It’s official: my favorite time of year at the Walt Disney World resort is upon us. The weather is (slightly) cooler, the crowds are minimal, and the Parks are hosting not one but two special events: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties (which we talked about last week) and Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival.

Now in its 20th year, I actually didn’t know Food and Wine was a thing until I just happened to visit the resort in October of 2009. On that trip, I vividly recall visiting the New Zealand kiosk and getting a small lamb chop topped with sea salt and a red wine sauce before walking over stand outside of China to dine on some potstickers. It’s meals like these that make no culinary sense and cost way more than they should that make me truly love the event.

As I recently discussed on a guest post I did for LoveoftheMouse.com, I think what I appreciate about Food and Wine is that even a picky eater like me can sound adventurous for a day. “I’m not that bad! I had South African food at Epcot once!” Nevermind the fact that may just be a piece of beef with barbecue sauce on it. This is similar to the reaction I had eating at Sanaa as well, but you’ll have to read my book for that story (the most shameless of plugs).

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What’s even stranger about my affinity for the Festival is that I never even buy that much when I go. For one, I don’t drink, thus ruling out half of the event’s purpose. Then, if it’s not the ingredients keeping me away from most dishes, it’s the price. Sure paying $6 for some ravioli always sounds rational when you order it, but when you end up getting two pieces of pasta buried in sauce held in a 4″x4″ square tin, it seems like you may have overpaid.

But, remember: this is Disney. Things are going to understandably be expensive. However, it does blow my mind how much people spend at these events. Especially those who get the wine pairings with many of their samples. People must drop $200 around the world in a flash.

Today officially marks one year since I was last in Walt Disney World and I couldn’t miss it more. If seeing pics and videos from Not-So-Scary weren’t bad enough for tempting an addict, these photos of cheese in Epcot are really getting to me. My favorite dish last year (and maybe my favorite things I’ve had the Festival ever) was a griddled piece of Greek cheese with honey drizzled on it. I can’t tell you how amazing it was.

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There is one part of Food and Wine that I’ve never really gotten to experience: Eat to the Beat. Sure I’ve heard random performances on my visits, but I never got to see any of bands/groups that I’d really want to see like Sugar Ray. This year they’ve also added Everclear, which was one of the first rock concerts (unless you count The Beach Boys or James Taylor) I ever went to. Although, it must be weird seeing them play a show and not swearing…

It was no surprise to me when I opened my Timehop yesterday and saw that one year ago I was in Epcot and two years ago I was in Magic Kingdom. Like I said, this is without a doubt, hands down, no question about it, my favorite time of year at WDW. I guess what I’m saying is that, while I can’t visit the World right now, you probably should.

 

Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV

 

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