Eat to the Beat at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

If you thought this festival was all about the food (or the booze) you’re missing out on some of the coolest events this fall! The Eat to the Beat Concert Series features a huge variety of artists who perform up to three times per day (5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:00 pm) during the entire festival. This event features fan favorites who return year after year, along with new (to the festival) artists who are announced on the Disney Parks Blog. The best part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series? It’s totally FREE (with admission to Epcot obviously).

Check out this lineup for the 2017 Eat to the Beat Concert Series:

August 31: Delta Rae
September 2-3: The Hooters (NEW for 2017!)
September 4-5: Baha Men (NEW for 2017!)
September 6-7: Fuel
September 8-10: STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
September 11-12: Lauren Alaina (NEW for 2017!)
September 13-15: Plain While T’s
September 16-17: Sister Hazel
September 18-20: Air Supply
September 21-22: David Cook
September 23-24: Everclear
September 25-27: Sugar Ray
September 28-29: 28 Special
September 30-October 1: Mark Wills (NEW for 2017!)
October 2-3: American Authors (NEW for 2017!)
October 4-5: Christopher Cross
October 6-8: The Devon Allman Band (NEW for 2017!)
October 9-11: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX
October 12-13: Taylor Dayne
October 14-15: Jeffrey Osborne
October 16-17: Postmodern Jukebox (NEW for 2017!)
October 18-20: 10,000 Maniacs (NEW for 2017!)
October 21-22: Toad the Wet Sprocket
October 23-24: Kenny G (NEW for 2017!)
October 25-26: Billy Ocean
October 27-29: Tiffany
October 30-November 1: Hanson
November 2-3: Blue October (NEW for 2017!)
November 4-5: Living Colour
November 6-8: Boyz II Men
November 9-11: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
November 12-13: Squeeze (NEW for 2017!)

While these concerts are completely free, there are some tricks to ensure that you get to see them (or at least have a good seat). The concerts all take place in the American Gardens Theatre, which is located right across from the American Adventure pavilion. With its close proximity to the rest of World Showcase, the concerts are easy to walk up to and stand just outside the theater if you just want to take in the music without being close to the stage or having an actual seat.

To get a seat however, you may want to arrive early. Some acts are more popular than others, but many do fill up. If you have your heart set on seeing a certain performance, best to line up early. There is one way to guarantee you get a seat however, and that would be to make a reservation using the dinner package. If you’ve ever used the dinner package for shows like Fantasmic or the Candlelight Processional, it works the same way for the Eat to the Beat concert. You make your reservation for a specified restaurant, order from either a buffet or (higher priced) pre-fixe menu, and receive tickets for the dinner package seating at the concert when you receive your bill.

Participating restaurants include:

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Biergarten Restaurant
Chefs de France
Coral Reef Restaurant
The Garden Grill
La Hacienda de San Angel
Nine Dragons Restaurant
Restaurant Marrakesh
Rose and Crown Dining Room
San Angel Inn Restaurante
Spice Road Table
Teppan Edo
Tokyo Dining
Tutto Italia Ristorante
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

Plain White T’s. Image: Caitlin Reddington.

Is the dinner package right for you? The dinner package may be for you if you have a higher budget (or no budget at all), have multiple days to spend at the festival, or just really want to see a certain artist or band. While we swear by the dinner package for Candlelight Processional during the winter months, we aren’t too crazy about using for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.

If your time at the festival is limited, we cannot in good conscious suggest that you have a table service meal at one of Epcot’s restaurants that is open year-round. We would prefer to eat around the world at the festival’s seasonal global marketplaces than dine at a restaurant that we can experience on any other visit. (If you are local and visit the parks often though, you may find the dinner package to be a nice way to try a new restaurant without waiting long for concert seats– to each their own).

Price deters us too– where the concerts are free, and even some of the upcharge events (like the beverage seminars) at the festival are not very expensive, the day as a whole will be expensive. At a minimum we tend to spend about $100/day (for the two of us) just from snacking around the world– and this number would obviously be higher the more drinks you have. For this reason as well, we can’t seem to justify any additional cost for something you in theory could still see for free. It’s worth noting that the dinner package gets you a seat, but you can still enjoy the concerts from a short distance outside of the theater if you do not want to pay for the package or spend some time waiting in line.

Regardless of how you get over to the concerts, we do highly recommend that you at least stop by! Even if you are not very familiar with the artist during your visit, they all have a couple of hit songs that you’re sure to recognize, and the concerts can be a really fun way to break up the evening during a trip to the festival!

 

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