By Pete Gruenthal
It’s almost here — fall in Orlando! Soon we Florida residents start to look forward to cooler weather, but if that’s not enough, it’s also time for the 2010 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, when the park transform itself into a food and wine lover’s paradise. This is an event I look too forward to every year because it’s the chance to try delicious foods, wine and beer from around the world, all in one place. We enjoy this event with our adult friends by playing hooky on a day when the kids are all in school. Though Japanese food and sushi are still my favorite, I truly enjoy exploring all the offerings available.
Running from Oct. 1 to Nov. 14, the Epcot International Food & Wine Fest, makes its annual return at marketplaces along World Showcase Promenade. The theme park transforms into a destination filled with the world’s tastiest regional foods and drinks, making for an unforgettable sensory experience. Plus, you still get to enjoy all the usual, spectacular rides, parades and shows.
To start out, wear comfortable clothes to walk, but also eat in. (We sometimes have to plan on wearing those certain, comfortable clothes when attending an event centered round eating food.) You’ll need an Epcot Theme Park ticket for admission, and I recommend first stopping by the Festival Welcome Center to plan your day. You’ll also find the Festival Wine Shop and the Wonders Bar where you can purchase champagne and wine or attend official book signings with celebrity chefs and authors.
Besides the food and drink, you can also learn from renowned chefs and winemakers at special programs and demonstrations, plus Eat to the Beat, a concert series playing every night of the festival with a fabulous lineup of well known musical acts. Last year we caught Sister Hazel; I might try for Cool and the Gang or Jon Secada this year!
When I recommend this event, I suggest everyone plan to come hungry! If an overnight stay is needed, staying on Disney property provides the conveniences of resort transportation and close proximity to other Disney parks and venues.
Insider tip: Pick up a Food & Wine themed mini Disney Gift Card for an easy way to carry your money on your wrist and simply the best way to experience the Festival. Just load or reload the card with any amount you desire and you’re spared the trouble of getting out your credit card or cash any time you want to pay for food, merchandise and more.
Pete Gruenthal is a Strategic Account Manager for Orbitz and is based in Orlando. His wife Julie and two boys enjoy all Florida activities from beaches to theme parks.