Finding Beer at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
It’s almost that magical time of year that occurs every Fall in Orlando, Florida… Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival. While Magic Kingdom is putting jack o’ lanterns on Main Street in August, and Hollywood Studios is putting the final touches on the Millennium Falcon, Epcot is preparing to make ‘Drinking Around the World’ even more fun!
If you have not been to Epcot before (or since you turned 21), then you may not be familiar with the acronym DATW, Drinking Around the World. It is a phrase coined by guests because Epcot has 11 different countries, and you can get different beverages in each of them! Beer, wine, or liquor. Epcot has it all. As far as beer, you can find your basic lagers everywhere, but Mickey has so much more to offer these days, and the Food & Wine Festival kicks it up an extra notch.
Epcot’s Food & Wine Booths
This year’s festival starts on August 29th and goes until November 23rd. If possible, try and avoid Saturdays and the first and last weekend of the festival. These are peak busy times. During Food & Wine as you walk around the world, aka the World Showcase, small booths can be found between each country. Many of the booths represent a country that Epcot does not have year-round, and they all have different themed snacks and drinks. You will also find other themed booths just before you get into the World Showcase.
Last year they had a light lab and sold drinks that were literally glowing. Right next to that was a color lab with very brightly colored beers. The festival beers offered are usually six ounce pours. I like to bring a Tervis and buy two beers at a time. I was told by a Cast Member recently that you are not supposed to do that, so don’t do that. The booths that offer three or more beers, will usually also offer a flight, with three or four, four ounce pours.
Local Craft Beer
Over the last few years I have seen more and more local Florida breweries show up on the menus. Funky Buddha, Playalinda, MIA, Central 28, Copperpoint, Bold City, 3 daughters… The list goes on and on. Last year one of the beers served was a Central 28 pale ale called Waff-Ale. It had a hint of waffle sweetness, but then finished crisp and smooth while still maintaining that delicious beer flavor. In 2017 Foxtail Coffee teamed up with Orange Blossom Brewing to create a very refreshing coffee pilsner. If you’re a dark beer fan, you will be covered as well. Ignore the heat and humidity. A bourbon barrel aged stout can be enjoyed year-round. Germany is also never in short supply of great beer all year, and extra options always show up at Food & Wine!
Before you ‘DATW’
While the park is generally open from 9 to 9, a lot of the festival booths do not open until 11:00 am. If you get to Epcot when they open, the first thing you should do is grab a passport. They’re right next to those handy dandy maps at the entrance. Whether this is your first Food & Wine festival, or your twenty fourth, the passport is a great resource, and it’s complimentary!
Once you have your passport and have taken your picture with the giant Epcot ball, head to Test Track or Mission Space. You do not want to go on these rides after you drink every beer the festival has to offer. Doing these in reverse order can lead to your spouse giving you a piggyback ride out of the park (which is not the worst way to leave a theme park). While you’re in line start scanning that passport. It will show you exactly what food and beverages are at each Food & Wine booth. Knowing what each booth has before you walk up can prevent a serious heel injury. Those can occur from a stroller hitting you from behind while you’re staring at a menu in the walk way. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/epcot/
In addition to just having extra amazing beer options, Epcot also offers beverage seminars during Food & Wine. While most of them are wine related, a few breweries do show up. This year it looks like six different beer classes are being offered. It’s a 45 minute long seminar and the cost is $20. It is generally hosted by a brewery owner or one of their brewers. They talk about their brewery a bit and answer any questions anyone has. This usually includes half size pours of three different beers, and if you’re lucky, a new brewery sticker. It’s similar to a brewery tour without the tanks and walking around. It is also air conditioned, so that is a definite plus.
To check out the dates and book a spot for this year’s seminars, go to: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/food-wine-beverage-seminars/
For those winos and foodies that may be traveling with you (or are also you), there are plenty of seminars for those passions as well. They can all be found at: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/
Eat to the Beat Concerts
The best way to end a day drinking Disney day is an ‘Eat to the Beat’ concert. These occur every night during Food & Wine until November 19th. A wide variety of people show up. This year’s line up includes, but is not limited to: Plain White T’s, Tiffany, Sugar Ray, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Boyz II Men, and Kenny G. For the full list of concerts and dates visit: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/epcot/food-wine-eat-to-the-beat-concerts/
The concerts take place in America, and last for about 30 minutes occurring three times each night. You can get bottles of various craft beer at the Block & Hans booth in America. If you don’t want a full beer, there will also be a Food & Wine booth with a flight option. So, make sure to stop at one of these spots before the concert starts. Your passport will have the times and dates for all of the festival concerts. While the beer and food is not included in ticket admission, the concerts are.
During Food & Wine, Disney also hosts the Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend. This year it takes place from October 31st to November 3rd. There is a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon course, as well as kid races. This is a great opportunity to run off some beer calories. It’s also a great opportunity to have a beer before most of the people you know are even awake. To end the weekend Epcot hosts a post-race party on Sunday night! These races tend to fill up quick, so make sure to book any race you’re interested in as soon as you can.
All in all Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival is a great time for beer lovers! Don’t let the name confuse you. Once it officially starts I will make sure to personally try all the beer and report back with my findings. Just make sure when you go, grab a passport, avoid the first and last weekend of the festival, stay hydrated, and maybe check out etsy for some fun beer themed Disney shirts before you go. On that note, mind your Pints and Quarts, put on those Mickey ears, and enjoy! Cheers!