Divided into two slightly incongruous sections—the technology-driven Future World and the international expositions of the World Showcase—Epcot has taken a while to shake off its early identity crisis as the Disney park that doesn’t seem like a Disney park. For much of its early life, visitors would arrive to Epcot expecting amusement-park rides and Mickey Mouse ears, only to be befuddled when confronted with Italian acrobats and the House of Tomorrow.
Today, the park stands quite well on its own, with a combination of exciting attractions like Mission: Space and Test Track, interesting semi-educational pavilions that easily outclass your favorite science center, and the crash course in global culture that comes from a walk around the “world.”
A popular pastime at Epcot is to show up with an empty stomach, skip right past the rides and science exhibits of Future World, and eat and drink one’s way around the world…or at least around the World Showcase. While this can be fun any time of the year, it’s most enjoyable during the annual Food & Wine Festival, held late September–early November.
In addition to the regular array of treats and tipples the World Showcase offers, the Festival adds dozens of kiosks serving tapas-style nibbles and various beer and wine samples. Most of the regular World Showcase countries are represented with kiosks, but there are also more than a dozen additional countries serving food and drinks; 2009 featured fare from India, Greece, Spain, and several other countries that don’t have year-round representation at Epcot. The food samples usually cost $2.50–5, and drinks are typically $5–7.
In addition to the Food & Wine Festival, the annual International Flower & Garden Festival (spring) draws amateur horticulturists and backyard gardeners for topiary-gawking as well as tips and workshops.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition