21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Launches New Resort Experiences and Welcomes Celebrity Chef Participants

A new lineup of popular celebrity chefs and a series of first-time Disney resort cooking and dining experiences will add fresh culinary appeal to the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase at Walt Disney World Resort.

The annual Disney tour of tastes from six continents, running 62 days from Sept. 14-Nov. 14, has become one of America’s top food festivals and features inspired flavors at more than 30 global marketplaces. For the second consecutive year, ABC’s Emmy Award-winning lifestyle series, “The Chew,” will arrive to produce a full week of programs on the show’s exclusive Epcot festival stage.

Culinary notables Geoffrey Zakarian, Maneet Chauhan, Duff Goldman, Elliott Farmer, Masaharu Morimoto and Graham Elliot will step up to the stove to host their first festival special events such as seminars and culinary demonstrations. Other chef icons like Robert Irvine, Cat Cora, Norman Van Aken, Elizabeth Falkner, Buddy Valastro and Jamie Deen will return in 2016 to entertain foodies and inspire their palates at premium events that include Party for the Senses grand tastings featuring reimagined entertainment.
First-time festival resort experiences include Brunch with a Twist at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef for a hands-on chef’s table experience in a professional working kitchen; The Secret of Flavor three-course lunch that gives guests a “sensory-food connection” at Yachtsman Steakhouse; and a tropical “Zombie” encounter during Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
“Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!” hands-on workshops at the Festival Center will offer guests a chance to learn a variety of culinary skills from chefs, bakers, mixologists and other pros.
For a second year, global marketplaces will extend into Future World to offer a wider range of taste sensations. New this year will be: The Chew Collective in the Next Eats area of Future World; the Wine & Dine Studio and Chocolate Studio, also in Future World; plus Islands of the Caribbean marketplace in World Showcase.
Festival guests can pair wines, beers and ciders with savory and sweet dishes as they stroll the World Showcase Promenade using their complimentary festival passports as a guide.

New marketplace menus debut and festival favorites return – Hard soda float, anyone? Guests can choose a favorite hard soda to mix with vanilla ice cream for a sweet treat at Desserts & Champagne marketplace. A savory vegan dish will debut at the Greece marketplace, and the popular Farm Fresh marketplace will showcase Florida’s bounty with new savory dishes. Up to 47 percent of the menu food items are new or reimagined dishes.

Multiple new Eat to the Beat concert acts debut; fan favorites return to play 186 festival concerts, in all –Wang Chung (Everybody Have Fun Tonight!) will open the Eat to the Beat concert series Sept. 14-15. More new acts in the concert series lineup, including Delta Rae and Toad The Wet Sprocket – will rock their chart-topping tunes. Other popular acts, including Wilson Phillips, Boyz II Men and Jeffrey Osbourne, will return to the America Gardens Theatre stage this fall.

Celebrity chefs, wine experts and mixologists join the fun – Celebrities ranging from Rock Harper to master sommelier Andrea Robinson will share their food and beverage know-how during culinary demos, beverage seminars and a variety of other events spanning the festival’s 62 days.

The popular Festival Private Label California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are back and available by the bottle or by the glass.

Ratatouille returns — Chef Remy of “Ratatouille” returns with his fun-for-the-family culinary scavenger hunt that features six brand-new collectible pins this year.

Festival Center cooks on all burners –Festival Center highlights will include new festival merchandise, the complimentary Back to Basics weekend series featuring epicurean tips and tricks from the pros, book and bottle signings and The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli and offering guest samples.

Plan for a premium adventure:

Rockin’ Burger Block Party and Party for the Senses grand tasting events will showcase creative bites and palate-pleasing sips from eminent chefs and beverage experts plus new live entertainment.
Intimate dining and tasting events to book will include the “Umami” Tokyo Pairing and other Epcot restaurant experiences as well as multi-course lunches and dinners at Disney Springs and resort restaurants.
Rest and recharge at the Chase Lounge – Chase debit and credit card members – including Disney Visa card members — will find complimentary non-alcoholic refreshments, a charging station and comfortable seating for a relaxing break at the Chase Lounge at American Adventure.

Included with Epcot Admission:

Back to Basics series, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.

Special Programming by Reservation:

The Party for the Senses grand tasting events, signature dinners and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. When a reservation booking date is announced this summer, guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) and get details at EpcotFoodFestival.com.

Disney Cruise Line Returning to New York, California and Texas in Fall 2017

In the fall of 2017, Disney Cruise Line will return to New York with sailings to the Bahamas and the Canadian coast – including a new seven-night Canada cruise. San Diego will serve as a home port with cruises to Mexico, and Galveston will again be a homeport with sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas.

Bookings open to the public May 26, 2016. More details on the itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2017 page of disneycruise.com.

