Walt Disney World has released new menus for Global Marketplaces debuting on September 22, 2023 for both the final phase of EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival and Festival of the Holidays. In addition to that, there are new menu items for Space 220’s 2nd Anniversary and the start of Disney100.
It seems like it started an eternity ago, but the 2023 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is almost exactly at its halfway point and continues through November 18, 2023. For everything you should know about the event, see our Guide to the 2023 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival; that includes savvy strategy for beating the crowds, saving money, and best enjoying the event.
That list starts with the colossal caveat that four Global Marketplaces–Char & Chop, Wine & Wedge, Bubbles & Brine, and Swirled Showcase–haven’t opened but are scheduled to debut on September 22, 2023. As indicated there, these four foot booths look like they have the strongest and most exciting menus of all the Global Marketplaces at the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival.
Frankly, even without having a chance to taste-test any of those dishes, I’d be willing to bet that at least half this list would’ve been replaced by dishes (or entire booths) had Char & Chop, Wine & Wedge, Bubbles & Brine, and Swirled Showcase opened at the same time as everything else.
So there’s where I stand on the four new food booths–let’s start by taking a look at their updated timeframes…
The first timeline update is bad news, which is that Swirled Showcase is no longer scheduled to open on September 22, 2023. Instead, it’s listed as “coming soon.” Technically, I guess this could mean it opens earlier, not later, as September 21 is also an option. The transformation is the former Starbucks Travelers Cafe into Swirled Showcase looks nearly-finished (signage is up!), so we’d still expect it to open sometime before the end of this month.
Then there’s the good news, which is that the new Global Marketplaces will stick around for the duration of Disney100, remaining open for the 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, too! Honestly, I’m not sure whether this is good news to everyone, or just me. I’m more excited for these booths than anything else at the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, and I’ll only have one chance to try them at the tail end of the fall foodie festival. Now, I’ll have a few opportunities during the Christmas season. Perhaps weekly EPCOT attendees would prefer to see the menus change once Festival of the Holidays start, but I’m selfishly glad these are sticking around!
Anyway, here’s a look at the menus…
NEW! Wine & Wedge (Available Sept. 22 through Dec. 30)
Assorted Artisanal Cheeses and Accompaniments (Emile’s Fromage Montage)
Southern Pimento Cheese with bread-and-butter pickled vegetables and grilled bread (Emile’s Fromage Montage)
Artist Palette of Wine and Cheese: Assorted Artisanal Cheeses paired with Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Hartley Apple Brandy, and Florida Orange Groves Winery Black and Blue Port
Bloody Mary with Seaside Grown Bloody Mary Mix and Kurvball Barbecue Whiskey
NEW! Bubbles & Brine (Available Sept. 22 through Dec. 30)
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with prosecco cocktail sauce and grilled lemon
Jonah Crab Claw Cocktail with stone-ground mustard sauce
Moët & Chandon Impérial
Veuve Clicquot Rosé
NEW! Swirled Showcase(Coming Soon!)
Mickey-shaped Liquid Nitro Cake
Soft-serve in a Waffle Cone
Cream Soda Float with vanilla soft-serve
Fanta Grape Float with vanilla soft-serve
Frozen Apple Pie (Non-alcoholic)
Cinnamon Apple Cider (Non-alcoholic)
3 Daughters Toasted Coconut Porter
3 Daughters Toasted Coconut Porter Float with salted-caramel soft-serve
Berry Fizz Fragolino Red Sparkling Wine Float with vanilla soft-serve
While I appreciate foods that are Mickey-shaped, I’m honestly kind of bummed about the Liquid Nitro Cake. They did these on a stick versions a few years ago, and they weren’t nearly as good as the OG Liquid Nitro Cake. Maybe I’ll end up being wrong and this will be the best of both worlds, but I far preferred the version that looked hideously unappetizing–it tasted so much better!
As we’ve previously covered, Connections Cafe & Eatery have updated menus for EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival. No word yet on whether these desserts are sticking around past that event, but we sure hope so–these deserve to be permanent menu items!
Connections Café (Currently available)
Croissant Doughnut with cinnamon sugar
Connections Eatery (Currently available)
Black Forest Baumkuchen
Over at The Land pavilion, there are several new sweet treats at Sunshine Seasons:
Key Lime Parfait
Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie
Cookies ‘n Cream Shake
There are also Annual Passholder-exclusive food & beverage items at EPCOT for Disney100. From September 20 through October 23, 2023, two Oswald the Lucky Rabbit inspired treats are also available at Sunshine Seasons:
Oswald Triple Chocolate Cake: Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Ganache, Chocolate Mousse, Crisp Pearls and White Chocolate Dome
Oswald Cookies ‘n Cream Shake
I went to Sunshine Seasons last week after the first round of new Disney100 treats debuted in the hopes that the dessert case would once again be full. It was not. It still was in sorry shape, a shadow of its former self when Sunshine Seasons had the best desserts of any counter service restaurant at Walt Disney World. I’m holding out hope that the return of the Disney Dining Plan will help restore its past glory, but am skeptical at this point. Maybe I’m just biased because this used to be our favorite counter service restaurant, but the downfall of Sunshine Seasons has been heartbreaking.
