UPDATED: News! Updates to Early Booking for Some Events at the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

This just in! We have potential updates to early booking for events during the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival for two populations of Disney fans!

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Logo Official Disney

As you know, booking for all Epcot Food and Wine Festival Events for the General Public opens on July 21st at 7AM ET. But most years, if you’re a Disney World Annual Passholder, Disney Vacation Club Member, Tables in Wonderland, or Golden Oak Resident, you’ll get to book Festival Center events (seminars and demos primarily) a few days early. This year, that early date falls on July 19th at 9AM!

And today, we’ve gotten some good news for yet another group of Disney lovers…

Chase Disney Visa Cardholders Early Booking Date for Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Yay! We’ve now heard that Chase Disney Visa Cardmembers will again be able to book events early this year as well! The phone lines are slated to open for this group on July 19 at 7AM! So if you have a Disney Visa, start planning, because next Tuesday is YOUR DAY! Call 407-939-1870 to book reservations with your Disney Visa Credit Card.

While Disney hasn’t fully clarified what will be eligible for booking on the early day, the events are most likely the Low-Cost Culinary Demonstrations and Beverage Seminars that take place at Festival Center. There may be some Special Events as well.

Remember, this info is always subject to change. There are so many moving parts with the Festival, so things DO change from time to time. But since this information falls in line with what has happened in previous years, we’re pretty confident in reporting that it will be the case.

Disney Visa Pic

But that’s not all the interesting early booking news we have today!

Disney World Annual Passholders Early…EARLY Booking Date?

So…Disney World Annual Passholders may be able to book some events for the festival on July 18th.

But…probably not.

I’ll explain.

We were pretty confident that July 19th was the early booking date for ALL specialty groups this year. THEN we started getting emails and notifications from our readers about an earlier booking date for Annual Passholders. So we investigated, and here’s what we found:

According to PassholderCalendar.com (an official Annual Passholder website that I found through the Mickey Monitor, which is the official Annual Passholder publication), early booking for Annual Passholders who are booking seminars will be open on July 18.

According to this Official Disney Website, Annual Passholders May Be Able to Book Even Earlier

According to this Official Disney Website, Annual Passholders May Be Able to Book Even Earlier

And two days ago, Disney World Annual Passholders got their Passholder email that clearly stated that early booking for the events would be on…July 18th!

So after a very long, very frustrating call with Disney World Passholder Guest Services (I’m sure you can all relate), I came away with the cast member telling me that “Both dates have been announced by official sources and we don’t have any more information; you’ll just have to call on the 18th and see if you can book events, and if not, then call on the 19th.” Super helpful, right?

So, here’s my take from all this:

1. I take my job WAY too seriously.

2. The Disney contacts that I trust the most have told me that July 19th is the early booking date for Annual Passholders.

3. I’m guessing the Annual Passholder publications and emails have made a mistake. Like I said, lots of moving parts, and it’s possible that the 18th was the original early booking date and it was then changed to the 19th, but the Annual Passholder information had already been set into motion at that point.

4. I’m still going to call on the 18th…just in case.

5. Errthing is subject to change all the time always forever.

So, there you have it. It’s my job to make sure YOU know all of the potentials and possibilities, so I’m doing that. And I’m also sharing with you just a teensy bit of the crazy that goes into gathering information about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (believe me, from April through July my mental state is pretty much anticipation lined with frustration).

Let me know what YOU find out! ;-D

Ready to Plan for Your Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trip?

The DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available for pre-order! This 250+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever.

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Order your 2016 edition today and we’ll immediately send you the 2015 edition for FREE to get started on planning right away! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a 20% off the cover price!

But now, I want to hear from you! What events are you most excited about booking during the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Leave a comment and share with us!

Comments

  1. LuvF&W says

    Thank you so much for all the crazy that you put into getting this information! I anxiously await all of your posts about the Food and Wine Festival – my favorite time of the year! :)

  2. Beth says

    Um, both hubby and I are AP holders. I don’t get AP emails. How do I get on that list?

  3. Lisa says

    I got the same Passholder email and was wondering about the dates myself. Thanks for checking as I know how long and frustrating those phone calls can be. I am counting the days until booking but wish there were dates for the Mix it Make it events too.

