The Epcot Food & Wine Festival has officially started! This year, there are 29 Global Marketplace booths, making for a lot of grazing options and ways to use Disney Dining Plan snack credits (Free Dining beneficiaries, take note!). This post offers a look at the menus (which feature food photos), along with our overall assessment of this year’s Food & Wine Festival after spending the entire day there.
This year, we were at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival on opening day and the days that followed, and made it our mission to sample almost all of the 70+ food items served at the marketplace booths (with only a few exceptions). It was an arduous task sacrificing waistline and wallet, but we accomplished this goal in only a couple of days, and have now updated all menus with food photos and reviews of the items we sampled.
Before we get to that, we thought we’d report back on the “scene” at this year’s festival. Let’s start our discussion with wallet. One of our principle complaints about Food & Wine Festival over the years is that you can spend a ton of money and not really leave feeling full. We were writing that 5 years ago, and prices have increased across the board by 50% in that time.
Suffice to say, it’s an absolute requirement that you either go to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival with a surplus of Disney Dining Plan snack credits, or the understanding that you are going to spend at least double (maybe triple) what you’d spend on a counter service meal for a similarly filling experience.
Prices this year seem to have increased once again (I’m sure you are shocked), with returning items up around 10-20%. Given trends in counter service price increases this year, it would actually seem these booths are below “Disney Inflation” for the year. (It’s the small victories, I guess?) Portion sizes have also gotten slightly smaller once again.
To that end, in our capsule reviews of each food item on the individual menu pages, we will discuss value and portion sizes. This is not “value” in the absolute sense–without exception, everything at Food & Wine Festival is a poor value in real terms. It doesn’t do much good to point that out ad nauseam, especially if you already know you want to splurge. Instead, we’ll assume a skewed Food & Wine Festival “value baseline” and go from there. Think of it as like a heightened version of the premium you pay for everything at Walt Disney World…it’s all relative.
The good news is in terms of food quality. I was a bit apprehensive about this plan to try everything, both because of what it’d cost and how empty I’d be left feeling after buying a lot of so-so items. A few years ago, we’d regularly drop $100+ grazing these booths, but haven’t in the last couple of years because we’ve felt the quality just isn’t there.
I’d say <5% of what we tried at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival fell into the “are they sure this is food?” category, <25% was “not good”, and the remaining 70% or so was good or better. There were actually 10+ items that I thought were downright excellent, and that included some items (Le Cellier Filet Mignon being a prime example) I’ve panned in the past.
I even liked a vegan dish. A VEGAN DISH!!! (To be fair, I thought the other vegan dish was a culinary atrocity.) Saying I was pleasantly surprised by the cuisine quality on the whole would be an understatement. This is obviously no revelation, but having excellent food really made the whole experience that much more enjoyable!
Perhaps we were really lucky this year, or maybe we’ve been unlucky the past few years and the quality has been there all along. Irrespective of any luck, it’s worth noting that Food & Wine samples are notoriously hit or miss, depending upon how long they’ve been sitting out, whether the meat on them was overcooked, etc. It’s not exactly easy to mass-produce thousands of individual portions per day.
As mentioned, we’ve finished grazing the booths now and have updated all of the menus below. The idea here is to offer comprehensive food photos and reviews to help make your decisions easier because, presumably, you won’t want to order 70+ snacks. Or, maybe Michael Phelps is rolling with you to take advantage of Free Dining, and he alone plans on ordering 73 snacks per day to hit his 12,000 calorie requirement.
These links to each of the Global Marketplace booths offer menus, food photos, capsule reviews, and some of our picks. There’s also some random “deep thoughts” about each country. You know, just the normal…like unbuilt World Showcase pavilion plans, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s all-waffle diet, Disney CEO Bob Iger’s double life as a king, the new “Tanked Triathlon of Quetzalcoatl” runDisney challenge, and how Ron Swanson convinced Epcot management to add one country to World Showcase. (In other words, literally nothing useful…)
Epcot Food & Wine Festival Marketplace Booth Menus:
In addition to these booths, there will also be other spots to get Food & Wine Festival snacks, including Intermission Cafe, Craft Beers, Desserts & Champagne, and Refreshment Outpost.
If you’re starting to plan now or will be going early on, it will definitely be helpful to make a rough list of what you might want to try so that you can form a tentative plan of attack. The worst plan for Food & Wine Festival is no plan, as meandering aimlessly perusing the menus as you go will waste time and lead to backtracking and extra time in line.
For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles. Also make sure to read our other Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews and Disney Dining Plan Resources.
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Anything you’re excited to try at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? What do you think of the lineup of Global Marketplaces? Favorites? Least favorites? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!