Epcot's Food & Wine Festival: My FAVOURITE reason to visit Walt Disney World
Posted on 06/28/2016 | About Orlando, Florida
Autumn is my absolute favourite time to visit Walt Disney World.
The extreme heat of the summer has passed, so feel more comfortable while you're in the parks. School is back is session, so the crowds (and many of the resort prices) are much lower. To attract visitors during its slower periods, Disney offers seasonal events. During the autumn, guests enjoy Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and my personal favourite, The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!
Epcot is already my favourite theme park in the world, so including a Food & Wine Festival in the price of admission is only icing on the cake. This event is especially popular with Honeymooners, adults-only groups, and families with adventurous eaters and foodies!
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival happens around World Showcase Lagoon. In addition to the 11 countries that are on display year-round, dozens of booths open up, each representing a different country or region. The booths offer a small assortment of foods and beverages from that region - usually a couple of savoury options, a couple of desserts and a small selection of wines, beers, and/or cocktails. Everything is served in small-sized portions, so you get to taste many of the offerings. For a meal, you'll probably get full after around 4 or five portions.
The menu above from last year's festival gives you a good idea of a typical booth's options and prices. Most of the dishes are easy to share, so you may want to order one of each, so you get to taste everything! Notice the purple square Dining Plan logos to the left of many of the options - that tells you that you may redeem one Dining Plan Snack Credit on that item, if you'd like. The more expensive items at Food & Wine are a GREAT value for your Snack Credits! Photo credit: WDW Magic.
Here's one of my FAVOURITE items from last year's festival: Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans and Tomato from the Brazil booth. It was $5.50 and was eligible as a Snack Credit on the Disney Dining Plan. Photo credit: The Disney Food Blog.
Unlike many of the poorly-organized food events I've attended in Toronto (never again!), my experiences at this festival have always been smooth and pleasant. You simply line up at each booth, where your order is inputted and you pay. You can pay with cash or credit, but if you're staying at a Disney Resort, the best way to pay is using your Magic Band. You touch your band to the reader and enter your PIN number, and it's charged directly to your room account - so easy!
There is also the Eat To The Beat Concert Series during this time, where many of your favourite artists from yesterday come to perform FREE concerts, throughout the day! This year's line-up includes Boyz II Men, Wilson Phillips, Christopher Cross and Sugar Ray.
On top of all of that, there are free demonstrations by celebrity chefs, premium "cooking school" experiences, food & beverage tastings, exclusive festival merchandise and a expensive VIP-style party, called "Party For The Senses".
I usually recommend that when visiting Walt Disney World, you plan to spend two days at Epcot anyway (especially if all the members of your party are ages 13+), and during Food & Wine, this is especially true. The best way to tour Epcot is to enjoy attractions in Future World in the morning, then have lunch at Food & Wine, go back to your resort for a mid-day break, then return to Epcot at night to explore World Showcase and enjoy a Table Service meal at one of the Pavilions. You amazing day ends with a viewing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, one of the best fireworks show's you'll ever see.
I recommend you avoid the festival during weekends, when locals visit and it can get very crowded. Also, lines for the booth are the shortest when World Showcase opens, at 11am - this is why I recommend going for lunch.
This year's festival runs for a full SIXTY-TWO DAYS - from September 14 to November 14!
If you'd like to go, I advise that you consider booking SOON. Reservations for Table Service restaurants have already begun, and Fastpasses become availble as of 60 days prior to arrival. I would be happy to help you select and book those important reservations. I can also help you choose a week which won't be very busy, and tell you the best days to visit Epcot, to avoid the crowds. As a Disney-Certified Travel Agent, Disney pays me commission, so I can find you the least expensive package availble, and you get all of my services for free!
Want to know how much it would cost?
Here are some rates from the 2016 festival - I put together a few quotes, so you can get an idea. I selected a week which is won't be very crowded and when resort prices are low. I have included pricing for my favourite Value, Moderate and Deluxe Disney Resorts. Click HERE to see a few options for all budgets.
I can also get you a free, no-obligation quote for any party size, any travel dates, any resort... or anything else you have in mind!
Aydin Turgay is a TICO and Disney-Certified professional Travel Agent. He is the Theme Park Specialist for Total Advantage Travel & Tours, Inc., in Toronto, Ontario. Follow his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/CanadaToOrlando.
He can be reached at by email at: email@example.com or by phone at: 1-800-419-1635.