Epcot’s annual food and wine festival allows visitors to sample food from around the world, but is this tasty adventure worth the hefty price tag?
General admission for Epcot costs $99, and depending on what you order at the pavilions, the usual price range of the small food portions is $5-8. If you managed to eat one portion from every pavilion at the estimated lowest price, the end cost would be around $274. Keep in mind, it is unlikely you will be able to get to every pavilion. However, $50 to spend on food items is plenty.
Even though the portions are small, some of the dishes are still rather filling, like Brazil’s Escondidinho de Carne, a layered meat pie with mashed yucca. I had to share most of my orders with my family to ensure that I would be able to stop at as many pavilions as possible.
That leaves only a couple options for how you want your festival experience to be. Either spend the money to experience most of what the festival has to offer, or save your hard-earned cash and experience only a fraction of it.
Having an annual pass to Disney, I didn’t have to pay the $99 fee to get into Epcot and can attend the festival as many times as I want. This is the best way to do it to ensure you expereince both the festival and the rides.
If you do decide to attend the festival, these are my recommendations for food to try.
Australia: Grilled sweet and spicy bush berry shrimp with pineapple, pepper, onion and snap peas, $5.25 – The shrimp delivers what the title offers. The pineapple was a good sweetener to the spice of the onions and pepper, balancing into a flavor that blended well with the more earthy peas that were nice and crunchy compared to the softness of the shrimp. The shrimp were a little small, though.
France: Croissant aux escargots: escargot croissant with garlic and parsley, $5.75 – For those who don’t know, escargot is cooked snail. I was rather intimidated to try it, and had to close my eyes and count to three to convince myself to finally eat it, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The escargot had been baked into the croissant, so after biting through the soft and buttery surface, I was met with the more chewy and salty snail in the center. It was absolutely delicious and one of my favorite meals.
Hawaii: Kalua pork slider with sweet and sour DOLE® pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise, $4.75 – Eating pork with pineapple sounded pretty weird to me, so of course I had to try it, and again I was pleasantly surprised. The meat was very tender and the bread of the sandwich was sweet, almost like honey. After the second bite it started to fall apart, but even a messy slider had all the flavor.
Italy – Crispy calamari with spicy pomodoro sauce, $8- I am an avid fan of calamari, and this was probably the best calamari I’ve ever had. If you’re not much of a spicy sauce person, the calamari on its own has enough flavor to make an impact. It was like a dance party on my tongue.
New Zealand: Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted breadcrumbs, $4.25- My number one favorite food of the entire festival. First of all, the mussels were huge. It’s a bit of a messy eat because of the bread crumbs and other flavors piled on top of them, so have a napkin nearby, but the taste was worth it. The mussels were juicy and succulent with a perfect chewy texture, and all the different blending flavors was like an electric shock. It was a life changing experience.
To sum it all up, the festival is expensive, but if you can get in without draining your wallet it is worth it. New Zealand was my favorite pavilion, but every country available had their own unique dishes that can suit everyone’s tastes. I am excited to see what the festival offers next year.