2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Festival Center Tour

The 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is officially underway!

Festival Center Food and Wine Festival 15-044

We spent the better part of last week taking a look at all there is going on this year, and shared with you our Best of the Fest so far. And we aren’t finished yet!

In the coming days, look for reviews of many of the Marketplace Booths, and we’ll also be sharing with you impressions of some of the Special Events taking place throughout the Festival.

And speaking of special events, many of them take place in Festival Center, which serves as the headquarters for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. But there’s more to the space than just stages for Culinary Demos and Mixology Seminars.

Let’s head into Festival Center as we show you some returning features from previous years — and introduce you to a couple of enhancements that are making their first appearances in 2015.

The 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Center

You’ll find Festival Center located to the left as you enter Epcot and pass beneath Spaceship Earth. Head toward the old Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World East, and you’ll be going in the right direction.

Festival Center -- Outside View

Festival Center — Outside View

Get your bearings as you walk in the door — you’ll find a handy diagram of the circular space just to the left of the Information Desk.

Festival Center Map

Festival Center Map

Speaking of the Information Desk, here it is. You’ll head here to ask questions, but it’s also the spot where you’ll pick up tickets for events taking place in Festival Center. These include Culinary Demos, Beverage and Mixology Seminars, and several other special events.

Information Desk

Information Desk

The Festival Shop is back again this year, and features Disney artwork as well as cookbooks by several of the chefs appearing at this year’s Festival.

Festival Shop

Festival Shop

It’s also the location for book signings. Check in with the Information Desk to receive a wristband if you’d like to participate in these free meet and greets.

Book Signing Area

Book Signing Area

Just beyond the Festival Shop, you’ll find Intermissions Cafe, which offers light bites and a variety of beverages.

Intermissions Cafe

Intermissions Cafe

You’ll find returning favorites, like the Caposaldo Peach Moscato, but you’ll also find Festival Firsts, including the Festival Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider.

Intermissions Cafe Menu

Intermissions Cafe Menu

Across from the Cafe is Spotlight Stage, home to free Back to Basics Seminars.

Spotlight Stage

Spotlight Stage

Daily schedules are posted outside of each stage area, so you’ll always know on the spot what events are taking place.

Spotlight Stage Events

Spotlight Stage Events

The Stockpot Shop, a fixture of the Festival Center, offers lots of merch. You’ll find all kinds of stuff here, including Festival collections. But you’ll also find items themed to the various countries of World Showcase and the Marketplace Booths.

Stockpot Shop

Stockpot Shop

One of the most popular souvenirs each year is the Festival Cookbook. In 2015, it’s a hardback edition that not only includes new recipes, but also offers a look back at the history of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Food and Wine Festival Cookbook -- Front Cover

Food and Wine Festival Cookbook — Front Cover

Food and Wine Festival Cookbook -- Back Cover

Food and Wine Festival Cookbook — Back Cover

Passholder exclusive merchandise is also on display. During opening weekend, the lines were pretty long for these items.

Passholder Merchandise

Passholder Merchandise

Details on Passholder Exclusive Merchandise

Details on Passholder Exclusive Merchandise

In addition, you can catch a glimpse of the Dooney & Bourke Food and Wine Festival Collection.

Dooney & Bourke Food & Wine Festival Collection

Dooney & Bourke Food & Wine Festival Collection

Dooney & Bourke Food & Wine Festival Collection Information

Dooney & Bourke Food & Wine Festival Collection Information

Here’s a look at the 20th Anniversary Food and Wine Festival poster, another popular collector’s item.

20th Anniversary Food and Wine Festival Poster

20th Anniversary Food and Wine Festival Poster

Continue past the Stockpot Shop, and you’ll happen upon the Chef’s Showcase. Here you’ll find daily culinary demonstrations in addition to special events. There was a Cheese Seminar taking place as I was making the rounds. (Check out AJ’s review of a previous Cheese Seminar.)

Cheese Seminar

Chef’s Showcase — Cheese Seminar in Progress

I soooo wanted to jump the wall. Look at this gorgeous table.

Cheese Seminar Place Settings

Cheese Seminar Place Settings

The schedule will let you know what’s taking place during the day in case you’d like to try and snag walk-up tickets — or just listen in and watch from behind the seating area.

Festival Center Stage Events

Festival Center Stage Events

The “From Bean to Bar” exhibit, hosted by Ghirardelli, returns this year. It’s a great way to learn everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate production. In addition, there are elaborate scenes made from chocolate at the back of the exhibit, showcasing the enormous talent of Disney’s pastry teams.

From Bean to Bar Exhibit

From Bean to Bar Exhibit

Running low on chocolate? You can get a fix here, since there is a small retail outlet as well. And you know what that means: free samples!

Ghirardelli Samples

Ghirardelli Samples

You’ll also find The Chocolate Bar, home to delicious Drinking Chocolate.

The Chocolate Bar

The Chocolate Bar

Or, if you prefer, enjoy a couple of different wines that pair especially well with the dark stuff.

The Chocolate Bar Menu -- Click to Enlarge

The Chocolate Bar Menu — Click to Enlarge

But I promised you some new finds, right? Well, here’s the first one! In the past, the Festival Center has featured the film Seasons of the Vine, which played in a continuous loop at the theater located in the center of the space. But this year, we welcome a brand new option — The Making of the Festival!

