There’s a food festival at Disney World that has been running for nearly a decade, only it’s not the one you’re thinking of.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic hosts seminars, events, and 90 festival booths each October for a phenomenal festival that only in-the-know Disney fans are aware of — even though it's just steps outside of the parks.
With Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the famed spectacle celebrating global cuisine lasting through November, Swan & Dolphin’s festival — this year October 26–28 — deems autumn the best season for foodies to visit Florida.
Even better? This under-the-radar festival is open to non-hotel guests, doesn’t require park admission and is walking distance from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot, located just beyond Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts and Disney’s BoardWalk.
At nightly events on October 26 and 27, guests can sample food from hotel’s award-winning restaurants like Il Mulino New York Trattoria, Shula’s Steak House and Todd English’s bluezoo on the outdoor causeway between both hotels, along with additional food booths, beverage stands and a seperate beer garden. Special themed areas like Chinatown and Carnival Corner provide a set of different experiences to guests as well, with the hotel’s private beach transformed into a Hawaiian-themed getaway with baked Kalua pork and steamed white rice, tuna poke, and shave ice, all set to the sounds of live music.
Ticketed seminars focusing on subjects including wine blending, craft cocktails and pasta making are offered throughout the festival weekend for $50 to $85 per person. Hungry vacationers can also opt for the Sunday Bubbles Brunch inside Walt Disney World Swan’s Il Mulino restaurant on October 28. For $85 per person, attendees can dine on an awe-inspiring spread of meats, cheeses and sushi, entrees like saltimbocca and lobster benedict and a glass of champagne or mimosa, with an optional upgrade to bottomless drinks.
Still in the mood for more culinary expertise? The second-annual Homestead Harvest at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes’ Whisper Creek Farm, honoring sustainable food and practices at a dinner hosted by James Beard Award-winning chefs, will also be happening that weekend on Friday, October 26.
2018’s Food & Wine Classic marks the ninth year of the festival at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, which recently underwent a $150 million renovation updating guest rooms and enhanced lobby spaces. A new 349-room, 14-story tower with a rooftop space and fireworks views is slated to open in late 2020 on the property, which is walking distance from Disney’s Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Though not operated by Disney, Swan & Dolphin hotel guests receive select Walt Disney World benefits, including early mornings in the park and first availability for FastPass booking, along with significant transportation perks.