  4. Dave says

    Passholder site just now is saying July 19th … but we’ll call on the 18th just in case .. lol

  5. Diane says

    I’m sitting here on pins and needles wondering if the Premium Package will be offered again this year.
    I fear because no information as been released, the option may no longer be available.
    Honest to goodness the best $200 I ever spent at Disney.
    Any insights/clues?

  6. says

    Diane — Don’t lose hope quite yet. For the last couple of years, the Premium Package has been announced a bit later. We’re actively seeking clarification on it though, along with a number of other questions, so we’ll keep you posted. :-)

  7. Jessica says

    Thank you so much for all your information and dedication and hard work. I hope to one day be at the level you are at when it comes to all things Disney. Just starting my blog journey this summer.

  8. says

    Glenda — Give the Passholder Hotline a call — 407 560 7277. They should be able to get you on that mailing list. Best of luck!

  9. Mary says

    Will the Eat to the Beat dining packages also be booking on the dates mentioned in the article? I cannot find any information on those.

  10. Lynda says

    Hello, first , let me tell you I love following your posts on facebook. Thank you for all your hard work.
    I do have a question. I would love to get tickets for The Chew taping at epcot this year. I checked everyday last year and it always said coming soon. I checked 1 morning and it said coming soon, checked a few hours later and they were sold out.
    This was on 1iota.com. Any tips on that?
    thanks again, Lynda Shipley

  11. says

    Mary — While we can’t get specific confirmation on exactly what special events will be bookable on the early booking date (if any), we can say that the Eat to the Beat packages will be available on the General Booking Date of July 21.

  12. Cary Miller says

    Called WDW-FEST line (Disney Dining) and was told by the very nice cast member that the 18th date for passholders was wrong and that a retraction email should be going out. We will all be calling at 0900 on the 19th!

  13. Mary Henderson says

    I just called the Passholder hotline and they knew absolutely nothing about the Eat to the Beat dining packages. :(

  14. Sylvia says

    We called this morning as AP holder but they said to call back tomorrow. Figured it would be that way but tried anyway. We are considering the Tea but would like to know what is on the menu. Is there somewhere I can find this out before tomorrow morning? I guess from all that is being said we might not be able to make reservations for that until the 21st. Where is the Crescent Solarium? Tea’s used to be held off the lobby of the Grand Floridian. I know they were going to do something else with that area. Did they change it to the Crescent Solarium. It was really nice the way it was. I look forward to hearing from you soon and hope you can help.

  15. says

    Hi Sylvia,

    My guess is that the menu won’t be released for a while, and possibly not at all prior to the event. The Crescent Solarium is in the Beach Club Resort. It’s a nice space, but not usually used for dining — though they had some teas there this past year.

  16. Mary says

    We called at 7 am this morning since we have a Disney Chase Visa and were told that the Eat to the Beat dining packages are not loaded into the system yet and that they would be available on Thursday, July 21. I am hoping they will be available to book online as that is so much easier. This is my first year doing these packages so I feel a little lost!

  17. Diane Huyler says

    Just a heads up, there are quite a few things already available online for booking. Of course not the 3 events I’m looking for but still quite a bit if anyone is interested.

  18. Cary says

    I was able to book Culinary Demo via the Disney World website, although I wasn’t able to save the $2 per person doing it that way. After waiting on the phone for half an hour, I didn’t mind paying full price. Bottom line, it appears that anyone with a Disney account can book today via the website vice having to wait until Thursday.

  19. Diane says

    I was also told by a CM this morning that about 15% of the tickets were released for the events this morning. The rest will be released and available the 21st.
    Whether this is true or not, I can’t say……… except for that a few people claimed they did get reservations for a couple of things I couldn’t get on the phone and couldn’t get online just yet.

    Rinse and repeat, I guess.
    We’ll do this all Thursday morning again
    See ‘ya real soon! ;)

  20. Liz says

    I was able to book all of my events this morning over the phone. But, I’m curious where I would find these events online if I decided to book more? I searched but didn’t find anything because I didn’t know what site to use. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  21. Sylvia says

    Thanks everybody for the info. We were able to book all our events yesterday morning. We called at 7 am on the dot and still had to wait 20 minute but it was worth it. It’s amazing how quickly the costs add up. I won’t be down in time for the Chew. I’m sorry to miss that. Hope they’ll be back next year. We booked the tea with out the exact menu. Out representative told us basically what will be available. It is typical Tea fare. Just what we wanted.

