(Teaser alert: this picture of Buddy is from a much higher priced event, it’s a $129 event called Sunday Brunch with the Chef and the “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro is on Sunday October 7th. There are still a few openings, probably won’t be by open registration time in the 14th.)
As a DVC, AP, and a FL Resident we get quite a collection of perks throughout the year. One of the more frequent perks is often early registration for exclusive or limited events. My favorite (remaining) annual event is the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Once just a little over a month long, the festival gas grown and expanded each year. This year the festival runs from August 30th to November 12th. Each year a list of food and beverage events, seminars, parties, etc. is published and you reserve them like a restaurant reservation, by calling Disney Dining or booking through the app. These events run the full economic spectrum from 45 minute seminars that cost $17 to lavish multi course evenings with celebrity chefs that run in the $100’s per person. Early registration for all these events is NOW OPEN and “open registration” begins on June 14 at 9 AM, EST.
My favorite of those events would have to be the “Culinary Demonstrations” and every year I somehow miss the early registration period, although I’m eligible. This year I got in early. We booked a couple “Pairings,” several “Demonstrations” and (since I finally got in early) I even booked the “Sunday Brunch with Buddy!”
If you are already familiar with the culinary demonstrations scroll down a little for phone numbers, links and calendars. If not, most of what you want to know is in the first few paragraphs.
Culinary Demonstrations are not just my favorite F&W event but one of my all time favorite things that Disney still does. They are a 45 minute seminar where you and about 100 others watch a chef create a dish that you sample. The demonstration comes with a sample of what the chef is demonstrating and a recipe sheet (so that hopefully you can reproduce the dish at home.) The chefs give tips, answer questions and normally even allow photo ops after the class. In the past the demonstrations were partly sponsored by a vineyard and included a sample size glass of wine. Last year there the price went up but there was also no wine included. I did gave more time to the chef and to the demonstration of how to prepare the dish, however it also seemed like another example of Disney raising costs AND decreasing value. It led to a lot of grumbling, as many veterans of the CD’s found the new experience lacking something. In retrospect, I did actually get more cooking tips and didn’t really miss the sales pitch from the vineyard that was paired with the food through affiliation, not palette.
This year though we have the best of both worlds! There are now 3 categories of lower cost seminars; food, beverage & pairing. The $17 Culinary Demonstrations are just food. The $17 Beverage Seminars are just drink. The $25 Food & Beverage Pairings are some of each.
If you qualify for early booking you will need to do it by phone!
Even when logged in to the “My Disney Experience” app or website with your DVC or AP info, the online system will not let you book yet. It will show an error message if you try to book before 9am June 14. The human operators, however can book you now.
Booking: (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463
DVC Booking: (800) 800-9800 or (407) 566-3800
The bulk of the article gives background and info about what to expect including; tips, tricks, pics, video & hints from previous experiences, as well as a preview of this coming years highlights. I do encourage readers to come back and read the rest of the article, however…
In the interest of “dessert first” here are bullet points & links to the three lower-cost culinary events at EPCOT’s Food and Wine festival 2018
Culinary Demonstrations: $17 – Mon-Fri 12:30, Sat 1:30
Food & Wine pairings: $25 – Fri-Sun 2:30
Beverage Seminars: $17 – Mon-Thurs 11:15 & 2:30, Fri (& select sat) 11:15 & 4:30, Sun 4:30
Disney calls the culinary demonstrations a “45 minute master class” on cooking. This is one time that the marketing department is not using hyperbole, because that’s exactly what these inexpensive seminars are.
It’s no exaggeration to say that most of my current, above average talents in the kitchen come from things I’ve learned over the years at these Food and Wine Festival culinary demonstrations. (If you poke around my blog a bit you’ll see a few other culinary articles from previous years.)
Apologies for posting an incomplete article but I wanted to get this article up as plain and simple as possible (once I made sure that I booked my own favorites) so that friends, family and others in my FB groups could start booking ASAP too (some dates will already be sold out) but I’ll report in more detail later today in an update to this page.
This article will be updated soon to include more info for newcomers and some highlights from this year’s offerings for F&W regulars.