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.