DCL - NYC

New Canada coast itinerary and new ports from New York

Disney Cruise Line returns to New York City in the fall of 2017, for a mix of voyages that include Canada coast and Bahamas itineraries.

On Oct. 21, the Disney Magic will sail from New York on a seven-night Canada sailing – the line’s longest-ever voyage to the Atlantic Canada coast. This sailing includes a new port of call for Disney Cruise Line – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Bar Harbor, Maine, is another new port of call for Disney Cruise Line and part of a five-night sailing that departs New York on Sept. 27. This cruise also will stop at Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

A total of six seven- and eight-night sailings to the Bahamas, all including a visit to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, will be a part of the 2017 New York season.

Adding to the magic on each of the Bahamian cruises will be the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World Resort when the ship stops at Port Canaveral, Fla. Each guest on these sailings will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation for the short drive between the ship and the resort.

DCL - San Diego

Return to San Diego, California

In September and October of 2017, Disney Cruise Line will return to San Diego with a variety of Disney Wonder cruises to Baja and the Mexican Riviera.

On most Baja sailings, guests can visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, to enjoy world-famous beaches and snorkeling. Two-night cruises depart San Diego on Sept. 15, Sept. 22 and Oct. 13, and a three-night cruise departs Oct. 5 and includes a day at sea.

Mexican Riviera itineraries feature snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots, while Puerto Vallerta and Mazatlan are where cliff divers, culture and ziplining through the jungle canopy take center stage. Seven-night itineraries departing on Sept. 24 and Oct. 15, call on Puerto Vallerta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Four additional four- and five-night Mexican Riviera cruises set sail during the season in San Diego.

DCL - Galveston

Return to Galveston, Texas

Disney Cruise Line returns to Galveston in 2017, with a line up of eight seven-night cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. All Bahamian itineraries include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

On Nov. 10 and Dec. 1, the Disney Wonder will sail a western Caribbean itinerary from Galveston to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica.

On Nov. 17, Nov. 24, Dec, 8, Dec. 15, Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, the Disney Wonder will sail from Galveston to Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500 or contact their travel agent.

Via Napoli Serves 1 Millionth Pizza

Today marked a major milestone at Via Napoli at the Epcot Italy pavilion – 1 million pizza pies! Hand-tossed with a thin, slightly charred crust and toppings that start with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and fresh tomato sauce . . . this is the real deal under the watchful eye of pizza guy Charlie Restivo, who’s been throwing pies at Via Napoli since opening day.

“We opened in 2010, and computing the number of pizzas we bake every single day, today someone in the restaurant is enjoying the millionth,” says Restivo, who grew up in a big Italian family in Queens, N.Y. It might’ve been our prosciutto and melon pizza, every bite crisp and tinged with a smoky char. Or maybe our neighbor’s margherita, or the “affumicata,” a pie with mozzarella, smoked salmon, arugula, pomodorini (tomato sauce), stracchino (cow’s milk cheese).

The thin-crust pizzas are made with fresh mozzarella cheese, San Marzano tomatoes and real Caputo flour imported from Southern Italy. Water for the dough is even sourced from a spring similar to Italy’s Campania region. Pizzas are then cooked in serious – 800°F serious — wood-burning ovens cleverly named after the three active volcanoes in Italy—Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli.

The top pie is the margherita, says Restivo, and the all-American pepperoni runs a close second. But you can also get your choice of toppings (we’re partial to the Italian spice sausage and fresh mozzarella).

But the menu Via Napoli goes way beyond pizzas. The eggplant Parmesan is a specialty that Charlie learned as a boy from his dad, with paper-thin slices of eggplant lightly dredged in flour, pan fried, then served with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and a generous ladle of “Sunday gravy,” red sauce. There’s veal, chicken, lasagna and classic spaghetti and meatballs – and if the linguine carbonara with a hint of truffle oil is the daily special, you won’t be disappointed.

You must continue the carb fest with dessert: there’s plenty to choose from, but learn to say “Coppa Brutti Ma Buoni” (“Ugly but Good”), a sweet ending that ranks in our top 10 desserts ever, a simple sundae with Amarena cherries, vanilla gelato and crunchy Italian meringue cookies.

Walt Disney Family Museum – Walt Disney: A Giant at the World’s Fair

1964 NY World's Fair

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Bob Gurr join Disney park pioneer Frank Stanek for a talk about Walt’s creation of four groundbreaking attractions for the exposition. Kathryn Ayres, curator for the exhibit on the 75th anniversary of the 1939–40 Golden Gate International Exposition provides special commentary, and  Disney Legends Alice Davis, Rolly Crump, and Richard Sherman make video appearances.

Presentation: Lucasfilm/ILM Premier Theater at 11am
Signing: Museum Lower Lobby at 2pm

Tickets:
$25 members | $30 general | $18 youth (17 and under)