eries and more than 300 wines. I attended the Mettler Family Vineyards seminar
hosted by wine expert Richard Morgen-stern at the sprawling Festival Center, located near the front of the park near the
Spaceship Earth geosphere.
Along with about 100 other participants, we tasted a cabernet sauvignon,
petite sirah and old vine zinfandel, and listened to a light-hearted explanation about
wine making and a proper wine tasting
The Festival Center is the site for cook-
ing demonstrations, beverage seminars
and other events. Celebrities ranging from
chef and TV personality Rock Harper to
master sommelier Andrea Robinson ap-
peared this year to
share their knowl-
edge and expertise.
More than 250 chefs
participate in the fes-
tival with more than
400 demos, tasting
events and book sign-
Beer lovers gravitate to the Odyssey
Center, where you can sample a variety of
craft beers from breweries in Florida as
well as munch on bar food selections such
as pimento cheese dip with pretzel chips
and fried pork wings with Korean BBQ
sauce and sesame seeds.
Ideally suited for meeting attendees
are the festival’s related special event
packages, which require reservations and
purchasing an additional pass for entry.
The Eat to the Beat Concert Series din-
ing package includes a meal at select Ep-
cot restaurants such as Chefs de France
(France Showcase) and Le Cellier (Canada
Showcase) and reserved concert seating
at the America Gardens Theatre. This year
the entertainment list included Air Sup-
ply, Blues Traveler, Billy Ocean and Boyz II
Men. Every evening, one of more than 20
different bands and solo artists perform
Other special event choices include the
Rockin’ Burger Block Party, Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Tasting Sampler and Party for the Senses.
For the ;irst time, the 2016 festival
expanded beyond the theme parks and
into Disney resorts with interactive dining experiences that allow guests to cook
and taste alongside Disney World chefs.
Highlighting the selections were “Brunch
with a Twist” at Disney’s Grand Floridian
Resort & Spa, a ;ive-course meal prepared
by the resort’s award-winning chefs;
“The Secrets of Flavor” at Disney’s Yacht
Club Resort, a three-course lunch that
gave guests a sensory food connection at
Yachtsman Steakhouse; and “Behind the
Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto” at
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which
featured an entertaining tour of the whimsical Trader Sam’s, followed by lunch and a
—BY ED WARD SCHMIDT JR.