Welcome (or welcome back) to our series, 40 Days to 40 Years! Thank you for joining some of the most talented Disney writers as we countdown to Epcot’s 40th Anniversary. Introducing Beth and EPCOT 1995.
In 1995, Epcot debuted one of my absolute favorite events in this park – the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This festival features cuisine from countries around the world. From pork pot stickers in China to beef empanadas in Argentina to spicy tuna rolls in Japan it’s alllll delicious. World Showcase is transformed into a World’s Fair of food. Here, there are several stops along the way to purchase authentic dishes from over 20 countries.
Even better, at the America Gardens Theatre throughout the festival, there are several artists who perform as part of the Eat to the Beat series of concerts. The night we were there, my husband was thrilled to hear The Pointer Sisters perform! Of course, there are plenty of other artists in the festival line too. This included the Ginn Blossoms, Night Ranger and many more.
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival
We have visited during the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival twice. First in 2008, we couldn’t wait to see all the offerings. Unfortunately, we underestimated what it would be like to travel to Walt Disney World with three kids. At ages 3.5, 2 and 10 months all we did were diapers! Needless to say, we did not experience everything we had thought we would. I guess we can say our 2008 trip wet our appetite to experience it one day!
In 2011, we visited Walt Disney World again during the Food & Wine Festival. Before even leaving home, we knew we would be taking full advantage of the Food & Wine Festival. Since my parents were traveling with us, they offered to take the kids for the night. Even better, our closest friends were in Disney at the same time. Better still? They also had a babysitter for their kids! The four of us headed to Epcot for what turned out to be one of the most amazing date nights.
Before leaving home, I had made a list of all the things I knew I wanted to try and let’s just say, I was not disappointed! Between the four of us, we were able to try something at every booth! I was quite full by the time we reached the France booth, so I continued my culinary adventure the next day for lunch to finish up! I was determined not to miss a thing, and I am happy to say I completed my Food & Wine Festival To Do List!
EPCOT Global Marketplaces
Though there wasn’t a dish I didn’t like, I definitely had some stand out favorites. Since I am a sweets person, I will say that my number one dish was the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Irish Cream Ganache from the Ireland booth. This was absolutely delicious! I would love to have the recipe for this, though my diet is very thankful I do not have it!
Perhaps the item that impressed me the most was the Escargot at the France Booth. It was served in little bread bowls! Another impressive and delicious dish! Finally I would round out my top three items with the Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce from the Belgium booth.
Overall, this was one of the best experiences we have had in Walt Disney World. Spending an evening strolling through World Showcase with our closest friends, sampling delicious foods and, of course, enjoying a few drinks created memories I will always cherish.
One of these years, I look forward to enjoying this experience with my own children, who are fairly adventurous eaters! We won’t be in Walt Disney World for the festival this year, but I know it won’t be long before we are headed back for another culinary adventure through World Showcase!
Happy 40th Anniversary, EPCOT!