Eat and drink a little longer: Disney to extend Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

It’s August… Which means Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is kicking off this month.

The 24th annual event will begin early this year, on Aug. 29. That day may sound familiar to you Disney fans, because it also the opening date of “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”

at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

With an earlier start date than usual, the favored Epcot festival is adding a dozen extra days — totaling 87 days of global dining delights and festival fun.

There will be 30 marketplaces, extending from Future World to and throughout World Showcase. The marketplaces cover a variety of countries and food types, including an African marketplace where the new Kenyan coffee barbecue beef tenderloin will pair with sweet potato and corn mealie pap with Kachumbari slaw.

Vegetarian options will be available throughout the festival route, such as the plant-based cottage pie (with carrots, mushrooms and peas, topped with mashed cauliflower and white beans) at the Earth Eats marketplace.

Not only can guests of Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival enjoy their favorite foods — they can dish with their favorite celebrity and Disney chefs at Sunday Brunch with the Chefs. On select Sundays from Sept. 1 through Nov. 17, guests can book seats of tasting events in a selection of World Showcase pavilions, including Mexico, France, Japan, Italy and more. The chef lineup features

Cat Cora, Carla Hall, Fabio Viviani, Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro, Richard Blais, Robert Irvine,

David Burtka, Graham Elliot and Aarti Sequeira.

A returning favorite: the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. The concert series that runs three times nightly at the American Gardens Theatre stage will kick off Aug. 29 and run through Nov. 19, totaling 249 concerts in all.

New Eat to the Beat artists include Lauren Diagle, Kris Allen, Sawyer Brown and Boyce Avenue. Returning artists include Plain White T’s,

Sugar Ray, Hanson, Sheila E. and Boyz II Men.

Dining packages for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series may be booked for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The package includes guaranteed seating for the concert, as theatre seating is first-come-first-served.

An activity for the whole family, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt. Guests can hunt around World Showcase, looking for a clue in each country pavilion to complete the map. Maps can be purchased and redeemed for a prize at the entrance to World Showcase.

And just for the kids — Disney du Jour Dance Party will return to Future World. Back by popular demand, the show is returning with Radio Disney stars and a DJ who will lead the interactive fun. Disney Channel’s actress-singer Meg Donnelly, known from the Disney Channel original movie “Zombies,” will appear opening weekend.

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival will run through Nov. 23. For more information on the festival, visit TasteEpcot.com. To book special festival experiences, call 407-WDW-FEST.