinds are sure to love. Since making its delectable debut back in September 1996, originally as a 30-day event, this scrumptious seasonal soiree has not only swelled in size but also gone on to become the most popular Epcot festival in the park’s annual lineup.
But exactly what Epcot Food and Wine Festival activities should you make space for on your already overflowing plate? Here are some indulgent ideas to help fill your cup with foodie fun.
1. Taste Your Way Around World Showcase
With a name like the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, the culinary offerings are obviously the stars of this epicurean event, and you should make it your mission to sample as much as you can stomach. For 2023, folks visiting Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival can choose from around 30 different Global Marketplaces (AKA food booths), including four new event outposts, each cooking up a small selection of themed, tapas-sized dishes and drinks priced at between $4 to $9 a pop.
Although you would probably get sick (and go broke) trying to taste them all, you can enjoy a fair few of them without breaking the bank, especially if you decide to share with the rest of your party, which we highly encourage. As this is the International Food and Wine Festival, the vast majority of the Global Marketplaces dish up cuisine inspired by different countries from around the world, while others follow some other basic culinary themes like noodles, fries and seafood or popular pairings like wings and beer or cheese and wine.
Naturally, that’s a whole lot to keep track of. So, be sure you keep track of everything that’s on offer by looking at the My Disney Experience app or picking up a Festival Passport. Here’s a list of the different Global Marketplaces available this year (places notated with an *asterisk are available all year long):
Brew-Wing Lab at the Odyssey
Bubbles & Brine(Opening September 22)
Char & Chop(Opening September 22)
Coastal Eats(Opening August 15)
*Connections Cafe & Connections Eatery
Flavors from Fire
Flavors of America
The Fry Basket
Hawaiʻi (Opening August 15)
*Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
The Noodle Exchange(Opening August 15)
Swirled Showcase(Opening September 22)
*Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina
Wine & Wedge (Opening September 22)
2. Snack on Something Muppet-Worthy at the Brew-Wing Lab at the Odyssey
This year, the Brew-Wing Lab at the Odyssey has been taken over by none other than the dynamic Muppet duo of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his meep-tastic assistant, Beaker. They’ve been busy whipping up some whacky new creations that are too original to miss, like Orange-Cardamom Wings, Unnecessarily Spicy, Yet Extremely Tasty Scotch Bonnet Pepper-Curry Wings, a Pickle Shake (yup, you heard us) and the Frozen Fusion, which combines pomegranate and raspberry herbal tea with orange ice-cream molecules. Color us intrigued! You’ll also find one of last year’s most popular options, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sticky Wings.
3. Broaden Your Culinary Horizons and Try Something New
While eating and drinking around the world (showcase) is a popular pastime for Epcot guests any time of the year, it basically becomes a requirement during the Food and Wine Festival. Not only is it a ton of fun and a great excuse to get a little bit tipsy—you know, if you’re into that sort of thing—but it’s also the perfect time to try a cuisine or dish that you’ve never had before.
Since the items on offer are sample-sized and relatively reasonably priced (by Disney theme park standards, anyway), you’re free to test the gastronomic waters without going all in on an entire dish. This is yet another reason why we recommend sharing everything, too. That way, not only do you get to split the portion and say “no, thank you” guilt-free if something isn’t to your liking, but you also share the cost. It’s basically a win-win all around!
4. Take Your Taste Buds to Mexico with the La Cava Tequila Tasting Experience
Ok, this next suggestion isn’t strictly available during the Food & Wine Festival. However, since this is a foodie event and we’re suckers for a theme, you might as well take advantage of all the delicious opportunities Epcot has in store, like the tasting experience at La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion.
During this alcohol-fueled adventure south of the border, you’ll be guided through some of Mexico’s tastiest cultural and culinary traditions by a certified Tequila Ambassador, sipping on spirits while noshing on perfectly paired ingredients meant to elevate its flavors. For a truly authentic cultural encounter, stick around afterward to enjoy a performance by Mariachi Cobre. The La Cava Experience is priced at $180 per person, and reservations are recommended.
5. Go on a Cheesy Quest
In addition to the many Global Marketplaces, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival also dishes up some foodie fun by way of a few different scavenger hunts, one of which is Emile’s Fromage Montage. Only instead of searching for hidden pumpkins or that rascally Remy from Ratatouille (more on that next), you get to eat your way through your choice of five different cheese-focused dishes.
