Must Do Special Events at the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

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food and wine 2013

Guests planning on attending this year’s Food & Wine Festival (F&W) at Epcot will be able to book special ticketed events for the festival beginning at 7 a.m. on August 13th. With newly added and popular events that are a Food & Wine Festival Tradition, it’s hard to choose which events should be on your list of must-do’s. Popular events sell out quickly, so planning for the F&W is extremely important, so you don’t miss out. Here are some tips on choosing your F&W special events and which ones are must-do’s for all types of budgets and park goers.

Tip: Plan ahead: Take a look at the entire special events calendar and decide which ones are your highest priorities. Are you looking for a big event? Several small ones? After you make your list, check out reviews from previous year’s events. Party for the Senses & “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery are two previously held F&W events, and you’ll easily find reviews on them. You’ll also want to make a list of back-up events, should your preferred events be sold out.

Must Do #5: Culinary Demonstrations

Some of my favorite events are the culinary demonstrations. Not only are they extremely affordable ($10-$15), but you also get the opportunity to see Disney & celebrity chefs feature a unique dish and beverage. These sessions last around 45 minutes and provide nice tips and tricks. Held at the Festival Welcome Center, you’ll even have the opportunity to meet celebrity chefs afterwards for book signings and autographs. One of my favorite culinary demonstrations was Top Chef Masters Chef Suvir Saran who specializes in Indian cuisine. Celebrity chefs tend to book out quickly, so make your plans as early as possible.

Culinary demonstration

Tip: Contact Disney’s Special Diets Department if you have dietary needs: For those of us who have special dietary needs, I can’t stress enough how important it is to contact Disney’s Special Diets Department directly so that they can get you in contact with Disney’s Catered Events. While you do have the option to note your special dietary needs on all dining reservations including F&W ticketed events, this is not always relayed to the dining team. While contacting the Special Diets Department won’t guarantee specially prepared food, it does help ensure that you are able to eat something at the event you are attending.

Must Do #4: Mixology or Beer, Wine, or Spirit Seminars

These are another reasonably priced way to enjoy F&W special events. At around $11-$14, guests will be treated to an array of various beverages from specialty wines to great mixed drinks. Like the culinary demonstrations, these last about 45 minutes and are also held in the Festival Welcome Center. It’s a great way to sample some unique drinks and learn more about them.

Food & Wine Festival Beverage

Tip: Pace yourself: The Food & Wine Festival can be overwhelming and trying to participate in every tier of special event is next to impossible. Try to pick and choose the most important things to you, spacing them out over the course of your vacation. I’ve made the mistake of over indulging and ending up with a wicked stomach ache. Nothing makes your F&W experience and vacation less magical than being sick! A little bit of indulgence goes a long way.

Must Do #3 “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery

This is one of the classic F&W must-do’s! Introduced in 2011, “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery is held on 3 different dates from 8 – 9:30 p.m. It features amazing desserts, specialty drinks (which are paired with desserts) and a special 3D viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. What can be better than sweet treats and a great view of the fireworks? There’s also live entertainment. Last year there were specialty desserts from Babycakes Bakery in Downtown Disney, so guests who had special dietary needs also could enjoy. At $55-$90, this is a bit more expensive than demonstrations, but really does offer experience for guests. If I had to pick one moderately priced ticketed event, this would be it.

Tip: Check out the nighttime events: The “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery is just one of several nighttime events. These offer really great experiences and any event at Disney during the evening/nighttime is extra magical.

Must Do #2 New Events

There are several new events being offered this year, and they are an absolute must-do! From the lower priced Parisian Breakfast ($37), moderately priced Spirits Confidential ($80-$95) to the indulgent Hibachi Experience ($120) and Scotland, Land of Food and Drink ($95-$115), guests are sure to be wowed by these new exciting events.

Tip: Look for discounts: If you are an annual passholder, DVC member, or Tables in Wonderland cardholder, you can ask for discounts on special events. Often the discounts have some restrictions, such as being allowed to get discounts on weekday only events, but it’s well worth calling ahead of time and asking.

Must Do #1 Party for the Senses

This is the hands down must-do special event at the Food & Wine Festival. It features amazing food and beverage from Disney and celebrity chefs, and even includes breathtaking performances from Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba! Food offerings range from samples of savory dishes to decadent desserts and everything in between. No matter what your tastes, you’re sure to find something to suite your fancy. Tickets are a steep $180-$225, so this event is a serious chunk of change. But, for the foodies out there, this is a rare treat. It is sure to be a magical night and a real party for your senses!


What are your must-do Food & Wine Festival Events?

When Sarah isn’t sharing planning tips about the Walt Disney World Resort, you can find her at the Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW  where she writes dining reviews and shares tips and tricks about dining at Disney with a special diet.

If you have a special diet, join Sarah at the 2nd Annual Special Diets Dessert Party held on October 13, 2013 during the Food & Wine Festival. It’s a must-do for guests with special diets!


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