On a positive note, Annual Passholders can also pick up an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit magnet in honor of Disney100. Hop over to Creations Shop at EPCOT from September 20 to October 23, 2023 for this free Oswald the Lucky Rabbit magnet. (Expect there to be a lengthy line–there was for the Figment magnet–but it’s pretty efficient and fast-moving!)
So Annual Passholders, be sure to stop by Sunshine Seasons and Creations Shop…if you’re feeling lucky. What better way to celebrate 100 years of Disney than with sweet treats and a touching tribute to one of the company’s first animated Characters to appear on the big screen?
Next up, we have a major menu refresh at Space 220 Restaurant. Today–September 20, 2023–marks two years since the first tasty mission took place. To honor this momentous occasion, Space 220 Restaurant is rolling out new appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks.
Roasted Asparagus Soup: Jumbo lump crabmeat, roasted poblano and red peppers, citrus chili oil, and crouton
Bone-in Pork Chop: Slow-roasted 16 oz. pork chop, corn flan, succotash, and spiced applesauce
Pan Roasted Swordfish “Cioppino”: Shrimp, littleneck clams, Prince Edward Island mussels, tomato and fennel seafood broth, and toasted garlic bread
Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt Parfait: Black sesame crumble, yuzu curd, macerated blackberries, and basil blackberry sauce
Cosmic Cupcake: Chocolate plant-based devil’s food cake topped with vanilla frosting and galactic sprinkles (Available on kid’s menu)
The Neptuna Tartare, Bone-in Pork Chop, and Swordfish Cioppino all sound excellent. Exactly the type of dishes I’d expect from an “elevated” themed restaurant at Walt Disney World. Can’t wait to try those!
Starship Lemonade: Butterfly pea flower, lemonade, and Sprite served with a glow cube (Non-alcoholic)
Moon Rocks: Lemon juice, blue cotton candy syrup, Sprite, pineapple juice, and pop rocks (Non-alcoholic)
Solar Flare Sour: Lyre’s Agave Blanco Non-alcoholic Tequila, mango, lime juice, grapefruit bitters, and fever tree tonic water (Zero-proof)
Galaxy Spritz: Lagoon Bay Aperitif, lychee liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and prosecco
Black Hole Fashioned: Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, demerara syrup, and whiskey barrel-aged bitters
We’ve been meaning to get back to Space 220 Restaurant. In particular, I’ve been trying to do the lounge for a while (“trying” in the loosest sense of the word), but the walk-up wait has been way longer than my balking point and I’ve had zero success with last-minute ADRs. (Seriously, it’s much easier to get into Storybook Dining at Artist Point, Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ, or Topolino’s Terrace!)
My reason for wanting to revisit Space 220 Restaurant is that we’ve received a lot of complaints about it in the last year or so. Perhaps more than any other popular restaurant. Part of this is to be expected, as tough ADRs create high expectations. It can be impossible to live up to that, especially if some fans are also hyping it up as one of the best restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. (We like Space 220, but definitely disagree with that assessment.)
Anyway, all a long-winded way of asking for feedback from anyone who has dined at Space 220 Restaurant in the last year. How did the cuisine compare to other highly-themed in-park restaurants at Walt Disney World? To be clear, we’re curious how Space 220 performs relative to its actual counterparts–spots like Coral Reef and not as compared to Signature Restaurants in the hotels.
Finally, EPCOT will be home to the Disney 100 Purple Mickey Mouse Balloon Bucket starting on September 22, 2023.
On the plus side, this actually looks like a popcorn bucket, so I appreciate the classic style. But on other hand, it’s not very ambitious or interesting as compared to like a half-dozen other popcorn buckets that are currently available. (But on the other other hand, I’m not the target audience, so who cares what I think of popcorn buckets?!)
What do you think of the new menu for Space 220 Restaurant, recently-added desserts at Sunshine Seasons or Connections, or the 4-new Global Marketplace menus for the 2023 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival/of the Holidays? Any dishes missing that disappoint you? Thoughts on Space 220 if you’ve dined there in the last year or so? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Excited about any of the new options? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? 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!