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 2018 Eat to the Beat Concert Series:

August 30-31: Blue October
September 1-3: Tiffany
September 4-5: MercyMe (NEW for 2018!)
September 6-7: Glass Tiger (NEW for 2018!)
September 8-9: Tauren Wells (NEW for 2018!)
September 10-11: Postmodern Jukebox
September 12-13: TBA
September 14-16: Baha Men
September 17-19: TBA
September 20-21: Living Colour
September 22-23: Sheila E (NEW for 2018!)
September 24-26: Sugar Ray
September 27-28: David Cook
September 29-30: Jeffrey Osborne
October 1-2: Jim Belushi & The Sacred Hearts (NEW for 2018!)
October 3-4: Everclear
October 5-7: Mark Wills
October 8-10: Air Supply
October 11-12: TBA
October 13-14: TBA
October 15-16: 98 Degrees (NEW for 2018!)
October 17-18: 38 Special
October 19-21: The Devon Allman Project
October 22-23: TBA
October 24-25: Billy Ocean
October 26-28: Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas
October 29-31: Hanson
November 1-2: TBA
November 3-4: Taylor Dayne
November 5-7: Boyz II Men
November 8-9: The Hooters
November 10-12: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

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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