The 2022 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is up and running at Walt Disney World. Early adapters hit the theme park for the event’s opening Thursday, but there are lots of opportunities in the coming days, weeks and months. The festival operates daily through Nov. 19.
Here are a few things to know before you go, especially in the early days of the fest.
If the thought of Epcot’s food and wine fest puts you in an autumnal mood, you’ll need to adjust that thinking. The annual festival used to start in September or October, perhaps giving it an Octoberfest-esque vibe.
Ah, but it’s July — in Florida. So let’s just assume it will be … sunny. Essentials are sunscreen and frequent water breaks, but very good ideas include cooling towels, light-colored clothing and parasols that can jump into umbrella mode for the afternoon thunderstorm. Waiting until dinnertime to go is an option, as is praying for sun-blocking clouds.
The festival sneaked up to a July launch when Disney World reopened from its pandemic shutdown in 2020. Now it’s almost back-to-back with spring’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and, on the tail end, with Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.
There are just two inside venues for the current festival. Appleseed Orchard is stationed in the in-the-round theater at the Canada pavilion, and there are dining areas there as well in the queue area. It’s a little dark and a little bit of a relief.
[ Change in the air aboard Magic Kingdom’s PeopleMover ]
The former Odyssey restaurant building, tucked between Test Track and Mexico pavilion, is home base for Brew-Wing, basically a wing joint with beers and a side of crispy Brussels sprouts. There’s more seating in there because the Epcot Experience attraction, which teased to coming attractions, has been removed.
There again are no marketplaces in World Showplace, the semi-backstage structure between the Canada and United Kingdom pavilions. But there’s also no Party for the Senses event in there either.
Upon arrival, pick up the free festival passport. It includes the full food and beverage menu for the festival, although not the prices. The listings begin with marketplaces near the bridge that connects to World Showcase and moves counterclockwise before curling back into World Discovery, the section of the park that includes Test Track and the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride.
Some of the marketplace locations have drifted a bit, and the trend of them not necessarily having a country name continues. Plus, the french fries are not sold in France.
[ Tower of Terror sign removed from World Drive median ]
But this is a Disney World event you can do without Genie+ or Lightning Lane. Friendly reminder: Visitors do need to have a date-specific park reservation, which can be obtained via the My Disney Experience app or disneyworld.com.
The passport also includes information about event merchandise, the Eat to the Beat concert series, scavenger hunts and the fun-to-say Emile’s Fromage Montage, a cheese-based activity.
On our passport wish list: A map with the marketplace locations (there are some on placards at kiosks though) and designations for new menu items (bookmark the list on the official Disney Parks Blog).
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Not all marketplaces opened with the fest. This was news to a random loud visitor on opening day, disappointed — borderline crestfallen — that Hawaii was closed. It might have been a stop at the neighboring Simmering Sips talking, but when you want your Spam Musubi Nigiri, you want your Spam Musubi Nigiri.
Disney Parks Blog says Noodle Exchange, Coastal Eats, Mac & Eats (and, yes, Hawaii) will open as of Aug. 15.
One new marketplace for 2022: The Fry Basket, located near Test Track. It was slammed on Day 1, and the station had to close for a while reportedly because two fryers frying out. (You didn’t really think they ran out of potatoes on the first day, right?)
On the Basket menu: adobo yuca fries (with garlic cilantro aioli) and then a “fry flight” features sea salt and malt vinegar fries, barbecued bacon fries and sweet potato casserole fries (featuring candied pecans, toasted marshmallow cream and caramel whiskey) in individual containers.
The portions are ample and salty; sharing is recommended.
Fry Basket beverage is a salty dog cocktail (vodka, grapefruit juice, ginger, simple syrup, lime, salted rim).
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