The Festival Center returns to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival this year in the same location as the last several years. It’s open from 9am through Park closing daily through the Festival’s conclusion on November 13th.
You’ll find it to the left of Mission: SPACE.
And over there.
A visit to the Festival Center is not a quintessential experience, but if you’re attending a seminar, it’s probably where you’ll need to go to see it. You’ll also find art, a nice selection of wine and spirits at relatively reasonable prices, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience, event merchandise, and more.
Historically, one of my favorite things to do at the Festival was take part in the Culinary Demonstrations. You can pull up who will be appearing here with reservations and the official word available here.
Somewhat unfortunately, this year’s demonstrations don’t include the unadvertised glass of wine or beer accompanying the food and the price has gone up to $17. But you’ll still enjoy the company of the presenter, learn a few things, and get to sample a sizable portion of whatever it is they’re creating. The space is comfortable and air-conditioned.
Beverage seminars are also fun with the list of presenters available here with reservations and the official word here. Samples are on the small side, but it’s still typically an interesting look into a particular brand. Both seminars are scheduled for 45 minutes and occasionally go a few minutes over that. It’s a nice break in the afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Festival.
The Festival Stage is where you can apparently sit down and watch clips from “The Chew.”
The Spotlight Stage is where you’ll find the “Back to Basics” presentations with the schedule above.
It’s worth dropping by The Chocolate Experience for a “free” Ghirardelli square.
The head of Pixar brings you the Lasseter Chemin de Fer, which is kind of cool. It’s a $56 bottle, which makes it more expensive at the store than just about any other wine outside of the Kurt Russell chardonnay and pinot noir and the champagnes at The Almond Orchard.
You’ll also find the chocolate displays:
Just inside the entrance and on the right, you’ll see some art and cookbooks for sale.
Intermissions Cafe is next door.
I’m not sure anything here merits a purchase, though it is an opportunity to grab something to eat or drink without leaving the comfortable confines of air-conditioning.
Next up is merchandise, which is again centered around Figment. I’ll post the merchandise pictures separately as there’s about 100 of them.
If you particularly enjoyed any of the Festival wine offerings, then you may elect to stop by the wine shop to pick up a bottle for the room or to take home.
Prices are typically reasonable. Wine.com would sell you this same bottle of Moet & Chandon Ice Imperial for $63.
This is a better spot to pick up a glass of wine as even though it’s still overpriced, it’s at least dispensed from a $5,000 machine.
DO NOT GET THE FESTIVAL WINE THOUGH. It is disgusting. Completely foul.
Probably the question I get most often is, “Are you a stemless wine glass guy?” And the answer is no, but I thought this display was kind of classy.
The Festival Center is also one of a couple of places to pick up the Tasting Sampler. It includes that pin and eight coupons for $69.23 with tax. If you ignore the cost of the pin, that comes to $8.65 per coupon, so it only makes sense to use them on alcohol. The most expensive food item at the Festival is $8.25. On the other hand, if you rationalize that the pin is “worth” $12, it brings the cost of each coupon “down” to $7.15, which is slightly more palatable.
There are some exclusions – beers larger than six ounces, all tasting flights, Dom Perignon Champagne, and the Artist Palette of Wine and Cheese, but a lot of expensive items are eligible. Most cocktails are over $8 and you can pick up the Kurt Russell Gogi Pinot Noir that would normally be $15 or the Moët Rosé at $16. If you’re not visiting the Festival Center, the easiest place to pick up the sampler is probably the outdoor store on the right as you head towards World Showcase from Future World.
Visits to the Festival Center are typically pleasant and at a minimum, you can score a Ghirardelli square and enjoy the air-conditioning. The bathrooms are also nice.
Here is where 70+ pictures of merchandise are located.