Eat to the Beat Concerts at 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival: Dates, Lineup & Dining Packages
Eat to the Beat Concert Series returns to the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival starting in July 2023 at Walt Disney World. This post covers the current lineup of bands and musicians, whether the dining package is worth the money, dates of the performances, and everything else you need to know.
Let’s start with the basics. The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival runs from mid-July through mid-November 2023. Walt Disney World has also confirmed that the event will effectively be split into two phases, although this doesn’t appear to be reflected in the musical lineup–there are big names throughout.
However, once again the Eat to the Beat Concert Series will offer its own ‘split approach,’ with internationally recognized artists as well as local bands bringing their sizzling sounds to the 2023 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. The five-star menu has something for every musical taste.
These performances are held in the America Gardens Theatre across from the American Adventure in World Showcase. The concerts are included with EPCOT admission, and typically take place three times per evening, at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.
Expect local Central Florida bands to take the stage at America Gardens Theatre Tuesdays through Thursdays most weeks, when crowds are typically lower at EPCOT. Then Fridays through Mondays, popular performers of yesterday and today take over for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.
During these Eat to the Beat concerts, popular bands from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s perform some of their greatest hits for the Food & Wine Festival crowds. The schedule of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the 2023 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is to be determined.
Here’s a taste of the artists who performed during last year’s festival–many of these same names will return in 2023:
- Baha Men – July 14 and 15
- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – July 16 to 18
- Tonic – July 22 to 23
- Jeremy Camp – July 24 to 25
- Taylor Dayne – July 29 and 30
- Tiffany – July 31 and August 1
- Joey Fatone & Friends – August 5 to 8
- The Devon Allman Project – August 12 and 13
- Christopher Cross – August 14 and 15
- Journey Former Lead Vocalist Steve Augeri – August 19 and 20
- Air Supply – August 21 and 22
- Blanco Brown – August 26 and 27
- 98° – August 28 and 29
- Southern Avenue – September 2 and 3
- Kris Allen & David Cook – September 4 and 5
- Hoobastank – September 9 and 10
- Jimmie Allen – September 11 and 12
- Los Amigos Invisibles – September 16 and 17
- American Authors – September 18 and 19
- BBMAK – September 23 and 24
- Postmodern Jukebox – September 25 and 26
- Stokley – September 30 and October 1
- Shelia E. – October 2 and 3
- Mark Wills – October 7 and 8
- 38 Special – October 9 and 10
- Robert Randolph Band – October 14 and 15
- Newsboys – October 16 and 17
- Ray Parker Jr. – October 21 and 22
- Billy Ocean – October 23 and 24
- Hanson – October 28 to 31
- Boyz II Men – November 4 to 7
- Kenny G – November 11 and 12
- Sugar Ray – November 13 and 14
You can secure your spot at the show by reserving an Eat to the Beat Dining Package available Friday-Monday. Walt Disney World guests who purchase the Eat to the Beat Dining Package will receive concert badges at the restaurant after their meal. The badge will specify the date and show time they have reserved. Guests with the Dining Package will enter America Gardens Theatre in a separate queue and will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is guaranteed.
Each package includes:
- An appetizer, entrée and dessert or one (1) full buffet (where applicable), along with a non-alcoholic beverage
- One (1) guaranteed seat per person to one concert performance on the same day; the concert time will be assigned at the time of booking
Here’s participating restaurants and dining package prices, which exclude tax and gratuity:
(ages 10 and up)
(ages 3 to 9)
|Coral Reef Restaurant
The Living Seas
|Garden Grill Restaurant
The Land Pavilion
|Le Cellier Steakhouse
|Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue
(same-day dining packages only)
American Adventure Pavilion
|Spice Road Table
(same-day dining packages only)
The America Gardens Theater where Eat to the Beat Concert Series is held can seat over 1,000 guests per performance, but a large chunk of these seats are set aside for guests who purchase dinner packages. All of these dinner package guests are guaranteed seats in one of the three nightly Eat to the Beat concerts.
In addition to this, fans for particular acts often line up hours in advance, and seeing those long lines, regular tourists also queue up. Consequently, it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy–the standby line for performances can get longer because it’s long.
However, we’ve found it fairly rare for the Eat to the Beat concerts to fill America Gardens Theater to capacity (especially the earlier performances when the sun is still beating down on the outdoor amphitheater). Just because the line looks long…doesn’t mean it’s going to fill up.
