By Tyler Slater
Following the kick-off of D23’s Fanniversary celebrating 35 years of Epcot on October 1, D23 Members returned to Epcot on Tuesday, October 3, for a fun-filled day celebrating not only this fan-favorite theme park, but also the beloved Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
This foodie favorite event began with Members exploring the 22nd annual tradition of savory foods and wines from around the world with friends new and old. This year, members especially loved Berbere-Style Beef Tenderloin Tips, Loaded Greek “Nachos,” and, as always, Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.
Attendees then gathered at the Festival Center for two hours of D23-exclusive culinary and beverage demonstrations! Our fun began with chef TJ Sudiswa, a Disney chef for 24 years, who has participated in the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival since 1996. The chef energetically created a scallop dish inspired by the Coral Reef Restaurant. While the food was prepared, the ever-popular Frozen Coke from Refreshment Cool Post in Epcot was also served.
At the conclusion of the Culinary Demonstration (and the chef’s favorite dessert: a fried Oreo), guests then headed to Vineyard Stage while enjoying an Epcot celebratory cocktail, the frozen Caipirinha. This refreshing cocktail has been served at the Brazil Marketplace at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival since 2009. Beverage Presenter Megan deZendegui then led guests through a flight of wine varietals that have been served at Epcot Signature restaurants since 1982, when California wines were the most popular and familiar at the event. These delicious wines are from Napa Valley, California, and included a Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon—one of the Disney Family wines served in Epcot’s Le Cellier Restaurant.
Each of the wines was paired with a “throwback” Epcot 35 dish inspired by original quick-service fan-favorites: chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and hamburgers—all prepared with an innovative and creative culinary twist by Epcot Chef Robert Alvarado.
After the demonstrations, guests made their way to the America Gardens Theatre for reserved viewing of a concert from the popular band American Authors, who celebrated the “Best Day of Their Lives.”
The day concluded with a delicious dessert party at the Isle de France, not only continuing their celebration of the Food & Wine Festival with favorite festival treats, but also enjoying IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth—an iconic Epcot experience.
The fun isn’t over yet—we’ve just begun to dream and celebrate 35 years of Epcot! Stay tuned for daily Epcot content at D23.com/Epcot35.