To get started, all you need is your Festival Passport. Then, collect a stamp from the cast member when purchasing each of your chosen cheesy selections. Once you’ve reached the delicious conclusion, take your completed passport to the Shimmering Sips Marketplace to claim your reward. Here’s everything you can choose from:
India – Curry-Spiced Crispy Cheese with Mango-Curry Ketchup
Germany – Schinkennudeln: Pasta Gratin with Ham, Onions and Cheese
Greece – Griddled Cheese with Pistachios and Honey
Brazil – Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread
Canada – Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll
Flavors from Fire – Smoked Corned Beef with House-made Potato Chips, Cheese Curds, Pickled Onions and Beer-Cheese Fondue
Hawaii Marketplace – Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Toasted Macadamia Nuts
The Alps – Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Shaved Ham, Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and Baguette orWarm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and Baguette
Spain – Charcuterie in Cup with a selection of imported Spanish Meats, Cheeses, Olives and an Herbed Vinaigrette
Wine & Wedge (New!) – Assorted Artisanal Cheeses and Accoutrements orBoursin Fig and Balsamic Soufflé with Fig Tapenade orSouthern Pimento Cheese with Bread and Butter Pickled Vegetables and Grilled Bread
6. Set Out on a Scavenger Hunt Across the Globe
As we just mentioned, Emile’s Fromage Montage isn’t the only scavenger hunt that’s available during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Throughout the event, you can search for everyone’s favorite furry Little Chef during Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak. In this scavenger hunt, Remy is hidden throughout World Showcase, and it’s up to you to find him. The other scavenger hunt, Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit, is only available for a limited time from September 29 through October 31. During this Halloween-worthy activity, guests set out in search of gourd-geous pumpkins styled after different Disney characters.
To participate in either savory search, you will first need to purchase a game board and the coordinating stickers from one of the participating gift shops, including Disney Traders, Creations Shop, Port of Entry, World Traveler at International Gateway and Festival Merchandise Kiosks. Then, once you’ve tracked down every location on your list and placed your stickers accordingly, head to either Disney Traders or World Traveler to collect your prize.
7. Eat to the Beat During a Live Concert
The main event of the Food and Wine Festival, in addition to all the tasty things to eat and drink, is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Featuring both local acts and a star-studded lineup of well-known bands from the 80s, 90s and 2000s—like Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees and Hanson of “Mmmbop” fame—these live musical performances take to the America Gardens Theatre stage at the American Adventure Pavilion three times a day at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM. Best of all, each of these performances is included in the price of your park admission!
As you can imagine, the lines to see some of these groups can get incredibly long, especially depending on who’s performing. So, be prepared to get in line early if you want to get a seat close to the stage. However, since the crowds tend to thin out a little bit each time, if you can stick it out until the final performance, you should be able to enjoy a better view without as much of a time commitment. Here are all of the acts playing at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in 2023:
Eat to the Beat Concert Series 2023 Schedule
Funkafied – July 27
Orianthi – July 28 and 29
FOR KING + COUNTRY (New!) – July 30 and 31
Funkafied – August 1 to 3
Southern Avenue – August 4 and 5
Tiffany – August 6 and 7
Champagne – August 8 to 10
Ruben Studdard with Haley Reinhart (New!) – August 11 and 12
The Bacon Brothers (New!) – August 13 and 14
M-80’s – August 15 to 17
Joey Fatone & Friends – August 18 to 21
The Female Collective – August 22 to 24
Ayron Jones (New!) – August 25 and 26
Phillip Phillips (New!) – August 27 and 28
Element – August 29 to 31
Baha Men – September 1 and 2
MercyMe – September 3 and 4
Foreigners Journey – September 5 to 7
Ray Parker Jr. – September 8 and 9
TobyMac – September 10 and 11
Hooligans – September 12 to 14
Monsieur Periné – September 15
Raul Acosta & Oro Solido – September 16 and 17
Latin Celebrity Talent (TBA) – September 18
Audio Exchange- September 19 to 21
Los Amigos Invisibles (New!) – September 22 to 24
98° – September 25 and 26
Latin Ambition – September 27 and 28
Boyz II Men – September 29 to October 2
Wish Radio – October 3 to 5
Mark Wills – October 6 and 7
Sugar Ray – October 8 and 9
Icon Party Band – October 10 to 12
Hoobastank – October 13 and 14
Air Supply – October 15 and 16
Evolution Motown – October 17 to 19
Taylor Dayne – October 20 and 21
Billy Ocean – October 22 and 23
Sound Up – October 24 to 26
Hanson – October 27 to 30
Rexine – October 31 to November 2
We the Kings (New!) – November 3 and 4
Sheila E. – November 5 and 6
Epic Live – November 7 to 9
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – November 10 and 11
38 Special – November 12 and 13
Speaking of the American Adventure Pavilion, you’ll also want to check out another incredible vocal act while you’re in the area: the Voices of Liberty. This multipart acapella group has a wide-ranging repertoire of various American songs, from classics such as “Oh! Susanna” to new Disney film favorites like “Let It Go” from Frozen. Between their tight harmonies and the glorious acoustics of the pavilion’s rotunda, don’t be surprised if their soaring renditions give you goosebumps.
