A Second Helping of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021

A Second Helping of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021

Orlando’s peak summer travel season has passed, and the Unofficial Guide has taken another lap around World Showcase to bring you a new round of recommendations from the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021.

lobster tail from Lobster Landing at EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021
Grab a fork and dig into a second helping of the offerings at EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021 with the Unofficial Guide. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

Now that you’ve had an opportunity to digest our first taste of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021, it’s now time to dig into the tasting kitchens found along the park’s eastern side. And as you’ll soon see, there’s no better time to visit Walt Disney World than the last week in August, when you’ll witness the lowest crowd levels since the pandemic began.

For example, in early evening there was no line whatsoever for Spaceship Earth. Over at Test Track, we walked straight into the Design Studio and queued only 2 minutes to board the ride vehicle.

Similarly short lines were also observed at Frozen Ever After, where the posted wait time was only 20 minutes.

If all those empty queues make your stomach rumble, we’re happy to report that even more outdoor kitchens have opened around World Showcase, including the Ireland booth, which had previously been advertised as opening in October.

If you are a fan of Maine’s signature shellfish, you’ll want to order everything on the menu at Lobster Landing, a new booth located outside Test Track.

At $14, the whole lobster tail is one of the most expensive items ever offered at the festival, but that’s comparable to what you’d pay at a chain steakhouse. Mine was perfectly cooked without a hint of rubber, and the bisque sauce made an even more luxurious topping than the usual melted butter.

If the tail is too rich for your blood, try the creamy chowder, which is loaded with body and claw meat, along with sweet corn. Either pairs perfectly with the Cape Codder vodka cranberry cocktail.

Right around the corner is another relatively recent addition to EPCOT’s lineup, the Monday Night Football-inspired Flavors From Fire.

The chimichurri steak served on corn cake sounded right up my alley, and the grill outside the booth certainly is eye-catching.

Unfortunately, the actual dish didn’t live up to expectations, with the tiny slivers of steak being completely overwhelmed by the pungent pickled slaw.

Between the surf-and-turf kiosks, the small children’s playground has finally reopened with some Princess Celebration signage.

We continued into World Showcase in search of a more satisfying beef-based dish. On the way, we passed through the Odyssey building, which is currently home base for chicken wings in a variety of sauces…

…and we scoped out some more of the Festival merchandise on sale around the park.

At the bridge near China you’ll find the India booth, which offers warm bread with garnishes that may have some guests imagining a bargain-priced Sanaa bread service.

Sadly, although the trio of chutneys are all good (though not as tasty as the dips offered in Morocco’s Tangerine Cafe), the provided portion of bread is too small to make full use of them.

Our portion only consisted of three small wedges of bread; if that quantity was doubled, this dish would be an unqualified thumbs-up.

Moving on, we thought we’d met our meat in the new Kenyan beef tenderloin, but this turned out to be the evening’s biggest bust.

The miniscule morsels of mealy meat had a texture closer to flank than filet mignon, and any coffee in the barbecue was overwhelmed by curry seasoning, leaving the corn porridge base as the best part of the dish.

By the time you’ve walked halfway around World Showcase, it becomes very apparent that there isn’t much entertainment—and zero education—on offer during this supposedly full-scale festival. The American Gardens Theater hosts cover bands on the weekends, but on weekdays the show schedule is exceptionally weak.

One unscheduled form of entertainment these days is watching Imagineers test the daytime fountains on the big barges for Harmonious, which officially opens on October 1.

Watch a brief clip of the fountains in action below:

You can also entertain yourself by keeping an eye out for Remy statues secreted around the pavilions, even if you haven’t paid for his scavenger hunt maps.

By this time, our stomach (and wallet) were crying uncle, so we’ll need to make yet another visit to catch the rest of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021 outdoor kitchens on the south side of the park, including Greece and longtime favorite Japan.

What do you think we should taste-test next time at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

1 Comment

  1. Annie Long September 21, 2021Reply

    It’s so strange to see this section of the park nearly vacant. More than one photo of a staff member leaning on a counter in the customer position. Like deserted. Food seems underwhelming as well. I like your tip about looking for Remy without paying for the map, etc. That would be satisfying! I’m a lobster lover, but the bisque looks like a blanket, like the lobster would shake it off! not appetizing, how can anything supersede melted butter? I can’t imagine, LOL. I was surprised to be enlightened that you can’t just order more bread food at a food & wine ‘festival’ and! You only get what they give you as proscribed by the rules. Bummer. Thanks, Seth

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