16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Starts Sept. 30

The 16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort runs from Sept. 30-Nov. 13, The 45-day festival serves up international cuisine, culture and entertainment from 6 continents using more than 25 international marketplaces –including new tasting marketplaces from Hawaii, Caribbean Islands and Portugal – all with tapas-sized portions paired with beer, wine and inventive new cocktails

More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country will conduct culinary demonstrations and host dinners and tasting events. Celebrity chef appearances include Jeff Henderson, Cat Cora, Alan Wong, Gale Gand, Suvir Saran, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Celina Tio, Robert Irvine, Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro, Warren Brown, Art Smith, Keegan Gerhard and more.

It’s possible to spend a day of exploring the World Showcase Promenade. The tapas-sized portions of regional specialties run $3 to $8 each, with suggested pairings of wines, cocktails and beers. Instead of paying for each market sampling, you can buy a festival-themed mini-Disney Gift Card you wear on a wristband and load and reload at several park locations.

Live daily entertainment includes music, acrobats and improvisation performances along the promenade. Kicking off the festival from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 are former members of ELO and Gin Blossoms. Appearing for the first time on the Eat to the Beat! stage are The Pointer Sisters. Ending the festival Nov. 11-13 are fan favorites Taylor Dayne and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Disney is advertising that The World Showcase will feature a return of “Captain EO,” a musical 3-D production starring Michael Jackson. That seems a better Halloween addition for Universal’s horror-fest and not Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. Watching this video when it first came out was scary years ago before knowing the talented singer had a strange fascination with young children. Now that we do, to advertise it as a possible appetizer or dessert for Epcot’s world-class dining experience?

What’s Included with Epcot Admission:

Taste seminars and Authors Without Borders programs with special book signings at the Festival Center, Eat to the Beat! concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included.

Special Programming by Reservation:

Senses grand tasting events and other special culinary and beverage programs require reservations and separate event admission. You can call now 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) for information and to make reservations for special events and programs. For details about everything, visit www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

This is a weekly info update to the Orlando Essential Travel Guide for buyers of the app and anyone who discovers this site.