Food & Wine: The Best Time to Visit Disney World

Epcot, Jersey Bites, International Food & Wine Festival, Jon Faronea

While you’re guaranteed an amazing experience at Walt Disney World no matter what time of year you go, you’ll definitely find certain advantages—and disadvantages—to each season. Early in the year will be less crowded, but watch out for “cold” spells and be sure to pack for chilly days and nights just in case.

In the summer, the kids are out of school, but it’s hot in Orlando… like melt-in-the-shade hot. But something glorious happens at the end of the summer: the start of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Oh yes! Did you really think this Jersey Bites article wouldn’t be about food?

Fall at Disney

Epcot, Jersey Bites, International Food & Wine Festival, Jon FaroneaOK, before I dive in, let’s take a look at some of the other perks of the September-to-November season, when the festival takes place. Orlando’s weather improves—humidity begins to drop some so you can enjoy a little “summer” heat without feeling so gross. Plus, you can see Disney’s always-anticipated Halloween decorations from mid-August through October. And it’s never too early to celebrate the holiday season at Disney. Christmas decorations and related festivities begin in November. Talk about a bonus! 

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which began August 29, runs through November 23, 2019. The dates are generally around the same time each year, but be sure to confirm if you’re booking a trip.

The Experiences

In addition to the magic that already is Disney World, you can book extra experiences during the festival that will be fun for any foodie. From special concerts to food and beverage pairings and demonstrations, they really have thought of it all.

Beverage and food seminars? Check. Brunch with a chef? Yup. You can even take mixology classes and other hands-on courses. The event also offers special sessions with celebrity chefs. 

Epcot, Jersey Bites, International Food & Wine Festival, Jon Faronea
Smoked corned beef

The Food & Drinks

Now, for the best part: eating and drinking around the world. We all know each country at Epcot has something unique to offer, but you most likely have not dined at all of the restaurants available. This festival can solve that problem. At most countries, and throughout the park you’ll find pop-up kiosks and stands offering smaller-portioned bites and drinks. This is your chance to experience delectable foods without having to book a sit-down dinner. 

Epcot, Jersey Bites, International Food & Wine Festival, Jon Faronea
Nami sake cocktail, teriyaki chicken bun, spicy roll

In France, I enjoyed a delicious beef braised in cabernet sauvignon with red onions and puffed potatoes. Seriously, this dish was fantastic! In Japan, the teriyaki chicken bun was a delight. And of course I can’t neglect to mention the smoked corned beef with crispy potatoes, cheese curds, pickled onions, and beer-cheese fondue (pictured above).

For sweets, I had to have the strawberry-dusted yeast donut holes, paired with Central 28 Beer Company’s Boston Cream Donut Ale. You can find just about any variety of wine and beer, plus some great cocktails and smoothies. 

Epcot, Jersey Bites, International Food & Wine Festival, Jon Faronea
Strawberry-dusted yeast donut hole

With 40 different destinations around the World Showcase, a passport helps guests keep track and find what interests them most. And boy did I love sampling and sharing (and sometimes not sharing) lots of goodies. 

Epcot, Jersey Bites, International Food & Wine Festival, Jon Faronea
The steakhouse blended burger

If you’re thinking this sounds like a paid promotion… I wish! I just love Disney and experiencing new food and drinks. And being able to combine both makes me really excited. The Food & Wine Festival is a fabulous time for adults to visit Epcot in Walt Disney World—with or without kids!