Party for the Senses is the crown jewel event during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. Held just four or five times per year, the grand event offers 50 (give or take) food and beverage stations in a large, elegantly decorated, indoor setting environment, and features live performances provided by La Nouba. (There have been a couple years in the past, that did not feature La Nouba, but the troupe seems to be a more permanent fixture at the Party for the Senses in recent years.)
The event is "all inclusive", which means that once you're in, there's nothing more to pay for. Multiple trips to each and every food or beverage station are encouraged, as you can dine and imbibe as much as you would like for the duration of the event (yes, we're talking about "adult" beverages here raging from all variations of red and white wines, including a few sparkling wines, several variations of beer, and even a couple of "hard" liquors are presented as well). You are given a stemmed wine glass as you enter, which is your glass for the evening. If you are particular about not having your reds and whites mix, the glass can be swished out with bottled water at any beverage station (some beverage presenters do this automatically).
The lavish evening is costly but there are three different levels of pricing to try and include as many guests that would like to attend.
While each and every Party for the Senses is unique and there is no repetition in the food or beverage "menu" from night to night, or from year to year, our reviews here are for the "event" as a whole and not for a specific party.
Category #3 ($169 per guest as of 2015) is considered General Admission and gets you into the Party, but seating is not guaranteed. This would be mostly a walk-around experience visiting the various food and beverage stations. A few standing and seated tables are available on a first come, first serve basis. The event (for general admission guests) runs from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. For some, it's difficult to juggle a wine glass and a plate of food… for others, it's not an issue. You'll have to be the judge.
Category #2 ($199 per guest as of 2015) is called Reserved Seating and not only gets you into the Party 15 minutes before everyone else (from 6:45pm until 9:30pm), but you are guaranteed a seat at a table, and get one additional beverage for a special toast before everyone else (the general admission guests) are let in. One should note... tables are not specifically stated as being "private" tables. While we've not heard any negative stories to date, several parties of two, "may" be seated at a larger table. This is the most difficult category to get reservations for because the number of seats is very limited. We've heard stories of all the Category #2 seating being sold within the first few days of booking, two months prior to the event. Category #1 ($319 per guest as of 2015) is considered "Wine View Lounge" seating. The tables and chairs are private and in an area that is very close to the performance stage. Wine View Lounge guests also receive early entrance to the event (from 6:45pm until 9:30pm) and special cocktail for an early toast. In addition to everything that Category #2 and #3 offers, the Wine View Lounge guests also have their own, private artisanal cheese station and a premium bar that are not available to the other two categories. Other guests are not allowed into the Wine View Lounge area.
In recent years, more themed Party for the Senses have been introduced, including a popular "Disney Chefs Around the World" theme, where most of the culinary stations are Disney chefs that have been flown in from parks and resorts from across the United States, Europe, Asia, and the cruise ships. In 2015, we have also seen the introduction of a Halloween themed event, but this may only be for 2015, because Halloween falls on the same day as the Party.
It is an expensive addition to a Food and Wine festival visit, but it's something that we hope everyone gets to experience, even just once, because it truly is a top-notch culinary-centric evening that you will talk about for a long time.
(*) Price ranges listed are the average cost for one main entree and one soft beverage item, unless otherwise stated. There are many combinations of appetizers, deserts and drinks that will add to your final total. Many parks also use seasonal pricing systems which result in food and beverage costs increasing at peak times. Please check with the location that you are interested in for specific pricing information.