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Sue Holland
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2002

Friday, October 11, 2003
by Sue Holland, MousePlanet staff writer

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival spans the world's cuisine.
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival spans the world's cuisine.

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is one of the most popular annual events at Walt Disney World. The 7th annual festival will take place from October 19 through November 17, 2002. While most of the action will take place in Epcot, and World Showcase in particular, this year there are a number of new events, which will be held in new locations.

New for 2002 are the following - "Eat to the Beat!" Concert Series; Party for the Senses: Eat, Drink and Celebrate; Bordeaux Wine School USA; Discover, Andalucia, Spain; A Festival Welcome Center; and Vertical Wine Tastings. Repeat visitors will see the familiar food stands representing different countries, each offering a couple of food items and a dessert for $1.00 to $4.00 each on average. Due to the high number of local visitors the Festival can get especially crowded on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each weekend. If you can visit on a weekday it will be much more enjoyable. Last year on the weekend the lines to get a food sample were 30 minutes or longer almost as soon as the World Showcase opened, while during the week there was seldom any wait at all.

One of the many food stations selling sample-sized portions from a particular country.
One of the many food stations selling sample-sized portions from a particular country.

The new "Eat to the Beat!" Concert Series takes place on the America Gardens Stage with evening performances by the following entertainers.

  • October 19-23 — Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards
  • October 24-28 — Mary Wilson of the Supremes
  • October 29 - November 2 — Sister Sledge
  • November 3-7 — Little Anthony and the Imperials
  • November 8-12 — The Fifth Dimension
  • November 13-17 — Chubby Checker

The new Party for the Senses: Eat, Drink and Celebrate replaces the Grand Tasting events held in previous years. It will be held in the old Millennium Village located between Canada and the United Kingdom in World Showcase, and is touted by Disney as a hip new event. There will be 16 noted chefs and over 50 wines featured. Held on Saturdays from 6-9 p.m., this event costs $79 per person plus tax and includes VIP seating for the 5:15 p.m. show of the "Eat to the Beat!" Concert Series and viewing for Illuminations to conclude the evening. Pin collectors in attendance will have the opportunity to purchase six special pins (one for each sense plus one for the Party for the Senses logo) which will only be available at these parties.

Another new event, The Prestigious Bordeaux Wine School is an accredited daylong wine education program being offered for the first time in North America. This will be held at Bistro de Paris in the France pavilion on November 7-10 from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. The cost is $100 per person plus tax and includes lunch.

Very popular in previous years, the Reserve Dinners will be held again in 2002. These are elegant six-course dinners prepared by Walt Disney World chefs in the Wonders of Life VIP dining room in Future World. Reserve wines are chosen by vintners who share their knowledge throughout the meal, which is limited to 36 guests. Reserve Dinners are held Thursdays and Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at a cost of $150 per person plus tax. Note that jackets are requested for men. The dinners are different each night, as follows.

  • Thursday, October 24 — Napa & Sonoma Best of Both Regions
  • Friday, October 25 — Australia's Prized Possessions
  • Thursday, October 31 — Great Reserve Wines of the Pacific Northwest
  • Friday, November 1 — Sensational Super Tuscans
  • Thursday, November 7 — Kings of California Cabernet
  • Friday, November 8 — The Best of Burgundy
  • Thursday, November 14 — Stars of South Africa
  • Friday, November 15 — Pinot Noir: The Ultimate Food Wine

Festival Mickey and Minnie welcome visitors to Epcot.
Festival Mickey and Minnie welcome visitors to Epcot.

In addition, a new Signature Dinner Series is offered this year. These are themed evenings reflecting the world's great wines and food, and each is held in a different venue to complement the theme. These are five-course dinners with Walt Disney World chefs with wines paired by the finest wineries of the highlighted regions. Cost is $100 per person plus tax and dinner is each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m..

  • October 20 — Wonders of Life VIP Din Rm Ultimate Tour of Italy
  • October 27 — Jiko - The Cooking Place South Africa Awakens
  • November 3 — California Grill CA Cuisine/Best of Sonoma
  • November 10 — Bistro de Paris France - Bordeaux
  • November 17 — Citricos Tour de France, Dinner For All Seasons

Food & Wine Pairings will be held again at the Coral Reef Restaurant in the Living Seas Pavilion in Future World on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Four varietal wines will be paired with food and hosted by a wine expert. The Pairings are limited to 30 guests and cost $30 per person plus tax.

The new Vertical Wine Tastings will provide the opportunity to taste at least 10 vintages and hear VIP wine speakers at Ariel's at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort on Saturdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Prices will vary, but start at $125 per person.

  • October 19 — Vintage Showcase of Bertani Amarone
  • October 26 — Top 10 Vintages of Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • November 2 — Retrospective of Burgundy's Clos des Tart
  • November 9 — Vintage Showcase of Bordeaux's Cantenac-Brown
  • November 16 — Far Niente's Ten Cellar Selections

Visitors approaching World Showcase are welcomed to the festival.
Visitors approaching World Showcase are welcomed to the festival.

As always, there will also be a number of wine seminars and other displays that do not cost extra. The events highlighted in the article require both advance reservations and admission to Epcot if the venue is inside the park. Many of these sell out far in advance, so if one is of interest it is best to call as early as possible. Generally reservations are taken starting in mid-July each year. For additional information check the official event website and to make a reservation call (407) WDW-FEST.

Write to Sue at sue.holland@mouseplanet.com.

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Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.

After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.

She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.

Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.

You can contact Sue here.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”


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