Epcot Food & Wine 2014 Festival Photos – Food, Merchandise, Chase Visa Lounge, Festival Center

Hi everyone!

Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival 2014 kicked off with a preview on Thursday, and then officially opened on Friday, September 19th. We sampled some of the food, checked out the merchandise and displays, and marveled at the elaborate chocolate displays in the Festival Center! Here are over 100 photos from the first two days. The Epcot Food and Wine Festival runs from September 19 – November 10, 2014.

The opening display for 2014 features Chef Mickey, and it glitters at night. Mickey stands on a frying pan filled with flowers.

This floral pattern in the back also is found behind the Chef Mickey topiary that we’ll see in the next photo.

The Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog that has been popular for the last few years isn’t back for 2014. We miss it, but like the featured Chef Mickey topiary (I’d love to see a topiary in the front display too!)

Chef Mickey is whipping up some salad.

Take a look at the detail from the back as well.

The floral pattern is repeated back here.

Craft beers can be found in the Odyssey. The size on the beers has shrunk dramatically this year at the Festival.

Cutout display for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

We stopped at 9 or 10 booths around World Showcase. Scotland wasn’t one of them, we tried pretty much everything there last year and there wasn’t anything new we were interested in. We liked the Vegetarian Haggis last year, so that will be something we likely will pick up during the season at least once.

Guests can learn information about each country represented.

This Scotland display features bagpipes.

I like the addition of Figment to the logo this year. Mickey, Donald and Goofy join Figment on this apron.

Merchandise can be found in many locations around World Showcase, at Mouse Gear and at the Festival Center.

A Taste of Epcot book is sold at the Festival.

FairyTale Celebration Cuvee’.

Brews Around the World hat.

Chef Duffy the Disney Bear.

The logo with Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Figment on a t-shirt.

Taste Your Way Around the World t-shirt and hat.

Potholder and a plate for food and wine.

The next booth was Hawaii. They serve a couple of food items and Kona beers. We passed on it.

We picked up a Marketplace Discovery Passport, which we had stamped at the food booths we stopped at.

We ended up starting with dessert.

The first sample we tried was the dessert trio. Unlike in other years, there wasn’t an option to just buy one dessert of the three. I liked the Chocolate Expresso Opera Cake more than the other two items (Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll and Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle). While I enjoyed the trio, I’d rather have an option for just purchasing one of the items.

Puerto Rico was new this year. The location is just off of World Showcase along the Imagination walkway.

We tried the Caribbean Conch Salad with onion, tomato and cilantro. Next to it is the Slow Braised Beef with Puerto Rican Grown Rice. The beef is in a tomato base, and the salad came in a cone. Jeff asked for a tray to make eating the salad easier. Both are tasty and worth the visit.

Our friend tried the Fried Green Plantains and said they tasted like they’d been sitting under a heat lamp.

This is a terrific location with a great view!

There are small Festival shops around World Showcase.

Brews Around the World t-shirt and glasses.

A monorail glides past Spaceship Earth.

We had run to Maelstrom and begun our circle again, stopping back at the Desserts & Champagne booth to try a Frozen S’more. It is very good, a decent sample size for the price.

These signs can be found around World Showcase.

Unfortunately, “healthy” is spelled wrong on all of them.

We passed Greece and Canada. Our friends who purchased the Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup said the sample size is very small, and didn’t find it worth the money.

Epcot Food & Wine Festival sign with Italy in the background.

A friend said that the Whole Wheat Pasta Gratin with Mushrooms and Gruyere Cheese was excellent. While I am not a fan of gratin, this was maybe my favorite item we tried. It is so delicious!

There are plenty of mushrooms hiding under there.

Brazil is new this year as well, a colorful addition to World Showcase.

Brazilian Cheese Bread (similar to Fogo de Chao) came out piping hot and soft. Definitely a winner.

There is a nice seating area here for guests, along with a waterfall.

On the official opening day, I stopped by Morocco just to pick up a Beef Kefta. I have enjoyed this item since it appeared at the Festival. I think it should have  more beef (it used to), but it was a terrific snack while running around World Showcase.

Eat to the Beat concert information booth.

The Chase Lounge for Chase card holders wasn’t open during the preview day, but was open at 11am on Friday in the VIP lounge at the American Adventure pavilion. Guests with a card can enjoy free Coke Freestyle products, coffee, hot tea, phone chargers and a great view. There is also a special “Happy Half Hour” that starts next week, it will be random like last year, and guests can receive a free alcohol beverage from the lounge if there during it. We received free beer and wine during one visit last year!

Guests can take an elevator or the stairs.

There are standing tables in this room.

Coke Freestyle machines.

Guests with a Disney Visa can receive not only the free character meet and greet, but a free Photopass photo each day from the character location (it is a great value, but just 4 characters total are available, 2 at a time – Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy are possible).

