After a year of keeping crowds at bay and in masks at Walt Disney World parks, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival returns this week with its most bountiful version ever, one that will be released with two waves of new food booths in summer and fall.
Even though most of the food booths will open July 15, several will debut on Oct. 1 in conjunction with Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, including the Kenya, Lobster Landing and a Mac & Eats kiosk.
The festival runs through Nov. 20, and visitors still need an advance park reservation, though Disney has said it is intending to be back at full capacity by the fall. Guests who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks unless they are on buses or other Disney transportation and in indoor attractions.
You can eat and drink your way around Epcot’s World Showcase. But there are still limits from previous years, including another year without the Eat to the Beat Concert Series or the closeup, hands-on activities like chef demonstrations and seminars.
There will be 32 different “global marketplaces” on offer, with festival-exclusive items spread across the World Showcase and into Future World. A number of fan-favorite marketplaces will return, including Hawaii, Australia, Germany, Canada, Appleseed Orchard and Greece.
This year’s festival includes new food concepts, including the Brew-Wing at the Epcot Experience that pairs beer, flatbreads and chicken wings. Also now on the menu: the Noodle Exchange, the Swanky Saucy Swine with saucy pork dishes, Rotunda Bistro (seafood and produce at American Adventure) and the Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina (kebabs and falafel pita at the Morocco pavilion).
Kiosks coming on Oct. 1 include the Alps with ooey-gooey raclette Swiss cheese, Belgium with fluffy waffles, Kenya with East African-inspired tastes and Kenyan beer, plus Brazil, India and Ireland. The Mac & Eats food booth promises to be a whole lot more adventurous than what you’ll find in that iconic blue box, and the Spain marketplace will have paella, charcuterie and seafood salad, along with Spanish wine and beer.
Currently, Epcot is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the hours changing to 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the beginning of August.
Families who purchase a map from festival merchandise locations can search for Remy, the famous Pixar chef, placed around the park as hidden statuettes. Return the map and you will receive a surprise. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a dark ride in the France pavilion, is scheduled to debut Oct. 1.
Guests can also take part in Emile’s Fromage Montage. Anyone who purchases five cheese dishes featured in the festival passport will receive a specialty prize unique to the festival.
Though the festival is included with admission, starting at $109 for ages 10 and up, the food and wine treats cost $4 to $10 per item. The Festival Passport for Taste of Food & Wine is digital for 2021. Access the passport via the My Disney Experience app.