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Five Tips for Food & Wine for First Timers

Andrew Rossi

The International Food and Wine Festival is now underway at Epcot thru November 13. This is the festival's 16th anniversary and it seems to become more and more popular each year. This is definitely one of my most favorite times of year at Epcot because there is so much going on, so much to see, and so much good food to taste. The festival is a lot of fun but, as with everything at Disney World, it is not something that should be jumped into without first doing some planning in advance. Here are some tips to help maximize your time, money, and enjoyment of all the festival has to offer:

Food & Wine Signage

1. Avoid the Weekends:
Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days of the week at the Food and Wine Festival because this is when all the locals come to enjoy the event. This results in greater crowds and congestion along the World Showcase promenade, much longer lines at the food stands, and also a higher number of guests who have had a little too much to drink (if you go on a weekend you will notice many groups sporting “drinking around the world” t-shirts). The best days of the week to attend the festival are Monday thru Thursday. Lighter crowds makes the festival much more enjoyable, especially when you do not have to wait in a crazy line to get your food and can actually find a table or bench to sit at.

2. Start Early in the Day:
World Showcase opens at eleven o'clock and this is definitely the best time to head over to sample the various festival marketplaces. Most guests tend to spend the morning in Future World and then make their way to the back of the park in the afternoon. As a result, there are fairly short lines at all of the various food stands for the first few hours after World Showcase opens (even on weekends). The later in the day it gets, however, the more crowded it becomes.

3. Pace Yourself:
Although the portion sizes of the food you receive at the various international marketplaces may seem small, they can be filling. After having just three or four different dishes you can easily find yourself starting to get full. Do not rush and get a lot of food from the first few stands you visit because you will not have room to try anything else as you make your way around World Showcase. I like to try one dish, walk around for a little bit, and then try something else from another stand. If traveling with someone else you may want to consider splitting the food, which also allows you to sample a greater variety of dishes.

4. Plan Ahead:
If you just walk up to every booth and order what sounds good you will end up spending way too much money. Almost every dish offered at the Food and Wine Festival sounds, smells, and looks really good, but there will be some dishes that stand out to you more than others. Just like everything else at Disney World, it pays to do research. I find it best to see what every stand has to offer and then decide on the dishes you want to try most. This will really help you to budget your money. Also, if on the Disney Dining Plan, try saving your snack credits to use at the festival's marketplaces. See which items are most expensive and use your snack credits on those. This will offer you the greatest value for your money.

5. Take Your Time:
You could spend an entire day enjoying everything involved with the Food and Wine Festival. If you can, rather than trying to cram all of the festival into a single day, take a few days to enjoy all the events, demonstrations, and various foods and beverages the festival has to offer. I like to treat the festival's food offerings as snacks rather than trying to make a whole meal of them. Instead of spending a lot of money all at once, I prefer to sample one or two different things each time I go to the festival (note that this is easier if you are a Florida resident rather than visiting on vacation). Attending the festival on multiple days can let you sample an even greater variety of foods, spread your money out over a series of days rather than spending it all at once, and allows you to really take your time and enjoy all of the festivities.

The previous post in this blog was What's New, What's Next: Disney World - September 29-October 1, 2011.

The next post in this blog is BOOK REVIEW: Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival .

Comments (7)

Peggy:

Andrew:

Is there a certain month you'd recommend that has less crowds for the festival? (Is it better to go at the beginning or the end?)

Also, would you say this is a kid-friendly event? Are there any activities for children?

Thank you for your help!

JohnB:

Do the F&W pavilions accept credit/debit cards, or just cash? Going to F&W for the first time in about a week!

Stephanie:

Can I use my room key at the F&W pavilions to bill to my room?

ALL EARS: Yes! Also if you are on the Disney Dining Plan, you can use your snack credits at the food booths.

Bob:

In answer to JohnB's question above:

Yes, you can use credit & debit cards at all the food stations, as well as Disney gift cards. I had the good fortune of receiving several Disney gift cards on my birthday one year, and they came in very handy at the Food & Wine Festival!

Ray:

I use my points from my Disney Visa to nosh around the world.

Jennifer:

Are the festival food booths open during Epcot Extra Magic Evening Hours?

ALLEARS: No the Food Booths close with regular park hours, sometime after 8:30pm.

KayKay:

Hubby and I are locals and have attended this event many times (I've lost count!) Last year we decided to try Disney gift cards to use at the marketplace kiosks. We picked ours up on the little bridge between Future World and World Showcase, but they're probably available all over. Get one of the small ones on little stretchy bands that you can wear on your wrist so they're always handy. Receipts at each kiosk tell you the remaining balance on your card. Beats the heck out of fumbling for cash and change and also helps you budget. It's very easy to lose track of how much you're spending when you're just handing over $3 at a time.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 4, 2011 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was What's New, What's Next: Disney World - September 29-October 1, 2011.

The next post in this blog is BOOK REVIEW: Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival .

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