News: Epcot Food and Wine Festival No Longer Serving Wine With Culinary Demos

A couple of changes have been made to the Culinary Demonstrations for the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Chef Gale Gand Leads a Culinary Demonstration

Chef Gale Gand Leads a Culinary Demonstration

We discovered one of them when the Demonstration information for this year’s Low-Cost Events, Seminars, and Demonstrations was released: the price had increased from $15 to $17.

However, another change has come to light since the start of this year’s Festival: the Culinary Demonstrations no longer serve wine pairings with the dishes served, as in years past.

Viognier from Cambria Winery -- Wine Pairing at a Previous Culinary Demonstration

Viognier from Cambria Winery — Wine Pairing at a Previous Culinary Demonstration

Only pitchers of water are placed on the tables so guests have something to drink with the dishes.

One of our readers alerted us to this, and we’ve had confirmation from Disney that this is the case. So…um…the price goes up and there’s no more wine? To me, this greatly devalues the events, but I want to hear from you!!

Have you booked a Culinary Demonstration for this year’s Food and Wine Festival? If so, what are your thoughts on the changes?

Start Your Planning NOW!

News! The DFB Guide to the 2017 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available to order!

food-and-wine-guide-cover-2017

This 250+-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.

We cover every single World Showcase Booth, and include full-color photos for most of the food items being offered at this year’s festival!

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 20% discount!

Be sure to stay tuned to Disney Food Blog for all of the latest coverage about the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. We’ll have the details FIRST!

Please let us know what you think of the changes to the Culinary Demonstrations with a comment below!

Comments

  1. Bill says

    Problems getting wineries to sponsor and provide the wine? Maybe they are not seeing enough of a return on the sponsorship? Disney brand not as attractive?

  2. Pam McGinley says

    I have been coming for several years and am highly disappointed to hear that they are not pairing a wine with the culinary demonstrations. I am coming in 2 weeks and have been planning this for over a year as I am bring 8 of my neighbors with me for their first food and wine festival at Disney.

  3. Paul says

    We were out when they started charging for these demonstrations. I would rather put these dollars to the food and wine options at the kiosks.

  4. Vanessa says

    It is a Food & Wine fest for pete’s sake. Had I not already booked one, I might have skipped them. So many things have lost their value at the parks. Makes me sad.

  5. Liz says

    I was informed of this when the events were first released. In the past I have ALWAYS attended about 15 of them during my stay. I didn’t book any this year.

  6. Beth says

    My husband and I attended two demos earlier this month and enjoyed them. It was our first festival so we had no idea the price increased and the wine was missing.

  7. Ayn says

    Wish I had known before I booked. We have been going to this since the first year. Every year it gets more expensive and less value for money. We used to buy the poster every year when they were artists posters about the f&w. Apparently in order to not pay the artists they have been using Disney character posters the last several years. Haven’t bought one of them. I have always considered this an adult event and used to love the Heather French posters and merchandise. Miss the denim shirts which we also bought every year. Merchandise has gotten chinchy and I haven’t bought anything in a few years. Soon they will run us off completely if they continue down this path.

  8. Paula says

    We were really disappointed in the offerings when we are there and it’s a 3 week trip. No headliners, fewer seminars and now not even wine pairings? Super glad we didn’t book any. We do have 2 beverage seminars but even those had a pretty disappointing line-up. In the past we would enjoy the alcohol seminars as well and it is all wine (or champagne which my husband can’t drink) for the entire 3 weeks.

  9. Virginia says

    Food & Wine….um…I was under the impression that this event was sort of an introduction to fine dining; a good way to learn how to pair wine with meals. Guess I was wrong.

  10. Ann says

    I also did not book any of these seminars this year. My annual trip is 2 weeks long and when I looked over the menu it was rabbit/quail/duck/salmon. There are only 2 beef options and 1 pastry. They are charging more and more and we are getting less and less. The bigger more expensive seminars like “what’s cooking with”, have also gone down hill. We used to get gifts with these to take home, little things like measuring cups or home made snack from the chef, but not anymore. And they did away with the buffet and went to a plated meal. The first year they did that I got raw chicken. They are quickly loosing some of their most loyal customers.

  11. Steve says

    We wait until we get there to book these seminars so I am glad we didn’t waste our time. Not going to pay more for less because eventually we will be paying all we have for nothing. They can get about 60 people in a seminar at $17 per that’s about $1000 for 45 minutes. Most chefs work for Disney so they don’t get any money. All Disney pays for is the food. Rest is profit. No more for us.

