Each year, thousands of people flock to Walt Disney World for the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. People from all over the world line up at each of the festival booths to find their favorite dish…and for many, their favorite alcoholic beverage.
From IPAs in Canada to margaritas in Mexico – there’s no shortage of alcoholic beverages pouring all over the park. But what about the options for those who don’t drink alcohol? I made the decision to quit drinking four years ago. Over the past two years, as I begin to feel more comfortable talking about and sharing my sober journey, I’ve learned that I’m not alone in my goodbyes to alcohol.
On my Instagram account, @michaeldoesdiz, I shared mocktails that I found during my adventures in Disney Parks. As I’ve posted about Mickey Mouse’s best non-alcoholic drinks, I’ve been getting questions about everything from absolute favorites to how to order a mocktail at the bar. So I started a separate account, @michaeldoesmocktails, to help.
No matter why someone chooses not to drink—whether it’s because of health, pregnancy, sobriety, or just because they don’t want to—there should be a choice for everyone at an event like the Food and Wine Festival. But until recently, there wasn’t much.
In an interview last year, Stephanie Dold, director of beverages at Walt Disney World, told Yahoo Life that they’re working on it. We are seeing more demand [for non-alcoholic drinks] Just because in general, everyone has a healthier lifestyle,” she said.[But] Just because I decided not to drink tonight – sometimes I still want that experience.”
After visiting the 2022 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, I’m happy to say Disney Parks has upped its game in the non-alcoholic space. This year, I was able to confidently walk around the World’s Fair sipping festival-specific mocktails from six different locations throughout the festival.
This year’s alcohol-free offerings were as intentionally developed as their wine-infused counterparts, says Rick Decico, Festivals owner at Epcot. “We take into account the story we’re trying to tell, the ingredients we want to use and the audience we’re serving it to,” he told Yahoo Life. “We have some fun non-alcoholic drinks this year.”
And there’s more on the way. “As we look to the future, we will be launching a brand new refreshment station on October 1st,” he adds. “It will work during all four festivals (Epcot International Festival of the Arts, Epcot International Festival of Flowers and Gardens, Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and Epcot International Holiday Festival). There will be additional non-alcoholic drinks there — including the opportunity to build your own frozen layer mocktail.”
The future of mocktails at the park is bright, says Chelsea Florig, a project manager at Walt Disney World who oversees food and beverage options at Epcot. She says, “We can always continue to grow in this area, and we look forward to seeing more growth in this sector soon.”
On my recent trip, I tried each of the festival’s new mocktails and arranged them. If you’re heading to Epcot between now and November 19, plan to check out these non-alcoholic concoctions whether you’re on the alert or just need a refreshing drink to cool off in the Central Florida heat.
6. Frozen Apple Pie, Apple Seed Orchard, Canada Pavilion at Epcot
Canada Frozen Apple Pie is a delicious and sweet frozen drink that tastes like frozen apple pie. “Five or six years ago we were thinking and writing on the wall ‘Autumn Harvest,’ DeCicco shares about the origin of the drink.” As we thought about the site and how we could program it, Autumn Harvest turned into Johnny Appleseed, who turned into Appleseed Orchard. We have a drink we call Festival Classic and it has two ingredients that you can’t miss… [it’s] Apple pie filling and frozen apple juice topped with streusel.”
5. Arctic Sunrise, Joffreyy’s Coffee and Tea Company, Epcot’s Canada Pavilion
The Arctic Sunrise—found on a Joffrey coffee cart near Canada—is a great citrus treat featuring passion fruit over ice and coconut syrup. This was delicious, but deliciously refreshing on a hot day in the garden.
4. Strawberry Freeze, Eats Earth, Epcot Entry Port
Strawberry Freeze features Twinings Lemon and Ginger Herbal Tea layered with frozen strawberry slushies. This was a delicious, frozen mixture: not too sweet with great hints of lemon and ginger. “At Earth Eats, we have a new mocktail which is the Strawberry Freeze, a multi-layer frozen drink,” says DeCicco. “The base is Twinings Lemon-Ginger Tea – frozen and topped with strawberries. As we look forward to pairing the drinks with the food, it matches nicely with the new impossible meatball at this location.”
3. Passion fruit tea, Epcot’s China Pavilion
One of my favorite items at the festival this year was the passion fruit tea with great flavours. It was refreshing, not too sweet and was too big – for a festival item – so you really got your money’s worth. The boba pearls were delicious and added a nice playful touch too.
2. Cinnamon Apple Cider, Apple Seed Orchard, Canada Pavilion at Epcot
My new all-time favorite at last year’s festival returns triumphantly in 2022. Cinnamon Apple Cider is on display inside the Canada Pavilion at Appleseed Orchard. “One of the great things we can do across the board with the drinks we create is to work with different vendors and breweries, usually for beer,” DeCicco says. “But one of the things we thought about was us [could] Working with a local brewer to brew this non-alcoholic cider for us, we went with him [St. Petersburg-based] 3 Girls Brewing. It’s a good drink.”
1. Mango Lassi, Indian food cart, Epcot
Mango Lassi was in the Indian food cart, my favorite mocktail of the day. This drink was a slightly frozen drink made with mango, honey and cardamom and topped with real chunks of fresh mango. It was refreshing, fruity, not too sweet and incredibly tasty. But why not serve something delicious year-round at Epcot? “We like to have different specials at each festival,” says DeCicco. “It’s not that special if we’re giving it all the time.”
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