Although the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has a lot of great food, there are some duds. Snacks and desserts that are just plain bad, and not worth your money or precious stomach space. In this post, we’ll take a look at the snacks and booths you should avoid. The good news is that, unlike our Top 10 Dishes at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival list that could’ve had another 10 things on it, we struggled to come up with enough items to populate this list.
The original goal was to do a ‘Bottom 10’ here, but I have a tough time with that. To get this list to 10, the remaining three items would need to be a combination of poor preparation (like the pork belly in Brazil that was way too fatty–but probably isn’t always that way) or are just lame, phoned-in dishes (looking at you, potstickers in China!).
In reality, beyond the two abhorrent booths and couple of items that just flat-out pissed me off, there were only a few things that I really felt were cringe-worthy at the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Even booths that have, historically, been pretty bad (like Japan) have turned it around this year and are mediocre to good.
I could take issue with other items in terms of value for money, but the reality is that 90% or more of what’s available during Food & Wine is of poor value, even by Walt Disney World standards. You just have to brace yourself for that, knowing it’s a fun time, or come armed with a surplus of Disney Dining Plan credits. (Or, just get wasted to the point that money ain’t a thang!)
Okay, enough rambling, here are my picks for the worst “things” at the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival…
Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae (Almond Orchard) – I’ll share a secret with you: I’m lactose intolerant. I have no tolerance for lactose and I won’t stand for it! Seriously though, this might come as a surprise, given my incessant praise of ice cream. The way I see it, if we alter our lives because of lactose intolerance, the lactose has already won. Also, most non-dairy substitutes are culinary crimes and dairy is delicious, so I’ll take my chances.
Enter Almond Orchard, sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, a.k.a. the grower’s exchange taking California’s water, and creators of one of the most vile drinks known to humankind. This sundae didn’t taste like ice cream, and it certainly didn’t taste like the “fresh” berries it was supposed to include. The only flavor to speak of came from the liberal application of syrup, which was fairly gross.
Kefta Pocket (Morocco) – We’ve had the kefta pocket in the past from Morocco, and while not the greatest thing at Food & Wine, it has always been at least a reliable (albeit decidedly average) item to order from Morocco.
That’s not the case this year. I don’t know why they decided to change the approach here, but the end result was basically a low quality frozen pita pocket stuffed with a thin Boca burger that had been reheated in a microwave 16 times. Even assuming we got unlucky with this item, getting “lucky” with it is probably a medium quality frozen pita pocket with a Boca burger inside that has been reheated 12 times. Bon appetite!
The Italy Booth – We’ll keep it real with you: we didn’t try a single item at the Italy booth this year. This is historically the most disappointing booth of the entire Food & Wine Festival, with items so bland and uninspired that I refuse to support this booth until it gets its act together. The only possible explanation for Italy being such an abomination is that they’re going for the low-hanging fruit of guests whose most “adventurous” culinary experience is ordering the Hot Mustard dipping sauce for their Chicken McNuggets.
In looking at the menu, it looked every bit as disgusting as last year, with everything still looking a rung below microwavable dishes that Stouffer’s would sell. Albeit with smaller portion sizes, naturally.
Light Lab – Since we’re going to condemn entire booths here, I’ll continue with Light Lab. I shared the reasons why in our Light Lab Booth Review, but it’s worth reiterating here that the drinks are glorified sugar water and the donut is literally just what you can find at any Joffrey’s stand in Epcot.
The premise of this marketplace and the physical space of it is really cool, but it’s easy to see this is just a gimmick when it comes to the food. The menu is pure garbage, and you’d literally be better off going to Electric Umbrella.
Spicy Hummus Fries (Morocco) – This is the first of two dishes that made our top 10 list last year, when we praised these fries: “the portion is generous, and the flavor of the spicy (but not too spicy) fry-ish things contrasts with the zest of the cucumber tzatziki.”
Above is a photo of the “fries” this year, below is a photo of them last year. I know the above image might appear half-eaten, but I swear to you, that’s how it was served to me.
Yeah. Not only has the portion been halved, but there accompaniments were underrepresented.
Taste-wise, it’s probably a tough sell to put these in the bottom 10 of everything at Food & Wine, but the portion size and value left such a sour taste in my mouth that I’m doing exactly that. Really, really disappointing.
Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce (Canada) – We have had a back and forth, love-hate relationship with the Le Cellier Filet Mignon at Food & Wine. Last year, we tried one, and had nothing but praise for it: the cut was tender and lean, and the preparation was perfect. The year before, it was one of the biggest disappointments of Food & Wine Festival for me.
This year, we each ordered one at different times and found them inconsistent. More to the point, Sarah was with a few friends, all of whom ordered their own at the same time, and each of theirs were cooked differently. Sarah’s was well done, someone else’s was rare. We stress that everything at F&WF is luck of the draw to a degree since it’s prepared quickly and in bulk, but for the high price here, there’s no excuse for quality that is all over the place. It still might be worth the gamble if you’re betting Disney Dining Plan snack credits, but I will never pay for this out of pocket again.
In reality, there are probably another ~5 items at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival that are just plain bad, and arguably worthy of this list. However, we skipped a lot of borderline items this year, so we cannot definitively confirm that they were bad this year. (Unlike Italy, which is hardly a borderline case, these items are the kind of things that could go either way.) We’ve learned what to avoid over the years, and since we opted not to do every single item at the event this year, we could be a bit picky. Regardless, hopefully this list provides you with a good starting place for what not to order at the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!
Check out our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booth Menus post if you want to see and read more about every menu item we recommend this year! You’ll also want to read our full Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide before you go to get an idea of what to do, strategy for the festival, and much more.
For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles. Also make sure to read our other Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews and Disney Dining Plan Resources.
Did you try any items that were downright bad at the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? Anything you’re actively avoiding this year based on poor experiences in the past? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!