Ask anyone you know what their favorite time of year is, and you're bound to get one of many possible answers. There are those that love the summer, when the magnetic pull of the beach or swimming pool is at its peak. Some may say spring is their favorite, with its beautiful weather and the rebirth of greenery. Still others may go with the holiday season; the general good spirits of the world during this time make it a popular choice for many. My personal favorite comes the first weekend in October, and runs till the first weekend in November every year. No it's not a holiday or season-though it really should be granted holiday status-it's the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
The countdown to this year's festival is nearing its end, and as an outlet for my bottled up excitement I'd like to share what makes Food & Wine so special to me that it is viewed not just as an event, but its own time of year. Here's 7 reasons I love the Epcot Food & Wine Festival...
Asking for more beautiful weather than Florida in the fall is like asking the butcher for something better than Filet Mignon...It simply doesn't exist. It's during this time of year that the oppressive heat of the summer finally starts to break loose, and being outside is actually enjoyable without risking death. There are few places I would rather be than Epcot's World Showcase on a cool and cloudless fall afternoon.
Take a walk around the Disney parks on any given day, and you'll see a lot of unhappy people. You can't miss them. Poor beaten down souls that you're certain would rather be in cubicle at work than at this, the "Happiest Place on Earth." Not so at Food & Wine. Perhaps it is the alcohol-OK it's the alcohol-but everyone is in a great mood, random strangers become the best of friends in line, and all are quick to share their favorites of the festival and what you should try next. If only everyone was this friendly at Disney every day...
Naps in the Grass
Yes, you read that correctly...naps in the grass. After several hours of food and drink, and a few laps around World Showcase, the body starts to shut down a bit. What better way to recharge than laying down in the grass under a clear blue sky and taking a nap. Trust me, around 4pm or so you'll find the grassy areas between pavilions littered with guys like me, so don't be shy to join the crowd.
The Cheese Soup
Head over to the booth in Canada and you'll find what is arguably the most popular food item of the Festival...The Cheddar Cheese Soup. Personally, I don't like the stuff. That's right, I said it...I don't like The Cheese Soup, but since my wife insisted I include it in this list-and knowing I'd face ridicule from Disney fans worldwide for its omission-here you go. Apparently, it's good...
Without question, of all the various food and beverage offerings at the Festival, what I look forward to the most is found in the American Pavilion. Each year, in addition to serving nearly their entire line up of beer, Samuel Adams offers a brew made just for Food & Wine....we call it Festival Beer. Original, I know. Over the years, I've fallen in love with many of these special brews, and I can't wait to see what the guys at the Boston Beer Co. come up with this year.
This will be Epcot's 16th year hosting the Festival, and most of the booths and their menus see very little change from year to year. Every so often however, a new "country" is brought into the mix. Last year, South Korea and Belgium were added, and their BBQ Beef with Kimchi and Waffles with Strawberries were my favorites of the Festival. This year, four new booths are on tap-Hawaii, Scandinavia, Portugal, Caribbean-and I'm sure these new offerings will be a welcome addition to the Festival. Is that Ropa Vieja I smell?...
There can be little question as to the number one reason I love Food & Wine...It's tradition. What started as a random trip to Disney to celebrate my birthday, has six years later become the weekend my wife and I look forward to most ever year. We visit the same weekend every year, stay in the same hotel, consume too much of our favorite food and beverages, and most importantly, enjoy the time together. Some people have a favorite restaurant, song, or movie...We have Food & Wine.
These are just a handful of the reasons I love the Food & Wine Festival, but there are more...many more. So many in fact, that last year we decided one weekend was simply not enough to soak it all in. This year we are making two trips to the Festival, the first being on opening weekend, which also coincides with the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World. If you ask me, it's the perfect combination....
For all my fellow Food & Wine fans out there, what do you love most about the Festival?
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~