    One question about food allergies my husband has an allergy to black pepper. Can we contact the food allergy group for The Tea and the French Breakfast? Thanks in advance.

  22. Diane says

    oh my, I just got some very disappointing news.
    While I was booking a few more specials that weren’t available until today…..I was told by the CM that they were told NO Premium Package will be offered this year (sigh)
    So sad.

  23. AJ says

    I was just told there would be no Premium Package this year as well. I’m being transferred to Guest Relations now, so I can relay my disappointment with this along with the general dearth of information that is available on the festival this time of year; year after year. The poor dining reservation CMs are never prepared by the higher ups for us. If it weren’t for this blog, I would have given up on this festival years ago.

    I can’t see their reasoning for discontinuing this. Up the price, or nix the goodie bag and the dessert party. All I want is to not have to wait in long lines in the sun and eat over a hot & smelly trash can! They can’t cite lack of interest when it’s a limited event in the first place, AND it’s barely, if at all, advertised, and pops up whenever it wants in the booking system like last year.

  24. AJ says

    And I just wanted to add that we sure spent waaaay more $$$$ at the booths when we didn’t have to stand in line or find a place to sit. Still don’t get it…it’s the same philosophy as the FastPass system. The less time spent in line = more $$$$$$!

  25. Annmarie Russo says

    After two long days of being switched from person to person. Started with the food festival lines, then to supervisor, then to another supervisor then to guest services then to DVC (we are DVC members and annual passholders) and then to a DVC supervisor. (I got all their names). I was told. THERE WILL NOT BE A PREMIUM PACKAGE AT THE FOOD FESTIVAL THIS YEAR. :(. We are so disappointed. It was the best part for us. I just wish I didn’t have to spend close to 10 hours on the phone trying to find out. The reservations get harder and harder every year. I spend more time making the reservations AND planning than we do at DW.

  26. AJ says

    Annmarie, I have to agree. Although, the reserved seating sure justified all the effort last year! No dice this year :(

    The CM at GR actually called me back to recommend the new Ultimate Day at F&W. I was very impressed by the followup, but we won’t be there the day this is offered, it’s a bit pricey, and doesn’t solve our marketplace woes. Kudos to Ricardo for being so helpful and understanding!

    Does anybody think there’s a possibility this has to do with the anticipated increase in foot traffic to WS for Frozen? You would think this would make the PP all the more valuable/desirable! I noticed the CM emphasized the VIP tour access to Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ Around the World included in the Ultimate Day package.

  27. Diane says

    I so agree. It makes no financial sense to me. They could have dumbed it down, just like they did with the Sampler Package
    And honestly, I could care less if they eliminated the ‘goodie’ package all together , the convenience of no lines, was the HUGE reward.
    Even though I understand it will do no good, especially this year……I sent them a lengthy email expressing my profound disappointment with their decision to cancel the package.

    So upsetting.

  28. Diane says

    Actually I truly hope they are inundated with complaints.
    Maybe it will have them reconsider the package in the future.

  29. Carol says

    I know you are disappointed, but the rumor I have heard from some people who should know is that the Premium package barely broke even for Disney. I don’t think there were enough people willing to pay for it. I understand one option that was considered was a substantial price increase but it was felt that would not be successful. So if you complain you might give your “upper price point”

    For me it’s never been worth it. If it was offered on weekends then.. I am all in, but… Monday at 11? I have never have a problem finding a place to eat and I figure the walking is good for me LOL!