  12. Roseann says

    Good. Hopefully it will go away. Won’t go to Epcot during the Food and Wine. To many bag experiences with intoxicated people. Completely makes Epcot a different park, and not family friendly, which is what Disney is supposed to be.

  13. Pamela says

    If this is the case, I am requesting my money back. This is beyond sneaky on Disney’s part. This should have been disclosed from the beginning.

  14. Dave says

    This is outrageous. At $17, the cost is no longer, “low.” For a couple dollars more, be you could just go order an entree at a signature restaurant where the server will undoubtedly tell you how it was prepared. The wine added a HUGE value component to this.

  15. petra says

    We were so disappointed in the seminar offerings this year; we could not even find one of the low-cost seminars that we wished to attend and we usually attend several. We would be disappointed in the lack of inclusion of a taste of wine with the dishes, but they dropped the number of seminars to one a day, and offered virtually nothing that we wanted to see. No celebrity chefs or cookbook authors, very few restaurant chefs. It seemed like mostly Disney catering chefs and Publix chefs. Rather than attending the festival three or four times as we usually do (we are season ticket holders and live locally), we might do one afternoon this year. This has always been a big reason for our season tickets. Please Disney, some of us really like the low cost seminars the way they used to be. Please go back to giving us chefs we want to watch!!!!

  16. Boudreaux says

    This “was” gonna be my first year there. Now no wine so it has just become
    “The Food Festival”???
    WHAT’S THE POINT?!!
    As an adult, being in Disney, eating delicious food and enjoying a light buzz would be fantastic. Good thing I didn’t book a trip to go. I’m out. Disney just lost my money.

  17. Joan Kappers says

    We do have 1 seminar reserved and we are very unhappy with this!
    It will be the only seminar we attend and may well be our last Food and Wine Festival!
    In addition, they’ve done away with non-expiring tickets AND the Fast pass fiasco makes us even less inclined to do Disney as we have for the past 25 years!!

  18. Mark says

    We’ve done three demos so far and have 11 more scheduled. Demos have been excellent and portion size has been good. Attendance has been so so, but I think that’s more about it still being September. We were very disappointed to learn that they didn’t include the small glass of wine. Even Pam Smith made a joke about it. We do the demos to learn and add things to our cooking repertoire (mainly my wife’s) and regularly make dishes learned. Even without the wine, we still much prefer the demos to the booths.
    It wasn’t like there was much attempt at pairing food and wine the last 2 years anyway. Like I have said here before, 2012 was the peak for the Festival in terms of the consumers experience. 2015 was poor, but it has improved since then.
    Check out Sea World’s festival in the Spring. It was very good last year and it’s a lot cheaper than Disney.

  19. Richard says

    I guess when something gets as popular as the Food and Wine Festival is, they can do as they please since they know the masses will come. It’s a shame that they have such little regard for their “guests” that they feel it is reasonable to charge more for less. The guest experience seems to be taking a back seat to Disney’s quest for profit!

  20. Pam says

    Wow, I’m really glad we didn’t find any food we liked. I would ask for my money back too. We were ok when they first started charging because we didn’t have to wait in line. Now, it’s the cost of lunch and with no wine.

    We have started planning our week around the Swan & Dolphin food and wine classic. Way better value. They also have classes at a much better value/price point.

    I think the cost increase and removal of wine will not stick.

  21. Wayne says

    We were told, diners complained the wine people talked to long. So Disney took them off the menu. We just attended Chef O’Donnell from disney springs stk. It was rib eye They did agreat job good portion and informative. Took forty five minutes

  22. Cruz says

    Was very disappointed when we arrived and there was no wine. We went for a demo on Thursday the 21st expecting wine–earlier in our vacation we passed the seminar area, and all of the guests had glasses of wine. (Maybe it was a beverage seminar?). While the food was delicious, the ice water at our table was never refilled and since it was a very hot day, we finished the water within about 10 minutes of sitting.

  23. Carol says

    The same penny pincher cut back hit PFTS

    Overall the festival has gone Froma don’t miss to not really worth the effort

  24. Kimberly says

    This is disappointing. The earliest food seminars and cooking demos were all free, and didn’t include wine. The idea was to introduce people to products/chefs, so it was sort of a voluntary commercial. I especially loved the chocolate seminars put on by different chocolate makers, and went to one almost every year. You had to wait in line early to get a spot, but it was worth it to learn about the company and its creations. Sometimes you got nice little boxes of chocolates to sample and take home. So I was annoyed when Disney added wine (I’m allergic) and started charging at least $8. Now at more than double that, it’s an insult. But if people keep paying, they’ll keep raising the price.

