Culinary Carnival: Disney’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival Is A Ride Into Foodie Heaven

They say Walt Disney World is the place where “adults can be a kid again.” That is true! But Disney is also a place where adults can be adults as well!

And one of the best things to do at Walt Disney World for the very grown consumer is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

This supersized food and wine spectacular is an 87-day festival based at the Epcot Resort and this year, runs from August 29 through November 23. Literally, this celebration of cuisine and libations from all over the will have lasted longer than Kim Kardashian’s second marriage.

This culinary convocation captured on social media using the hashtag #TasteEpcot is a hybrid of food and beverage events ranging from cooking demonstrations; international tasting stations; cookbook signings; food talks; wine pairings; and concerts.

I participated in a cooking demonstration called “Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!” by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker. The Atlanta-based celebrity chef and cookbook author had us make a surprisingly tasty strawberry sandwich appetizer and a seafood salad that was amazing. She also helped us create a spice rub that we could take home and try on different dishes.  This was such an enjoyable cooking demo.

With Chef Jennifer Hill Booker after her cooking demonstration

One of my favorite events during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the Party for the Senses. This event is an elaborate dinner expo with chefs preparing a variety of meals or desserts at 21 food stations; along with 23 different beverage sampling stations as well.

With Chef Faithy Harris-Dowdell at Party for the Senses

Some of my favorite dishes of the night were the Kalbi-marinated Wagyu tri-tip with kimchi mashed potatoes by Chef Faithy Harris-Dowdell of Yak & Yeti Restaurant based in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park; the braised halibut with pea puree and chile oil by Chef Steven Meese, a Michelin-starred chef and host of “Behind the Plate;” the Louisiana crawfish and sweet potato tartlet by Chef Jason Goodenough from Carrollton Market in New Orleans; and lastly, the dynamite shrimp by Chef Matt Howard of Splitsville Dining Room at Disney Springs.

There are also performances during the Party for the Senses and the night I attended the Femmes of Rock were the featured act. This event is worth the $229 per guest ticket to attend.

Another attraction during #TasteEpcot is their Eat To The Beat Concert series.

VIDEO: Watch sights and sounds from Jawn Murray’s experience at #TasteEpcot

One of the great aspects of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the accessibility of the Disney characters. During my time in the park I was able to meet and get photos with Mickey Mouse, Minnie and Goofy. I also saw engagement stations for Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Alice (from “Alice in Wonderland”) as I took in touring the festival’s food stations.

Jawn Murray Goofy

You can also enjoy some of the park rides like the virtual experience Soarin and the automotive attraction Test Track, two of my personal favorites.

In the evenings before the park closes, there’s always a breathtaking fireworks show. The newest one, Epcot Forever, replaces their previous fireworks show Illuminations.

During my time at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival I saw bridal parties in his and her t-shirts hanging out; groups of women in “Girls Trip” t-shirts; fraternity and sorority groups; and some very diverse groups of friends gathered together to eat, drink and be merry together while enjoying the magic of Disney.

I strongly suggest making the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival a destination you consider when playing your adult vacations in 2020.

CHECK OUT additional photos from my experience at Disney’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

Cooking demo set-up for Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

With Mickey Mouse

Jawn Murray & Disney host Chef Pam Smith

Beverages at Dahlia Lounge at Disney’s Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Hors Devours board at Toledo Restaurant at Disney’s Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

The food station at the cooking demonstration


VIDEO: Watch Memphis Blues band Southern Avenue perform their hit “Don’t Give Up” at the Eat To The Beat concert series at #TasteEpcot

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