To each their own, but we typically do not recommend purchasing the Eat to the Beat Concert Series Dining Package. This is nothing like Candlelight Processional in terms of popularity, save for a handful of the biggest name bands that usually take the stage in October or November.
On top of that, crowds simply aren’t as bad at Walt Disney World in August or September, so usually there’s far less demand for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series than there is for Candlelight Processional. We understand that FOMO is a powerful motivator, but you should be able to enjoy the concert just fine without paying extra for a dining package.
We’ve watched many concerts (or portions of them) in June through mid-October, and have never once bought one of these dining packages. We almost always show up a few minutes before the show starts and are easily able to score spots with a good view. From our perspective, the dining packages are a total waste of money. The only exception to that is for the more popular performers who appear at Eat to the Beat in late October and early November.
In terms of value for money, the dining package is not that expensive (or at least the cost is not badly inflated). However, you absolutely are paying a bit of a premium for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series Dining Package, and that’s even assuming you “optimization” your order and select the most expensive entrees, etc.
If you elect not to do the Eat to the Beat Dining Package and don’t want very long in line, you have a couple of options. First, show up to the standby line ~15 minutes before the first show of the day starts. Depending upon the popularity of the band and the weather, there are usually still plenty of seats in the sun (very few spots in the America Gardens Theater are shaded). If not, at least you didn’t waste a ton of time standing in line.
In many scenarios, that strategy will work just fine. You may not have the best seats, but you’ll still be able to see the show and have a seat. If the theatre is already full, we recommend trying to watch from the walkway behind the America Gardens Theatre.
Cast Members will manage crowd flow back here in the walkway, but you can simply stand behind the theater (not in the walkway) and watch the concert. This is actually a really good view for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, and is still reasonably close to the stage. It’s not like being in the cheap seats given the intimate size of the venue–think of it as sitting (well, standing) in the balcony of the America Garden Theatre.
Ultimately, that’s what we do in order to watch the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Although we regularly buy the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages, we have never–not once!–bought dining packages for any of the other three festivals. From our perspective, it’s a waste of money, as we can still easily enjoy the performances with minimal effort.
We may not be right up front and center, but the views are good throughout the America Gardens Theater–and even behind it. To each their own, but we’d rather allocate our budget for visiting Walt Disney World on other things. If you have infinite resources and don’t mind wasting money, by all means, book the Eat to the Beat Dining Package for peace of mind. If it’ll be a splurge, save that money for something else at Walt Disney World!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you a fan of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series? Which bands have you seen perform on the America Gardens Theater stage? Do you usually book the Eat to the Beat Dining Package or wait in line? Think it’s worth the money? Do you have any strategy for seeing Eat to the Beat without waiting? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
How popular do you think Sugar Ray will be? Will we be able to get a seat if we line up 30 minutes early?
Wondering the same! Going on Sun and currently have the dining package to see the 5:30 Sugar Ray show but Wondering if I would be good without it!?
What time do the Eat to the beat dining packages go on sale on May 24?
Do you have any photos taken from the “behind the Theater” area or pictures of the area you’re talking about? I agree with your assessment with one caveat, I would recommend buying the dinner package for the Disney on Broadway final night expanded show when they have 4 performers.
“Do you have any photos taken from the “behind the Theater” area or pictures of the area you’re talking about?”
Unfortunately, I’ve never thought to take any. It’s just the side of the walkway opposite the fountain in front of American Adventure. You’re basically right behind the last rows of the bleachers.
Anytime we have been to Disney it has been in summer because that’s when school is out, but this is the first year that food and wine festival has intersected with our trip. I really wish it wasn’t going on in midsummer. My concern is will it now be extra difficult to get a regular dining reservation at say Biergarten on a Monday night (60 days out of course)? Do you know if they allocate far more seats to the dining package than to regular dining?
It’s impossible to say what the allocation will be at this point. They’ve significantly scaled back the number of restaurants for these dining packages, and even those are operating at partial capacity right now. Of course, that could change by July-Nov.
Sorry, I meant on there as Hot Deals.
Hey! I just did a Hotwire search for Sept. 6 through 12 and am pretty sure AKL and POR are on there. Just thought I’d give someone who knows better a heads up!
Thanks for the heads up–I haven’t looked lately because there hasn’t been anything in MONTHS! Off to check that now… 🙂