  25. Debbie Kobiljak says

    That’s so ridiculous. We’ve booked 6 tastings for a trip in November. This should have been disclosed from the beginning. Very disappointed!

  26. Linda Nelson says

    We went to one of the demos. We were very disappointed that there was no wine, and also, the chef used different ingredients than were on the recipe cards given out before the demo. Also, the water wasn’t even filtered, so it tasted like the Orlando water from years ago. (Totally undrinkable!). We wont do another demo.

  27. Judy McLaughlin says

    Attended Sept 21 Pastry Seminar presented by Amber Vega, a pastry chef at Animal Kingdom. The presentation was OK, but I don’t consider her a renowned chef. Also attended Sept 22 Scallop Stroganoff seminar presented by Fritz Sonnenschmidt of Cutco Cutlery. In my opinion, this seminar was a commercial for Cutco Cutlery and not much more. Very disappointing.

  28. Jackie says

    I was extremely disappointed at the seminar when I realized there was no wine pairing. I go to several seminars a year, I most likely will not go to them next year unless they bring the wine & the food together again!

  29. Lori says

    Honestly, almost everything at Disney World is rapidly going from “don’t miss” to “really not worth the effort”. You can’t raise prices while reducing value forever. It always catches up with you.

  30. tony says

    We have attended the culinary demonstrations for the past 15 years and watched it gradually increase in price and decline in value. It seems all about the bottom line and greed. We generally stay for around 2 weeks each year. This year we cut it to 5 days. Probably will not go back next year. So you see, Disney, in the long run greed does not pay.

  31. Tami says

    I did not book anything extra this year for the first time in 10 years. We come the same week every year because we are teachers and it is our Fall break. The extras have become a lot of the same old, same old. The same brand of cheese seminar, the same wine seminar, the same chef seminar. It is as if they use the same playbook every year. The only good thing is they do have plenty of offerings during the week. We are always there Monday – Friday. I quit coming to the flower show because they only offer the informational activities I want on weekends and it has become less about flowers/gardening and more about food. I think my money could be better spend elsewhere unless Disney chooses to make some changes in their decision makers.

  32. Lynn says

    Yes I agree the food & wine culinary has reduced the demo’s and the quality of offerings. Not surprised the wine is not longer offer. The Disney company has continue to increase prices from demo’s to tickets and keeps reducing perks. So sad. Last year I just pass on demo’s and this year just one since our daughter wanted to experience one. This will be last time we go to demo’s they are almost the same people not too many new offerings.

  33. Marek Gawel says

    Been a PASSHOLDER for 14 years now. Disney has HEAVILY DECLINED, I FEEL. With all of the building going on at the parks DISNEY is definitely going to have to cuts in alot of places. I am not defending DISNEY THOUGH. I GO for my family. I think it’s disgusting what DISNEY CHARGES for everything. Comments I’ve read for no wine with seminars. I’m really not surprised that they did that. With price of admission to F&W EVERYONE SHOULD GET ALL FOR FREE. CHARGING FOR ADMISSION AND CHARGING FOR EVERYTHING U DO. OUTRAGEOUS. I RUN 165 RESTAURANTS SUCCESSFULLY. IT DEFINITELY CAN BE DONE. GO BACK TO MANAGEMENT SCHOOL DISNEY

  34. Tony Silva says

    One of my favorite times to go to Epcot, but this year I was very disappointed . We booked and attended 3 culinary demonstrations, besides no wine served, the food portions were much smaller and so were the sides, if any were served.
    Will not book any more this year or next.

  35. says

    Personally this will be last year for me at demonstrations
    No wine still good food however less well known chefs, what’s next
    Are they fazing out culinary demonstrations?

  36. Mark says

    Did today’s demo with Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon. Quail with beets. Thought I hated beets. Got to admit this was very good and everyone got a WHOLE Quail, not a portion. That would have never happened in the past, so keep the pressure on them. They do read this stuff.

  37. Mark says

    Today is the last Friday in September, which to me is the real start of the festival. Did the 12:15 Demo with Jason of Florida Fresh. Shrimp open faced sandwich (really a shrimp taco on bread). Excellent and I will be trying it at home. Demo was a sellout. Did discuss no wine with other guests and how much we missed real pairing before the intro of festival wines.

  38. Tricia says

    Went to a demo- very disappointed in the downgrade of no wine. We usually go to Demos for wine and cuisine several days during the festival- not going again this year. Overall between that, the prices out in the world showcase, and this price increase for less, it is really disappointing.

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