Each year, in addition to the food and wine kiosks, beverage seminars, Party for the Senses, and other special dining experiences, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival features a concert series called Eat to the Beat. It’s a very diverse line up, everything from pop to country to R&B, with over thirty different groups performing this year. I was fortunate enough to catch Blue October performing on opening weekend, and here’s how you can take advantage of this opportunity to see a great band for free.
Where: America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase, Epcot
When: Daily from August 29 through November 19, 2019
Showtimes – Sundays to Thursdays: 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM
Showtimes – Fridays and Saturdays: 6:30 PM, 7:45 PM and 9:00 PM
Here is the lineup. There are a lot of old favorites, but some new ones as well.
August 29 through 31 Plain White T’s
September 1 through 2 Sawyer Brown – NEW!
September 3 through 4 MercyMe
September 5 through 6 Grace Kelly – NEW!
September 7 through 8 Zach Williams – NEW!
September 9 through 10 Lauren Daigle – NEW!
September 11 through 12 Jimmie Allen – NEW!
September 13 through 15 Tiffany
September 16 through 17 The Allman Betts Band
September 18 through 19 Everclear
September 20 through 22 STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
September 23 through 24 Postmodern Jukebox
September 25 through 26 Blue October
September 27 through 29 Mark Wills
September 30 through October 2 Sugar Ray
October 3 through 4 Taylor Dayne
October 5 through 6 INDIA – NEW!
October 7 through 9 98°
October 10 through 11 Boyce Avenue – NEW!
October 12 through 13 Southern Avenue – NEW!
October 14 through 15 Kenny G
October 16 through 17 38 Special
October 18 through 20 Baha Men
October 21 through 22 Billy Ocean
October 23 through 25 Sheila E.
October 26 through 27 High Valley
October 28 through 30 Hanson
October 31 through November 1 Sheena Easton
November 2 through 3 Kris Allen – NEW!
November 4 through 6 Boyz II Men
November 7 through 8 The Hooters
November 9 through 11 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
November 12 through 14 TBD
November 15 through 16 BBMak – NEW!
November 17 through 18 Spanish Harlem Orchestra – NEW!
November 19 DCappella – NEW!
Disney does have an Eat to the Beat Dining Package that you can book that will give you a breakfast lunch or dinner at an Epcot restaurant plus reserved seating. Packages start at $45 for adults and $27 for kids 3-9 (that’s for breakfast at the Garden Grill) or you can use two table service Disney Dining Plan credits. There’s even a quick service option at Liberty Inn for guests that want a same day package and don’t have reservations ($29.99). However, in my opinion, this is not a great value unless there is a group that you are absolutely dying to see from the front row of the theater.
Tip: If you can’t get a seat, you can still see and hear the group by standing at the back of the theater.
This year we were there on the second night of the Festival, on a Friday night of a holiday weekend when many locals were out, yet we had no problems getting standby seating for the 5:30 show. We walked up a few minutes before 5, and were told we could sit anywhere that wasn’t roped off and reserved for dining packages. This left pretty much the whole theater except the very front section. We sat directly behind the front section, about six rows back, with a great view of the stage.
The first concert is generally the least crowded, with crowds going up as the night goes on. Crowds are higher on weekends than during the week. Trees provide a decent amount of shade for early performances.
Tip: You can divide and conquer – leave someone saving your seats and send someone else in your party out to get snacks and drinks from the kiosks in the area. You’re allowed to bring them back to your seat to enjoy.
In the past, annual passholders were able to pick up a wristband to get reserved seating for a same day concert. In previous years, the bands could be picked up inside the pavilion building, but we were told that this year they will be at the entrance to the theater, on the side that is closest to the Japanese pavilion.
These concerts are a lot of fun and feature great performances that you would pay a lot to see elsewhere. Over the years we’ve seen various groups, from Living Colour to Everclear to Blue October, and each group has put on a top-notch show. The frontman from Blue October, Justin Furstenfeld, even came down into the audience several times, giving hugs and handshakes, and recounted how entranced his daughter was with being at Disney. If you can fit a performance in to your Food and Wine Festival plans, I highly recommend it.
If you’d like to experience Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, contact Patricia at All for Dreams Travel for a FREE quote and FREE help planning your Disney vacation!