The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is more than an event; it’s an adventure filled with exciting flavors, captivating entertainment, and unique experiences. However, to truly savor each moment, a bit of planning and know-how is essential. That’s why we’ve created this guide packed with insider tips, tricks, and hacks to ensure you squeeze every drop of joy out of this unforgettable festival.
- Make a Park Pass Reservation
- Plan Your Meals, Snacks, and Drinks
- Set a Budget
- Go on a Weekday
- Bring a Tray
- Check Out the Concert Schedule Ahead of Time
- Bring a Refillable Water Bottle
- Take Breaks and Slow Down
- Go with a Group
- Keep an Eye Out for Photo Ops
- Arrive Early
- Get a Festival Passport
- Plan to Visit Multiple Times
- Share Your Table
- Be Creative with Table Space
- Stay Hydrated
- What to Pack Hacks
- Make the Most of Every Moment
Make a Park Pass Reservation
First thing first – ensure your spot in the action by making a Park Pass reservation. As Disney World continues to require park pass reservations, those reservations are filling up. So, don’t leave it to chance; book your reservation early and you’ll be tasting your way around the world in no time.
Plan Your Meals, Snacks, and Drinks
With dozens of booths serving up delectable bites and beverages from around the globe, deciding where to eat at the festival can be daunting. Do your taste buds a favor and research the menus before your visit. Identify the dishes, drinks, and desserts that tickle your palate and plot your culinary journey. That way, you won’t waste precious time deliberating between tacos in Mexico or dumplings in China – you’ll already have your foodie map ready!
Set a Budget
Unless you’re blessed with an unlimited budget, setting a spending limit for the day is essential. With so many tempting options at your fingertips, it’s all too easy for your expenses to run away with you. Consider what you’re willing to spend on food, drinks, and merchandise, and stick to it.
Pro-tip: Use Disney gift cards to keep track of your spending. Load them with your predetermined budget and once it’s spent, you’ll know it’s time to pull in the reins.
Go on a Weekday
Avoiding peak crowd times is crucial for truly enjoying the festival. Weekends at Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival can be bustling with local pass holders, making it a bit more chaotic. Opt to visit on a weekday, particularly earlier in the week, for a more relaxed experience. Plus, lower crowd levels mean shorter lines at booths and more available tables to enjoy your global feast.
Bring a Tray
This hack is one festival veterans swear by. Juggling multiple dishes and drinks as you navigate through the festival can be a tricky balancing act. Make your life easier by bringing a small tray. This simple addition to your festival gear lets you carry several items at once, reducing the chance of spills and freeing up a hand to snap those all-important foodie photos.
Check Out the Concert Schedule Ahead of Time
The festival isn’t just about tantalizing your taste buds; it’s also a treat for your ears. The Eat to the Beat Concert series features an array of fantastic acts spanning various genres. From pop to country, rock to R&B, there’s something for every music lover. Check the lineup ahead of time, and plan your day accordingly to catch your favorite performers live.
Bring a Refillable Water Bottle
Florida heat can be relentless, especially when you’re walking around Epcot indulging in spicy tacos or hearty Italian meatballs. Stay hydrated by bringing a refillable water bottle. There are numerous water fountains and refill stations throughout the park, ensuring you’ve got a convenient, cost-effective way to quench your thirst.
Take Breaks and Slow Down
Savoring the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s so much to see, taste, and do that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Make sure to slow down and truly appreciate the experience. Take breaks to relax, hydrate, and rest. It’s the perfect chance to reflect on what you’ve tried and plan what booth to hit next.
Go with a Group
Experiencing the festival with friends or family amplifies the fun. With more people, you can sample a wider variety of dishes and drinks. Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to share your love for food and Disney with the people you care about. (Read, covertly convert them to Disney addicts by way of snacks)
Keep an Eye Out for Photo Ops
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the palate. Don’t miss out on the myriad photo ops scattered throughout the park. From charming topiaries to vibrant food displays and the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth in the backdrop, there are plenty of perfect snaps to add color to your Instagram feed.
Beat the rush by arriving at Epcot before the booths open at 11 am. You’ll get first dibs on your most-anticipated dishes and drinks. The lower crowd levels in the morning also mean you can wander the World Showcase more leisurely. Plus, it gives you more time to try as many drinks and dishes as possible.
Get a Festival Passport
One of the fun parts of attending the festival is obtaining the free Epcot Food and Wine Festival Passport. This passport contains a list of all the booths, menus, and special events, as well as spaces for the stickers you’ll receive every time you try something new. It’s a great way to keep track of your culinary journey and makes for a fantastic souvenir.
Plan to Visit Multiple Times
Given the extensive menus at the more than 25 booths, it’s impossible to sample everything in one day. To make the most of the festival, try to plan multiple visits if your schedule and budget allow. If you are visiting the resort, you might consider planning to eat most of your meals at Epcot. This way, you can pace yourself and truly savor each dish and drink you try without feeling overstuffed or rushed.
Share Your Table
During peak times, finding a table can be challenging. Don’t hesitate to share your table with other festival-goers. It’s a great way to meet people from around the world, exchange food recommendations, and embody the friendly, communal spirit of the festival.
Be Creative with Table Space
While the festival does provide some tables, during busy times, they can be scarce. Don’t be shy about using what’s available — even a trashcan top can serve as a makeshift table. It’s a time-honored festival tradition and a great way to embrace the event’s communal spirit.
Florida can be hot! And when you’re walking around Epcot enjoying delicious dishes and drinks, it can be easy to forget about staying hydrated. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. A good tip is to bring a refillable water bottle. There are plenty of water fountains and filling stations around the park to keep your bottle topped up.
What to Pack Hacks
- Bring Ziploc Bags: The festival offers a variety of delicious dishes. However, portions can sometimes be larger than expected, and you might not want to finish everything in one sitting. Packing Ziploc bags allows you to save some for later and reduce food waste. Plus, you never know when you’ll want a snack while waiting in line for a ride later in the day!
- Bring Wet Wipes: Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival is a messy affair! With all the eating and drinking, spills and sticky hands are inevitable. Wet wipes are a great solution to this problem. They’re portable and efficient and make cleaning up quick and easy.
- Bring a Tide Stick: If you happen to drop that delicious meatball or a splash of red wine on your shirt, a Tide stick can be a lifesaver. These portable stain removers are perfect for immediate action on stains, keeping your outfit festival-ready!
Remember, being prepared can significantly enhance your festival experience. With these handy items in your bag, you’ll be ready for whatever the festival throws at you!
Make the Most of Every Moment
The final, and perhaps most important tip, is to savor each moment. This festival is about more than just food and wine. It’s about new experiences, creating memories, and exploring the richness of global cuisines right in the heart of Disney. Take your time, try new things, capture photos, engage with the chefs and staff, and enjoy the magic that is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.