  30. Cassie says

    I’ve been pouting about this all day!!! I can’t believe they are not having the PP this year. I was ready to shell out the $400+ for seating and shade!!! Also, we have to go on a crowded week this year. I’m trying to be a big girl about this, but I really just want to stomp my feet a throw a fit. I know that isn’t helpful (just completely blown away by this news)

  31. Diane says

    And I was ready with almost $2,000!
    Multiple trips with multiple family members

    …..pouting right along with you, Cassie

  32. AJ says

    I don’t think the purpose of the PP was to do anything other than barely break even on the price for the package itself anyway. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been so much thrown into it (the after hours party, near $50 in tabs/gift cards (it varied every year), a let’s say $20 bottle of wine, a $30 magic band, and let’s say a $10 commemorative glass. That’s over $100 right there.

    It’s also a CM-heavy event, so I never saw them doing anything but breaking even on the package itself. The purpose was to get folks to order more from the booths and stay in the park longer (after hours party). More importantly, it got folks to book trips for non-peak days for longer. We sure did. We always did 3 days, never 4 until we discovered the PP. Unless, the figures you are talking about include what was purchased at each premium station. I’m sure those were rather easy to track.

    I would think it would be hard to make a determination as to whether or not enough people bought the package simply because it was barely, if at all, advertised last year! It certainly wasn’t advertised before booking began for the general public. People have already booked their trips by then, and if they don’t then already happen to be staying the M-Th of a week that the PP is offered, then why would they buy it?! I know this is Monday morning quarterbacking, but judging from the amount of folks at the stations, and more objectively the massive line at the festival center to check in to pick up the credentials on Monday morning, they were doing ok. I know. That was just one week. It’s also Monday morning quarterbacking to say we spent so much more money at the marketplace booths. All I know is that we had our passports stamped full after about 3 days, and we basically repeated all of our favorites on the last day. We’ve never come close to that before. Ever.

    Now, with that said…no, we never had a problem on Monday at 11 am, UNTIL LAST YEAR. Every CM we talked to said F&W broke record after record last year. We vowed never to do F&W again without the PP. This year will be the exception just because, once again, information on the events and packages is scarce two months out.

    I plan to follow up with a letter of my own. I don’t have kids. Heck, I’m even at the age where I can hardly find friends to just drink with lol. I just wanted to bring Mom again for a girl’s vacation and be catered to for 4 days. They can keep the goodie bag and the dessert party. I’m not shelling out the cash for 4 days at the Boardwalk to stand in line and eat over a smelly trash can in the hot sun. No way. I am also sick and tired of having to plan my whole vacation over a year in advance (Boardwalk books fast; at the very least 6 months in advance due to ADRs, right?) just to give them my cash, and they can’t release any information on this specific package that doesn’t involve booking celebrities/bands or even a venue space more than 2 months out. Pretty ridiculous.

  33. Annmarie Russo-Vogelsang says

    I agree with AJ. We always did “adult” Disney for F&W. Then as we got older our crowd changed. We have seniors, adults and children now. It was easier on everyone for different reasons why we had the PP. But we nevet get through the crowds with the PP. Now we’ll cover 1/4 to 1/2 of what we would have which means that much less spending also… Ill be writing a letter also and going to DVC owners meeting while down there….. We are so ddissapointed.

  34. Annmarie Russo-Vogelsang says

    Sorry meant to say, we Couldn’t get thru the crowds WITHOUT the PP.

  35. Diane says

    I’m still so upset over this as well and heartily agree with everything AJ said.

    I finally sat down and ran some primitive numbers….even if Disney nixed the goodie bag, they would still need to pay 3 CM’s x 11 kiosks for 4 days….oh and a printed card for some sort of pass & lanyard.
    According to that, it looks like they’d need to sell at least about 60+ of these PP a week, just to break even.

    oh I don’t know, I’m still so ticked
    Haven’t heard a response to my email complaint yet, either………….

  36. Carol says

    “I don’t think the purpose of the PP was to do anything other than barely break even on the price for the package itself anyway. ”

    Disney doing something just to “break even”? Really? Have you seen their pricing for things that have basically no value…

    Disney is only doing things now that make them a good profit! If Premium Package did not make expected returns it’s gone.

    I was there last year and don’t recall it being dramatically more crowded then other years. The year prior I screwed up and picked Columbus Day weekend. That week was more crowded. last year I made sure not to pick a holiday week and was fine. And I have never eaten over a ‘smelly trash can’ LOL! One thing I think they have made improvements on is places to eat.

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