New Film! -- The Making of The Festival

New Film! — The Making of The Festival

Have you ever wondered how this enormous event is brought to life each year? Check out the movie to see how it all comes together!

The New Movie

The New Film

Exit the movie, and you’ll spy the Vineyard Stage, home to Beverage and Mixology Seminars throughout the Festival.

Vineyard Stage

Vineyard Stage

Beverage and Mixology Seminars

Beverage and Mixology Seminars

If you have small fry in tow, they can take advantage of some fun coloring sheets while Mom and Dad enjoy their interactive learning experience.

Coloring Table at the Vineyard Stage

Coloring Table at the Vineyard Stage

Chase, the Festival’s sponsor, also has an information table set up in Festival Center, should you like to apply for a credit card or learn more about their offerings.

Chase Card Information

Chase Card Information

The Wine Shop is back as well, and offers guests the opportunity to purchase bottles that they’ve sampled throughout events.

Wine Shop

Wine Shop

But here’s another returning-after-a-hiatus offering: Wine Samples!

Well…don’t get too excited. Because they will cost you this time around.

New at the Festival -- Wine Sampling Machines

New at the Festival — Wine Sampling Machines

Pay at the Wine Shop register for either a $5 sample or an $8 sample, and you’re given a glass. Take it to the Cast Member and he or she will assist you with the self-serve machines.

Cast Member Assisting a Guest with the Wine Tasting Machines

Cast Member Assisting a Guest with the Wine Tasting Machines

But…I’m not really feelin’ this for the price, Guys. What do you think?

Guest with the Wine Tasting Machines

Guest with the Wine Tasting Machines

Finally, the last venue is the Festival Stage. While I was touring, there were clips of the ABC show The Chew playing on a loop.

Festival Stage

Festival Stage

Festival Stage Showing Clips from "The Chew"

Festival Stage Showing Clips from “The Chew”

So — if you haven’t had a chance to enjoy the show, it’s a great way to learn about it before stopping by the Chew Marketplace Booths or attending the Rockin’ Burger Block Party this weekend, where the cast will be the special guests for the evening!

And there you have it. Festival Center is a must-stop spot for me at least once during every Festival, even if I don’t plan to attend any of the events that are held there. It’s a great place to cool off a bit and shop in comfort. And with plenty of seating and a few quick food options, it offers a nice place to rest for a bit in the middle of a busy Festival day.

Start Your Planning Today! The DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book is now available!

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover 3D

Want even more great tips? This 240+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever. Order your 2015 edition today!

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a $3 discount!

Be sure to check our main Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page frequently for updates, and also check out Epcot Food and Wine Festival 101 for even more information about the festival!

Want More Epcot Food and Wine Festival Info?

We have all the coverage and information you need right here on Disney Food Blog! Here’s what we know so far…

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Index

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth and Menu IndexFull Menus and Food Photos Now Available!
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Low-Cost Seminars and Demonstrations
2015 Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans Facebook Page
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Wine and Dine Half Marathon
2015 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
Food and Wine Festival 101
2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Menus and FOOD PHOTOS
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Gluten Free Items

How to Book Epcot Food and Wine Festival Events

To book all special events and demonstrations, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) (join the Disney Food Blog Newsletter to find out as soon as we do about more details!). Culinary Demonstrations, Beverage Seminars, Mixology Seminars, and general admission for some special events are bookable online at www.epcotfoodfestival.com.

Tables in Wonderland members, Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and Golden Oak Residents are eligible for a $2 discount (per person, per event) for beverage and mixology seminars and culinary demos taking place Mon-Thurs during the festival. Discounts are by phone at 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) or through DVC Member Services. Stay tuned to DisneyFoodBlog.com and the Disney Food Blog Newsletter for details.

But now I’d love to hear from all of you. Is the Festival Center a must-do experience for you during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Leave a comment and tell us what you think below!

Comments

  1. Dana says

    $5 or $8 doesn’t sound bad, depending on the quality of the wine. If it’s good wine, that’s a steal! And the drinking chocolate is a must-try – we tried it for the first time there two years ago, and had to buy some to take home with us!

  2. Kira says

    Love it! Just a little reminder for those that book their seminars ahead of time like I did this year, they can and WILL change them last minute! I recommend going early that morning or even the day before to check that they haven’t changed your seminar last minute (especially if you have food allergies or sensitivities).

    We had a lovely evening planned with a yachtsmen beef seminar and a rum mixology seminar. Both were changed at the last minute. The beef was changed to a goat cheese and squash ravioli with bacon and craisins . It was practically inedible IMO as it was swimming in bacon grease and “brown” (not really) butter. Our rum mixology seminar was changed to a scotch seminar. None of our party drinks scotch, so this was extremely disappointing as well. Disney was completely unapologetic as the seminars are advertised as “subject to change.” I don’t think I will ever book seminars in advance again! I’ve had more success with buying tickets that same day.

  3. Sandra says

    Love the bag designs this year. We won’t be arriving until the next to last day so maybe I’ll get lucky and they will have a couple still available (they did last year–but this year’s seems more likely to sell out).

  4. Mark says

    Having spent many hours in the festival center I can recommend it as a must stop when you visit the festival. Love the free chocolates especially now that they went back to full size. The culinary demonstration we did today was perfection.

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