“Hiya Pal!”

The 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is just around the corner. The 21st annual festival is expanding this year to a record of 62 days! It will be running from September 14- November 14, 2016. The festival is in the World Showcase at Epcot. Last year the booths expanded into Future World of Epcot as they will again this year. For the first time in its history, you can indulge in festival experiences at select Walt Disney World hotels and resorts as they will also be joining in on the celebration as well. Here is some helpful information on exclusive experiences you may want to book, or plan your day around for the perfect day at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

 Resort hotel experiences

As mentioned above the festival is expanding outside of Epcot this year. There are four new experiences offered

  • “Brunch with a Twist at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa” —  Brunch will be served at Citricos—a sumptuous five-star, five-course meal prepared by the resort’s award-winning chefs from the world renowned Victoria and Albert’s, Narcoossee’s, and Citricos restaurants. Attendees will learn new cooking techniques while watching chefs whip up their signature specialties. Each dish is paired with complementary wines for the ultimate brunch experience.
  • “The Secrets of Flavor at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort” — a three-course lunch that gives your Clients a ‘sensory-food connection’ at Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Indulge in a luscious smorgasbord for your mind and your taste buds. Determine how the science of sensory memory affects the way we perceive our favorite foods.
  • “Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef” at Disney’s Contemporary Resort — a hands-on chef’s table experience in a professional working kitchen with Disney’s Master Chefs. The professional kitchen rivals that of Le Cordon Blue. Guests or “students” rather will spend one hour in select stations preparing different dishes alongside some of Disney’s own Master Chefs. After the lesson is over guest will head to the chef’s table for a five-course meal complete with perfect wine pairings.
  • “Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto” at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort {my favorite bar ever!} This is a fun and interactive tour of the whimsical Trader Sam’s, including lunch and a special mixology session.

{Photo: Disney}

The Chew

If you are a fan of the chew, Food & Wine fest would be a perfect time to head to WDW. For the second year in a row, the loveable cast will be taping a week’s worth of episodes in Epcot on October 5-7. They will also be touring other areas of WDW so keep your eyes peeled for them if you are there on those dates. The pre-recorded episodes will air on ABC at 1 PM EST 12 PM PT during the week of October 10-14.

Celebrity chefs

There are a large number of tours and seminars going on in Epcot each day for an additional cost of the park admission. “What’s cookin’ with…..” is an attractive option including a plated breakfast—a favorite recipe of one of the VIP chefs listed below. Other celebrity guests will be present offering tips, tricks and culinary insight during a cooking demo that’ll be topped off with a champagne toast.

{Photo: Disney}

  • Friday, Sept. 16 – Elizabeth Falkner
  • Sunday, Sept. 18 – Bryan Voltaggio
  • Friday, Sept. 23 – Andrea Robinson
  • Sunday, Sept. 25 – Robert Irvine
  • Friday, Sept.30 – Graham Elliot
  • Sunday, Oct. 2 – Buddy Valastro
  • Friday, Oct. 7 – Jamie Deen
  • Sunday, Oct. 9 – Cat Cora
  • Friday, Oct. 14 – Emily Ellyn
  • Friday, Oct. 21 – Andrew Zimmern
  • Sunday, Oct. 23 – Rock Harper
  • Sunday, Oct. 30 – Geoffrey Zakarian
  • Friday, Nov. 4 – Alex Guarnaschelli
  • Sunday, Nov. 6 – David Guas
  • Friday, Nov. 11 – Sarah Fioroni
  • Sunday, Nov. 13 – Jehangir Mehta

 Eat to the beat

The Eat to the Beat concert series is back again this year with a fun, toe-tapping lineup. Performances are 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. daily at America Gardens Theatre, the concert is free with park admission. There are special dining packages available at select World Showcase restaurants offering VIP seating during the show. If you are hoping to dine at one of these restaurants, this would be a great option. If not there isn’t a bad seat in American pavilion area. Here is the upcoming concert schedule.

{Photo: Disney}

  • Sept. 14-15 – Wang Chung
  • Sept. 16-18 – STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
  • Sept. 19-20 – Air Supply
  • Sept. 21-23 – BoDeans
  • Sept. 24-25 – Fuel
  • Sept. 26-28 – Sugar Ray
  • Sept. 29-30 – Los Lobos
  • Oct. 1-2 – David Cook
  • Oct. 3-4 – Wilson Phillips
  • Oct. 5-6 – Blues Traveler
  • Oct. 7-9 – Plain White T’s
  • Oct. 10-11 – 38 Special
  • Oct. 12-13 – Jeffrey Osborne
  • Oct. 14-16 – Tiffany
  • Oct. 17-19 – Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx
  • Oct. 20-21 – Christopher Cross
  • Oct. 22-23 – Toad The Wet Sprocket
  • Oct. 24-25 – Chaka Khan
  • Oct. 26-27 – Billy Ocean
  • Oct. 28-29 – Living Colour
  • Oct. 30-Nov. 1 – Hanson
  • Nov. 2-3 – Soul Asylum
  • Nov. 4-6 – Delta Rae
  • Nov. 7-9 – Boyz II Men
  • Nov. 10-11 – Sister Hazel
  • Nov. 12-14 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Fall is the perfect time to visit WDW. The crowds and temperatures are lower and adding the Food & Wine Festival along with the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party it makes it one of the best seasons to visit. As always contact me if you are thinking of taking a Disney vacation. Join me next week for a list of the top eats and drinks from past festivals still on the menu this year along with some of the new enticing recipeis added to this year festival.

“See you real soon!”