If you’ve been hanging around here much at all, then you know that we love the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
With 20 years of Food and Wine Festival experience under our belts, we think we know a thing or two about having a good time at F&W. 😉 So today, allow us to share our list for the Mistakes We’d Like to Help You to Avoid as you plan your visit to this year’s Festival!
Put on your stretchy pants and comfy shoes, and get your DFB Food and Wine Tray ready. Time to head in!
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Book Events
There’s a reason that we tell you to be on the phone first thing bright and early on the day that Special Events, including Seminars and Demonstrations, open. These events sell out quickly — especially the ones featuring celebrity chefs.
All isn’t lost, though, if you didn’t book the second the phone lines opened. You will be able to book some events, especially the Low-Cost daily seminars and demos, right up to the time of the event.
Still, it’s best to plan ahead. So if you haven’t already done so, call now and square away those reservations. It’s one less thing you’ll need to worry about when you arrive.
Don’t Show Up Without Knowing Which Booths You Want to Try
Thirty+ Marketplace Booths…that’s a lot. A whole lot. And each Booth will feature a minimum of a couple different food items as well as an assortment of beer, wine, and cocktails that you’re probably going to want to try. Trust me when I say that your choices can become overwhelming quickly. You just may find yourself out of money, stomach space, or both, way before you get to the things that you’d really like to try.
Our solution? Come prepared. Be sure to study our Food and Wine Festival Menus Page for every single booth menu at a glance. To get an even better idea of what to expect, be sure to click through to each individual Booth Page (you’ll see links to each on our main booth page) to see photos of the menu items. We will continue to update these pages as the Festival gets underway, so check back often!
Even better — check out our DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which has a handy Food and Wine Menu Checklist that you can print out, fill in, and take with you to be super prepared!
Don’t Avoid the Festival Because You Only Have One Day
It’s true that the Festival can seem a little daunting if you only have one day to spend at Epcot. But don’t skip it for fear of all that you’ll miss!
This is another way that the DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival can be a sanity saver. With touring strategies for One Day, Two Days, and even Half Days (both morning and evening), we have some great tips for making the most of even a short time in Epcot.
Here’s one of my favorite TIPS: If you only have a short time to explore, be sure to get in line for the Marketplace Booths early before lines get long. Consider visiting extremely popular spots, like the Belgium Booth, first.
And if at all possible, plan your visit for a weekday. Locals tend to swell the crowds more during the weekends.
Don’t Skip the Festival Because You Have Kids
Think that the Festival is just for adults? Think again! It’s actually a great way for the whole family, including the kiddos, to enjoy a different aspect of Disney — by exploring international foods and trying new things.
To make it extra fun for the kids in your crew, get them involved in planning your strategy. Let them choose which dishes you’ll try at each Booth. Get a Festival Passport (they’re free!) and let the kids collect stamps at each booth.
And older kids may even enjoy participating in a Culinary Demonstration.
Here’s another great TIP from the DFB Guide: alternate rides with Food and Wine Festival events. While the grown ups in your party may find eating as entertaining as any attractions, the kiddos might not. 🙂 Be sure to leave ample time for visiting with Nemo and Friends or a ride through Mexico on the Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros.
Breaking up the tasting with Kidcot Stops will also keep them engaged.
Don’t Underestimate How Filling Your Dine Around Will Be
Unless you are a really big eater, I’d reconsider that advance dining reservation that you just booked for the evening of your visit to the Festival. Sure, each of the items is tapas-portioned. I mean, I wouldn’t expect you to feel like you’ve eaten a full meal after you enjoy an Beef Skewer and a Glass of Malbec from the Patagonia Booth. But if you plan to visit three or more of the Booths in a given timeframe, you’re probably going to be full.
This advice should help you plan how you’ll spend your Disney Dining Plan credits as well. Knowing that you can most likely skip one of your sit-down meals during the day that you plan your Festival visit may even allow for a visit to a signature dining restaurant that requires two credits.
Le Cellier, here we come!
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But now I’d love to hear from all of our Food and Wine Expert Readers! What are the top F&W mistakes to avoid in your opinion? Share your solutions in comments below!