Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival Planning

I love being at Walt Disney World during Epcot’s International Food and Wine Fest, but………… the first thing I need to get out of the way is I am not a fan of Disney offering alcohol in the parks.

Yes…. I love my drinks and we always order our groceries from the Garden Grocer website and it does include beer and wine to enjoy as we sit around the pool in the afternoon or on our balcony/patio in the evening after returning from the parks.

But I am a firm believer that Walt Disney would not be happy with what has happened over the past several years.

I have personally witnessed drunk people in Epcot and just last fall one guest was so drunk he climbed up the outside of the pavilion wall in Mexico. He had to be helped down and  escorted from the park. To me, this is not something I’d want my kids or grand kids to witness while at Walt Disney World. And to think how much the average cocktail cost (around $10 per) onsite, it has to cost a lot of money to get drunk there.

But Disney is making money so it will continue. With that out of the way….. here’s my thoughts about Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival.

If you are a DVC member and haven’t reserved your Boardwalk Villa or Beach Club Resort villa for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival dates by now, you are probably out of luck. They really fill up fast because you can walk to Epcot in about 10 minutes.

Disney hasn’t really released any details yet and won’t until probably during the end of the Flower and Garden Festival but why wait to make your plans? When they do I will be writing my thoughts once again. Use some of the information from 2015 to plan ahead and get a jump on everyone.

Our  friends at wdw.com posted this last year.

  • NEW! 20th Festival Tasting Sampler – Guests will get a credential and a collectible pin that will allow you to have your choice of eight tastes of food or beverages from the marketplaces, plus priority seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert.  The credential will also include ideas for pairing a food and drink from the marketplaces. Cost is $59.
  • NEW! Food & Wine Premium Package – Get VIP treatment from noon-8pm on Monday through Thursday at the Festival. Package includes the use of 11 shaded “Premium Package” areas to relax, eat and drink; admission to an IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party; and admission to a Festival Center culinary demo or beverage seminar.  The package also comes with a gift bag with a wine glass, a bottle of 20th celebration festival wine, a Food & Wine Fest-themed MagicBand and four food tickets for the marketplaces.  Cost is $199, call 407-939-3378 for reservations.
  • ABC show “The Chew” will be taping live from the Festival on October 7, 8 and 9! Hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz will be on hand to tape the episodes that will air October 12-16. For information on how to get tickets for the live studio audience, visit thechew.com.
  • Favorite chefs will be returning – Cat Cora, Jamie Deen, John Ash, Robert Irvine and Buddy Valastro, among others.
  • New dishes coming to the marketplaces – Pepper Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese at Farm Fresh Marketplace, Seared Venison Loin in New Zealand, and many more!
  • Party for the Senses is returning every Saturday with more than 50 wines and beers, plus a variety of foods to sample.  Also returning are the Ocean Spray cranberry bog and the Chase Lounge in the American Adventure.
  • New this year is Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt.  Kids can search for little Remy statuettes with maps, stickers and prizes.
  • New premium events include “French Family Meal Traditions” lunches on Fridays and Saturdays, a “Rockin’ Burger Block Party,” and new beverage events like “Exploring Wines from 1996 to Now.”
  • The Ocean Spray cranberry bog is set to return. This was absent in 2014, so its return will be a welcome addition.
  • **All celebrity guests, events and dinners are subject to change without notice.

They do such a great job passing out great information. I am a member of the Disboards. Find me there…. I’m mouseaider!

While the names may change the events will most likely stay the same, but if anything, expect Disney to enhance the offerings!

As a musician, I love the free shows called “Eat to the Beat”, at the American Garden Theater. We have seen some very good acts perform there. The entertainers have not been announced for this year yet, but rest assured, they will be national acts.

And don’t forget to see our friends, The British Revolution perform the British Rock and Roll of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in the UK!  The boys are all very talented and their music just gets better every trip.

Tip:  The guys from the British Revolution love to get their pictures taken with you after the show like the photo below!

Just me and the guys!  From left to right.. Bradd Shapiro, Gregory Wilkinson, Me, Kevin Baker and Eric VonLugo.

I’ve actually been asked for quotes  for every level of hotel, deluxe, moderate and value.  The value resorts will fill up quickly as most people figure to just use the room for catching a little sleep in between doing the parks.  When you are at Walt Disney World, it’s usually a whirlwind kind of vacation. Most people need to rest up after they get home.

What is the best value resort to stay at? Some of my clients love Pop Century! It has one of the best food courts available.

Others like the Art of Animation, for the themeing. I’d say it is a cute resort but who needs cute if it is just you and your sweetie for the Food and Wine Fest. And it is the newest and  highest priced of all the Value Resorts. Why pay extra?

Any of the All Star Resorts will also do just fine. I’m a music lover and retired drummer so if I were to need to book a resort because my DVC rooms are all gone, I would probably stay at All Stars Music and rock the night away!

The All Stars Music pool is a fun one!
The clean and comfortable rooms at All Stars Music are so inviting.

Note:  Reservations for two adults, October 9th to 14th, with four day base tickets at Disney’s All Stars Music Resort is only $1,325.94.


Out of all the Moderate Resorts, by far my favorite is Port Orleans French Quarter! I love the romantic vibe as I walk hand in hand with my wife while cool jazz pays in the background.

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For comparison, reservations for two adults, October 9th to 14th, with four day base tickets at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort is only $1,851.74.

Another fan favorite is the Caribbean Beach Resort. It is the closest moderate resort to Epcot and is big enough to have availability for your dates, sometimes….. even at the last minute. Many of my clients prefer staying here for the vibe! And I can vouch for that. It is where Patti and I stayed for our honeymoon before our Disney Cruise.

If you prefer to stay in a deluxe resort, look no further than the Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn or Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Some of my favorite memories come from this group of resorts! While most of the DVC rooms are filling fast, the hotels are available to book for cash rooms.

Many people prefer to stay at the Yacht Club or Beach Club during the Food and Wine Festival because of the short walk to Epcot and the great swimming pool at their disposal during a mid day break or even before going to the festival.

This photo by Tammy Green from Chicago shows the Beach Club and Yacht Club pool at night. It is arguably the best pool on property.

Yes…. it is pricey but what a way to go! This is my go to resort for people traveling to celebrate something special like a honeymoon, special anniversary or birthday!

If you are staying in one of these Epcot resorts, the fun doesn’t stop after the park closes either. You are just a short walk away form a great nights entertainment at a special place called Jelly Rolls, on the boardwalk.

Jelly Rolls is a funny name for a dueling piano bar but it is a lot of fun. Here’s what Disney says about it on their website.

Let the good times roll at this lively piano bar for Guests over 21 with dueling pianos and audience sing-alongs.

Close-up of a Jellyrolls sign

Tickling Twice the Ivories

Raise a glass as you enjoy the rollicking music of 2 piano maestros. No request is too obscure, no artist beyond mimicry. These guys can play anything. Well, almost anything. Go ahead—try to stump them!


Raising the Bar
The raised, mirrored stage enhances the light show as the pianists take turns dazzling the audience with their stunning showmanship and wacky rapport.

A stage where 2 shiny black grand pianos wait for dueling players

Know Before You Go

Jellyrolls serves Guests 21 years of age and older. Be there early to grab a table. Jellyrolls is one of the hottest nightspots in the Orlando area and seats fill up fast. A cover charge is applicable. (It was $17.00 per person I think the last time we went.)  Entertainment is subject to change.
The piano players are outstanding and they know almost any song you request, but the best part about the show is watching the people in the audience. The later it gets, the funnier the people get with their alcohol induced actions. It rarely goes too far though as the employees keep their eyes open and anyone turning unruly will be escorted out.  Plan on getting a seat before Illuminations ends.
So start making those plans to attend Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and enjoy the wonderful food, wine and entertainment. I would love to help you do it.
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