Coffee and tea.

There are couches and seats here, along with video games. I didn’t think to take a photo out the window, but you can see Spaceship Earth and the American Gardens Theater.

Wine is for sale here, not in the pre-packaged containers of last year, but poured into a sample cup. I was told the quality is better than what was available previously.

Eat to the Beat concerts kicked off with Jo Dee Messina. I was disappointed that Rick Springfield canceled his concerts, I think he is filming a movie and canceled his tour. He puts on an amazing show. We especially are looking forward to Night Ranger! They have always had at least one rock set and at least one acoustic set, both terrific.

We didn’t end up purchasing anything from Hops & Barley.

The train display in Germany always celebrates different events. It wasn’t fully set up for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival yet, but banners were up in the town center. We love these details!

We purchased a couple of different items in Germany.

There is a nice seating area here.

We didn’t purchase any alcohol at all, and I don’t know if we will this year.

Jeff always buys the Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll. He likes it, though the bratwurst is smaller than it used to be.

The Berliner Yeast Donut filled with Apricot Jam was tasty, but it is still $3.00 for a sample size donut.

We always enjoy the Beef Tenderloin in Africa, and this time was no exception. I noticed that the sample size portions were pretty generous before we ordered. For $4.50, we ended up with about 8 pieces of tenderloin tips with pap. It was really good. I don’t expect the portion to be as generous usually as what we received.

Events are listed on this sign. The last time we did Party for the Senses was a few years back. I think the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic is a better value, this year it will be held on Halloween night and November 1st.

Jeff picked up a Kimchi Dog at South Korea. He really likes it, though it is a small portion for $4.00.

The Mongolian Beef at China has been highly recommended to us, but a storm was coming in and the line was long (the line was long the second morning I was there too).

Our last sample tried was the Griddled Yard Bird at the Farm Fresh booth.

The storm was threatening for a couple of hours before it ended up raining.

The Griddled Yard Bird with Braised Greens and House-made Habenero Sauces was…interesting. This is a gluten-free option. Jeff made sure there was no habenero sauce on one side for me, but I didn’t know what it was until I tried it (that other side was HOT). Without the sauce, the chicken was fairly plain with not much flavor. It was filling, though.

The Odyssey is all about craft beer.

The location isn’t set up as nicely as it was for the World Cup, but it is always great to see the former restaurant being used.

Our friends purchased a 4-pack of craft beer. They usually buy quite a bit of beer during the Food & Wine Festival, but I don’t think they plan to again this year (small portions for the price).

Some of the beer already has been drunk here, but it gives an idea of size. The sample portion is 3 ounce, and the snack mix (that comes with the beer) is in a larger cup – not a large cup.

I am not sure why beer was chosen this year for small sizes. Wine seems to get a similar pour, and other beverages are also available. And I think regular size beers can be purchased in World Showcase still, just not at these booths.

On to the Festival Center! There are quite a few seminars that are held here, and we plan to try some of them during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival run. It is worth at least a stop here. Guests can shop for merchandise and wine, and my favorite part of the Festival Center is the gorgeous chocolate displays.

Transitions was handing out samples to be tried on glasses.

Intermissions Cafe is open for guests to purchase food.

Up until last year, these tiny gift cards could be purchased with a $5.00 value added. Now it is $15.00. We didn’t buy one.

Some of the seminars are free this year, I think these were.

There is a nice quantity of merchandise here, including the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Tervis tumbler.

Here is the Ghirardelli exhibit, “From Bean to the Bar”.

Cast Members hand out free samples of Ghirardelli Minis, which is the newest Ghirardelli product.

Within this area, there are some fantastic chocolate displays. I always enjoy seeing what the chefs around Walt Disney World (and their teams) can create.

This is a Disney Villains chocolate display by the Boardwalk Resort. Chernabog, Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, Scar and other villains are part of it.

Each character is incredible!

Ursula takes a breather.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train chocolate display is another favorite of mine here, created by the team at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Dopey is in the mine train below! The waterfalls are represented, as is the cottage.

Toy Story is the theme here, from the team at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Buzz Lightyear.

Woody and Lotso – the smaller pieces here are probably my favorite designed figures in the displays. Check out Lotso’s eyebrows!

This Maleficent dragon is so impressive!

Avatar is from Epcot’s Central Bakery, and has fewer characters than most of the others. The tree here looks so real!

And this one is from Disney’s Grand Floridian Bakery, about DisneyNature “Bears”. It is hard to believe how much of all these displays is created from chocolate.

Ghirardelli also sells some drinking chocolate, which I plan to try this year. Rose Regale – my favorite wine – can be found here as well.

If you stay until the end of the evening, you’ll find that the entrance display sparkles at night.

Are you heading to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this year?