Recently, my husband and I visited Epcot's Food and Wine Festival as part of AutismAtTheParks’ Theme Park Tuesday. It isn't often that we are able to visit a theme park without our son but we were able to make arrangements for a parents’ day out. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid-80's. The crowds in World Showcase were moderate and we usually waited less than 5 minutes to purchase our food at the kiosks.
We obtained a festival passport (free to all guests) once we arrived. It is an excellent guide to the more than 30 Food and Wine Festival offerings found throughout World Showcase, the Festival Center, Odyssey Center and Future World. The passport also includes information about the Eat to the Beat daily concerts, specialty offerings and activities designed especially for kids. Inside the passport you will also find stickers to adhere to each listed marketplace you visit. Also, vegetarian and gluten/wheat-friendly items are indicated on all menus in the passport.
If you are concerned about your kids enjoying the Food and Wine Festival, Disney indicates with a symbol in the Festival Passport specific foods that are kid friendly. There are also eleven kidcot fun stops throughout World Showcase where kids can collect stamps and create a personalized souvenir. In addition, families can purchase a map with stickers to participate in Remy’s Ratatouille hide and squeak scavenger hunt game throughout world showcase and receive a surprise at the end. We did this scavenger hunt game last year with our son and it was an excellent way to keep him entertained while we walked around World Showcase tasting the different foods available.
My husband and I shared all entrees and desserts except those indicated and we did not purchase any alcohol this visit. To help keep costs down, we also brought along a small soft sided cooler with frozen water. Please remember that taste is very subjective and what we may like, you might not and vice-versa.
Our first marketplace stop was Hawaii in Showcase Plaza. We purchased the Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise $4.25. We liked this delicious blendof tangy BBQ pork and pineapple slider and would recommend it.
Our next stop was the Canada marketplace booth. Each year, Canada’s offerings have been our favorites and this year we were not disappointed. We enjoyed the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup served with a Pretzel Roll (the roll was new this year) $4.75 and “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce $7.75. The filet was superb and practically melted in my mouth. We purchased two servings of soup and it was delicious. I love almost any type of bread and the pretzel roll was a great compliment to the soup. If you can only eat from one Food & Wine Marketplace booth, it should be Canada. You’ll be glad you did.
In Scotland, we purchased The Tipsy Laird: a Whiskey-soaked cake with lemon cream and toasted oats $3.50. It was one of our favorite desserts this day and I would definitely purchase it again next time.
We switched our pattern traveling around World Showcase because we needed to go to the Mouse Gear merchandise shop to purchase a hat for my husband due to the strong sunshine. Afterwards, we decided to tour World Showcase in the opposite direction.
Several friends recommended different marketplace booths and one of them was Australia. We had the Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas $5.00. This shrimp was very good and I really liked the combination of flavors.
Another highly recommended item by friends was the Korean-style BBQ Beef with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi $5.25 from the South Korea marketplace booth. Honestly, we would not have tried this had it not been recommended. To our surprise, it was fantastic! The combination of flavors was amazing! This entrée ended up being our second favorite item (after Canada’s) of the whole day. My husband enjoyed the Cucumber Kimchi so much he wants to find a recipe to try at home.
Our next stop was Germany where I purchased an Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce $3.75. My husband does not like this type of dessert so I was on my own with this one. The apple strudel was good and the vanilla sauce was a perfect accompaniment, sweet but not overpowering the strudel flavors.
In Morocco we purchased another recommended item, the Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce $5.00. This entrée was okay but we weren’t as huge fans of this item as many others have reported. Taste is definitely subjective.
Next was Brazil Marketplace and we purchased both the Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans and Tomato $5.50 and the Pao de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread $3.75. The pork belly dish was very good. As a bread lover, I’d say the fresh, warm cheese bread was to die for.
At this point we were getting pretty full but there were many more food items to try. Our next stop was in Ireland where my husband wanted to try the warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard $3.75. I took a taste and liked it. My husband said it was very good.
One last item we wanted to try before leaving Epcot was in the Chocolate Studio in Future World West. My husband loves chocolate more than I love bread so he was happy to order the Ghirardelli Chocolate Raspberry Torte $4.00. It was very good and we would recommend it to all chocolate lovers.
For those of you who enjoy the beverage aspect of the Food & Wine Festival, there were many choices at each Marketplace booth along with recommended food and wine pairings. Guests could also visit the Craft Beers building and several beverage only booths were located throughout World Showcase.
The Food and Wine Festival at Epcot is one of our favorite special events at Walt Disney World each year. While we only took part in a portion of the festival, we enjoyed this year’s event too. The Food & Wine Festival was a great place to spend our parents’ day out and if you ever get the chance to experience this awesome festival, I highly recommend it.
Maureen is married and has a son with autism. She and her family visit an Orlando Theme Park nearly every weekend. Maureen created AutismAtTheParks to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks. She is also a contributor to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope.
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