Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips: When Should I Visit the Festival?

Are you as excited about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival as we are? It will be here before you know it!

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Banner

Summer may have just begun, but in just a couple of months — weeks, really — we’ll be kicking off the festival with strolls along World Showcase Promenade, sipping and noshing on lots of new dishes and returning favorites.

And even though we’re still awaiting major details, like booking dates and a full list of events, there’s plenty that we can get started on in the way of planning.

Hard Sprecher Orange Cream Soda Float

Cheers to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

But there’s one factor you must determine before you can get to any of your other plans: what’s the time best time to visit the Epcot Food and Wine Festival? We answer below — including some things you may not have thought about.

When Is the Best Time to Visit the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

There are lots of things to consider when timing of your visit to the festival. Weather, crowds, and other events are just a few. Let’s run down a couple of our recommendations that will help you to have a great visit.

Visit on weekdays if possible.

It’s not just out-of-town guests who enjoy the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Lots of locals visit as well, opting mostly for the weekends.

New Morocco Booth

Visiting During Weekdays Means Smaller Crowds at Festival Booths

It’s pretty normal to see crowds swell from Friday through Sunday with long lines at all of the festival booths, but especially favorites like Canada and France.

Get started at 11:00AM — or even earlier.

Whatever day you visit, plan to hit the ground running, and visit the booths as soon as they open at 11:00AM.

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup with Pretzel Roll

Be There at 11:00 AM to Avoid Mammoth Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup Lines

Oftentimes, the later in the day, the longer the lines. Planning ahead for which booths you’d like to visit and arriving right as they open will ensure you get to quite a few before it gets super busy.

Mid-October is the Sweet Spot.

Because the beginning and the end can be a bit tricky with big crowds, and there’s no hot like September Florida hot. We recommend you wait until the middle of October if at all possible. If you’re lucky, temps start to regulate a bit, and those afternoon storms begin to dry up.

American Adventure Premium Area

A Rainy Food and Wine Festival Isn’t Necessarily Awesome

Avoid race weekends like the plague too, because they can get pretty busy as well.

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

But as long as you follow steps 1 and 2, don’t worry too much about step 3. We know it’s not always up to you what month you can visit the festival. But starting at 11AM on a weekday will help you make huge strides toward a positive Food and Wine Festival experience!

Pin it for later!

When Is the Best Time to Visit the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

Now we’d LOVE to hear your best tips! When is your favorite time to visit the Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Leave a comment and share with us!

Ready to Plan for Your 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trip?

Pre-Order the DFB Guide to the 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book today, and get the 2017 edition free as an immediate download! Two guides for the price of one! 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!

Pre-Order your 2018 edition today and get the 2017 edition for FREE! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

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


  1. Essie says

    AJ, I love going to Disney in the Autumn, but I’ve never done the festival because of hearing so many horror stories about out of control drunken guests. Would early weekdays help to avoid this problem?

  2. says

    Essie — Yes. In fact, I’ve visited the festival more times than I could possibly count, and with kids in tow at times, and I’ve never had an issue with out-of-control drunken guests. I’m not refuting the experience of others; I’m just sharing mine. I do, for the most part however, visit during weekdays, and during the day.

  3. Mark says

    Sorry, but I disagree with your advice. The first few weeks of the festival were relatively empty last year and now they start two weeks earlier. If you want to avoid crowds the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th week of September will be best. Monday to Thursday is best. Looking forward to the Culinary Demos.

  4. Keith says

    For those with children, It also might be helpful to know that last year during the first week of October there was some sort of convention/celebration….complete with a ball at the Dolphin, where the participants weren’t exhibiting very tasteful behavior that most would consider conducive to a family atmosphere. (Edited by moderator)

  5. Jason says

    Thanks, Keith, for the warning. I expect my husband and our two children would not be too unsettled. What constitutes “tasteful behavior” is highly subjective, as is also that which is “conducive to a family atmosphere.” Our family would not be bothered in the least by “some sort of gay convention/celebration,” as you put it. (By the way, was the moderator asleep on this one, or does the Disney Food Blog typically print comments that warn readers of certain minority groups in the parks?)

