If you didn’t already know, the end of summer/beginning of fall is the best time to visit Disney World. Mainly because the crowd levels are low but also because of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. From September 19 – November 10 Epcot’s World Showcase represents even more countries with food and drink booths all around. At each of these booths the food offered is snack size and most items range from $3-$6. Most items are eligible for the Disney Dining Plan snack credits. When you’re not eating, there are plenty of additional things to do that are not typically offered in Epcot.
In the festival center there are cooking demos and different workshops you can do. My parents did a class about margaritas while they were with us in 2013. My mom seemed to have a good time and they were able to have small samples of the various drinks they learned to make. There is also the Eat To The Beat Concert Series which brings in bands like Sugar Ray, Air Supply and Boyz II Men. For the time that the bands are there they play 3 shows a day. We enjoyed Sugar Ray several times while we were there. For more information about this check out the Disney Food Blog for a full schedule of bands this year.
In 2012 Disney introduced a new booth called Terra which featured all vegan cuisine. You read that right, an all vegan booth in Disney World! We were lucky enough to try it last year and boy did it deliver. The original menu offered two dishes with Gardein and a dessert. All of the alcohol from Terra was also vegan.
We tried both the Chili Colorado and the Chocolate Cake. The Chili Colorado was absolutely delicious, we ate it so fast that we didn’t get a photo. The cake was just okay, it was a little dry,I would have rather had some Babycakes NYC. The coconut mousse was really good with it though.
This year they have updated the menu for Terra:
• Blackened Chick’n Breast, Farr, Spicy Gumbo Sauce featuring Gardein Chick’n Breast
• “Crab’less Crabcake” Pepper Slaw and Cajun Remoulade featuring Gardein
• Chocolate-blood orange cupcake with tofu icing
• Paperboy Red (wine)
Returning to the festival this year is also the Scotland booth which offered a Vegetarian Haggis last year. Without the mashed potatoes this dish was vegan, you just get extra rutabaga. We had some on our trip in 2013 and we were indifferent on it. I think they offer it because more people probably wouldn’t want to try real haggis, so it’s kind of cool that they made it vegan. This item will be returning for 2014.
Japan offered a tofu dish that was vegan as is, Youki Tofu topped with Miso Sauce, Edamame and Served with Grilled Vegetables. I tried this on our trip in 2013 and thought it was pretty good. It wasn’t necessarily worth $4.50 for a slice of tofu though. It appears this item will not be returning in 2014 and there will be no vegan item offered.
None of the other booths appear to have vegan items. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them out though. Greece has a vegetable Moussaka which you might be able to get without cheese. At least check out the booths for drinks from around the world, both virgin and alcoholic.
During the International Food and Wine Festival Epcot turns into a different place. I suggest checking it out during the day if you have kids. I recommend this because a lot of adults come out for this and lots of drinking occurs. That being said, this is a great time for adults! There’s all kinds of new foods and drinks offered and you’ll want to check it all out. It’s definitely one of our favorite times to visit the parks.
Melissa & Corey
The Refreshment Port also offers vegan Dole Whip (orange and pineapple flavors) during the Food & Wine Festival for the past several years. That was my highlight given the limited choices this year!