The Sword in the Stone at Disneyland Park

Latin Flavors Shine During Hispanic Heritage Month at This Year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Fabulous flavors and the vibrant music of Puerto Rico, Patagonia and Mexico brighten up World Showcase for an extended celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month September 19 – November 10, during the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase.

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How about Puerto Rico’s Ensalada de Carrucho (Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro with Medella Light Beer; or Carne Guisada con Arroz Blanco (slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican-grown rice) with a frozen San Juan Breeze? Patagonia marketplace will showcase the tastes of Argentina and Chile with dishes such as sustainable Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri; Grilled Beef Skewer with Cimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée, paired with Chilean Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier and Argentinean Terrazas Reserva Malbec. The Mexico marketplace features three popular dishes: Shrimp Taco with Fried Shrimp, Pickled Habanero Pepper and Onions on Flour Tortilla; Rib Eye Taco with Marinated Ribeye, Roasted Chipotle Salsa and Grilled Scallions on a Corn Tortilla, and Sweet Corn Cheese Cake. Sip a Dos Equis Beer, Sangria or a Mango-Strawberry Margarita – or get a lesson in tequila with a flight of diverse vintages.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is officially September 15 – October 15, but the celebration will continue throughout the Epcot festival. Celebrating Hispanic and Latino Americans’ contributions to the United States since 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month is steeped in the centuries-old traditions that reflect the ethnic and cultural customs of their communities.

The festival also will present Hispanic and Latin culinary stars hosting dining events and demonstrations.

At the festival’s Puerto Rico experience and marketplace, guests will be transported against a colorful backdrop of Old San Juan created by Walt Disney Imagineering as the festival’s first two-story marketplace. There, guests can explore the history and culture of Puerto Rico. More tastes will include Frituras Sorullitos (sweet polenta fries), Bolitas de Queso (cheese fritters with mayo ketchup) and FlanCocho (vanilla caramel custard with chocolate coffee cake).

Puerto Rico also will host “Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island” gala, a premium event in the park’s World ShowPlace pavilion at 7:30 p.m. on September 20. Guests can enjoy the foods, beverages and entertainment of Puerto Rico during the island’s premier dining celebration.

More than 25 festival marketplaces in the park’s World Showcase will feature flavors of six continents. Culinary demonstrations and beverage seminars at the Festival Center in Future World will present recipes and beverages from many cultures, including Puerto Rico, Argentina and Chile. The lineup of notable chefs includes Puerto Rico’s Maira Isabel, who will create a variety of recipes with Puerto Rican ingredients at scheduled culinary demonstrations and during the September 20 gala.

Some Festival Center activities and all Eat to the Beat concerts and park attractions are included with Epcot admission. Premium wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select programs are available at www.epcotfoodfestival.com.


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Experience the Ultimate Day VIP Tour at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on August 15th, 2014 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


What could possibly be better than enjoying all there is to enjoy at the acclaimed Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? Enjoying it via the Ultimate Day VIP Tour!

Delicious Desserts Tempt the Sweet Tooth

Begin the daylong festivities at the VIP Lounge hidden within the Festival Center at the Wonder’s Retreat. This special tour includes Champagne, a beverage tasting, six-course tapas-style lunch, wine, private backstage tours, time on some of the most popular Epcot attractions, food and beverage pairings with Disney chefs, VIP seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, reserved seating for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular and more. Whew!

Sip, taste and enjoy as you travel World Showcase at Epcot. You won’t want to miss this extraordinary celebration of all things culinary, the grape and brew as your Disney VIP Guides accompany you throughout, highlighting special moments not everyone gets to experience.

Occurring rain or shine Thursday and Sundays on select dates September through November, this private tour lasts six and a half hours and costs $399 per person (21 and up only). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations. You can also access the online VIP Tour Services brochure here for more info.


