As I prepare to journey to the most magical place on Earth at the most delightful time of the year, I get excited about the adventures that await me as both an individual and as a DAD. Whether it is “What does this booth have to eat?” or my 4 year old son asking, “Daddy can we go on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority again?” my thoughts run wild! I start to think about going to Mexico and enjoying an amazing margarita, or an ice cold beer from the Hops and Barley stand, or a good glass (I mean plastic cup) of sake.
This is first of hopefully many articles for this great website on my favorite event at Walt Disney World – The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. I’ve include a few past experiences from the festival and plans for this year. This year will be my 7th time attending this impressive event. I still remember the small wine glasses Disney sent to my parents inviting them to attend the second annual Food and Wine Festival. I thought it was so amazing that we were personally invited by Disney to come to an event. Back in the early years, the event was small and held at the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, which of course is now Downtown Disney. (and noe Disney Springs)
A little back ground on the Food and Wine Festival. It is held yearly at Epcot in the World Showcase. Over 25 booths and marketplaces are setup around the 1.3 mile World Showcase promenade, each from a different country around the world featuring small scrumptious plates of delicious foods, desserts, wines and drinks from that country for purchase. The festival typically runs from the first weekend in October until the second weekend in November. Throughout the entire run of the festival, demonstrations and dining events are held for a nominal fee and are put on by renowned chefs. There are demonstrations on wine and other alcoholic beverages and how to blend them into a great meal, and also one on culinary specialties from different countries/regions of the globe. An example of one of the signature demonstrations is the Party for the Senses grand tasting events that are held on select nights. The cost for this tasting event is typically $135 per person and park admission.
Another great feature of the festival is the Eat to the Beat concert series. This is a series of concerts during the evenings of the festival. The groups are typically from the 70s, 80s, and 90s and have ranged from Boys II Men, 38 Special, Air Supply, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The concerts are great to stand around and listen to by the American Adventure, drink a Moretti beer from Italy, and attempt to sing songs we grew up with! Or there is the new Disney Wine and Dine half marathon that takes place opening weekend. It includes the marathon and a private party for the runners, so you get to exercise and then drink back your energy!
I remember during my wedding and honeymoon, my father-in-law just being amazed at all the scrumptious food and drink, and how much of it I could eat and drink. Two years ago during a visit with another family, Bruce (the dad) instantly fell in love once he saw all the beer selections. Some of my favorites at the festival are the ice wine and cheddar cheese soup at the Canada booth, the braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes and Parisian cosmo slush in France, and seared sea scallops with vegetable slaw in lemon oil and a nice villa maria private bin “unoaked” Hawkes Bay chardonnay. I am eagerly awaiting the release of festival booth menus and the many demonstrations scheduled for the festival. As the event gets closer and they are announced, I will keep everyone updated.
Dads will love this event as it is a TRUE man’s experience. I can say I’ve had a wonderful couple trips “around the world” and I am looking forward to this next trip for the experiences my children are going to have and my dad experiences. Walt was right, he did create a place where a dad can take his kids and have a little fun himself. We DADS are planning to meet up for the extra magical hours at Epcot on October 4th and all DADS are invited. We can make it a “DADS around the World event.”
Feel free to ask me any questions about the festival or anything Disney. I look forward to meeting all Disney dads and families and assisting in making www.thewdwdads.com site one of the most popular sites on the web. My next article will be on the different resort options and benefits for dads at each.