8. Treat Yourself and Save Time, Too, With the Eat to the Beat Dining Package
Hoping to take in a concert without sacrificing a whole bunch of precious time in line to score a decent seat? We get it—you want to be able to see the sweat glisten on Joey Fatone’s or Nick Lachey’s face and also eat your way around the World Showcase Lagoon two or three (or four) times. Well, with the Eat to the Beat Dining Package, you get to have your funnel cake and eat it, too.
For this dinner and a show, you get to enjoy a meal at one of Epcot’s participating restaurants, as well as guaranteed seating for the showtime of your choice. (Dining package participants enter the theatre through a separate queue on a first-come, first-served basis.) There are even a couple of character dining experiences available for those who are hoping to spice up their day with a sprinkle of pixie dust.
The Eat to the Beat Dining Package is only available on Fridays through Mondays during the festival when big-name acts are playing. Prices vary greatly depending on which meal and restaurant you choose. While advance dining reservations are highly encouraged, same-day dining package reservations are available for Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue at the American Adventure Pavilion. Participating restaurants for the 2023 Epcot Food and Wine Festival include:
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Coral Reef Restaurant
Garden Grill Restaurant
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue
Rose and Crown Dining Room
Spice Road Table
9. Tap Your Toes to the Jammin’ Chefs
The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is a marathon (and no, we aren’t talking about the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend), not a sprint. So, unless you want to end up with a stomach ache, we highly recommend that you pace yourself. A great way to do that is with a performance by the Jammin’ Chefs. Known as the JAMMitors for most of the year, these rhythmically inclined janitors trade in their trash cans for ovens, pots, pans and tea kettles a few months each year in honor of the Food & Wine Festival. Add in some appropriately cheesy dad jokes, and it’s well worth a watch. Performances are offered several times each day—check out the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date schedule.
10. Enjoy Dinner and a Show During the Epcot Fireworks
You don’t need to splurge on the Eat to the Beat Dining Package to enjoy dinner and a show during the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. With Global Marketplaces peppered all around World Showcase Lagoon, all you need to do is pick up something tasty to enjoy during the sparkling nighttime spectacular. It’s the original Disney dinner show!Each evening, the Epcot fireworks glisten over the water in a dazzling display that makes for the perfect final course of an already spectacular day. Keep in mind that folks start staking out seats quite early, so you’re going to want to join them if you want a front-row view of the magic.
11. Run Off All of That Festival Food at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
For some Disney guests, the ideal accompaniment to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is a 5K, 10K or half marathon. Each fall, runDisney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend sees runners jog throughout the Walt Disney World Resort in a quest for a covetable runDisney medal. Not to mention, it’s also a pretty great excuse to indulge in even more festival food.
Sadly, bibs are already sold out for the 2023 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (unless you want to participate virtually). In fact, these races are so popular that they often sell out within hours or even minutes of registration opening. So, if this sort of this is right up your alley (more power to you), you’ll need to be on it for when registration opens up for next year’s event.
12. Search for a Souvenir to Take Home with You
Wish you could take a piece of the Food and Wine Festival magic back home with you? Well, you’re in luck because there is no shortage of fun, festival-themed merchandise available for purchase throughout the event. From Mickey ears, spirit jerseys and other apparel to kitchen accessories like cutting boards, wine glasses and tumblers, you’re sure to find something to commemorate the good times you had.
Well, foodies, that brings our visit to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival to an end. What are your favorite things to do at this Epcot food festival? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how to stretch your budget and save for your next vacation (or more things to eat and drink during the festival) with our Disney World discount tickets.