Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2016

Hey There Love Bug!

epcot-foodand-wine-front

October is finally here!  Bring on the pumpkin spice lattes, halloween movies, and of course, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!  This is by far one of my favorite events at Walt Disney World because there are over 30 different booths to sample from!  Where else can you enjoy cuisine from so many parts of the world all in one place?!  The best part about this event is that this year, it lasts two whole months!  From September 14th through November 14th, guests will be able to indulge in a celebration of global cuisine and great music!  While this event is sure to make your taste buds rock out, it can also be a bit overwhelming making sure you make the most out of the festival.  Here are my ten tips to ensure you’ll cover everything you want to do at this years Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

epcot-food-and-wine-ears

10.  Skip Breakfast

I know this may sound like a crazy thing to do since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I always skip breakfast the day I go to the Food & Wine Festival for two reasons.  One, I always start eating around the world early, and two, there is a lot, and I mean, a looooot of food to sample.  If you can avoid eating breakfast, do it.  If you absolutely need something to eat in the morning, make sure it is light since you will need to make room for all of the food samples at Epcot.

Epcot food and wine Mickey Topiary.jpg

9.  Arrive Early

OK, so I know I told you to skip breakfast, but that is only if you are arriving early, which you should do!  There are so many food venues to visit and based on my experience in the past 4 years, the park becomes so packed, that most of the lines to taste the food samples can reach as long as up to 45 minutes just to order!  Try arriving at Epcot around the time that Future World opens.  Since Future World opens a couple hours before the world showcase, this will give you time to ride some rides or prepare to enter the World Showcase as soon as it opens.  Once the World Showcase opens, head on over to the different venues to enjoy flavors from around the world!

epcot-food-and-wine-sign

8.  Know Where You Are Going

While you are hanging out in Epcot’s Future World, be sure to take some time to study the park map.  The venues for the different countries are located around the park.  There are many venues with food from countries that are not originally in the World Showcase.  They are scattered in different areas, so you will want to locate your favorites before traveling around.  Knowing where you will stop to munch on your samples will save time for you and your party.

epcot gift card

7.  Grab a Gift Card 

This is probably the most important tip I can give you.  There is nothing more annoying than reviewing a credit card bill and seeing a million transactions for a few dollars each.  While MagicBands are great to use, they are linked to your credit card on your resort reservation.  Eventually, when you review your bill, it will be loaded with those pesky transactions.  You can also load cash on your MagicBand and have your purchases around the world deducted from there, however, you will see the breakdown with multiple transactions later making it difficult to track how much you have left on your band.  Remember, if you are not staying at a Disney Resort, you can’t load money on a MagicBand!  The best way to experience the Food and Wine Festival regardless if you are staying on property or not is to load a gift card with cash and use it as you purchase your food.  I usually load around $150-$200 on a gift card and just swipe it as I go along.  The great thing about the gift cards is that they have a corkscrew bracelet so you can wear it around your wrist when walking around (don’t worry it’s super tight and will not fall off, I promise).  Having to put everything down or rummage through your purse to take cash out is super frustrating and wastes time.  Having the gift card out and on your wrist is the most convenient thing since sliced bread.   After purchasing each food sample or beverage, you will get a receipt with the remaining balance on the card.  You can also add more money on the gift card at any of the food booths in the World Showcase.  I know what you’re thinking, “Nati, how do I know how much money to put on the card?”  If you know you are going to eat and drink a lot, I would budget $300 to $400.  If you plan to eat a lot but not drink too much, I would budget for $150-$200.  If you plan to just sample a few countries and try out some drinks, I would budget $50-$100.  Remember, each menu item ranges from $3- $9.  Alcoholic beverages range from $2.50 – $10.  Since I love to plan ahead, I always review the menu items and calculate how much I will more or less spend by visiting the Disney Food Blog website.  Once I get to the parks, I add what I calculated at home on the gift card.  Don’t stress if you have a balance on the gift card at the end of the day.  You can use your remaining balance anywhere on Disney property.  Heading home after the event?  Use the gift card on your next visit or on your next Disney Store purchase!  You can’t go wrong either way!