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Sneak Preview of Merchandise for 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on August 5th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I’m counting down the hours until I can taste my way around the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This annual event returns to Epcot from September 19 through November 10, 2014. I’m already planning on being at the kick-off weekend to celebrate my birthday week (I’m sure I’m not the only one who celebrates her or his birthday all week long). After reading Pam Brandon’s article about new offerings this year, I caught up with the merchandise events team for a sneak preview of festival merchandise.

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This year, I found two different art programs – “Taste Your Way Around the World” and “Brews Around the World” – that will be featured on a variety of items. Guests should look for several familiar favorites including Chef Duffy the Disney Bear, a coffee mug and apparel items like hats. One of my favorite things is the specially designed food tray that was originally introduced in 2012. This new design includes a place to hold beverages and plenty of space for food.

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The Disney pin trading team created some cool limited edition pins that are presented on recipe cards. One features Jessica Rabbit with a recipe for Carrot Cake, while the other has Mickey Mouse that explains how to make Cheddar Breakfast Potatoes (now I’m hungry!). Speaking of recipes, we will also carry a new cookbook that my fellow author Pam announced in this Disney Parks Blog story.

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Finally, I liked this reusable tote bag that contains both merchandise logos.

Look for these items and more in the Festival Center, which will be located between Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE pavilions in Future World. Select items may also be found at merchandise kiosks throughout World Showcase once the festival opens in mid-September. We will not be offering merchandise via our Disney Parks online store this year.

I hope to see you at Epcot!


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Two New Ways to Enjoy Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on July 31st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Update: The schedule for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE! has been adjusted and guests will have the opportunity to enjoy this event on Thursday nights throughout the festival. Guests who had booked a Tuesday night will be contacted by a Disney cast member for further assistance.

How about an after-hours street party, and an Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package to make the 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival even more fun?

Delicious Desserts Tempt the Sweet Tooth

Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE! street party will run from 9:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Thursday during the festival between the United Kingdom Pavilion and World Showcase Plaza. The event includes six tastes (food and beverages) from select marketplaces, live music, entertainment, and a DJ. Cost is $79, plus tax. Bringing together the love of food with the love of music, it’s the perfect destination for a delicious final bite. Party is subject to capacity and advance reservations are recommended; to book a spot, call 407-939-3378. We know that Greece, Hawaii and Desserts & Champagne will be showcased, along with others that will change throughout the festival.

*Note: Admission to Epcot is not required after 9 p.m. for guests who have purchased credentials to the event. However, if the guest wants to visit Epcot before 9 p.m., valid theme park admission is required. Alcohol will only be served to guests 21 and older.

Now for some brand-new “Premium” fun! From noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday during a select festival period (September 22-November 6), the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package is an opportunity for guests staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel (or the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels) to sip and savor in style. The package includes an in-room gift with wine for guests 21 and older, a festival wine glass, truffles and credential for the Premium Package Areas at the festival – plus an Epcot International Food & Wine Festival MagicBand and a $50 Disney Gift Card to start the fun. The credential gives access to 10 VIP “Premium Package Areas” around World Showcase Promenade where you can order items from Marketplaces and have them delivered to you – no waiting in line. You can also bring your favorite marketplace treats into the Premium Package Areas and just relax. The package also includes one admission to Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE!, which you can attend on Thursday night.

Cost is $199 per guest, plus tax, plus Epcot admission.

For the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package, call 407-939-1889. For more general information on the festival, go to epcotfoodfestival.com.

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New Epcot Cookbook to Feature All Three Festivals

posted on July 21st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You can’t buy a copy until September, but we wanted to give blog readers a sneak peek at the new Epcot cookbook that debuts just in time for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (September 19-November 10). Instead of an annual cookbook just for that festival, the new book – even the title is still in the working stages – will feature, for the first time ever, recipes from Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, winter’s Holidays Around the World and the springtime Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Here’s a picture of Disney photographer Matt Stroshane and stylist Laurel Ainley as they shot the new food photos for the book. Long days and lots of prep create pretty dishes we hope will make you hungry.

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Meanwhile, here’s a few photos from the book and one of our favorite recipes from this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to get you started.

Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri
Serves 6

Salmon
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 (5- to 6-ounce) Verlasso salmon fillets, skin removed

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per instructions (makes approximately 3 cups cooked), cooled
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

For salmon:

  1. Combine garlic salt, lemon juice, and olive oil in small bowl. Place salmon in large zip-top bag and add liquid, turning fillets to evenly coat.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove salmon from refrigerator at least 10 minutes before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Cover 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet in a single layer, evenly spaced.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until the salmon easily can be flaked apart with a fork.

For chimichurri sauce:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds on medium speed or until ingredients are evenly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For quinoa salad dressing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For quinoa salad:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and toss with Quinoa Salad Dressing.

To serve:

  1. Equally divide Quinoa Salad between serving plates, top with salmon fillet and drizzle with Chimichurri Sauce.

Cook’s note: Verlasso salmon is sustainable and farm-raised; you can use any fresh, high-quality salmon in this recipe.

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Ready, Set, Dial! Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Premium Event Reservations Open July 31

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


First, go to epcotfoodfestival.com on July 24 when the new premium events will be posted and take a few minutes to plan ahead – because at 7 a.m. July 31 you can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to book your spot at some of the most coveted events for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Dates are September 19 – November 10, and while there’s plenty of fun included with park admission, you won’t want to miss some of the top-tier experiences that require a separate ticket.

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Here’s what’s new this year:

  • Dining Through the Decades, A Tribute to Walt Disney (October 24) $99 pp or $119 pp
  • Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island (September 20) $99 pp
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — Boot Camp Series interactive epicurean adventure (September 21, October 5, 12, 19, Nov. 2) $119 pp
  • Food for Thought (Fridays, plus Saturday October 11) $169 pp
  • Mediterranean Food & Wine Pairing (Wednesdays) $55 pp
  • Italian White Truffle & Wine Pairing Dinner (October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) $295 pp

And here are some of the most popular events making a comeback:

  • Parisian Breakfast (Saturdays) $39 pp
  • “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery (October 3, 10 and 17) $59 or $99 pp – this also can be booked at epcotfoodfestival.com
  • Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining 
(more than 20 dinners throughout the festival; prices vary)
  • Shake and Indulge Like the French Featuring Grand Marnier (Saturdays beginning September 27) $55 pp
  • Cheese Seminars (Saturdays) $79 pp
  • Party for the Senses (October 4, 11, 18 and November 1) $149, $189 or $299 pp – this also can be booked at epcotfoodfestival.com
  • Party for the Senses Featuring Disney Chefs from Around the World (October 25) $149, $189 or $299 pp
  • Food & Wine Pairings (Tuesdays and Thursdays) $55 pp
  • Sunday Mornings With … (Sundays) $99 pp

There’s more, like Italian and French pairings and lunches, a Japan “Hibachi Experience” and a Mexican tequila lunch. You can also book the popular Culinary Demonstrations ($15), Mixology Seminars ($15) and Wine Seminars ($15).

See you soon at Epcot!

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Save Up to 30% on Select Disney Resort Hotels For Trips Through October 3

posted on June 30th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Considering a vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort in late summer or early fall? This is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort, with the recent opening of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, plus the return of fun fall festivities, such as the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties.
More Treats Than Tricks

Guests booking stays at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels for trips taking place between August 16 and October 3, 2014, may save up to 30% thanks to our latest room offer. This offer must be booked by August 8, 2014.

Click here for more details on discounts at specific resorts and to book.

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More Details to Make You Hungry for Fun at 19th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on May 26th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You have a while, but it’s never too early to start planning for Disney’s finest culinary extravaganza, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which kicks of September 19 and runs a record 53 days this year, through November 10.

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Longtime fans will want to know what’s new, but for neophtyes, here are the basics: food fans love the stroll around World Showcase to nosh and sip from more than 25 ethnic and specialty marketplaces (get your free festival “passport” stamped along the way). But there’s so much more: three nightly Eat to the Beat concerts, the fantastic Party for the Senses on select Saturday nights, signature dinners, the remarkable Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog, a new “Back to Basics” Festival Center series and a new Friday morning celebrity chefs cookbook event called “Food for Thought.” All in all, you can taste the creations of more than 270 chefs and culinary pros from Disney and across the U.S.

We’re excited to see our favorite Saturday morning Parisian Breakfast back this year, and a new Sunday morning event called “Sunday Mornings With …” that will be a plated brunch with a noted pastry chef or baker crafting three fabulous desserts for guests.

What else is new for 2014?

  • Patagonia Marketplace will merge the flavors of Argentina and Chile in dishes like sustainable roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad drizzled with a kicky arugula chimichurri. You can pair that with a couple of great Chilean wines: Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier or Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé.
  • Farm Fresh Market replaces last year’s Florida Local Marketplace, with a perfect “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) dish: “Bacon and Eggs,” with applewood-smoked, pepper-coated bacon, sweet corn, potatoes, Hollandaise and pickled jalapeños. Or try the griddled “yard bird” (chicken) with braised greens. Happy to see Orlando Brewing Company’s I-4IPA on the menu, as well as trendy Ba Ba Black Lager from Salt Lake City’s Uinta Brewing Company.
  • Brazil Marketplace is back with that wildly popular crispy pork belly with black beans, onions, avocado and cilantro, but chefs also are adding mocequa de pescado (tilapia with coconut lime sauce and steamed rice), pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and cocadas (Brazilian coconut candy).
  • The Poland Marketplace switches up the popular pierogi with a new sauerkraut pierogi and pork goulash.

That’s just a little taste of what’s to come; stay tuned for more details as the weeks sail by.

Free with Epcot admission: Back to Basics series, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment. Festival hours extend to 10 p.m. each weekend.

You’ll need reservations/additional fee: Party for the Senses grand tasting events, signature dinners and other special wine and culinary programs. When a reservation booking date is announced this summer, guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378). Information and reservations for select programs will be at epcotfoodfestival.com.

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2014 Eat to the Beat Concert Lineup Announced for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on May 9th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will return to the park September 19 – November 10, and we just received the list of performers who will participate in the Eat to the Beat concert series.

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New acts coming this year include the Jo Dee Messina, Fuel and Los Lonely Boys. There are also several returning favorites, including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Boyz II Men.

Check out the full schedule below.

  • Sept 19-21 – Jo Dee Messina
  • Sept. 22-23 – The Pointer Sisters
  • Sept. 24-25 – The Commodores
  • Sept. 26-27 – Christopher Cross
  • Sept. 28-29 – Hanson
  • Sept. 30-Oct. 2 – Air Supply
  • Oct. 3-5 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
  • Oct. 6-8 – Sugar Ray
  • Oct. 9-10 – Fuel
  • Oct. 11-12 – Sister Hazel
  • Oct. 13-14 – Richard Marx
  • Oct. 15-16 – Billy Ocean
  • Oct. 17-19 – Night Ranger
  • Oct. 20-22 – Smash Mouth
  • Oct. 23-24 – Jim Brickman
  • Oct. 25-26 – Los Lonely Boys
  • Oct. 27-28 – Wilson Phillips
  • Oct. 29-31 – Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX
  • Nov. 1-2 – 38 Special
  • Nov. 3-5 – Boyz II Men
  • Nov. 6-7 – David Cook
  • Nov. 8-10 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
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Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: An Extra Week This Fall

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’ve already got our culinary plan of attack for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival opening in just about two weeks (March 5 – May 18), and now we can look ahead to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that’s going to run a record 53 days, from September 19 – November 10. Maybe this year will be the year to sample all of the great tastes.

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That’s a whole extra week to take in the marketplaces, cool concerts and some very special dinners. Stay tuned, we won’t have the lineup of celebrity and Disney chefs until summer, but will share here on the Disney Parks Blog. And keep an eye on epcotfoodfestival.com for updates.

In the meantime, check out the Outdoor Kitchen and raised garden beds at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, a completely different culinary experience from fall’s Food & Wine Fest. Between the two, we have 128 days of yum.

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