Every year the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival brings crowds to the “happiest place on earth” for a 45-day event that features culinary masterpieces available for sampling from over 25 countries in six continents. Groups, too, can enjoy a day with Mickey Mouse and the crew, complete with meeting space, custom-tailored demonstrations and tastings, and private event options.
It’s the easiest way to get two dozen stamps on your passport without ever leaving Walt Disney World! Yes, that’s right. Disney employees will be on hand to stamp your Disney Passport as your group walks around the 40-acre World Showcase Lagoon, taking in the culture, entertainment and food, of course, from the 29 pavilions.
Four new pavilions are being introduced this year, offering tapas-sized portions of their traditional dishes:
- – Hawaii, serving Kahlua pork sliders and tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips
- – The Caribbean Islands, offering ropa vieja with rice and jerk-spiced chicken with mango salsa
- – Portugal, where your group can enjoy calamari salad with olives and smoked paprika or Linguica sausage with onions, peppers and olives
- – A craft beer station.
So whether you’re in the mood for sushi or ceviche, mimosas or merlot, everything you crave can be found just across the lake.
SEMINARS AND SAMPLINGS
For a more intimate experience, groups can choose from a variety of demonstrations, seminars and dinners that the festival offers as an add-on. One such is the “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery, hosted by DeKuyper Cordials & Liqueurs, where groups can indulge in decadent desserts and cordials, followed by a VIP viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Sweet Seats is a new, exclusive area within “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery that is upgraded to include a private reserved table, entrance into World ShowPlace Events Pavilion 15 minutes before general admission, a specialty beverage, a unique dessert offering and more. Reservations must be made in advance.
Another great group event, the Best of Bocuse Dinner, features meals created by chef Paul Bocuse, a 3-star Michelin chef of 47 years. Groups have a chance to savor his legendary dishes during a sumptuous meal at Bistro de Paris, the restaurant he established in 1982 at Epcot Theme Park. Your 5-course meal includes his famous truffle soup—which chef Bocuse once served to a French President—and simply the best tarte tatin.
Of course, the chefs responsible for the rest of these mouth-watering dishes will be on hand, as well. In its six weeks, the festival will welcome a crew of more than 270 Disney and celebrity chefs, winemakers and brew masters that include Andrew Zimmern, Warren Brown, Jeff Henderson, Alan Wong, Keegan Gerhard and celebrity Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro.
Daily wine seminars, bottle signings, author events and culinary demonstrations are available for groups at the Festival Welcome Center, as well as live entertainment running along the promenade.
The Eat to the Beat concert series gives groups a chance to dance along to fan favorites like Taylor Dayne, Jon Secada, Boyz II Men, Gin Blossoms and The Pointer Sisters, burning off a few calories from their day’s worth of sampling goodies from around the globe.
For groups who wish to host an event in the theme park, the World Showcase Pavilion, Disney’s largest dedicated convention facility within a theme park, can seat 2,500 pax. For groups who just can’t get enough of the festival, or don’t have time to enjoy all of its offerings, the facility can recreate elements of the festival year round, able to add culinary demonstrations and live entertainment to your next meeting or event.