epcotfoodandwinepassport

6.  Grab a Passport

While visiting your first food venue, be sure to ask for a passport book (don’t worry, it’s totally free).  Your passport book includes every country participating in the festival as well as what they are offering their guests.  After sampling food and beverages from a booth, simply find the correlating sticker (located inside the passport) and place it on the corresponding country in your passport to ‘stamp’ it so that you know where you have visited.  What I love about the passport is that it is a unique and most importantly, free souvenir of your visit!  Looking back at the countries you went to is always a nice way to reminisce.  I always like to add the pictures of each item I purchased in the passport book as well.

5.  Share, Share, Share

I cannot stress this enough!  There are sooooo many food options, it is impossible to have room in your belly for all of them.  When I first saw the size of each food option, I thought I am absolutely not sharing, this is too small to share!  After a few food items, I was stuffed and could not enjoy the rest of the festival foods.  The following year, my besties and I shared every single food item and we ate double what we did the first time.  No matter how small you may think the food choices are, try to share them with someone in your party.  I will however say, be selfish with your favorites!  I never share my top four faves: Canada’s Cheddar Cheese Soup, Mexico’s Barbacoa Enchilada, France’s Creme Brûlée Caramel Chocolat, and Hawaii’s Kalua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayo.  Yummy!  This year, the festival is adding a few new booths!  The Chew Collective, Chocolate Studio, Greenhouse Guru (hosted by Village Farms), Islands of the Caribbean, and Wine & Dine Studio are all new booths to check out this year!

food and wine festival plants

4.  Check Out The Plants!

I never knew how much I would appreciate plants until I first visited the Food and Wine Festival.  There are so many plants loaded with different fruits and vegetables at every food booth.  I thought it was neat to see how all of these foods grow and the uniqueness of each plant.

epcot food and wine festival sign.jpg

3.  Travel In One Direction

This might seem like common sense, but since the World Showcase is built in a complete circle, it is easier for you and your party to choose one side to start on, and then walk all the way around.  If you try to go from one country to another that is not near, it will cost you more time.  Did you know that statistics have proved that we tend to go to the right when we reach a fork in the road?  Your best bet is to head to the left since it is most likely going to be less full.  This only applies if you arrive when the World Showcase opens.  Once the festival is well underway, it will be crowded no matter what area you’re in.

2.  Check Out The Eat to The Beat Concert Series

There are some great concerts that are held during the festival.  Check out your park map to see who will be rockin’ out while you Eat to the Beat!  You can check out the line-up of stars for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series on the Disney Food Blog.

1.  Check Out the Culinary Demonstrations

This has been on my bucket list for years, and although I haven’t experienced it yet, the culinary demonstrations at the parks are a must do if you’re a major foodie.  YOu’ll be able to see celebrity chefs whip up some of their favorites and you may even get to cook something up yourself.  This is a great way to sharpen your cooking skills (and what better way to do that then at the happiest place on earth?).  Beverage and cheese seminars are also available for those that are interested.  Since theses events are available to a limited amount of guests, you’ll wan to make sure you check the availability and register as soon as possible.  Check out what is available on the Walt Disney World website.

epcot-food-and-wine-cheers

Don’t forget to check out any special episode of The Chew being filmed on the main stage at the entrance of the World Showcase!  This is a new and exciting way to enjoy special features of this delightful show!

I hope these tips allow you to enjoy your time in the festival effectively, but most importantly, have a great time!

Do you have any tips of your own for the Food and Wine Festival?  Comment below!

XO NAT

Disclosure:  All images and opinions are my own. 

Trackbacks

  1. […] And there you have it!  You’ll be ready to take on the flavors of each country at Epcot in no time….and look cute while doing so!  If you haven’t already done so, check out my tips on how to make the most of your trip to the Food and Wine Festival! […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: