I <3 the Epcot Food & Wine Festival!
After taking a year hiatus (see visits: 2009, 2010, and 2011), I couldn’t wait to return for the 2013 festival. I even renewed my annual pass for the occasion (and upgraded! my annual pass now includes free parking with no blackout dates – sweet!).
I know it doesn’t change much from year-to-year, but there’s something about the tradition of the Food & Wine Festival that keeps me coming back. Well, that, and the delicious food and drinks. I was particularly pleased that the festival fell during peak Ironman training when my stomach is a bottomless pit (meaning I get to try more food!).
I met my parents at Epcot today so we could eat and drink our way around the world for lunch.
(Hi Mom and Dad!)
We started in Hawaii with the pork sliders.
I thought the spicy mayonnaise was a little overwhelming (next time I would ask for it without), but the pineapple was a nice touch.
I let out a little squeal when I discovered each booth had Seagrams Sparkling water as a drink option this year.
I didn’t squeal as much when I saw the price ($2.75 for a can?!), but I did like that they had a sparkling water option for guests that don’t drink soda and grow really bored of plain water.
One of my favorite booths was up next, Greece.
My dad and I split the tasting plate, which included eggplant dip, feta, olives, grilled calamari, and pita.
This was definitely a favorite of the day. I really enjoyed the variety of little bites that came on the plate.
We almost stopped in France for escargot, but it had a long line and my favorite booth was right next door with one of my favorite items from the past.
The berry waffle from Belgium is a classic. It’s one of the few dishes I refuse to share and must order one just for myself (we usually share the other plates).
Delicious and sweetly satisfying, especially on such a hot and sunny day!
My parents ordered the savory leeks and potato waffle, which was also amazing. I’m just sad I didn’t get a photo of it.
We stopped in Japan for sushi and split the California Roll.
We needed a little air conditioning break when we reached America. I saw a sign for the Chase Lounge, which I remembered seeing on the Disney Food Blog. Perfect timing, right? The Chase Lounge is a little hideaway for Chase cardholders, all you have to do is flash your Chase credit card and take the stairs up to the entrance. Inside there are drinks, charging stations, seats, TVs, clean bathrooms, and the view isn’t bad either.
I think the free soda was what really won us over. Not just any free soda, but free soda from the coca-cola freestyle machines (I think that’s what they’re called?).
I downed three glasses of Seagrams sparkling water – take THAT $2.75 a can! I also plugged my phone in to let it charge a little while we put our feet up. I have to say, I’m a big fan of the Chase lounge. It’s pretty sweet that anyone can take advantage of it (as long as you have a Chase credit card!).
After our mini siesta, we were back on the eating trail with another yearly favorite of ours; cannolis from Italy.
It was one of those few stops where we all ordered our own. We’re each petty selfish when it comes to cannolis. 😉
Next to Italy, we found Germany (with one of the longest lines of the day!) and ordered some beer and brat in a pretzel bun.
Another annual favorite. 🙂
My mom’s favorite was waiting in Australia.
She’s a big fan of the lamb chop. I ordered my own and loved it too. The crispy chips on top gave it a nice crunch and the meat was tender and full of flavor.
I know I forgot to take photos of some things, but those were the majority of the eats we tried at this year’s festival. Please keep in mind we didn’t even try half of what was being offered! I’m hoping to go back during Wine & Dine and sample a few of the things I missed (like the cheese booth!). Unfortunately the prices for each sample do add up (averaging $3-4 a piece) and the little bites are surprisingly filling. Try as I might to limit myself, I still left feeling pretty full.
Before I left I did have to try out the new Starbucks they just put in at the old Fountain View in the middle of Epcot.
I think I’ve said this here before, but I’m so happy that Starbucks is invading Walt Disney World. I know there’s a lot of fight out there over it, but the truth is that coffee at Disney is just plain awful. It would be one thing if Disney had awesome coffee and then Starbucks moved in, but they don’t. It’s bad. Really, really bad. At least with Starbucks here I know there will at least be drinkable coffee within WDW walls. This way I was able to get a caffeine fix in before I left and made the 1.5 hour drive home back to Tampa.
Have you been to this year’s Food & WIne Festival? Which dish was your favorite?