  6. Christina H. says

    Jason – I agree… nothing wrong with any sort of pride celebrations. Disney is all about inclusiveness. It’s a shame that there are still people out there who feel the need to “warn others” about things like this.

    And I’m hoping it wasn’t intentional oversight.

  7. Jeff says

    The “drunk & disorderly food & wine crowd” narrative is completely overblown

    Does it happen on occasion?
    Is it a common occurrence & overwhelming when it does?
    No, absolutely not.

  8. Daisy says

    I have been a Florida Resident Pass holder for the past 5 years and I have never come across any drunks or anyone acting disorderly. I think that comment has gotten blown out of proportion.

  9. Cindy says

    This year we were only able to make it on vacation the very last day of the festival (Monday, November 13). This is the first time I’ve been down for the last day. Can I assume that the lines are going to be terrible all day ?

  10. says

    Cindy — Lines might not be as terrible as the weekend, since it’s a Monday, but you may find that booths are out of items because it’s the last day. Also, Veteran’s Day falls the weekend before, so that have an impact.

  11. Sara McCaslin says

    My husband and I will be attending the Tables in Wonderland Festival Preview July 15th at EPCOT. We will miss the Festival this year because we are visiting Disneyland for our fall break trip. We can’t wait for the Preview event!!

  12. Cindy says

    I agree that mid-October or later is the best, but if you are looking to buy souvenir and festival merchandise – especially LE stuff – it may be all gone. It’s usually grabbed up by those who buy “in bulk” and then sell it on eBay for 3 times the price. I’m glad that the Disney Store online is now selling some of the items (T shirts, magic bands, LE pins) but they don’t have everything.

  13. says

    Jason and Christina H. — Thanks for your comments. Keith is a regular commenter here on DFB, and I choose to believe that his goal was to share that the participants weren’t behaving in a manner most parents would want their children to see, not because they’re gay or drag queens, but because they’re possibly drunk or being overly sexual in public. I’ve edited the comment accordingly.

    As for the question as to whether DFB is OK with commenters warning other readers of a particular minority group — nope; I’m not OK with that. But I myself will warn parents and non-parents alike that things can get a little crazy at the convention resorts at night! ;-D

  14. Caroline says

    The last time I was at food and wine it was mobbed. It was hot and there were many giant drunk groups. One group had a drinking around the world shirt where they marked off countries as they went around. Canada wouldn’t serve them and one guy fell over on my husband while in line. So it does get a little crazy. We were there at night and on the weekend. When I worked there I would go during the week a lot and it would be dead. So I agree the best time is in October and during the week.

  15. Michelle says

    We plan to attend Monday Oct 23rd and am so excited! I agree Sept can be less crowded, but the heat and humidity take away from F&W for me. I am just not that hungry when that hot! So looking forward to October and more pleasant weather… Made sure I planned around any holiday weekends or races…

    Last year were went in Nov on Veterans day weekend and they were filming the Christmas specials and Epcot was a nightmare! Never seen it so crowded on a Thursday in my life….It was crazy, but we started early and still managed to visit all the booths we wanted.

    Fall is my favorite time of year at Disney World. We too have never encountered any overly intoxicated rude people thank goodness, but we do go on weekdays…

    Can’t wait for the menu’s to come out!

  16. Simone says

    I went last year ( 2017) for the first time in 4 years, and don’t remember it ever so busy. Went on the weekend ( had no choice) and it was packed, hot and I did see a few groups getting drunk. I started at 11 am and it was already packed, that was end of October. There were even younger adults that hat to be escorted out of the park.

  17. Elaine says

    We went last year mid Oct weekdays and had no problems with drunk & disorderly crowds. The heat was the problem! The nights did cool off some. We also visited The Magic Kingdom one night and the crowds were unbearable in the evening at fireworks time, and unsafe in my opinion to let that many in. It was scary and will never do that again.

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